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Best Blushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Blushes | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing blush formulas useful 🙂

Tom Ford Cheek Color

Tom Ford Cheek Color

Tom Ford Cheek Color ($60.00 for 0.28 oz.) has been a go-to blush formula for me since I first tried it many years ago. As time has passed, I have tried many more blush formulas from brands, but I still go back to this one frequently. I keep a few of my favorite shades (Love Lust, Ravish, Wicked) in my go-to drawer, where I keep products I want to wear again and again (when I’m not testing something!). The formula is soft, moderately dense, and smooth, which results in good pigmentation, a satin to pearly sheen, and easy application–plus, they wear long on me (over eight hours).

Availability

Bergdorf GoodmanNeiman MarcusNordstromSaks

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a powder blush with medium, buildable coverage and a more satin-to-luminous finish. I like how the range includes a mix of more “wearable” neutrals along with brighter pops of color, so it’s a versatile range that can work for many skin tones. Some of my favorite shades are Rapture, TMI, Fetish, and Crush.

Availability

Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom

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New for Holiday 2016 from Bite, BUXOM, Clinique, Sephora, YSL

More Holiiday 2016 Sets
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick Duo

More holiday sets have emerged!

Availability

Now online

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The Details

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick Duo | $14.00 | Limited Edition

Swipe on gorgeous lip color for every festive occasion with the Amuse Bouche Lipstick Duo. It features a signature Amuse Bouche shade with a limited-edition, foiled top coat that’s perfect for the holiday season. Available at Sephora.

  • Opal/Jam
  • Gold/Sour Cherry
  • Rose Gold/Fig
  • Bronze/Pepper

BUXOM Frozen Assets Mini Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick | $38.00 | Limited Edition

The Frozen Assets 8-piece Mini Big & Sexy Bold Lipstick Collection includes a range of nude to red shades in moisturizing matte and satin finishes in a lightweight, gel formula. Each shade delivers piercingly vivid, one-stroke color to shamelessly stand out. Available at Sephora.

  • 4 x 0.03 oz/ 1 g Mini Big & Sexy Bold Gel Matte Lipstick in Racy Reveal (matte warm light pink), Sinful Cinnamon (matte cinnamon brown), Ultraviolet (matte bright violet), Ruby Temptress (matte brick red)
  • 4 x 0.03 oz/ 1 g Mini Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Rebel Rose (satin rosy pink), Graphic Grape (satin deep purple), Forbidden Berry (satin deep pink), Fuchsia Fetish (satin hot pink)

Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip & Liner | $60.00 | Limited Edition

Get five matching sets of lip color and liner in glossy or matte finishes—plus two glosses and two enhancers—for a polished look that’s all your own. This 14-piece set features full and deluxe size bestsellers, including Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquer in Pretty Thing to Ciaté London’s Liquid Velvet™ in VooDoo. Available at Sephora.

  • 0.02 oz/ 0.75 g Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! double the lip in Fuchsia Fever
  • 0.07 oz/ 2 mL Buxom® Full-On Lip Cream in Kir Royale
  • 0.06 oz/ 1.77 mL Ciaté London Liquid Velvet in VooDoo
  • 0.12 oz/ 3.54 mL Estée Edit Lip Flip Shade Transformer in 02 Turn Down (full size)
  • 0.01 oz/ 0.25 g Know Cosmetics No Bleeding Lips™ Secret Lip Liner (full size)
  • 0.05 oz/ 1.49 g Laura Mercier Lip Pencil in Naked (full size)
  • 0.04 oz/ 1.4 g MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Rouge in M-401 MAT
  • 0.035 oz/ 1 g Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi Shine Lip Lacquer in Pretty Thing
  • 0.06 oz/ 1.8 g NARS Cosmetics Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella
  • 0.009 oz/ 0.27 g Smashbox Always Sharp Lip Liner in Crimson (full size)
  • 0.05 oz/ 1.5 mL Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso
  • 0.001 oz/ 0.04 g Tarte tarteist™ Lip Crayon in Mood Ring
  • 0.08 oz/ 2.3 mL Too Faced Cosmetics Melted Matte Liquified Long Wear Matte Lipstick in Sell Out
  • 0.035 oz/ 1.2 g Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in N° 70 Le Nu

Clinique Black Honey Pop Cheek Pop

Clinique Black Honey Pop Cheek Pop Blush
Clinique Black Honey Pop Cheek Pop Blush

Clinique Black Honey Pop Cheek Pop Blush ($23.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a medium-dark pinky plum with warm undertones and a luminous finish. MAC Sweet Samba (LE, $27.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). NYX Apricot (P, $15.00) is warmer (90% similar). Bobbi Brown Sand Pink (P, $26.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Make Up For Ever #310 HD Blush (P, $26.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). theBalm Houndstooth (P, $22.00) is lighter, brighter, cooler (90% similar). Tarte Ironic (LE, $28.00) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). Stila Berry Shimmer (LE) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Becca Nightingale (P, $32.00) is darker, brighter (85% similar). Too Faced Your Love is King (P, $26.00) is cooler (90% similar). Laura Geller Roseberry (P, $28.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Urban Decay Fetish (LE) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Estee Lauder Mauve Mystique (P, $34.00) is cooler (85% similar). NARS Isadora (LE, $30.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Laura Geller Tropic Hues (P, $28.00) is more shimmery, lighter (80% similar). Estee Lauder Alluring Rose (P, $34.00) is cooler (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The formula is described as “vibrant yet natural-looking cheek colour that looks virtually powderless.” The texture was smooth, soft, and dense, so it was never powdery in the pan or on the skin. The blush had good color payoff that was easily sheered out (or you could apply less, as the denser texture makes that easy to control). It’s the kind of texture that almost blends itself as soon as you start applying and working it onto the skin. The finish became more luminous as I blended the powder onto the skin, but it was never shiny or overly shimmery, so it always looked smooth on my skin and did not emphasize pores or my skin’s texture. It wore well for nine and a half hours on me before I noticed a bit of fading around the edges.

Clinique Cheek Pop Blush Black Honey Pop

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Clinique Pink Honey Pop Cheek Pop

Clinique Pink Honey Pop Cheek Pop Blush
Clinique Pink Honey Pop Cheek Pop Blush

Clinique Pink Honey Pop Cheek Pop Blush ($23.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a soft, light-medium pink with warm, yellow undertones and a satin sheen. Physicians Formula Natural (P, $12.99) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). Makeup Geek Spell Bound (P, $9.99) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). MAC Fun Ending (LE, $22.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Giorgio Armani Daybreak (503) (P, $46.00) is darker (95% similar). NARS Illusive (LE, $30.00) is darker (90% similar). CoverGirl Medium Rose (P, $9.99) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). Hourglass Surreal Effect (LE, $35.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). MAC Cheeky Bugger (LE, $22.00) is darker, brighter (90% similar). LORAC Tinge (P, $22.00) is lighter, cooler (90% similar). Urban Decay Overexposed (LE) is darker (90% similar). Tarte Celebrated (LE, $28.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Tarte Prim (LE, $28.00) is darker, warmer (90% similar). NARS Liberation (Left) (LE) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). MAC At Dusk (LE, $25.00) is cooler (95% similar). Makeup Revolution Make Love Instead (P, $5.00) is more shimmery (85% similar). MAC Highlighter (LE, $32.00) is more shimmery, lighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The formula is described as “vibrant yet natural-looking cheek colour that looks virtually powderless.” The texture was very smooth and dense in the pan, while on the skin, it was incredibly blendable and almost creamy in the way it sat and diffused on the skin. It had semi-opaque, buildable coverage that applied easily, as it blended out nicely along the edges. The finish was more satiny than truly luminous–it seemed to have less sheen than most of the Cheek Pops–but looked good on the skin as it did not emphasize pores or my skin’s texture. This shade wore well for nine hours on me before fading slightly.

Clinique Cheek Pop Blush Pink Honey Pop

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Clinique Bronze Glow Uplighting Illuminating Powder

Clinique Bronze Glow Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder
Clinique Bronze Glow Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder

Clinique Bronze Glow Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder ($27.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a medium-dark brown with warm undertones and a satin sheen. Tom Ford Beauty Gold Dust (P, $68.00) is warmer (95% similar). Guerlain #03 (P, $53.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). LORAC Spotlight (LE, $22.00) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). NARS Casino (P, $36.00) is warmer (90% similar). MAC Firebrush (LE, $25.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). MAC Refined Golden (P, $25.00) is lighter (90% similar). Guerlain #02 (P, $53.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). MAC Lush Light Bronze (LE, $28.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). MAC Scone (LE, $25.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Colour Pop Carry-On (P, $8.00) is warmer (85% similar). Bobbi Brown Bronze (LE, $45.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Bikini Contest (P, $3.99) is less shimmery, darker, warmer (85% similar). Urban Decay Naked Flushed Bronzer (P) is warmer (85% similar). Urban Decay Bronzer (P) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Le Metier de Beaute Sun Drenched (P, $55.00) is less shimmery, darker (80% similar). Tarte Park Ave. Princess #2 (LE) is lighter (80% similar). Colour Pop Happy Hour (P, $8.00) is less shimmery, darker (80% similar). Colour Pop Bronze Me (LE, $8.00) is darker (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder is supposed to be a “sheer illuminating powder” that gives skin a “candle-lit, radiant glow” that can be used alone, as a finishing powder, or as a highlighter. Like Golden Glow, it is far from sheer–in fact, it is pretty opaque! If you like your highlighters/bronzers pigmented, that might be a happy “con.” The texture was soft, smooth, and easy to blend and work with on my cheeks. It didn’t emphasize pores and gave a soft sheen. I think this one could be used as a finishing powder on deeper skin tones as well. This shade lasted for eight hours before fading noticeably.

Clinique Uplighting Illuminating Powder Bronze Glow

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Clinique Golden Glow Uplighting Illuminating Powder

Clinique Golden Glow Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder
Clinique Golden Glow Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder

Clinique Golden Glow Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder ($27.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a medium, peachy orange with warm undertones and a sparkling, gold shimmer-sheen finish. bareMinerals The Premiere (LE, $26.00) is lighter (95% similar). Colour Pop Yummy Cookies (LE, $8.00) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Chanel Lumiere d'Artifices Beiges Illuminating Powder (LE, $65.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson (LE, $32.00) is lighter (90% similar). NARS Miss Liberty (P, $29.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Cle de Peau Sand Beige (13) (P, $55.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Colour Pop Most Necessary (P, $8.00) is darker (85% similar). Guerlain Pause d'Ete (LE, $82.00) is darker (85% similar). MAC Peaceful (LE, $22.00) is less shimmery, darker (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

The Up-Lighting Illuminating Powder is supposed to be a “sheer illuminating powder” that gives skin a “candle-lit, radiant glow” that can be used alone, as a finishing powder, or as a highlighter. While Nude Glow was subtle and sheer, this shade was not; it had semi-opaque coverage, which was buildable to full coverage with two layers, and it was noticeably shimmery on the skin–I can’t really imagine most wanting to use this as an all-over powder. If you’re looking for a soft, warming highlighter (or highlighting bronzer, perhaps) and like some sparkle, this might work on fair to medium-dark skin tones. The texture was soft enough that it was blendable on the skin, and it didn’t emphasize pores, but it is a little drier overall where some of the sparkle separates from the color itself. On my normal-to-dry skin, the color lasted just over eight hours before fading.

Clinique Uplighting Illuminating Powder Golden Glow

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