Orgasm by NARS is perhaps the most well-known blush in the world. Its natural lit-from-within flush flatters a wide range of skin tones, and has spawned its own line which encompasses lip gloss, illuminators and nail polish.
When I became pregnant and made the choice to switch to cleaner cosmetics, I had to take a deeper look at the ingredients inside my beloved Orgasm blush.
The Problem with the Ingredient List
Sometimes it’s hard to know what you’re getting in a makeup product. That’s why ingredient lists are so helpful–they give us insight into the product we apply to our body’s largest organ, our skin.
There are a dozen ingredients definitely included, plus a whopping twenty-two “possible” ingredients.
Ingredients: talc, cetearyl isononanoate, zinc stearate, silica, cetyl acetate, stearoxy dimethicone, isopropyl lanolate, acetylated lanolin alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, triclosan, BHA. May contain: mica, CI 77891 (titanium dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (iron oxides), CI 15850 (red 7 lake), CI 45380 (red 22 lake), CI 45410 (red 28 lake), CI 73360 (red 30 lake), CI 17200 (red 33 lake), CI 15880 (red 34 lake), CI 12085 (red 36), CI 19140 (yellow 5 lake), CI 15985 (yellow 6 lake), CI 42090 (blue 1 lake), CI 77163 (bismuth oxychloride), CI 77007 (ultramarines), CI 77288 (chromium oxide greens), CI 77289 (chromium hydroxide green), CI 77510 (ferric ferrocyanide), CI 77742 (manganese violet), CI 75470 (carmine).
|Extremely Safe||Reasonably Safe||Proceed with Caution||Insufficient Data|
Talc, the primary ingredient, is an absorbent opacifying agent. Talc presents a problem if the powder is inhaled or applied to the genital area; it is then considered “possibly carcinogenic.” In the late 90s, Senator Edward Kennedy petitioned the FDA to include a cancer warning label on talc products–which obviously hasn’t happened. I sometimes see talc used by natural cosmetics makers in pressed powder formulations. But I definitely prefer blushes that avoid talc and instead use safer ingredients like mica and cornstarch.
Two other disappointing ingredients present here are propylparaben and triclosan. Because propylparaben can mimic estrogen in the body, it has the ability to upset a woman’s delicate hormonal balance. That’s a price I’m not willing to pay for some cheek color. And triclosan is an antimicrobial agent quickly falling out of favor; its adverse effects on thyroid function are deeply problematic.
BHA, a.k.a. butylated hydroxyanisole, is classified by the U.S. National Toxicology Program as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It is used in cosmetics as a stabilizer and preservative. It may be bioaccumulative and creates endocrine disruption. This is definitely an ingredient I wanted to avoid, especially while pregnant!
Nars creates beautiful, innovative blush colors. But after digging deep into the ingredient list, I knew this wasn’t the blush for me anymore. I’ve since moved on to natural makeup with ingredients that I feel confident in.
Natural Blush Alternatives to Nars Orgasm
Find them here:
- Kjaer Weis | Cream Blush, $32-56. A subtle, dewy sheen that blends like magic into skin.
- Vapour Organic Beauty | Aura Multi-Use Blush, $36. This crazy stick can be used on cheeks, lips and eyes. Our shade, Spark, is a sheer pinky peach. Read a review.
- Alima Pure | Luminous Shimmer Blush, $20. Freja is a gold-flecked peach in a loose powder form.
- RMS | Lip2Cheek, $36. Hydrates and protects the lips and cheeks. Smile is a modern sheer coral/pink.
Interested in finding the best natural makeup? Check out my no-nonsense guide Natural & Nontoxic Makeup: The 75 Best Products to Up Your Beauty Game.
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