Inke’s Beauty Corner puts natural cosmetics to the test as possible replacements for her go-to products.
If I had to choose just one makeup product for the rest of my life, I’d be torn between a blusher and foundation. I’d probably spend the rest of my time mulling it over.
I don’t necessarily use concealer every day and don’t carry it around in my bag, but when I need it, I reallyneed it. You’ll probably catch me with blusher in my handbag though – along with six or so lip products. The way I see it is that if the face starts to look or feel drab later in the day, adding a little blusher to the cheeks does more than fixing or powdering the skin.
I was a devout fan of powder blushers still a year or two ago, as they seemed easier to blend and layer. I don’t think I’d come across particularly good cream blushers at the time, nor was I really looking. When translucency became an in thing, matt cheeks from the blusher I was using alongside glowy skin didn’t constitute a great look. The blusher also became harder to blend in – a powdery, pigmented product simply doesn’t blend in nicely into dewy skin. So, I decided to be open-minded and give cream blushers a go.
As it happens, powder blushers are now hibernating at the bottom of my makeup box, while several cream blushers in different shades that I use according to my mood get a regular outing. Sometimes I’m after a brownish shade (often to accompany red lipstick), at other times if in a daring mood I’ll grab a red, juicy blush stick (wearing hardly any other makeup). But I’ve noticed that there’s one particular shade in my makeup bag that never ever feels wrong and I definitely use more than others.
TESTING BLUSH STICKS:
Old fave: Rihanna’s label Fenty Beauty Match Stix -multi stick in shade Yacht Lyfe
Natural alternative: Ilia Multi Stick in shade I Put a Spell on You
Why I love the original: Had I tested this blush stick by Fenty Beauty earlier on, I wonder if would have ever even bothered with a powder version. I like almost everything about it – well, love.
Of course, the label appeals to someone who likes Rihanna, and the packaging is super handy and sturdy. You can even attach it together with other Fenty Beauty multi sticks with the inbuilt magnet. I only have two and they are the same: my recently opened one, and my old one that’s nearly finished but I still keep with me until every last drop is used up. In other words, I’m already on my second round, which is a very rare occurrence for me when it comes to colour cosmetics!
The container is nice and handy, but of course what’s inside counts – and when it comes to blusher it’s mostly about the colour. The pearly peach-pink shade flatters my skin tone, although I’m sure more natural-looking shades would be on offer. The colour might come close to when you blush naturally, but then there’s the pearly effect. The shade feels simply perfect for me, adding that je ne sais quoito an otherwise minimalist makeup look.
The Yacht Lyfe shade of the Fenty Beauty multi stick is almost exactly the same as cult blusher of all time Orgasmby NARS, but I’d choose the former for its texture. I’ve never come across such an easy-to-use blusher. It glides onto cheeks without breaking off or caking, and blends in perfectly with fingertips without any skill, precision or effort required. I find the stick comes with the perfect amount of pigment, and the strength of the shade can be layered and controlled when applying. It feelspowdery on the cheeks but doesn’t look powdered. The result doesn’t feel greasy or like it will slip out of place.
Unfortunately, the laws of the jungle apply also to this product: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. The stick makes you see why people have wanted to stuff cosmetics with all that plastic and silicone in the first place. In this case, they’ve been used to ensure the blush is super smooth to apply. On the downside, you wind up coating cheeks with a myriad of ingredients that may as well be used to insulate a bathroom.
Strange how the human mind works: although I know full wellwhy I should choose something else, I’ve gone and bought the same stick the second time round – just three months ago.
How does the natural option compare: It’s hard to compare, as a natural product simply doesn’t and cannot behave like a plastic one, which just has to be accepted. But considering the Ilia stick isn’t plastic, it’s incredibly easy to apply and use – in fact easier than many plastic sticks I’ve tried! I could imagine blending in the Fenty blush even without a mirror. I couldn’t imagine doing the same with the Ilia blush, but do manage to blend it in nicely in front of a mirror using only my fingertips.
You can’t have it all, but what you can expect from a blush is the perfect shade. The Ilia blush comes close to the Fenty Beauty blush in its pigment content. You can also apply the Ilia blush exactly as strongly as you want – believe me there are products that give no say. Fenty Beauty calls its shade glimmering peach pinkand Ilia defines its shade as peachy tangerine. It’s true that the Ilia stick seems to have a hint of orange and Fenty leans towards pink. They are not identical colour twins, but I wanted to examine them side by side anyway.
This online shopper got lucky; although I didn’t snap up the exact colour match to my old fave, it turned out to be an everyday blusherthat’s even more flattering.
The slightly warmer shade looks more natural, and the toned-down pearliness can be a good thing – it’s good to re-examine old habits now and then. There’s still room for some glimmer in my life, but in the daily grind and combined with a highlighter (yep, every day), you don’t need quite so much.
Verdict: Yes, the Ilia stick is a keeper. It has all the potential to become an all-time favourite. Packaging is stylish and functional. In fact, I bet a few wouldn’t realize this was a natural product if they didn’t know. It all goes to prove that a totally fabulous blush stick can be achieved with natural ingredients. The ease of use, application and texture beat Chanel’s versions – hands-down.
The fresh and luminous I Put a Spell onYoushade will no doubt be flattering on many, but if it doesn’t fit your palette, there are six other shades in the range. (Compared to many other labels, Ilia offers a fantastic choice of different foundation shades: the serum foundation comes in as many as 18 different shades. Fabulous!)
So far, updating my makeup bag with natural products has been a blast: the two first products I’ll be swapping proved even better than what I was using. I wonder how things will continue?
Updating the makeup bag with natural cosmetics – what’s it all about? In the following months, Inke’s Beauty Corner will be looking to swap her go-to products in the makeup bag with natural products – they have to be just as good but hopefully better.
Updates so far:
– skin tints that even out the skin tone and give light coverage
– cream blush stick in a certain shadeof coral pink
– non-caking loose powder that sets makeup without killing glow
– pigment concealer that comes in a jar
– serum foundation rich in pigment
–fairly natural but super fabulous cream highlighter
– volumising, tinted brow gel
– a good mascara with a lash-separating, natural finish
– cream eyeshadow applied with fingertips that intensifies the gaze
–perfect, fiery red lipstick with a matt texture that’s not dry
Translated by Rebecca Watson