War of the Rose Blushes

I noticed how many of the newer blushes in my collection had ‘Rose’ in the name, and thought it would be cute to make a play on “War of the Roses” as the title of this post. It was intended to be a lighthearted review, but I admittedly went on a rant in the BareMinerals section. If you’re strictly interested on a discussion of the product and not about issues with the beauty industry as a whole, I suggest skipping that portion of this post.

BareMinerals Gen Nude Blonzer in Kiss of Rose

At least with Ofra’s Blushzer, they gave us a split pan of blush on one side and bronzer on the other, but the concept of the “Blonzer: blush and bronzer in one” is a gimmick to me, and similar to the way Becca tried to market their zero pigment foundation. These Blonzers are just blushes in a combination of bronze and rosy toned hues that add warmth to the blush areas of the face. Even Kiss of Copper, the most bronze-like of the three, still just looks like a warm blush shade. I would look ridiculous if I tried to use this on my forehead or jawline where I sometimes apply bronzer. In fact, BareMinerals recommends applying this in the “W” area of the face. I was familiar with the C and 3 patterns, but I hadn’t heard of this technique until I watched this video.

Photo taken from Sephora’s Website.

Issues with marketing aside, something about the imprint and shades of these Blonzers infatuated me. I made myself wait until the Sephora VIB sale in order to get Kiss of Rose, the darkest shade. There are only three in total and Kiss of Rose is right on the line of being barely deep enough to work on me. If it was the tiniest bit lighter, it wouldn’t show up on my skin. Although it’s no longer showing as a “Top Dupe” on Temptalia’s blog, I have to give credit for where I learned that the Kiss of Rose shade was extremely similar to Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of No Shame blusher. Kiss of Rose is practically a slightly more shimmery version of it.

This fact almost stopped me from purchasing the blonzer because I want to avoid adding dupes to my collection. However, I never reach for Walk of No Shame because trying to use solely the dark ring of that blush (the highlighting center part lightens the blush too much when mixed in) was such a hassle. I thought that shade was beautiful, so the idea that I could have that without the ring is what caused me to buy it and I have no regrets! I am so happy with this purchase. I love the shine on my face from this blonzer. It looks so flattering, and although it doesn’t take the place of a bronzer for me, I’m happy to continue using it in the “W” formation.

Also, when I wear this, I tend to skip using highlighter. This blonzer lasts at least 8 hours on me, which is usually as long as I test makeup for. I recommend this, even at full price, but I hope BareMinerals expands the range. It’s silly to include “bronze” in the name and call this the equivalent of “deep” when it’s not. For two months, Sephora had Kiss of Rose listed as being suitable for deep skin tones, even though BareMinerals hadn’t specified that.
“Deep” from the Western/Euro-centric perspective is not the same as “Deep” on the spectrum of all human skin tone possibilities between the lightest and darkest. For example, on PUR Cosmetics’ chart of their 100 foundation shade range, I am most likely DG4 in the Dark category. I believe Kiss of Rose would appear ashy, icy, and more like a highlighter on someone in the actual Deep range, even starting at DPG1. This admittedly does irk me when the last shade in a paltry range is automatically called deep, just because it’s the darkest one they have. I wonder how many people bought Kiss of Rose thinking it would suit them because of Sephora’s misleading description, only to find out it’s too light for them. And how many of them are like me and kept it just because they hate returning things?

I’m sorry for the rant, but it gets very tiresome. Testing out beauty products is my passion and hobby of mine. I love it. When brands aren’t being inclusive, it limits what you can use for your hobby. If you take race and skin tones out of it and think about any other hobby, like painting, imagine if you went to a store and saw they were selling the most beautiful paints in all kinds of gorgeous finishes. You buy the paints and take it home but the paints won’t stick to your particular canvas. It’s repelled. It doesn’t show at all or the paints that do stick look dull and lifeless on your canvas. The store tells you, “Sorry, we only make paints for these specific types of canvas boards. Maybe one day we’ll make one for yours.” And you see all the beautiful artwork everyone else can create, but not you. Imagine flowers that won’t grow in your garden but will for your neighbors or pans that won’t heat the food you try to cook in it. I see the comment far too often on social media, “If they don’t make it for you, just don’t buy from them,” and that misses the point entirely. It ignores the pain of how frequently you’re limited in something you’re passionate about. How bad it feels when you see others have the world at their fingertips and you have to make do with less, and they don’t care that it isn’t equal. I wish more people had the compassion to understand this concept. We’re all part of the beauty community and when a new launch is hyped up, we want to be able to take part in that. It’s so disheartening when you then realize you can’t be part of it because they didn’t make a product you can use. Great for my wallet, but not great in feeling part of the community.
If I don’t have a perfect match, I feel comforted if someone deeper than me at least has an option. Kiss of Rose is beautiful and it works, but I can’t pretend it doesn’t bother me that I’m where it ends because this is actually a great product!
I think I’m especially bothered because at the time that I started working on the draft for this post, 6 out of my last 10 purchases wouldn’t work on anyone darker than me. There have also been several items I wanted to buy, but they weren’t even deep enough for me either. Is this not 2021? Anyway, I’m putting my objective hat back on!

Sigma Cor-de-Rosa Blush Palette

This is a very medium-tone selection of shades, so those with a lighter skin tone will have to be careful not to overapply, especially as the blushes are pigmented. Those deeper than MAC’s NC/NW 50 might not get much use out of these shades, other than Nearly Wild and perhaps Bronze Star.
I like that the matte blushes give good color payoff because I prefer to use my natural hair brushes on powder products, but if I use them on a sheer blush, it can take so long to build up, if at all. So, I’m glad I don’t have that issue.

Cor-de-Rosa is the namesake of the palette and also my favorite shade out of the six! I thought my favorite color would be Nearly Wild, but it’s a close second. The peachy-brown tones within Cor-de-Rosa is more of my preference over the deep rose of Nearly Wild. They’re both very pretty, but I like when there’s a little brown. Señorita is a tad light for me to use as a blush on its own, but it makes a stunning blush topper! I mentioned that Cor-de-Rosa was my favorite blush color, but when it comes to what actually looks the most beautiful on my skin, I think it’s Bronze Star. Bronze Star is just a hair darker than MAC’s Extra Dimension Blush in Hushed Tone, which is one of my favorite blush shades in general.

The matte blushes in this palette are decent, though they don’t feel as soft as I’d like. They’re a bit on the powdery side and look dry on my skin the way Clinique Cheek Pop blushes look on me. However, the shimmer formula is fantastic! This depends on the brush I use though, as can be seen in the differences between my two Bronze Star photos. Some of my brushes just pick up the shimmer and therefore don’t add much color to my cheeks. If I were to give them grades, the mattes would all get B- but the shimmers get A’s! Unless, of course, I pick the wrong blush brush. Then I’d rate the shimmers B- as well.

I expected Coral Dawn and Pashmina to be too light for me, and they are, but they weren’t as far off as I anticipated, especially if I take the time to really blend them into my skin. If they were a shade or two darker, I would have been able to use them too, but 4ish out of 6 is a better ratio than I’m used to having! I can still wear the lighter shades in the blush palette if I layer them on top of one of the deeper blushes.

This palette retails for $49 but I didn’t realize Sigma had sales and deals so frequently. I could have gotten this for $40 (shipping fee included) if I had waited just two weeks after the launch. Although I like this palette, I don’t know how often I’ll use it. Unlike eyeshadows where I never reach for singles and always prefer a palette, I typically grab singles when it comes to blushes. And although the quality is decent and the tones are nice, I literally have 1 and a half drawers of blushes, so I’m not sure if this is something I want to keep if it’s just going to take up room and won’t be used. It survived my recent blush declutter, but it may not last through another. I’ll just have to keep using this for the time being to see if my enjoyment of it dwindles or grows.

Winky Lux Cheeky Rose Cream Blush in Crown

How red this looks in the globe packaging is not how deep it looks on the skin. It’s a medium toned warm pink that closely resembles Fenty’s Strawberry Drip. Lys’ Self Love came first to mind, but Self Love leans more mauve and is more pigmented. Strawberry Drip is a touch lighter and less pigmented than Crown. Also, and this is likely due to the consistency needed to maintain the rose shape through multiple uses, the texture of this blush feels like a dry oil. It’s a cream product, but it doesn’t feel creamy or waxy or balmy to the touch. It feels oily and dry at the same time, though it does blend very well into the skin.

This blush is recommended to be applied with the fingers or a brush. I prefer using my fingers with wetter textures, so it makes sense that I prefer to use a brush instead. I’ve only used Crown a few times. If I wear it without powder on top, it eventually dries down on its own. However, it noticeably begins to fade around 5 hours, but will still cling on by my 8 hour testing minimum. If I set with powder, the powder diminishes the color, but the shade it becomes is the color it stays for the full 8 hours. So, to ensure it stays on, I pack on the blush to its maximum level of payoff before setting it with powder.

There are five shades in total on the Winky Lux website and four of those are available at Ulta. They are listed at $20, but I got mine on sale for $13. I’m glad I have a product that is more than just cute and can actually be used, but it’s middle of the road in terms of quality. I’m not excited by or disappointed when I use this. To anyone who wants this purely for looks, I’d say at least it isn’t bad. Otherwise, the LYS blushes and Glossier Cloud paints rank higher on my recommendation list.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush in Nude Venus and Paradise Venus

At the beginning of the post shows what the pans look like outside and inside. The inside photo is more accurate to the shade. The photo above was taken at night, so my lights made it look a bit lighter and slightly more cool toned. The photo below is a clearer version of an indoor photo and was taken in the daytime.

These blushes officially launched at Sephora on May 28th, and normally I take a few weeks of trying something before I review it, but I thought it would fit well with today’s theme due to the rose imprint. Designs in powders are my weakness, but surprisingly that aspect had zero effect on me! As I mentioned in my Hindash review, my blush collection feels complete. I wasn’t interested in this launch until I saw non-promotional images from real customers. The gorgeous tones looked much better in their pictures than the official Pat Mcgrath photos (with the insanely built up swatches). My favorite blush colors are medium toned warm pinks, warm pinkish brown, and reddish brown shades, so Paradise Venus was easily my first choice. I had some points and gift cards to use, so I allowed myself to choose one other shade. Desert Orchid looked so beautiful, but it was just a hint of color on Alicia (Kinkysweat), so I knew it would be too light for me. This was later confirmed when I watched Tina (TheFancyFace) try it on, and you could only see a hint of shimmer and nothing else. For shade reference, I am about 1-2 shades darker than her, depending on the time of year.
Electric Bloom was another shade that caught my eye as it looked so vibrant, almost neon, in the pan. However, the swatches and how it looks on the skin seemed a lot like the KVD Everlasting Blush in Poppy. I asked Tatianna (Tatianna Anesa) in her comment section how they compare, and she said they are very similar. Side note, did you know the KVD Blushes with the rose compacts are refillable? I saw that Sephora recently released the singles on their website. Then I checked the back of my compact and noticed the small hole near the top. I’m guessing that was the intent all along and goes with the brand’s initiative to create less waste. Nice job, Kara Veritas Decora! I still think their second attempt to make the K-V-D initials work is silly, but I give them kudos.
I almost never use Poppy or MAC’s Loudspeaker or News Flash, so I skipped getting Electric Bloom as I probably would not use it that much either.

*UPDATE June 24th, 2021 – I bought Electric Bloom and the closest shades I have to it are Fenty’s Strawberry Drip and MAC’s Heat Index, but they aren’t super close.

I’m not the biggest fan of berry blushes, but Lovestruck appeared to be more of a raspberry pink than a deep berry, so perhaps during a good sale I might get it. While I was trying to figure out the best shade for me, I noticed Sephora secretly made Nude Venus available early for about 12 hours. Again, based on how it looked on Alicia, I thought perhaps it might be just rich enough and pigmented enough to show on me.

Luckily, that turned out to be the case! At about three layers, Nude Venus shows up well enough to appear on camera. It’s faint but still visible.
I’m not the biggest fan of how these blushes look on my bare skin. They have a harder time lasting on my cheek, as though the blush needs something to grip onto besides moisturizer. Nude Venus specifically pulls a little ashy over the areas of my face with dark discoloration, so I have to at least cover those areas with concealer if I want to wear this shade without foundation on minimal makeup days.

However, over foundation it goes on smoothly and is a more noticeable flush of color. Pat Mcgrath mentioned that these blushes look beautiful with a deeper shade towards the back and a lighter or brighter color in the front. I do enjoy pairing this with Paradise Venus. I almost bought Desert Orchid to combine with that one instead, but I think both Venus shades are perfect together. In the photos that I’m wearing yellow, I have the Bobbi Brown Face Base Priming Moisturizer as my primer and the Nars Soft Matte foundation. In the photos that I’m wearing black with pink polka dots, I have the same foundation with the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer. I’m not wearing any bronzer or contour products, as I didn’t want those products to be mistaken for Paradise Venus.

Nude Venus is described as peachy-pink with golden pearl. Sometimes shimmer can improve the look of a blush, but I don’t feel like the pearl in this shade adds enough glow to make it any more special than the satin finish of Paradise Venus. If Nude Venus was demi-matte, I think it would have looked just as pretty. I mention this because I felt compelled to have one shimmer and one demi-matte blush from the collection, and while the shimmer formula is of course more glowy than the demi-matte sheen provides, it’s still far more subtle than other shimmer blushes I own. The shimmer doesn’t count against it though. It’s beautiful shade with a flattering finish.

Regarding Paradise Venus, I can get the level of pigment I want from just one dip in the pan. I still have an issue of fading when it comes to bare skin (only the lightest layer will cling on), but as I mentioned before, the lasting power is phenomenal over foundation. I usually apply the blushes first before setting with powder. Powdering afterwards can tone down the blush, so I apply the lightest layer, if any at all. For the sake of the review, I also tested these over a powder set base. I find that I need to use more blush that way, but the end result is still nice.
So far, I have only applied the blushes using the Sonia G Cheek Pro, which I noticed picks up more of the shimmer in Nude Venus, and the Bisyodo B-C-01 Highlight / Cheek Brush. They’re both goat hair and I always do layers of just one tap. I don’t swirl my brushes in the pan, as these are soft powders and prone to a lot of kickup if you don’t do a gentle tap. Here are some tips from Mother herself regarding the application process!

I can’t emphasize enough that these are highly pigmented (but not over pigmented like the Shocking shade from Wayne Goss’ Vivid Azalea duo), and while that is fantastic news for me because it means I can wear a shade like Nude Venus, those with a lighter skin tone will need to be especially careful when applying the deeper half of the range. Using a setting powder or the leftover foundation on your brush or sponge can help with overapplying.

One of the things I wanted to know most before purchasing was if there were any shade dupes. According to my YouTube history, I literally watched 53 videos involving these blushes and yet I’ve seen very few comparisons. From my own collection, I was unsuccessful at finding a dupe for Nude Venus. The closest is Lunar Beauty’s Stargaze, though it is a matte blush. Lunar Beauty’s Soleil looks somewhat close as well, but in person it has a very strong golden shimmer that gives a different effect than Nude Venus on the skin. As for Paradise Venus, I found that MAC’s Burnt Pepper is the most similar color to it that I own.

I’m happy to have the Pat Mcgrath blushes, but I wonder if some of the hype is driving my excitement for them. Although I don’t think anyone would be disappointed by these blushes, there isn’t a pressing need to rush out and get them like I did. If I didn’t have the points and gift cards, I would have waited for a sale because I already have blushes of comparable quality in my collection. I appreciate that for a high end brand, these are still a few dollars less than Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury, and Natasha Denona charge for their blushes. I certainly prefer this soft smooth formula over Natasha’s and I prefer the pigment in these over Charlotte’s. If you’re on a low-buy and wondering if it’s worth getting, I’m here to say they aren’t reinventing the wheel. They’re wonderful and top tier, but not so amazing that you’re missing out by not getting them, provided you already have blushes you love. If you don’t mind splurging on something nice, these are a great option to consider.
In addition, the average blush is between 4-6 grams. These blushes are 9 grams and because they’re so pigmented, they would take even longer to use up. That is yet another difference between the Divine Blushes and other high end and luxury ones on the market.

Who Won The Rose Blush War?

Out of all the products reviewed today, the BareMinerals Blonzer is my favorite and the one I have continued to use the most. I was still occasionally reaching for Nearly Wild and Pashmina from Sigma, but that came to a halt once my blushes from PML (I’m going to get out of the habit of writing PMG) arrived.

BareMinerals won the spoils of war, Pat Mcgrath Labs still profited, Sigma survived the battle, and Winky Lux retreated to return another day.

The final thing I wanted to mention is that this post reminds me a lot of why I started making videos and blogging in the first place. In 2014-2017, I had the hardest time finding photos and videos of people with my skin tone trying out products. My nearest standalone Sephora is 50 miles away, my nearest Ulta is in the next town over and both Ulta and my Sephora-JCP don’t carry the products in store that I want to buy. I rely on seeing the product on others to judge if a shade will work for me when I order online, and I wanted to be a resource for others in cases like these where there are barely any options to view.
The only person in the tan and deeper category I’ve seen try the BareMinerals Blonzer is Karen Harris and other than the haul video, I can’t remember which video she actually tried it in, so I can’t link it. For the Winky Lux blushes there are small sections between two of Tina’s videos here and here and from Peachy D, but those are the only ones. For the Sigma palette, it’s once again just Karen. There’s no shortage of Pat Mcgrath videos, but everything else I reviewed is quite limited on the tan and deeper spectrum, so this is extra motivation to keep posting and fill a void.

That’s all for today! I hope you’ll return again next week. Thank you for reading!

-Lili

6 thoughts on “War of the Rose Blushes

  1. You always come through, I’ve been searching high and low for a dark skin review of the bareminerals blonzer. We both know I don’t “need” more blush, but I’m seriously considering kiss of rose and nude venus. I was shocked at how similar paradise venus and burnt pepper were, I would not have thought to compare those two.

    What is your favorite brush for applying your shimmer blushes? Is it the Bisyodo that you mentioned?

    Oh and as far as the rant, thank you for laying this out. It is tiring and even more so to hear people say “stop complaining and shop somewhere else,” but then they get to be mad about the releases of black-owned brands. I’m also tired of hearing about certain “underrated” products that only have 1 or 2 shades. How can something get hyped up if most people can’t use it? Big ones that come to mind are the Eseence pure nude highlighter (before they released more shades) and Chanel’s cream bronzer (only this year added a second shade).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m glad I can help! ❤ I tend to just use any of my favorite blush brushes with shimmer products (Chikuhodo T-4, Sonia G Cheek Pro, HS-2, the Bisyodo, etc). When I have to change brushes, it's usually if the blush is too light for me and the shimmer being picked up too much makes it look even lighter on my cheek or if the shimmer in the blush is too metallic and becomes way too shiny. In the case of NV, the gold pearl isn't very golden, more like a light gold which can go the icy realm if I use the wrong brush (like the sonia g with it) even though I normally don't have issues using that brush with shimmer blushes. In fact, I love the sonia g with the bareminerals blonzer even though it's very shiny. And yes, I was surprised Burnt Pepper looked so similar to Paradise Venus as well! My first thought was MAC Raisin but MAC Raisin has a bit more brown in it whereas the reddish tone of burnt pepper is closer to it.
      And exactly! I was intrigued when I heard Chanel made a Tan-Deep shade, but emphasis on the Tan. It still wouldn't work for me. We get a wave of products that are inclusive and then the industry takes steps backwards again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting, thanks for explaining. I’ve started to feel like MAC’s extra dimension blush formula was looking too shimmery on me lately when I didn’t used to notice that issue. I’ll have to give them another shot with some other brushes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Those blonzers are so pretty, but I agree they can’t be bronzers at all….they are just blushes. It’s so wonderful that you provide resources for others with similar skin tones searching for beauty products.

    Liked by 1 person

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