This Is the Real Story Behind Nars's Cult-Favorite Orgasm Blush


Jenna Peffley

A graduate of the Carita makeup school in Paris, François Nars has always been a connoisseur of beauty—playing with color, texture, and refined formulas in school led to doing just that years later for the bon vivant. His fascination with aesthetics quickly gave way to inimitable and everlasting makeup looks and products over several decades.

Linda Evangelista for Interview waxes poetic: "Descriptives such as 'glam' and 'smoky,' though, have little place in the Nars lexicon, where colors with names like Deep Throat and Sex Machine are the rule rather than the exception, and the pink-peach hybrid blush Orgasm remains a perennial best-seller."

The wild success of Orgasm (first the blush in 1999, and then many spinoff products thereafter) has us mesmerized. First there's the name. Clearly more controversial than most other brands would dare, Orgasm made waves in the beauty industry for its cheeky moniker. I'll never forget giggling about it in middle school during weekly trips to Sephora with my friends. We'd try it on, love the way it looked, but more than anything, we lived for the provocative and decidedly grown up way we felt while swiping it on.

The name gave way to conversations about female sexuality for every other teenager who asked her mother to buy it for her. Suddenly, the word became less pornographic and more empowering. Plus, it's important to note the sheer skill it took to so perfectly re-create that certain flush with a wearable pinky-peach, glistening formula.

In order to better understand the real story behind the cult-favorite product, we exchanged a series of emails with Mr. Nars himself, as well as Jake Broullard, Nars's lead makeup stylist. They talked early reactions to the blush, the surprises that came along with its immediate success, and how it could possibly look good on everyone (it does; it's unbelievable). Keep reading for all the juicy details.