Do you ever fall down the internet rabbit hole? It usually starts out innocently enough . . . searching for a black down vest, checking prices on camera lenses, etc . . . then the next thing you know, you've Googled "does breastfeeding make you sweat more?", remotely set your TIVO to record Mickey Mouse's Space Adventure and planned a Disney World vacation straight through to the booking and confirmation stage without actually meaning to book or confirm anything.
These aren't specific examples, of course.
It was on one of these such meanderings that I stumbled upon a few beauty blog entries regarding color dupes; the general idea being that there really are only so many possible blush, eye and lip colors out there and, as such, there could very well be a $2 eyeshadow that is the EXACT SAME COLOR as your $22 favorite shade. A great resource for finding dupe shades can be found here.
Before my wedding trip, I bought a pan of Nars famed Orgasm blush, which I love and use almost daily (Yes, I know, I should've replaced the blush after 2 years or so, but at $27 for the pan, I couldn't bear to toss it! Please don't tell the makeup police on me!):
It is widley purported online, via the Temptalia resource linked above and elsewhere, that Milani's Mineral Blush in Luminous is a solid dupe for Nars Orgasm.
So, I took the plunge and bought a compact of Milani's Luminous. They look pretty darn similar side by side in thier pans:
However, on the skin, they aren't quite the same, in my opinion:
The Nars blush is on the left, closer to my wrist. It comes across as a sheer wash of peach with shimmer. The Milani blush is a little lighter, a little more opaque and a touch powdery, compared to the Nars. It doesen't have the same clear, sheer, wash of color effect. It looks more like "makeup", sitting on top of the skin rather than glazing over it. On the cheeks, the Milani does look remarkably similar to the Nars, but it doesn't wear quite as long.
Is Milani Luminous VERY CLOSE to Nars Orgasm? It is, indeed. Is it an exact dupe? Nope, not in my opinion. Would it be worth it to buy the Milani instead of the Nars given the $21 savings? Maybe. I wear this shade of blush more or less every day, and my Nars blush is still about 1/2 full 2 1/2 years in . . . so figuring cost per wear, it is worth it to me to have the slightly nicer color of longer lasting blush. I don't regret having bought the Milani at all, and I think it would be a great alternative for someone who wanted the Nars Orgasm look just once in a while, or for someone who wanted to try out the shade before comitting to a $27 pan of blush.
It is all relative, I suppose, but, in sum: Milani Luminous vs. Nars Orgasm . . . Nars wins (which may or may not mean you should fork over your $27).