The Panel: Sweet creams
Once the gloom lifts and gives way to brighter days, if not outright sunshine, it happens all too easily: a face of make-up that looked fine indoors in front of the mirror, appears over-the-top once you step outside. A base that's too heavy and a blush that's just too powdery are the main culprits, and a switch of formula in the latter can help to counter that clownish, overdone look.
Just as a good foundation will simply disappear into your skin, a cream blush melts into the complexion and creates a more natural finish than a powder does. The downside is that cream does not have the staying power of powder, but the upside is that on-the-go touch-ups require nothing more fancy than your fingertips.
Try out these formulations before you buy, as the shades are dense and intense in the pot, but much less scary once they're applied.
And apply only to the apple of your cheek at first, and concentrate on the just-exercised flush there, before you blend the colour gently up towards the temples and hairline.
Mac Cremeblend Blush in Brit Wit, €21.50, Brown Thomas and BT2
Launched earlier this spring to replace Mac's Blushcreme range, these blushers differ from the previous product by producing an effect with rather more sheen, thanks to the inclusion of avocado oil, which also makes the product easier to apply. Available in six flattering shades, it was the rude-health flush that made this the favourite for summer blushing. "A gorgeous glow, without being shiny or sweaty-looking," said one panellist. "A walk-on-the-beach look, rather than an-hour-in-the-sauna effect."
Estee Lauder Signature Satin Creme Blush in Coral Light, €33, Estee Lauder counters nationwide
While the texture and pigment of all the Estee Lauder Creme Blushes are lovely, this shade worked as a true summer alternative to the blush you may have been wearing all winter and spring. Not too orange, pink or tan, it lends a nuance of outdoorsy vim to your skin. "I didn't like the look of this in the pot -- to be honest, I thought it looked dirty," one panellist said, "but it's lovely and sheer and fresh and natural-looking."
Best Pure Pigment
Yves Saint Laurent Cream Blush in No 6, €42, Yves Saint Laurent counters nationwide
The terribly chic pot in which this comes doesn't scream outdoorsy and fresh-faced immediately; nor does the product, which is so densely pigmented that it's quite scary. Before buying, most definitely try this one out at the counter, and you may discover a colour, such as our favourite, No 6, that is extremely wearable. "Utterly terrifying until you apply it," said a panellist, "but stunningly sheer then, with a nice, natural sheen."
Best Extra Creamy
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Cream Blush in Pink, €31, Elizabeth Arden counters nationwide
In a smaller, knackier pot than the others -- which means you aren't committing to so much of it, but are, proportionately, paying rather more -- this is a smooth product that gives a slightly creamier finish than the others we liked. This was the prettiest pink we found, too. "Nice size for a small make-up bag," a panellist said, "and I like the richness on my slightly dry skin."
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Powder Pink, €26, Brown Thomas; Arnotts; House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16
Marketed as a product for both cheeks and lips, which makes it a great option for a summer-holiday make-up kit, provided you don't choose a colour that works for one but not the other. Keep to the pinks, like the one we favoured, and you should be safe. Densely pigmented and nicely creamy; a little goes a long way. "I like the slightly slippy texture of this, which made it easy to blend," said one panellist, "and it lasted very well, too, despite my initial scepticism."
Pictured, from left: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Cream Blush in Pink; Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Powder Pink; Estee Lauder Signature Satin Creme Blush in Coral Light; Yves Saint Laurent Cream Blush in No 6; Mac Cremeblend Blush in Brit Wit
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