I've had Illamasqua Naked Rose since September last year, but still find myself on the fence about it. It's a blush that I want to, and thought I'd love, but in truth rarely gravitate towards. This was yet another New York holiday purchase (it's unbelievable I'm still blogging about stuff I bought during that time), and I remember when I first swatched it at Sephora, I thought I'd found the shade of my dreams. It looked like the perfect everyday neutral pink that I could easily envision being elevated to top position in my blush collection.
Naked Rose is the only Illamasqua powder blush I own, and I find it very smooth, soft and pigmented. Other blushes I have can be almost impossible to decently swatch with my fingers unless I've gently scratched the surface with a toothpick first, but Naked Rose has no such problem. The surface of the blush never hardens. In fact, I would even say it's on the powdery side because the pigment is so soft. It's easy to loosen the powder so it's almost crumbly, especially if you come at it with a slightly spiky brush. For that reason, I wouldn't dream of using it with a stippling brush. The texture reminds me more of an excellent matte eyeshadow (think Laura Mercier) than what I'm typically used to for a blush.
It's one of the most pigmented blushes I've come across (probably rivaled only by the ridiculous NARS Sin), so I need to make sure my brush makes minimal contact with the blush. I normally use the fluffy, tapered Real Techniques Blush Brush, because anything else risks overdoing it. Maybe because it's extremely tricky to get right, most days I just can't be bothered. The colour itself I don't find to be anything special. It's just a medium, slightly reddish, dusty matte pink. While not particularly unique, it's a versatile, universal shade that could complement a whole range of makeup looks. I can't really tell if it's more warm or cool, as that seems to differ depending on one's skin tone. If there's any redness to your cheeks, Naked Rose will draw attention to that. For me, it only works paired with flawless, evened out skin, and if I get the application spot on. Otherwise, it can look messy and ruddy, and almost like my skin is having an allergic reaction to the blush.
I purchased this in the States back when Illamasqua blushes were still $42 in Australia. Kudos to the brand for dropping their prices — a blush now retails for $28, almost the same price as the US if you include sales tax.