It's no secret that I'm partial to pinks and peaches and any combination of the two, but I was a little surprised at the overall lack of colour variation in my collection and how similar a couple of the shades were (namely Australis Crème Colour in Flirtatious Pink and Bloom Sheer Colour Cream in Coy). Just goes to show that when it comes to cosmetic purchases, most of the time we're drawn to the same things over and over again.
My favourite is NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Natural (CB02). I bought this from a stall at the Chinatown night markets in the middle of last year. It's a medium, warm pink with a creamy, strongly pigmented formulation that's neither too thick nor greasy and slippery. Because of its excellent colour payoff, you only need a very small amount to blend onto the cheeks. I like to use this with my fingers, an Ecotools Baby Kabuki (for a more airbrushed flush) or a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for slightly more precision.
I also really love Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Zygomatic, an impulse buy that I haven't regretted. It's thinner in consistency and more emollient than the NYX, which makes it easier to blend with the fingers, however it's also less pigmented. It's the most muted and neutral of the blushes I have, and the one I reach for when I want a more nude, dusty pink colour to the cheeks and to add soft definition to my non-existent cheekbones.
On the other side of the spectrum, I have the most vibrant cream blush in my collection, a bright orange from the Revlon Multi-Use Palette. This one distinguishes itself from the other five in that the colour isn't dusty, pastel or otherwise muted. It actually goes on relatively sheer but with 2-3 layers, provides more of an enlivening, summery pep to the cheeks close to Benefit Cha Cha Tint. It's much drier in texture and almost matte. However, it comes in such a tiny, inaccessible square that I almost never find myself reaching for it.
Bloom Sheer Colour Cream in Coy was on my wishlist for a few months before I finally caved. The pastel peachy pink colour was the main attraction, along with the packaging and lavender scent. This one is closest in texture and pigmentation to the NYX Rouge Cream Blush, if a tad drier. On my cheeks, I've always found the colour to be too strong and not that flattering with my skin tone, so I kind of gave up on it. Coy fares better on my lips as a warm, nude-leaning pink.
Australis Crème Colour in Flirtatious Pink was the first cream blush I ever purchased over a year ago. While swatching my blushes, I didn't anticipate it would look almost identical to Coy, as Coy always seemed distinctly more peachy to me. I find Flirtatious Pink to be much more wearable, perhaps because it's a touch more pink and rosy. Funnily enough, it's also scented with lavender like the Bloom and more or less identical in shape and size. It's a little bit drier than the Sheer Colour Cream but about the same pigmentation.
I bought Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush in Pinched (100) from Rite Aid on my New York holiday as I wasn't prepared to spend $26.95 on it in Australia. The other two colours (a bright coral and fuchsia) seemed a bit too intimidating for everyday wear, so I opted for the safe choice — a light peach with fine gold shimmer. The texture with this one was more air-whipped/mousse-like than the thicker, creamier, emollient formulations of the other cream blushes I have. It required several layers to be built up to decent pigmentation, but the major problem with Pinched is that the staying power is close to zero. There's almost no point in wearing it unless you only want it to show up for 2 hours, so in that respect it was a major disappointment.
l-r: Revlon Pinched, Illamasqua Zygomatic, Australis Flirtatious Pink, NYX Natural, Bloom Coy, Revlon Multi-Use Palette
In a way, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with cream blushes. As much as I gravitate towards them for being easier to blend and apply with the fingers, and for a more natural flush that sinks into your skin and gives a touch of dewiness, they can end up being trickier to work with than powder blushes or cheek stains. A good brush goes a long way in diffusing product seamlessly and naturally. I also find that generally, creams don't last as long on the skin as powders. Depending on the texture, it can be difficult to get just the right amount, perfectly blended without any patchiness, and for that reason I often skip cream blush for powder. However, there's something more modern, seemingly effortless and versatile about creams that will always keep me returning to them with renewed interest.