My Favourite Blushes: Spring 2014

My favourite blushes for spring, clockwise from the left: Lise Watier Imagine Blush, NARS Coeur Battant, Illamasqua Laid (cream), Make Up For Ever 210 (cream), Clinique Berry Pop, and Clinique Plum Pop (centre).

I've fallen in love with blush lately. For years, it was an afterthought—I focused on skin and eyes, then popped something super subtle, like MAC Tenderling, on the apples of my cheeks to avoid looking like a corpse. Perfectly fine, but a little dull—am I right?

It all changed around the holidays last year. Fair-skinned beauty bloggers started singing the praises of NARS Coeur Battant Blush, which was part of the Guy Bourdin collection that came out in the fall of 2013. Honestly, when I saw it advertised at first, I didn't give it a second thought. It was the craziest pink blush I'd ever seen. Surely it would make me look like a clown! Not for me. Nope. But then fair lovelies including Kate over at gh0stparties and Jessica over at Beautezine both said they LOVED this blush. Something clicked. I HAD to try it. "If they can, I can!" I thought. And I tracked down the second-to-last one at the NARS counter in Vancouver. 

You know what? I fell in love. Suddenly I needed more, more, more options for creating a healthy flush on my cheeks—it was like an instant dash of pretty. I wasn't scared of pink cheeks anymore—I figured if I could pull off the crazy magenta, I could pull off anything. The secret was in the application and blending. 

And so, my friends, that's how my blush collection ballooned this spring. I'd like to share my favourites with you:

1) Lise Watier's Imagine Blush. This incredible mosaic blush is a gorgeous blend of peaches and pinks. Muddying the design with your brush or finger hurts a little, but I promise it's worth it! Have a look at my full review for details. This one is limited edition (sorry!), but you should still be able to find it in stores such as London Drugs as well as online at Sears.

2) NARS Coeur Battant Blush. This LE blush will be very hard to find—but how could I skip the blush that started it all? It looks scary in the pan, but I dot it on my cheeks with a small stippling brush by Sonia Kashuk, then blend, blend, blend with my Real Techniques blush brush. The result is so pretty and flattering, and, of course, the quality is amazing. It lasts the day, no problem. If you must have one, try eBay; I saw a few when I checked this evening. If you're not an eBay fan, let this be your inspiration to try a big bold, beautiful blush colour. My lovelies, I'm an NW20 and I can wear this. If I can, you can. 

3) Illamasqua Cream Blush in Laid. This was my first introduction to cream blush, and I fell hard. The colour is stunningly beautiful, and the finish is incredibly natural without being too dewy or at all tacky. It dries down to a powder-like finish, and my lovelies, it lasts ALL DAY. It also packs a pretty crazy pigment wallop, just like Illamasqua's other products, so you'll want to apply this one in stages. I suggest dabbing a bit on with fingers or a stippling brush, then blending with a clean brush (or clean fingers). A bit more work than powder, but worth it. As a bonus, you can also wear this colour on the lips!

4) Make Up For Ever Cream Blush in 210. This blush is the perfect warm pink, and it applies, blends and wears like a dream. Unlike Illamasqua's cream blush, MUFE HD blush is buildable—it's easy to start sheer and work your way up. Have a look at my full review for details. 

5) Clinique Cheek Pop Blushes in Berry Pop and Plum Pop. These beauties were so amazing I couldn't stop at one colour. I started with Plum Pop, but I couldn't rest until I added Berry Pop to my arsenal. Plum Pop is a lighter, candy-pink, and Berry Pop is darker and brighter with a slight amount of warmth. But the texture, my lovelies…the texture. I've never seen or touched anything like this blush. It almost literally melts into the skin—just like a cream—but it's powder. It has the subtlest bit of sheen, it looks incredibly natural, and it's very buildable. If you're going to add one blush to your collection this month, it should be one of these. I swatched these at the same time I swatched the new Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes, and honestly, Cheek Pop put Ambient Lighting Blush to shame. I wanted to love Hourglass' blush as much as I loved their powder, but I just couldn't—Cheek Pop was everything Ambient Lighting Blush wasn't. Cheek Pop was luminous and silky while Ambient Lighting Blush was flat and powery-looking. Boo. Bottom line: You've got to try this stuff.  

Have you tried any of these? What do you think? Do you have any spring blush favourites? Let me know in the comments.

Disclosure: Most of these products were purchased by Eyeshadow Addict. MUFE 210 was provided by PR for my consideration.

Make Up For Ever HD Blush (Second Skin Cream Blush): Review and Photos (and an ode to cream blush)

Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 210.

I've been developing a love affair with cream blushes. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've always gravitated to matte finishes. I've also only ever worn subtle powder blushes. I didn't "get" cream blush. But curiosity finally persuaded me to wade into cream territory: What was the hype? What was it "for"? Would it feel greasy and sticky all day? Could I pull off a dewy cheek—would it help balance my matte look, perhaps?

Not long ago, I found myself at the Illamasqua counter having read that their cream blushes were IT, and with the help of a MUA, I tried Laid, a rich, vibrant blue-pink—one of my first ventures into bold-blush territory. My beauties, in addition to lasting all day and NOT being greasy or sticky, the stuff looked AWESOME. I'd never really appreciated how much a good, healthy flush (as opposed to the faintest sweep of colour, the norm for me) could change my look. I was hooked. 

The problem (if you can call it a problem) is that Illamasqua cream blush is probably the most pigmented product I've tried. Ever. It's gorgeous—but you need to apply it carefully and sparingly, with a very light hand. Even then, I often need to tap a little tinted power on top to tone it down a bit. This makes Laid a no-go in the mornings before work. When I've got 10 minutes to make myself presentable, no way am I messing with a product that requires so much TLC. I need something quick, pretty, and foolproof.

I know it's taken me a while to get here, but bear with me, friends: Enter Make Up For Ever HD Blush. The stuff is glorious. Here's why:

  • It has all the creamy, natural-looking loveliness of Illamasqua cream blush, but with (almost) the ease and safety of a powder blush.
  • It's pigmented, but not so pigmented I'll look like a clown if I'm not careful. 
  • It lasts all day with negligible fading. I did a day of power-shopping and manicures with some girlfriends a couple of weeks ago—in the rain—and blush looked as good at the end of the day as it did at the beginning. I've never experienced this with a powder blush.
  • For me, it's a perfect way to balance out the matte finish of the rest of my face. I can't quite go for dewy foundation—I'm too afraid I'll look greasy. But almost-dewy cheeks? Those I can do.
  • It sets to either a powder-like or dewy finish, depending on how and how much I apply. A light touch will lead to a satin finish. A slightly heavier touch, applied over powder, will lead to a dewier finish.
  • Speaking of over powder, Make Up For Ever HD Blush works either under or over it. Cool, right? I was concerned applying it over powder would make it all cakey and weird, but nope! And if I want to set it for super lasting power or I want my matte finish, all I need to do is apply a setting powder on top (so instead of foundation, powder, then blush, I apply foundation, blush, ad then powder). 
  • I can apply it either with a brush or my fingers, depending on my mood.
  • Finally: It's preeeeetty. I love pink, and the colour I received to review, #210 (the lightest one available), is a lovely, warmish pink with a very subtle coral tone. Note that the MUFE website calls #210 cool pink, but it looks slightly warm to me—at least on my fair, cool-toned skin (I'm an NW20). 

Enough of the raving. Time for a look: 

Make Up For Ever HD Blush is an easy-to-apply cream blush.

Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 210.

Make Up For Ever HD Blush contains 2.8 grams of product. 

A size comparison of Make Up For Ever HD Pressed Powder (left) and HD Blush (right).

Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 210 swatched heavily on the left (two to three swipes) and blended on the right.

Make Up For Ever HD Blush in 210 applied to my cheeks (over HD Pressed Powder). 

The verdict: Love this stuff. You should try it.

Rating: Four stars out of five. My only complaint thus far is the price. $31 Canadian for 2.8 grams of product is a little pricey, in my view (Illamasqua cream blush is $26 for 4 grams of product).

Available: Sephora stores and Sephora.ca (again, $31 for 2.8 grams of product).

Have you tried MUFE's new HD Blush? What about other cream blushes? Do you like them?

Disclosure: This product was provided by MUFE for my consideration. This post contains affiliate links.