Monday 30 May 2011

Experiments in Blush

I never used to wear blushers. I very rarely had one in my make-up bag and if i did it was part of a free gift or a set that i had received as a gift. I've always automatically gone for bronzers over blushers and i've probably tried most of the more affordable brands of bronzers in my make-up buying past. 

Just lately, probably not long before i started this blog if i'm perfectly honest, I've had a growing interest in blushers. Not sure what changed really. I think it's been mostly to do with me being so ill and feeling washed out that I've had the desire for more colour on my face. Whatever the reason, I've suddenly gone from zero blushers in my bag to having 5!! And there is a burning desire for MORE!! 

Thought I'd do this post to tell you about my recent blush buys and which have worked for me and which have been pushed to the back of the pile. To be honest I haven't really bought one that i REALLY didn't like, for whatever reason, but there are definite favourites emerging.

 None of the blushes i own, bar one, are high end brands. All have been purchased from either Boots or Superdrug and have cost between £3-5. Once I am receiving treatment that works well enough for me to do more hours at work i hope to have a better budget with which to splurge on all the gorgeous things i read about and drool over in other's blogs and in magazines, but until then i am experimenting with what is available.

The first blush i bought was Barry M in shade no3 (Strawberry), which is a really nice shade that's not too pinky, not too peachy... in fact it's quite RED really but it seemed 'in-between' enough for a first purchase. It doesn't have any shimmer to it, which i quite like about it. I'm a Barry M FREAK so that was, naturally, the first place i was going to look as I've never had anything of theirs that i didn't like or LOVE.

Their blushers are quite a recent addition and, as you'd expect they are HIGHLY pigmented. The colours look intense in the pan and i thought maybe I'd been too ambitious for a first purchase. But it swatched nice and blends VERY well for a more subtle look (although you can layer it up as much as you dare) and I'm wearing it in my 'About Me' pic. I didn't like the brush it came with - It just seemed too small and flimsy and i like a big fat brush on my cheeks (if anyone can recommend a good brush I'd love to hear. The one i have is on it's last legs haha). I've used this one mainly for evening wear , which is why i haven't really reached for it often as nights out are rare at the moment.
BarryM Swatched... WHOA!!

Sleek Coral - Look who put their fingernail in it when they tried to open it 

 The next one i tried was a Sleek blush in Coral. I'd heard great things about Sleek blush from my good friend Natalie @ and when I'd asked her about blush she had suggested these to me straight away. I can see why she did because they are GREAT for the price and some lovely colours and the packaging is very dinky and cute. Very well milled and easy to apply. Not as in your face in the pan as the Barry M and when i tried it for the first time i REALLY liked it. It's a much more subtle swatch too but, again you can build it up for a really pretty coral and it has a lovely sheen to it which you will see from the swatch. This has turned into a daytime staple for me and it is this one, along with one other that i reach for most often.
Sleek Swatched
 The next two were purchased together because the very lovely Adrienne of Adrienne Adores advised me so well. Well, actually she was consoling me more than anything because I was grieving for a NARS Orgasm i'd lost out on in a blog sale. She mentioned that she'd found some FANTASTIC 17 dupes: First Kiss for NARS Orgasm and First Flush for MAC Bite on an Apple. When i got into Boots i couldn't resist getting both. Unfortunately I do not (YET) own the real McCoy but you can see how they compare in Adrienne's post which can be found HERE!!

(L-R) Boots 17: First Kiss and First Flush
It is 17 First Kiss that is the other i have been reaching for most often, along with the Sleek. It is such a lovely pink with a  LITTLE hint of shimmer (but not too much, I'm not a massive shimmer freak if I'm honest). First Flush I have, like Barry M, been saving for evenings as it's much more intense pink. Both swatch REALLY well and are very soft and easy to apply as well as being long wearing (i didn't have to reapply through the day) They also blend like an absolute DREAM! I love love LOVE them! Not bad for £3.49 a piece from Boots!! I think these will be in my make-up bag for some time to come.
(L-R) First Kiss and First Flush swatches.
NARS Penny Lane
My ONLY disappointment just happens to be the ONLY high-end blush i own, which is NARS Penny Lane, which they describe as a 'Nude Pink'. I was excited to try this one as it's the first cream blush I've owned. Although I needn't have worried about the application (the texture is nice and it went on fine when i patted it on with my finger), the colour is almost INVISIBLE on me!! It's almost LIGHTER than the foundation i use. I have a pretty medium skin tone, certainly not dark but not pale at all, but I can imagine you having to have a pretty darn PALE skin for this to come up with any colour. Nude is one thing but non-existant is another. The only thing i have found it is useful for is as a base for First Kiss or other blush. It has a nice little sheen on it but that is the only effect it has on my skin AT ALL, no matter how much i build it up. When i swatched it just now for this post i did admire the little shimmer it had. Maybe i can use it to highlight rather than for colour. 
Penny Lane HEAVILY swatched.

So those are my 5 of the moment. I'm sure it won't stick at 5. I have my eye on a couple of ELF blushes as well as NARS Deep Throat, which is my ultimate blush LUST! I have reasoned with myself that, because I have First Kiss, it doesn't matter if i can't have Orgasm just yet so i am setting my sights FIRMLY on DT. Peach is a shade i do not have yet and this looks to be a gorgeous peachy pink and everyone seems to RAVE about it. I'm also keen to try more orangy, apricot or terracotta toned blushes. But there's plenty of time and blog space for that, isn't there. I don't HAVE to have them all NOW, do i?? Although it would be nice ;)

Apologies for my photography in this post. I'm still learning and today has been the most MISERABLE, gloomy day EVER. Just so happens that the sun JUST peered out.... TYPICAL!!

Are there any other MUST HAVE blushes that I should try? What did you think of Penny Lane? Let me know your thoughts...



  1. Love it! I want to go out and buy more blush!

  2. ME TOO!! And that's dangerous haha! Thanks for your comment :D xoxo

  3. great post :) ugh sucks that the nars blush doesn't show up on you im quite swallow skinned so i doubt it would show up on me :( you could maybe use it as a eyeshadow/base? and thank you so much for linking me in your post that was so kind! xxx

  4. Well it was your advice that got me my FAVOURITE one!! Couldn't pass you by hun ;) xoxo

  5. Blushes r my favourite!!! Love them! If you've seen the blush collection I posted, you'll know wat i mean =P

    Yah Penny Lan was a disappointment for me too.. I love bright blushes! The transform your whole look!

  6. Samesies! I used to stay true to my maxfactor bronzer but now I own a whole 4 blush's!
    It's good to see some drugstore faves too


  7. I'm stuck with drugstore brands at the moment. Budget won't allow for the fancy stuff. But I'm determined to sort out the wheat from the chaff and tell the world which are the good ones!!

    One day my life will be FULL of MAC and NARS and suchlike haha.



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