Whenever Make Up For Ever releases something new—which is not that often—it's a HUGE deal. At least for me, because they're one of my very favourite makeup brands (and I try so many, that is saying a lot). They don't operate according to some marketing schedule, but instead to fill a real need of their customers and the many makeup artists who use their products. (Fun fact: Make Up For Ever is so often used backstage at Fashion Weeks that the artists are told to cover up the labels with tape, since it would make the "sponsoring" makeup brand, which they don't want to use, look bad. Doesn't that tell you something?)
They were great, but admittedly a little tricky to use. You had to pump the product out, but inevitably it would dispense too much—and as always with Make Up For Ever stuff, a little goes a long way. I found I wasted quite a lot. But the seamless, second-skin effect was second to none, so I just dealt with it.
Now I don't have to. The brand has JUST replaced that line with a new and improved HD Blush range, which is somewhere in between a cream and a powder, and comes in circle-shaped mirrored compacts that look like this:
So it feels like a dry cream, if you can wrap your head around that—it's very different from the liquidy first-gen formula. It's also easier to use, as you can either swirl a blush brush to pick up the colour, press it onto a sponge, or just use your fingers.
What I like best is that it melts right into the skin. I repeat: right in. You know how some blushes, you put them on and you can just tell they're sitting on top, all obvious-looking? This one is completely seamless and makes you look like you're flushing from within... like you just got back from the gym. They even tested it in front of high-definition cameras to ensure they got a natural-looking finish that is undetectable both to the camera and the naked eye.
Sounding amazing, yes? There are 16 shades, from light to medium to tan to deep, both with cool and warm undertones. So there's gotta be at least one in here for everybody. Here are pics of all the colours (since the ones on Sephora's site are waaay off) and swatches of the five I was sent to play with. At the end I'll share some fun application tips!
So the "200s" shades are for fair to light skin tones. When I met with the brand for this launch, their makeup artist said I was a match to either this shade or the next one down (215 Flamingo Pink, which is a little peachier). I was most drawn to 210 Cool Pink—it's the only true pink in the collection, and so pretty.
Here's what it looks like on the skin:
215 Flamingo Pink is similar to 210 Cool Pink, except it's a slightly warmer, peachier hue. Both are super-pretty and would be suitable for fair complexions, but this one is a little more universal.
220 Pink Sand is your rosy beige shade, and the one to choose if you have fair/light skin but want something less colourful and more tone-on-tone. You could also use it as a subtle contour.
225 Peachy Pink is a darker and stronger peach than 215 Flamingo Pink. (It also seems to be one of the most popular shades so far, since it's already out of stock at Sephora. I'm sure they'll replenish soon.)
Now we move into the "300s," which are shades more suited to light and medium skin tones. 310 Rosewood is a brownish pink. Note that this colour is very much on the comeback.
315 Peach Beige is not quite as dark or as brown as it appears in the photo, but is definitely a warm-toned neutral that would be most flattering on a warm skin tone. I'd use it to get a sun-kissed glow. Here's what it looks like on skin:
320 English Rose is your classic rosy flush colour, and it's somewhere in between a warm and a cool.
335 Fawn is a good shade for warm skin tones and if you like the look of brown—it can give you sort of a tawny, bronzey effect instead of the typical peach and pink colours.
Out of all the shades, 410 Coral is considered the universal one, that any skin tone/undertone can wear. It's a strong, highly pigmented coral, but can be softened with a light touch and careful blending.
The rest of the "400s" are shades that work best for medium to dark skin tones. 415 Light Rust is a warm rusty brown—similar to 335 Fawn but deeper and with a slight reddish cast.
I really love this colour. 420 Indian Rosewood is a deeper version of 310 Rosewood, with brownish pink tones. Here's what it looks like on skin:
425 Brown Copper would be super-pretty on dark skin, as it gives a warm coppery flush.
The "500s" shades are the most pigmented (ideal for dark skin), and 510 Raspberry is just that—a highly pigmented cool raspberry shade. I think it's too strong to use on my cheeks, I'm gonna see if I can make it work as a lip colour. Here's what it looks like on my skin:
515 Tangerine is the brightest shade in the range, and a true orange. Here's what it looks like on my skin:
The last one is the very darkest; 520 Blackcurrant is an almost-black, cool berry shade and I think the most unique one here. It would make a great winter blush for medium to dark skin tones, or a beautiful lip stain for everyone!
As you can see, the shade range is excellent and really versatile—don't think you have to necessarily stay within your prescribed "200s," "300s," "400s," or "500s" colours. The key is to build up intensity and blend.
Make Up For Ever also shared some great tips on application:
Classic Blush Application
Apply the blush on top of the cheekbone. Begin at the hairline and blend inwards to the apple of the cheek. Apply with movements in the shape of an “8”. Suits any face shape.
Healthy Glow Blush Application
Apply the blush to the apple of the cheek in circular motions. Suits faces that are long or oval, because the face is widened by "cutting" it lengthwise. It gives the impression of natural freshness without correcting the face too intensely.
Highlighter Blush Application
Apply the blush to the upper cheekbone, and be careful not to apply it on the area underneath the eyes. Then blend towards the temples (can also be stretched across the brow bone). Suits someone looking for a more fashion-forward blush look.
Sculpting Blush Application
Begin application at the hairline (at the middle of the ear) and blend towards the mouth to sculpt the cheek. Then, blend upwards to emphasize the size of the cheekbone. Suits round and square faces because it lengthens the face by reducing the size of the cheeks.
Thoughts? I'd love to hear what you think of this range, and if you've tried it!
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Have you checked out the HD Blushes yet?
What shade is your favourite?
Which technique do you use for applying blush?