Five Favourites: Cheek Products

Sunday 18 April 2010

I’ve put together a series of posts about my ‘top five’ favourite products in each make-up category that I’ll be posting occasionally. Of course, these all change periodically as I find new products that excite and interest me. I like to try a range of things and I’m always enticed by an innovative formula or pretty packaging! But my main focus is on finding products that perform well and deliver on their promises.

I’m a normal person, on an average wage, so my buys are affordable, but that doesn’t mean I don’t expect them to be great. I think make-up companies need to be responsible for delivering on their marketing hype and that a reasonable price-point is no excuse for a bad formulation.

I follow a lot of beauty blogs, but I’ve grown a little tired with some of the bigger ones, whose authors are ‘bought’ (either outright with cash or with free samples) because you can’t really trust that their opinions are unbiased. Well, I’m just an ordinary girl and I’m not sure if anyone even reads this, let alone being on any company’s ‘hotlist’ of bloggers to target!

Of course, when it comes to make up, it is largely trial and error – everyone’s skin tone and skin type are different, plus their personal preferences will vary too. But these products have worked for me and may well work for you too. So here is the round, unvarnished truth on a few great cheek products….and one to avoid!

Mac Blushcreme ‘Posey’ 

 I know I’ve spoken about this before, but to me, it’s the holy grail of blushers. It can be hard to find ones that suit my skin tone for some reason – a lot of pink colours can look very fake on me, so for years I would only use apricot or bronze colours. But I still wanted pretty pink cheeks! This colour seems to be made for me. It’s very blendable, so I can go from a whisper of colour to a bold cheek as quickly as I need to. The cream formulation makes it look very natural, even if I’m wearing a thicker layer. I always use my fingers to apply, even though the shop assistant at Mac told me to use a brush – but her finish seemed a little thick, whereas rubbing it into the apples of my cheeks with my fingers makes it look perfect. If you’ve tried a million blushers and still haven’t found one you love, I’d definitely recommend giving this a go.

Smashbox Blush/SoftLights Duo ‘Super/Model’ 

I’ve found myself using less and less powder formulations for the cheeks as time goes on and I get more into my make-up. I do believe its harder to get a good colour and a natural finish, but they are better for sculpting. I will make an exception for this Smashbox product though. The powder is very silky and finely milled, meaning you get that smooth finish. It’s easy to sculpt with and create defined cheekbones, plus this version includes a highlight powder with a lovely, pearlescent finish that goes on equally smoothly. The product is really long lasting as well. This shade is quite a warm, orangey pink, while the highlight is almost apricot-toned, so its very flattering on warm skin tones. It looks most natural with a bit of a tan. Beautiful!

Tarte Cheek Stain ‘Blissful’  

Tarte are one of my favourite ever cosmetics lines. They market themselves as ‘enhanced naturals’ because all of their products are eco-friendly and packed full of brilliant natural ingredients, and yet they don’t compromise at all on performance. There is an impressive list of skin goodies for this blush- ‘as they put it themselves:

'The tarte t5 super fruit complex™ is a proprietary blend of the five most active superfruits: goji, acai, maracuja, acerola and pomegranate. The first blend of its kind, the t5 super fruit complex™ is loaded with naturally occurring, antioxidant rich nutrients and vitamins that have been known to deliver refining, anti-aging and skin-restorative benefits with each application.'

Sounds good, huh? The product is a solid stick and it goes on super-sheer and soft. It males skin look sheeny and glowing – an odd expression but kind of how you’d want to look on your wedding day, sort of ‘super’ natural. A really good choice for a ‘no-make-up’ make-up look! The only drawback is that Tarte aren’t currently stocked in the UK, and there’s a rather snotty message on their website that basically implies they don’t care and aren’t seeking any UK stockists, which seems odd when clearly they’ve had enough questions about it to make it an FAQ on their website! So, if you want some, you have to either eBay it or use one of the American PO Box services, which basically gives you a US PO Box address, and for a small fee, forwards the goods delivered to it to your UK address. This is only worthwhile generally if you’re ordering a lot of products, and it galls a little bit paying twice over for delivery, but Tarte is still a great line. There should be a petition to get them stocked in the UK though!

Ruby & Millie Face Gloss ‘Champagne’

This is strictly more of a highlighter than a blush in the shade I’ve chosen, which is a shimmery pale gold. But it had to make the list because its something I consistently re-purchase. There is a big range of other, pinker shades too. It’s a sheer but still highly pigmented product in a little slide-up stick that goes on really well and lasts the distance. The red shades have a glossy shine to them that kind of provides a built-in highlight on the cheek as it catches the light. There’s a wide range of colour options available, with some really dramatic shades in the line if you want to try something a bit different.

Eyeko Fat Balm 

This product is a bit of a multi-tasker, one of those all-purpose formulations that goes on anywhere. There are a few different options, but I have the ‘Strawberry’ version. Its of most use to me in the winter, when I’m after a red, sheer finish that makes it look as if I’ve just been for a brisk walk! It really stays on and makes the cheeks look healthy, although light application is something I would recommend as it would be easy to go overboard on something with such a dark colour. Needless to say, you can also use it on your lips where it has a conditioning effect.

Honourable Mention: L’Oreal Blush Delicieux ‘Bronze Magnetic’ 

These blushes are one of the best drugstore buys out there. The colours are really pretty, and go on evenly. They don’t last as long as some other blushers, but they’re very respectable for the price. They used to be a favourite of mine, and although I’ve since moved on, I think they are a good place to start when you want to work out what suits you. The best part about them, in my humble opinion, is the packaging! They come in a little plastic compact with a mirror and a flat brush, and they’re not bulky at all so very easy to slip into your day make-up bag. The brushes are actually very good quality – even after using the product up, I’ve kept the brushes to use as my travel blush brushes, because they fit the bill so well. I think the shade I’ve chosen is not a UK product - I purchased it from eBay a while back as it was a shade I hadn’t seen before. And its an amazing, 3D- looking bronze, shot through with gold and red. A really unusual shade, and very nice on warmer skintones.

Avoid: Urban Decay Blush Powder ‘Lounge’ 

There are a lot of fabulous things about Urban Decay, it’s a brand I think highly of, but this blusher breaks that mould. It’s one of the worst blushers I’ve ever tried. Firstly, the shade of the one I have looked like sunburned skin – a really dark browny-red that looked almost painful! It went on waaay too dark as well, and looked totally un-natural and weird. Secondly, it didn’t blend very well – once it was on there in a dark strip of colour, nothing seemed to blend it away enough. Thirdly, it was so sparkly! This might be a good thing sometimes, but it just added to the unnatural appearance of the blush as a whole. I wasn’t overly keen on the cheap looking purple pearly plastic compact it came in either - looked like something that had dropped out of Barbie’s make-up bag, or like the ‘fake’ make-up little girls have! Lastly, the powder had a really heavy scent - like sandalwood joss sticks. It stank, and I don’t think make-up should ever smell heavily – that’s what my perfume is for! I think they might have revised the colours and formulations since I used it, but all the same…bit of a fail!

Something I want to try: Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush

I keep seeing this product pop up in magazines and I’m quite curious to try it, although I don’t know of anywhere offline that stocks it, so I’d have to do some research first. The colours look really pretty, and it’s a liquid formulation, plus the name makes me think you’d get a really gorgeous wash of colour from it. There are two or three colours in the range I’d quite like to try: view the entire range here. There’s also a special brush ‘Waterbrush’ that you can buy to apply the product. It seems like there’s a few products in his range I would like to try!

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