NARS Contour Blush in Olympia and Gienah…A Comprehensive Review + Swatches Galore

Above: NARS Contour Blushes in Gienah and Olympia.
This weekend, NARS released a long-awaited innovation: The Contour Blush.   This sleek compact with two contrasting, yet coordinated, pans of finely-milled powder comes in three color combinations.  The deeper shade is designed to add depth and warmth (contour) to the face while the lighter shade brightens and illuminates areas of the face where the light would naturally hit.  
Kindly scroll on for additional details, images of the NARS Contour Blush in Olympia and Gienah as well as a wealth of swatches and the Bottom Line…
Above: The NARS Contour Blush retails for $42.
Currently available for pre-order online at Nordstrom and Sephora and debuting for in-store purchase on April 1st, this gorgeous trio will be a permanent offering in the NARS collection.  A collective cheer from NARS fans and contouring devotees collectively resonates across the world! 
Here’s what NARS has to say about this creation:
NARS Cosmetics introduces Contour Blush, the ultimate essential in makeup artistry and the secret weapon to creating natural-looking definition with a luminous finish. The beautifully balanced duos feature a lighter shade to illuminate the highpoints of the face and a deeper shade to enhance definition. Ultra-smooth, lightweight texture lends itself to a luminous finish and the specially designed contouring formula visual depth and dimension in a single swipe. To create the perfect contour on cheeks, apply the deeper shade of the Contour Blush to the hollows of the cheek and along the hairline, sweep the light shade across the cheekbone toward the temple to soften and highlight. Finish the look with a pop of your favorite blush shade on the apples of the cheek.

Above: The full ingredients list. 
Above: NARS Olympia contains ivory and rosy tan powders.
NARS Contour Blush in Olympia is described as an Ivory/Rose combination.  Both the ivory highlighting shade and light rosy tan powder are essentially matte…there is no discernible shimmer whatsoever; this is extremely rare in the world of contour and illuminating products.  The delightfully unscented powder glides on with ease, instantly melding with the skin; it has an extremely natural finish that creates a believable effect of enhanced bone structure and highlight.  The darker shade is fairly light; it works well on my current NC 23 skin but I would think that skin tones deeper than N/NC/NW 25 would benefit from one of the darker shades (either Palmoa or Gienah).  I love the subtle results that I get from Olympia…swept across my lower cheekbones and jawline, the powder gives the impression of delicate depth and applying a bit of the ivory shade along my upper cheekbones, brow bones and bridge of my nose brings luminosity to the face without relying on light-reflecting particles. It’s incredible…in tandem, the contour blush duo leaves my face with a porcelain 
Below: Olympia in various lighting situations…
Above: Olympia in outdoor shade.
Above: Olympia with a flash.
Above: Olympia in direct sunlight.
Above: Swatches of Olympia in direct sunlight.
Above: Swatches of Olympia outdoors with a flash.
Olympia is:

Above: Gienah contains honey and amber powders. 
NARS Contour Blush in Gienah is described as a Honey/Amber combination, which I would deem to be fairly accurate.  The amber contour powder is quite deep, commensurate to the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Intensity #01 and slightly warmer (versus the TF version’s true brown hue).  The honey highlighting shade is a warm beige that is actually deeper than the darker shade in Olympia.  Gienah works best for N/NW/NC 30+ skin tones but those in the N/NW/NC 30-40 range who want a true highlighting effect may choose  to use a separate highlighter as the honey shade is relatively dark.  N/NW/NC 40+ skin tones should receive the full benefit of these complementary powders! Overall, Gienah leans towards the warm deep caramel end of the tan spectrum as opposed to the rosy blush-like propensities of Olympia and Paloma. 

Above: Gienah in outdoor lighting. 
Above: Gienah in direct sunlight.
Above: Gienah and Olympia side by side. 
Above: Swatches of Olympia and Gienah in outdoor lighting.
Above: Swatches of Gienah and Olympia in direct sunlight.
Above: A Mondrian-esque vision of Gienah and Olympia.

Below: Images of NARS Contour Blush in Olympia on the face in various lighting situations…
Above: In direct sunlight.
Above: In shade.
Above: In direct sunlight.
Above: In shade.
Above: With a flash.
Bottom Line: In light of beauty lovers’ obsession with contouring and the massive following that NARS has garnered over the years, the Contour Blush, with its shimmer-free texture and portable compact packaging, is sure to be a smash hit.  I love the subtle and delicate Olympia for my winter and spring skin, however, by summer, I likely will need to take the leap to the more intense Gienah to create the same effect.  The only shade left out of this post is Palomoa, a pink beige/deep rose combination that I can imagine would appeal to medium skin with rosy undertones or those seeking a pronounced blush/bronzer effect.  In sum, the silky, blendable powder texture makes contouring a brilliantly easy endeavor; contour devotees and those who prefer products without shimmer invariably will want to add the NARS Contour Blush to their arsenal.  These genius duos are highly recommended!
**PR sample  provided for review , however, as always, all of my opinions are expressly and unequivocally my own.  This post contains  affiliate links; my disclosure policy contains additional details on how these work.

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Comments (16)

  • Kath TheFabZilla Reply

    Thanks for the heads up! I can't wait to swatch these in person. I absolutely love shimmer-free bronzers especially for contouring.

    March 16, 2014 at 7:17 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      My pleasure, Kath!! If you love shimmer-free bronzers, then these are so for you!


      –The Beauty Professor

      March 17, 2014 at 12:45 am
  • Unknown Reply

    What an amazing review, so comprehensive and have literally sold Gienah to me, think it would be perfect for my NC30-35 skintone. looking forward to it coming to the UK soon hopefully!

    Jo ★ | A Little Pop Of Coral

    March 16, 2014 at 9:03 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Jo…thank you so much! Gienah would indeed be perfect for NC 30-35 skin tones! I hope it makes it way across the pond soon ; )


      –The Beauty Professor

      March 17, 2014 at 12:53 am
  • Makeupbypatricia Reply

    Oh MY! I need this palette! I can honestly say this is the most beautiful contour I have seen on you! Thank you so much for this review! Xoxo

    March 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Patricia!

      Thank you ever so much for the kind words…NARS outdid itself with a completely wearable, easy to use, flattering for all, trio of contour blushes which made writing about them a treat ; )

      xoxo and hope you are having a lovely weekend,

      –The Beauty Professor

      March 17, 2014 at 12:56 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    Which NARS powder is suitable for an NW20?

    Also, what else are you wearing for fdtn, any powder, eye makeup, etc?

    March 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      I would suggest Olympia as I fear that Paloma and Gienah will be too dark!

      In my pictures, I am wearing a combination of Suqqu Frame Fix, Kanebo Sensai Cream and Ardency Inn Custom Coverage Concentrate for foundation (I am lately a fan on making a custom mix!). For powder, a touch of the Guerlain Les Violettes Pressed Powder in #02 Medium and Cle de Peau Concealer in Beige. On my eyes, I am wearing By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Brown Perfection, Surratt eyeshadow in Dore and Marc Jacobs Hi-liner in Blacquer on my waterline.

      Hope that helps…xoxo,

      –The Beauty Professor

      March 17, 2014 at 12:59 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    You look absolutely stunning!! Just want to thank you for your blog. It's so much fun to read and so helpful in determining
    what's a good investment. It's clear how much care you put into everything and I just want you to know how much it is appreciated! XO Nancy

    March 17, 2014 at 12:49 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you, Nancy!! I am completely heartened by your supportive words and I am glad that you enjoy reading BP!

      Please keep in touch…warmest regards…xx,

      –The Beauty Professor

      March 17, 2014 at 1:00 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    What Cle de Peau Concealer color would match an NW20?

    March 17, 2014 at 11:30 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      I would suggest Ivory (on the light side) or Beige (which is a lovely balance of peach and pink)!


      –The Beauty Professor

      March 18, 2014 at 4:09 am
  • Ana Brown Reply

    You look amazing dear! Love your makeup for its light and seem so natural. I prefer NARS Contour Blush in Olympia for its perfect for Spring/Summer.

    March 18, 2014 at 3:29 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you ever so much! The NARS Olympia is such a fresh offering for the warmer months…let me know if you try it!


      –The Beauty Professor

      March 18, 2014 at 4:13 am
  • Obeyjazze Reply

    I'm an NC 50 and I just used Gienah today for my contour and it works PERFECTLY, I didn't think there would EVER be an actual contour powder from a high end brand that's dark enough for me to contour with but sure enough this works sooo well and I would happily shell out the $42 for this compact

    May 11, 2014 at 9:23 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      I am thrilled to hear that, Jasmine…thanks for sharing the good news!!

      xoxo and have a lovely week,

      –The Beauty Professor

      May 13, 2014 at 6:03 am

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