Elizabeth Mott Show Me Your Cheeks Blush in Peach Pink

Blush pans are a great way to build up your Z palette collection.

I love it when my samples are space savers. Having four beauty subscriptions, I build up a substantial amount of makeup samples. If I can easily store them, it’s a huge bonus, which is why I love receiving products that come just in the pan. This can be annoying to makeup new comers who don’t know about the wonders of the magnetic palette. As your makeup collection grows, you’ll really begin to appreciate pan makeup samples.

But enough about pans. Let’s look at this blush. Elizabeth Mott is one of those brands you probably have never heard of, but is in every subscription service. I don’t mind this, as I love discovering what brands exist outside of Sephora and Ulta. There are a lot of online brands that have now become cult favorites in the beauty community. This particular brand is focused on making Korean-inspired beauty items, taking from the South Korean trends and aesthetic.

If you go the Korean beauty route, you’re going to get soft, feminine looks with pops of color. It’s a really pretty aesthetic, especially for those who don’t like heavy amounts of makeup.

I received the Show Me Your Cheeks Blush in Peach Pink (USD $23.00, full size). This is suppose to be a creamy formula that gives long-lasting color. Swatching the blush, it definitely feels very creamy. It’s not stiff like Tarte blushes and is even creamier than Makeup Geek pans. I’m actually surprised they can make something so soft and claim that it’s long lasting.

Completely unrelated to the blush, I kind of miss my summer balayage.

Now, what I like about this blush is that it does deliver a soft flush that’s more natural looking than some of the more intense blushes. The peachy pink color stays more towards Korean beauty trends and away from the current American trend of muted, but pigmented 90s colors. The satin finish also gives a dewy radiance consistent with Korean beauty aesthetics (versus the current matte American trend). It definitely lives up to its mission statement of bringing Korean aesthetic to the US.

The blush does apply beautifully, sitting well on foundation. However, for a true Korean beauty look, I recommend pairing this with a BB of CC cream for a natural look. While I can get a good 6 hour wear out of this blush, the softness definitely prevents it from being more long lasting. You’re not going to get as much wear time as a Tarte Amazonian Clay blush, but that’s not a deal breaker for me. You can easily touch this up.

Great for a pinky summer look.

Final thoughts: This is a really nice blush. It’s a great formula that blends well into the skin and gives a soft, natural looking flush. For anyone looking to follow the Korean trend, this is definitely a product you’ll want to check out.

Having said all that…I have a tiny beef with Ipsy over the color selection that was put in our bags. Normally, Ipsy is very good at sending me makeup items that show up on my tan skin tone. This shade of blush, however, definitely didn’t take into account those of us on the medium-tan to deep end of the spectrum. I could make this blush color work, but I really had to build it up to get the payoff on my skin tone. And this was before I had gotten any significant summer tan. I checked Elizabeth Mott’s website and saw that they also offered a deeper pigmented coral color that would have been a better choice for their deeper skin subscribers. Of course, I understand that brands will typically only offer samples in certain colors, but Ipsy definitely missed the mark putting this shade in the bags of subscribers with tan complexions.

It’s a rare miss, but something to note. I ended up passing on this sample because I have other blushes that give me a similar effect but whose shades give me better color payoff.

If you’d like to subscribe to Ipsy, follow the link!



Boxycharm Review: Makeup Geek Powder Blush

One of my favorite Boxycharm contributors.

If there’s an online cosmetics brand I highly respect, it’s got to be Makeup Geek. (No shade to other online indie brands, as there are plenty of others I adore). I think Makeup Geek is a great role model for up and coming brands. They provide high quality products, cater to a wide range of skin tones, and always keep their customers first, accepting feedback on new products with an open mind. I also have mad respect for Marlena’s hustle. She’s one of the hardest working ladies in the makeup field.

I say all this because with all the Instagram brands and influencer affiliates, it’s become harder and harder for the consumer to separate the trustworthy brands from the gimmicky ones out to make a quick buck. Makeup Geek definitely falls in the former category.

Since a lot of these “Instabrands” do end up in Boxycharm and other subscription services, you can imagine my excitement to see, not just another Makeup Geek product, but a recently launched product, in the box.

This past summer, Makeup Geek added Powder Blushes (USD $15.00 for compact, $10.00 for pans). Right before they made these available to the public, Boxycharm subscribers got to try these out in the May box. This was a great idea, both for Makeup Geek and Boxycharm. Boxycharm subscribers got early access to a new product from a well known brand, and Makeup Geek got some early feedback right before the release.

Makeup Geek (and other brands, I might add), if you’d like to do this again, I know the Boxycharm community would love it!

Great packaging.

Getting into the blush itself, right off the bat there are two things I love. Looking at the website, the first thing I can appreciate is that there is a tremendous range of colors that will flatter all color preferences and skin tones. For example, if you’re looking for a nude blush, you’ll see that Makeup Geek doesn’t offer just one or two nudes, but several that flatter porcelain, fair, medium, tan, and deep complexions. That’s amazing.

Next, the packaging. The purple gunmetal compact is just beautiful, and I love that they chose to have a magnetic closure (my favorite). It has great weight to it, is well constructed, and feels so luxurious. I easily feel like I’m holding a $30 blush instead of a $15. You also have a nice mirror inside, so you can throw it in your bag and use to touch up your makeup on the go.

If there’s something I would have liked to have seen in the packaging, it would have been a blush compact that allows me to switch up the pan. Of course, I’m not sure if this is feasible, but I think it could have been neat to see a magnetic compact (à la Z palette) that would allow you to pop different pans in and out as you use them. But that’s just me speculating. As is, the compact they offer is just lovely.

The color XOXO is a gorgeous watermelon pink.

There were a few color variations, and I received the shade XOXO. Makeup Geek describes this as a “watermelon pink with a matte finish” that is best suited for a medium skin tone. I’d say they got the description spot on.

In the picture, my skin tone was tan leaning more towards medium since it was May and I had yet to spend a lot of time outside in the summer sun. The swatch you’re looking at was done with my Tarte blush brush. As you can see, that’s a ton of pigment! On my medium tan skin, it was really coming off as a watermelon pink, which is perfect for the spring and summer. I only needed to dip my brush into the pan once to get the true color to show up.

Throughout the summer, as my complexion got more tan, I was still able to wear the blush. If I applied it as I did at the beginning of the summer, I’d have a nice pink flush to the skin. In order to get more color payoff, I just had to dip back in once more.

Pretty in pink.

The swatch might look a little intimidating, but trust me when I say the blush formula was very easy to work with.

Yes, there’s a lot of pigmentation but since the formula of the powder is soft, the blush is very easy to blend into the skin. You won’t end up with clown cheeks, though this particular color might be too strong for people with very porcelain skin. I use synthetic brushes, which work well with this formula. As you can see, I ended up with a nice watermelon pink flush on the skin that looks natural and pretty.

(FYI: This formulation is talc and paraben free, for those who are conscious or have sensitivities. It is also cruelty free, though I do not see a vegan claim.)

A closer look at the color.

Matte blushes are also very much in style, so I appreciate that Boxycharm included a product that had an on trend finish and color. I also like that these blushes are matte, because it allows me to apply a separate highlight to build my own glow and not look like a greasy mess.

The matte formulation also has some great staying power. I could get this to last about 5 hours before I noticed some color fading. It was nothing a quick touch up couldn’t fix if, say, you wore this to work and then went out for drinks. While not the longest lasting blush I own, it’s still solid.

Pan sizes are also great. You’re getting 0.15 oz of product, which is about as much as a NARS Blush (0.16 oz), though smaller than a Becca or Tarte blush (0.2 oz). Plenty of product that will be hard to get through. (Honestly, I almost never go through a whole blush pan.)

Bottom Line: Makeup Geek continues to hit it out the park. These blushes are a fantastic addition to their product lineup. The soft formula is pigmented and blendable, with good lasting power. The color range is envy worthy, with perfect shades in different color families for all people of color (something I hold in high regard). This is absolutely a great product in which to invest your money.

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, follow the link!

April 2016 Birchbox Review #2: Laura Geller Baked Blush-n-Brighten

Hey there, Laura Geller. Your blushes give me life!

First off, apologies for not posting on my regular schedule. I’ve had a family emergency that has thrown off everything else in my life. (Don’t worry! Everything is fine now). Now, onto some blush talk.

Baked makeup products can be tricky to work with. Since the formula is a little drier than traditional powders because of the method use to make them, application can be tough if they’re not made juuuuuuuust right. For these reasons, a lot of people don’t like dealing with baked makeup.

I was introduced to it through Laura Geller’s blushes last summer when I received Baked Blush-N-Brighten (USD $28.00, full size) in Pink Grapefruit. In all honesty, I have fallen completely in love with Laura Geller’s baked makeup formula. I was rocking Pink Grapefruit on the cheeks all last summer. Her Baked Bronze-N-Brighten in Medium is my go-to bronzer in winter and spring when my skin ton is lighter. Recently, I purchased the Tahitian Glow Kit from ULTA and am LOVING the face and body baked bronzer in that kit. Definitely get your hands on it if you can.

They’re gorgeous formulas for a reason. Despite being “dry”, these powders are still quite soft and apply and wear evenly. Now, here’s where some people may not like these. Because they’re baked they tend to not be as strongly pigmented as traditional powder blushes. You’re not going to get intense color in one swipe. However, the color is completely buildable. You are using a little more product, but you do have more control over the amount of pigmentation that ends up on your face. Everyone can wear these formulas, but people on the lighter skin end of the spectrum will really appreciate that.

My only beef with Laura Geller is that their makeup range isn’t deep skin friendly a lot of the time. But on my skin tone, and even a few shades deeper, these blushes and bronzers can definitely work.

Birchbox let us know that a blush sample would be in April’s Box and I was sold. 1) I already love the formula in this blush and would love another in my collection. 2) I already knew Laura Geller does samples right. The packaging is the exact same quality as the full size, has a ton of product, and even a teeny little mirror. Yes and yes.

Golden goodness.

I received the color Tropic Hues. I’d describe this color as light golden peach. It is stunning, but it is a light colored blush. Even on my skin, which is more on the medium-light tan side right now, it wore as a “barely there, but still noticeable” golden flush. This is absolutely not going to work on anyone with deeper skin tone (there’s my beef with Laura Geller…). However, if you are on the fair end of the spectrum and have been wanting to work with more golden blush shades, this is perfect. It’s not the darker golds that work better on medium to deep skin, but are too dark on fair and porcelain skinned girls.

Perfect for when you need the barest of blushes.

Despite being a little light, I was able to build up enough color for days when I still want blush, but I need it to be very soft. The Blush-N-Brighten line is, true to its name, filled with shimmery blushes. The shimmer is beautiful. It isn’t overpowering or glittery. It’s just enough to catch the light and have a soft glow. Actually, I think this could be used as a peachy gold subtle highlight on fair skin as well.

If you’re looking for matte options from Laura Geller, try the Baked Impressions line, and for satin finishes go for the Color True. For ladies with deeper skin tone or for those who like more pigmentation, you’ll want to look at the Gelato Swirl line. The colors there are definitely more deep skin friendly.

I liked my makeup so much this day, that this selfie is just me being extra.

Wear time is pretty great. If I’m sweating heavily outside, of course it’s going to wear away. But in normal conditions, I can get to last a full work day with little fading. If it sweats off or fades, it does so nicely with no patches of color. Patchiness is the worst in blushes. No one wants that.

For the price point, you are getting a decent amount of product. Honestly, I used my pink grapefruit sample all last summer and on and off since and I still haven’t hit pan. And that’s the sample size. However, I understand that $28 is a lot of money. So if you’re on a budget, a great drugstore alternative is the Milani Baked Blushes. They have the exact same shimmery finish as Laura Geller and are slightly more pigmented (and friendly for deeper skin tones).

Rating: 5/5. I was already a huge fan of the Baked Blush-N-Brighten line. It’s softer pigmentation does give you control over how much color ends up on your cheeks. Packaging is great quality and you get plenty of blush to last you a while. The only downside is that the color selection in this particular line isn’t best for people with deeper skin tones. Gelato Swirl will be more up your alley.

If you’d like to subscribe to Birchbox, follow the link!

February 2016 Boxycharm Review #4: Beauty For Real Blush + Glow Stick

It seems like duo ended makeup is everywhere.

For a lot of people, they want makeup to be good quality and practical. If they can get 2-in-1 then they want it. I don’t blame anyone who wants practical makeup. While I love all cosmetics, whenever I travel I have to condense my makeup bag down to a few items. A duo ended blush and highlighting stick would be a welcome addition.

Boxycharm has seen the duo-ended makeup trend and included this Beauty For Real Blush + Glo Stick in Coral Crush/High Beam (USD $24.00, full size). Right away, I love that for the price you’re getting a ton of product. There’s enough blush and highlight to last several months if they used this every day. Though with stick blushes and highlights, I don’t know if you want to keep the makeup for too long. I feel like cream and liquid products tend to go bad faster, but that’s just my perception. Either way, it’s great you’re not getting a dinky amount of product.

This is definitely a dark coral.

While the name is Coral Crush, the blush is definitely on the darker and pink side of the coral spectrum. However, the cream formula definitely lets you control the pigmentation. Fair tones will be able to apply this color lightly, but deeper skin tones can absolutely build this up to the full strong shade. The finish is more on the luminous side, though it isn’t glittery. It’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking for more of a matte or satin finish. It’s actually quite a pretty finish for spring/summer.

The cream is also easy to apply. I used a small stipple brush from e.l.f. (my preferred for liquid and cream face makeup) and the blush applied beautifully. No patchiness or clumps of color. It sits quite well on the skin.

One thing I would note is that this blush lasts longer if you pair it with a matte finish foundation and/or BB cream. With my more luminous foundations, it tended to fade. This might be because I have combination skin and my cheeks will get dewy after the 6 hour mark of wear, but it did happen.

Beautiful shade, but not quite a universal highlight.

The highlighter is also a similar formula. It applies really well and blends out smoothly. The finish of this highlighter is shimmery without being glittery. It leans more on the subtle side, so you can get that “lit from within” look without it looking like makeup. It’s really nice.

However, I found this color to be too dark of a highlight even on my tan skin tone. This shade of highlight, despite the finish, is quite dark. It makes an absolutely beautiful highlight on dark tan to deep skin tones. But for anyone else, it’ll be too dark. I could probably use this as a subtle highlight in the summer after a few days at the beach, but my winter skin can’t use it.

These colors definitely run on the darker end of the spectrum.

That doesn’t mean that it’s a lost cause for fair to medium tan tones. I found that this actually made a gorgeous blush topper. It boosted the glow of the blush in a great way without looking super fake. In fact, I’d say my preferred finish comes from using both of these together.

Blush + highlight as a blush topper in natural daylight.
Blush + highlight in lighting.

Wear time was great when paired with the right foundation. No matter what, it did fade faster on my skin because it wasn’t a powder. But with a matte foundation and powder setting, I got a good 6 hours of solid wear time before I noticed the blush breaking down. That’s pretty amazing in its own right.

Rating: 5/5. While the highlight may be too dark for fair to medium tan skin tones, it still works as a beautiful blush topper. For a cream blush duo, it has good wear time and sits quite well on the skin (with the right foundation). This still may not be good for oily skin people, as the cream formula would have a hard time setting on the skin, but overall you’re getting a great product for the price.

If you’d like to subscribe to Boxycharm, follow the link!

February 2016 Ipsy Review #4: tre’Stique Baby Blush Stick

Stick blush: we meet again.

Cream blushes have always been intriguing to me as an idea. I think it’s a great concept for people that have dry skin and need a product with a bit of moisture so that their makeup and skin doesn’t look cakey. When I was a teenager, cream blushes burst on to the scene. They were everywhere. Actually, cream makeup was EVERYWHERE. I wanted to follow the trends, but my poor oily skin just wasn’t made for cream makeup. It would fade and leave me with greasy patches. Ever since, I’ve had an aversion to cream makeup.

Since my teen years, the hormones have calmed down and my skin is nowhere near as oily. I’m still resistant to creamy foundations because my t-zone is still slightly oil, but the skin on my cheeks has taken on a more normal skin texture, so I feel safe using cream blushes. They’re still not my absolute favorite, as they can be a little harder to blend out than powder, depending on the formula. I don’t seek them out on my own, but I do enjoy getting them in my box subscriptions so I can see what’s new in the world of cream makeup.

Ipsy included this mini version of tre’Stique’s Color & Contour Blush Stick in Bora Bora Coral (USD $34, full size). Now, $34 for a blush is pricey. We’re running in the same circles as NARS blushes, so I expect performance like a NARS blush. If you take a look at the full size, though, you do get a heck of a lot of product and a buffing brush that’s attached to the other end of the blush stick. That’s not a bad deal for the price.

tre’Stique is an interesting brand in that all of their makeup is in stick form (foundation, eyeshadow, you name it). I’ve tried their lipstick in the past and enjoyed it (though I passed it on to my mom since she really liked the color). I figured I’d like what they had to offer.

Swatches beautifully. So far, so good.

I gave the blush a swatch on my arm to get a feel for the formula. This blush is definitely more on the gel side. It’s a cream that doesn’t feel too heavy, which is great because there’s nothing worse than heavy makeup sitting on the skin. The color payoff appeared to be fantastic. This shade was a really pretty coral that I could see working for loads of skin tones. I even think some deeper skin tones could pull this off. The swatch blended out quite well and the finish was very satin and silky. I was ready to put this on my face.

Why, hello there.

Application, I’m happy to say, was just as beautiful on the face. Here, I’m wearing the L’Oreal Lumi Cushion Foundation and Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Primer. tre’Stique seemed to do well with both of these as its surface. What I did was apply some directly onto the cheeks and then took my e.l.f. Small Stipple Brush to blend it out. Boom, great cream to powder formula with decent color payoff. The finish is definitely satin, not matte or sparkly, so keep that in mind. I know we all have our own preferences when it comes to blush texture.

Wear time was good. With primer and setting spray, I got this blush to last a good 6 hours before I started to see some breakdown. Luckily, I wasn’t stuck with random coral patches. I think the powder finish helps this to fade gradually like any other blush. I think this would break down faster if you have oily skin, but it will definitely work on people with normal or dry skin.

I was incredibly impressed with the performance, but if I’m being completely honest I already own two coral blushes that I love. I didn’t want to have another coral blush lying around in my collection, so I passed this on to a friend of my sister’s who loves it. This little blush stick does deserve some love.

Rating: 5/5. No complaints from me about this cream stick blush from tre’Stique! The cream to powder, satin finish blush has a great formula that makes for easy application and sits beautifully on the skin. The color payoff was also really great. I still feel that the price is a little more expensive than it should be, but at least with the full size you get a good amount of product and a buffing brush. If you love cream makeup, then this may certainly be up your alley.

If you’d like to try Ipsy, follow the link!