NARS brings us two new limited-edition cheek palettes ($41, 0.42 oz), Realm of the Senses and Soulshine. The image of the model on the packaging calls to mind the style of a young Jerry Hall in the the late '70s disco-era days of heavy, dramatic and glamorous makeup--a trend that continued well into the '80s with the birth of MTV and the music video.
Realm of the Senses and Soulshine are both beautiful to look at in the pan and if you're anything like me it will be difficult to decide between the two! When I swatched them side by side at Sephora yesterday it seemed that the general effect of each was not different enough to justify having both, but after a closer look, their differences become much more apparent, which you'll see in the images below.
These palettes are larger than a typical NARS blush, and are the same size as the Pierre Hardy blushes that were released just a few months ago. I read that this is a new formula NARS is using and although I haven't noticed a huge difference I did note that the texture is perhaps a bit softer and more buttery. The gold logo etched into the top of the powder is covered with a layer of over-spray that will completely wear off during the first few uses.
|Left to right: Realm of the Senses and Soulshine|
|Realm of the Senses Cheek Palette|
On the left are the three shades applied individually, at full intensity, with fingertips. Shade #1 is a warm peachy-coral with golden shimmer, Shade #2 is a soft plum/berry with a subtle sheen, and Shade #3 is a shimmery pale peach-gold highlighting shade. On the right is the color that is produced when all three shades are swirled together and blended on the skin with a soft-bristled brush.
|Soulshine Cheek Palette|
Below are comparisons with a few other popular NARS blushes to give you a better idea of the true colors and palette size.
|Left to right: Realm of the Senses, Soulshine, Orgasm, Super Orgasm, Outlaw|
Soulshine is a bit darker and more vibrant than Realm of Senses. If forced to choose between the two, I would probably go with Realm of the Senses because of its versatility. It contains a wider range of tones from light to dark and could conceivably be used as blush, contour, and highlight all in one, whereas Soulshine's lightest shade is too dark to be used as a highlighter.
On the other hand, the lightest shade in Realm of the Senses is simply too pale to be used as anything aside from a highlighter, but with Soulshine you will be getting three shades that are able to stand on their own as blushes. Those with darker skin tones may prefer Soulshine because of its intense pigmentation, and those with fairer skins may find Realm of Senses' slightly softer look easier to pull off. What is great about these palettes is that their larger-than-average size makes it possible to zero in on individual shades and fine-tune the color to your liking.
In the end, I may not be of much help when it comes to deciding between these two, because I like them both! You can find closeup swatches and see how both Soulshine and Realm of Senses look applied on Temptalia. If you're on a budget, I recommend trying them on in person if you have the opportunity because they are pricey and you may find that the differences between them do not justify the expense of having both. They are currently available exclusively at Sephora.