Blush,  Swatches

Nars Basic Instincts Cheek Quad II

Nars has done something which I have always wanted them to do! They’ve released two cheek palettes that include STANDARD shades that are available in their full size blush line-up. I’m always on the look out for this from Nars because I love their products, but limited edition products/shades bother me because by the time I fall in love with a product it won’t be available anymore for me to purchase again, purchase as a gift for somebody, or recommend to you guys! If they have released palettes with standard shades before in recent history, I have not noticed them, but I’m super excited that they have done this!

Link to purchase Basic Instinct Cheek Quads at

Nars Basic Instincts Cheek Quad II includes shades Torrid, Savage, Exhibit A, and Taj Mahal
Nars Basic Instincts Cheek Quad II includes shades Torrid, Savage, Exhibit A, and Taj Mahal

Anyway, this is an Ulta exclusive and comes in two shades. I purchased the “2” shade which is the deeper and more colorful option. The shades included are Torrid, Savage, Taj Mahal, and Exhibit A. The quads retail for $39 each and the product description states that they are a $100 value. In this case, that value is actually believable since each shade alone retails for $30, and you know you’re not going to finish four full size blushes if you were to buy them individually.

Even though I have pretty fair skin, the shade Savage has been really high on my wish list for a while. I think that shade came out a within the past couple years. Exhibit A and Taj Mahal are beautiful shades that I’ve wanted to try but been afraid they would not work on my fair skin. I’ve heard anecdotally that even people with fair skin can wear these shades, so we’ll have to see how it goes!

This post is mainly for the swatches – I’ll have to get back to you on how well (or not) I enjoy these shades on my skin tone. I’m already convinced that the Nars formula is amazing.


The swatches did not disappoint, these shades definitely pack a punch! This is a great assortment of bold blush shades that will be perfect for fall looks.

Nars Basic Instincts 2 Cheek Quad swatches blush Torrid (pink), Savage (red/brown), Exhibit A (tomato red) and Taj Mahal (shimmering orange). Swatched on fair skin.

The next swatches are diffused because I applied them to my arm with a blush brush. Most of the shades took a few applications, that is a few dips back into the product. But not Exhibit A – that is just one dip into the pan! Definitely lots of pigment there! These are meant to show you a better idea of how the blush would apply to the cheek in a normal usage situation.

Nars Blush Swatches Torrid, Savage, Exhibit A, Taj Majal
Blush Swatches on fair skin Nars Torrid, Clinique Fig Pop, Hourglass Diffused Heat, Milani Luminoso, Bare Minerals Call My Bush, Nars Dolce Vita
Torrid compared to other blushes in my collection

Dupes for Nars Savage – Soft Sable by CoverGirl turned out to be super close! I thought Essense Bespoke would be closer, but it’s much lighter. Nars Tempted was included because it’s another Nars Blush with that neutral/brown/shimmer color but it’s VERY much lighter. Nars Lovejoy seems to be discontinued, but it’s a long time favorite of mine and I wanted to see how similar the new Nars Savage is. Savage is much more brown and LoveJoy had more of a red/berry tone which I wouldn’t have guessed just looking at the pans.

Link to Cover Girl Cheekers Soft Sable 120 Blush at (Retails for $5.49 there)

Blush Swatches on pale skin CoverGirl Soft Sable, Nars Tempted, Nars Savage, Essence Bespoke, Nars Lovejoy
Nars Savage Compared to other blushes in my collection.

I don’t have enough similar blushes in my collection to do comparison swatches for Taj Majal or Exhibit A, so we’re going to skip over those two.

Close – Up of the Pans

These close-ups help you see the texture of each shade. Plus they’re just pretty to look at 🙂

Torrid blush from the Nars Basic Instincts II cheek quad
Nars Torrid Blush
Savage from the Nars Basic Instincts II cheek quad
Nars Savage Blush
Exhibit A from the Nars Basic Instincts II Cheek Quad
Nars Exhibit A Blush
Taj Mahal blush from the Nars Basic Instincts 2 Cheek palette
Nars Taj Mahal Blush


The palette is classic Nars black with soft touch. There’s a large mirror inside. Overall high quality packaging. Classic. I like it. The outer box that the palette comes in is on the left in this picture. Also classic Nars.

Nars Basic Instinct II Blush quad outer packaging

Here’s a picture of the back of the palette in case you desire any of the information included there:

Nars Basic Instincts II Cheek Quad - back of palette
Back of Palette

Thanks for reading! If you want to read even more about blush, you can view the entire BLUSH category of posts on my blog here:

Blush Category

Also be sure to follow me on Instagram! Username is @stefsedge and pictures/videos of swatches usually get posted there first.

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