Luxe or Less?: NARS Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross vs Black Radiance Artisan Color Baked Bronzer in Caramel

I’m always obsessed with some beauty product or other, and once I’ve got something beauty-related on my brain, I can’t get it off! For the last several months I have been totally obsessed with products for the cheeks, specifically products that highlight or contour. An artfully sculpted cheek can up the glam factor of any beauty look, and a cheek highlight is an easy way to give your skin a sexy, glamorous glow.

Lala Anthony, Kim Kardashian and Kelly Rowland serving cheek highlights to the children, lol (source)

NARS Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross, $28 has been my go-to cheek highlighter for a while now, but when I came across Black Radiance Baked Bronzer in Caramel, $5 I knew it would be perfect for a Luxe or Less post! We all know that NARS blushes and bronzers are some of the best in the beauty game, but Black Radiance boasts some of the most pigment rich products on drugstore shelves. Let’s see how these bronzing beauties match up!

NARS in Albatross (left) Black Radiance in Caramel (right)

NARS in Albatross (left) Black Radiance in Caramel (right)

The first noticeable difference between the two is their undertone. While both products are gold based, the NARS blush has a very yellow-gold undertone and the Black Radiance bronzer has a peachy tint.

NARS in Albatross, blended. Reflects the light beautifully!

Black Radiance in Caramel, blended. Note the tiny specks on glitter.

The second and most distinct difference is the finish of each product after being blended into the skin. The Black Radiance bronzer has fine bits of glitter that became more apparent once blended out, and gives the product most of its golden shimmer. The NARS highlight powder has zero glitter and instead imparts a golden sheen on the skin.

So, what’s the final verdict? While both the NARS and Black Radiance powders were quite effective at giving skin a pretty golden glow, personally, I’ve got to go with NARS. I’m not a fan of glitter of any kind so that keeps the Black Radiance from getting the top spot. For me, the ‘lit from within’ sheen that NARS Albatross gives makes it ideal for highlighting the cheek bone.

If you’re not bothered by glitter or want a more budget-friendly option, then definitely give Black Radiance Caramel Bronzer a spin. The glitter might have been a deal-breaker for me, but it’s still fine enough to keep you from looking like a disco ball. Besides, can you really be mad at a $5 cheek highlight? I thought not, lol!

Have you tried either of these? What did you think? Have a fave cheek highlight product? Do tell!

  • Oivia

    Aye… Every single time I stop by your blog I’m tempted to try another product… You keep bringing out my inner PJ… haha.  I’ve had the Nars saved in my Sephora cart for a while now and I JUST may purchase this tonight.  I’m a huge fan. Keep up the great reviews. I’m doing my part for the economy 😉 

  • Amber

    Thanks so much! What can I say, I’m your beauty pusher! lol If you got the NARS, let me know how you like it!

  • Lauren Lavene

    I’m so glad I found this post! I’ve been looking for a bronzing blush, but can the NARS powder be used as a highlighter or a blush? As I already have their illuminator in Orgasm. And what is the best way to highlight and contour the face?

  • Amber

    Hi Lauren! To me, NARS Albatross powder is better suited for highlighting than blush. It’ll give you glow but not the flush of color that you get with blush. Try using a deep bronzer on the hollow of the cheek to contour, the highlighter on the actual cheek bone, and a bit of blush on the apple of the cheeks for color. I’ll be doing a YT video on this soon, stay tuned!