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ColourPop Pie Super Shock Cheek

ColourPop Pie Super Shock Cheek
ColourPop Pie Super Shock Cheek

ColourPop Pie Super Shock Cheek ($8.00 for 0.15 oz.) is described as a “true bright neon pink pie in a matte finish.” It’s a brightened, magenta pink with cool, blue undertones and a mostly matte finish–there appears to be a smidgen of micro-shimmer but applied, it looks matte. Colour Pop Homie (P, $8.00) is slightly brighter, more magenta than fuchsia. Colour Pop Pegacorn (P, $8.00) is slightly more fuchsia, shimmery. LORAC Unashamed (LE) is lighter, powder. MAC Sweet Sentiment (LE, $27.00) is more shimmery, more muted, powder. Surratt Beauty Se Pomponner (P, $32.00) is a powder. Makeup Geek Hanky Panky (P, $9.99) is lighter, powder. Urban Decay Savage (P) is a powder. NARS Coeur Battant (LE, $29.00) is darker, powder. Urban Decay Quickie (LE) is lighter, powder. NARS Desire (P, $29.00) is a powder. MAC Florida (LE, $21.00) is similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

I’ve tested a few of the new blush shades, and this is the first one to be reviewed (I like to test a few of a new formula prior to posting any reviews, just to have a better “big picture” of where it seems we’re going), so more are on the way. The formula on the Super Shock Cheeks seems to be creamier in comparison to the Super Shock Shadows, though they still have that more sponge-like consistency where you can press and mold the product like clay. According to the brand, coverage is buildable from “natural-looking” to “more intense,” and they specifically state that “fingertips will provide the highest amount of coverage.” On each blush’s product page, the brand suggests using a flat synthetic brush or duo fiber brush with the latter yielding “a more sheer, air brushed effect.”

This is a formula where technique counts. So, how best to apply? It depends on the shade, your skin’s natural texture, the level of coverage you want, and what tool(s) you use to apply the color with. All true with any product, of course, but I felt like there was a bigger learning curve with this formula as a blush. I have been using an assortment of brushes and techniques to apply these as I’ve applied them for testing as well as for just capturing initial face swatches to see what worked best for me. I’ve had good luck with brushes like MAC 159, MAC 188, Real Techniques Setting Brush, and Real Techniques Contour Brush for semi-sheer, buildable coverage that looked well-blended and diffused nicely along the edges. Fingertips work exceptionally well for depositing medium to full coverage and blending edges. For initial application (to get color coverage), dab and pat along the cheek area, don’t swipe. For blending, the key was to use less pressure than you think; a more airy touch is all you need to blend without displacing the color. I didn’t like flat synthetic brushes for applying these, as they tended to streak and were more prone to appearing uneven and blotchy–I would always end up correcting with fingertips. Some shades were less buildable than others, and some of the very lightest and more matte finishes were less forgiving on the skin (a couple seemed less creamy, which might have been a contributing factor).

Most of the blushes look mostly matte to semi-matte applied, even those that have shimmer don’t appear nearly as shimmery applied as they do swatched or in the pan unless you’re wearing them at full, true-to-pan intensity. As I swatched through a lot of them (I still have a few I haven’t photographed yet), several shades overlapped. If you tend to like a subtle application, you may want to stick with the lighter version of the shade, but if you need or like the versatility of having a richer and deeper shade and don’t mind sheering out the color, opt for the deeper version. If you have very strong cool or warm undertones, you may find that the nuance in undertone of two seemingly similar shades may be the make-or-break difference.

Pie had good color coverage that was slightly lighter than the pan color itself, but it had mostly opaque coverage. It was blendable and sheered out to a softer, cool-toned pink. Applied with a stippling brush, it had more of stained appearance on the skin as it was brighter but more translucent. The finish is mostly matte but doesn’t look flat or powdery on the skin, and it looked good on bare skin and over (liquid) foundation. When I tried it over liquid foundation, it doesn’t disturb the underlying base product much, if at all, because it doesn’t have a wet or creamy consistency once it hits the skin. It acts more like a powder product, but it is more forgiving when it comes to diffusing and sheering the color out than really intense powder blushes. On me, the color wore well for nine hours before fading. I think if you wore it at a higher opacity level (and depending on any base products underneath), you might also see slight staining of the skin.

Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek Pie
Pie
Pie
A-

Discontinued

9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
91%
Total

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Round-up: NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Overview & Thoughts

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) was an interesting concept, but I think that the texture could have been differentiated a bit more from the eyeshadows, because–as we have learned this year–that what makes a good eyeshadow may not always make a good blush and vice versa. Most blush brushes are less dense and often cut with more tapered fibers compared to a lot of eyeshadow brushes, but the texture of this formula is firmer (like the eyeshadows), so it can require some experimentation with tools and techniques to get decent to good pigmentation out of it.

Secondly, NARS claims that damp application results in a “translucent wash of color,” which is the exact opposite of damp application for their Dual-Intensity eyeshadows (the wet application is described as “mind-blowing impact with dramatic luminous matte and high shine finishes”). These perform very much in line with the eyeshadows with a damp application–they’re more richly pigmented, deeper and more intense, and the finishes are more shimmery, more metallic. Everything about them is absolutely amplified with a damp application, regardless whether one uses their specific brush (which is one of the worst brushes for using these damp), moistened fingertips, misted brush, or dampened sponge.

Funny enough, but one trait of the eyeshadows is they’re supposed to be “a sheer soft touch of sensual color” dry, whereas the blush formula is supposed to have “a bold flush” when applied dry. I’ve found many of their eyeshadows to actually be more pigmented than sheer when applied dry, which was the case with the majority of the blushes. In reality, pigmentation is pretty good either way, it just gets richer and more shimmery damp, but the formula remains more blendable and buildable dry.

They’re now available at NARS and Sephora. I was actually very curious if NARS’ would have different verbiage on their site at launch (perhaps it was a mistake), but their verbiage is the same as the press release sent to me by NARS. As of this morning, Sephora actually states: “Apply these shades wet to achieve a high-impact flush or dry to get a natural-looking glow.”

A few readers have asked if I like them:  so if I take off my reviewer cap a bit and just look at them as your typical powder blush, they’re decent to good, but it depends on the shade and finish.  I’m not in love with the firmer texture, and even dry, some shades still made my skin look worse, but some were really luminous and glowy in a good way.  I’d prefer them as singles as well. I like a few, don’t love any, and would reach for a lot of other formulas first (regardless of claims).

Report Card

Here are all the shades I’ve reviewed ordered from highest scoring to lowest scoring. Click the shade name below to read the full review and/or view the full set of photos and swatches.

NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Jubilation Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a warm-toned duo that is for those who love shimmer and metallic finishes. The texture of both shades is a bit firmer, so using ultra-soft brushes may get you poor results (e.g. blue squirrel haired brushes don’t work well, but goat hair and synthetic brushes worked fine). The color payoff was good regardless of dry or damp application, though the shimmer in the finishes was amplified when I used the shades damp. The “translucent wash of color” for damp application continues to elude me–I get nothing but intense color (and my brush is lightly misted, not sopping wet!). I would recommend a duo fiber brush like MAC’s 159 for applying these damp, rather than NARS’ own brush, as the damp application easily lifts base products and/or moves the brush around together while lifting it from place to place rather than blending it out, and I’ve had the best luck with the duo fiber brushes as they swirl without lifting the best. Damp application is a lot more work, because it is quite fussy.

Jubilation (Left) is described as a “sparkling yellow gold highlighter.” It’s a brightened, light-medium yellow gold with warm undertones and a metallic finish. It is actually rather metallic whether it is used dry or wet, though it is even more metallic when used wet and the pigmentation is richer. It emphasized pores very slightly when applied dry, and it lasted for seven hours. When I tested it with a dampened application, it definitely made my pores look bigger and skin more textured, and it wore well for eight hours.
NARS Frenzy (Left) (P) is much lighter. Dior Transatlantique (LE, $58.00) is similar. MAC Centre of Attention (Inner) (LE, $30.00) is similar. Guerlain Terracotta Sun in the City Illuminating Powder (LE, $70.00) is darker. Chanel Or (LE, $45.00) is lighter. bareMinerals The Shining Moment (LE, $26.00) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Jubilation (Right) is described as a “shimmering soft nude peach.” It’s a softened peachy-orange with a warm, golden metallic sheen. It had rich color payoff regardless of wet or dry application, but a wet application brought out the metallic shimmer and also tended to give it a chunkier, more textured look (the powder seemed thicker). Applied dry, it illuminated the skin and added warmth without emphasizing the skin’s natural texture and lasted for seven hours. Applied damp, it was thicker and more metallic, which amplified pores and my skin’s texture but wore well for eight hours. NYX Beach Babe (P, $6.50) is darker. Laura Mercier Rosegold Shimmer (LE) is less shimmery. Becca Guava/Moonstone (P, $27.00) is a cream product. MAC Fairly Precious (LE, $30.00) is lighter. bareMinerals The Many Splendors #3 (LE) is darker. MAC Perfectly Poised (Outer) (LE, $30.00) is darker. Becca Rose Gold (LE, $38.00) is less warm-toned, less metallic. MAC Trace Gold (P, $21.00) is very similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Duo Jubilation
Jubilation
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MAC x Julia Petit Linda Blush

MAC Linda Blush
MAC Linda Blush

MAC Linda Blush ($24.00 for 0.21 oz.) is described as a “soft pink bronze.” It’s a slightly muted, coppery-orange with warm undertones and a satiny sheen. Colour Pop Bonus (P, $8.00) is brighter, cream. NARS Frenzy (Right) (P) is more shimmery. MAC Seduced at Sea (LE, $25.00) is more shimmery. MAC Pleasure Model (LE, $25.00) is darker. MAC Bad Girl Gone Good (LE, $21.00) is darker. NARS Soulshine #2 (LE, $29.00) is more shimmery. NARS Gina (P, $29.00) is similar. MAC Eternal Sun (P, $23.50) is darker, browner. MAC Coppertone (P, $21.00) is slightly darker, rosier. MAC Blazing Haute (LE, $25.00) is lighter. Illamasqua Expose (P, $26.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The texture is very soft, finely-milled, and blendable, though it can get a smidgen powdery in the pan, but luckily, it doesn’t translate on the skin. Applied, it gives a beautiful, luminous sheen that keeps skin looking natural and fresh without being too dewy. The finish gives a noticeable glow but doesn’t emphasize pores. It’s also very pigmented but diffuses easily for a softer flush if desired. On me, the blush wore well for eight hours before fading. This was one of the best products in the collection.

MAC Powder Blush Linda
Linda
Linda
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8.5
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total

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NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush
NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush

NARS Craving Dual-Intensity Blush ($45.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a highlighter and bronzer duo. The two work together well, and when applied dry, they can be quite flattering on the skin, though dry application doesn’t have the best staying power. Both shades tended to emphasize the skin’s natural texture and any imperfections when applied with a damp brush, unfortunately, as the shimmery finishes intensified. To reiterate what I’ve mentioned in previous reviews: NARS describes the damp application as a sheer wash of color, but the reality is that this type of application yields deeper, richer, more opaque coverage than dry, and it also makes it harder to work with, as it doesn’t blend as readily as the formula does used dry.

Craving (Left) is described as a “sparkling seashell pink highlighter.” It’s a pink-tinged iridescent white with a metallic shimmer-sheen finish and cool undertones. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer with a frosted, metallic finish, which didn’t emphasize pores and lasted for seven hours on me. Applied damp, it was semi-opaque with a metallic sheen, which did emphasize pores and stayed on for eight hours before fading. NARS Devotee (LE, $29.00) is more sparkly. Urban Decay Luminous (P, $29.00) is less pink. Lancome Moonlight Rose (LE, $42.00) is darker, pinker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Craving (Right) is described as a “shimmering beachy bronze.” It’s a medium-dark orange brown with warm undertones and a gold shimmer. Applied dry, it had opaque color coverage that was fairly blendable and had a lovely satin sheen that didn’t emphasize pores. It wore well for seven hours this way before fading. When I tried to apply it with a dampened brush, the finish was more like a high frosted sheen, which did give my skin a more noticeable texture, though the color lasted for eight and a half hours. NYX Beach Babe (P, $6.50) is lighter. Bobbi Brown Bronze (LE, $45.00) is more muted. Urban Decay Strip Bronzer (P) is darker. MAC Alpine Bronze (LE, $27.00) is less shimmery. Too Faced Sun Bunny #1 (P) is darker. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bikini Contest (P, $3.99) is less shimmery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush Duo Craving
Craving
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Also In This Review

Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball

Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball
Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball

Estee Lauder Ultra Pink Lip & Cheek Ball ($26.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “translucent berry hue.” It’s a muted, pinkish-red with cool undertones and a subtle shine. NARS Adoration (Right) (P) is a powder. MAC Red Obsessed (LE, $20.00) is warmer. MAC Bred for Beauty (LE) is a powder. YSL Rose Frivole (02) (P, $40.00) is similar. YSL Fuchsia Desinvolte (01) (P, $40.00) is brighter. Illamasqua Peaked (P, $26.00) is more muted. Illamasqua Seduce (P, $26.00) is more muted. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The formula is supposed to be a “jelly-like gloss” with a “full-throttle shine” that gives a “slight tint to lips while imparting a rosy glow to cheeks.” It’s not at all glossy or jelly-like; it’s more like a very thin, firm balm that offers a satin shine with sheer color. The coverage is as described–translucent–and tints the lips and cheeks with a barely-there hue. It’s extremely uncomfortable to wear on the lips, as it feels dry and is drying over time, while the color lasts about an hour before sliding off. As a blush, it wore for six and a half hours before breaking down, but it imparted no real shine, just a smidgen of color (would be better suited for a fairer complexion than mine).

Estee Lauder Lip & Cheek Ball Ultra Pink
Ultra Pink

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