I wonder if any of you can relate to the consumerist cycle I often find myself in. Once upon a time, my big makeup vice was lipstick. I’d still consider myself first and foremost a lipstick lover, but I hit a certain point where I had so much lipstick that my acquisition really tapered off. Then, my attention naturally shifted towards blush, and I began to accumulate a lot of that. I’ve cycled through a few product categories that get all my attention (and dollars). It’s like I need something to be interested in makeup-wise, and when I max out one category I naturally meander on over to another. I’ve gone through all the interesting categories and I’ve wound up at foundation, currently. But let’s talk about blush today instead, because I love blush a lot more than foundation.
Clearly, when it comes to blush I am a brand snob. At this point I only own two drugstore blush products, and both are from Sleek. I do really enjoy blush, but at this point I don’t feel the need to bring more into my life. The last time I purchased a new blush was 11 months ago and I haven’t felt any urge to expand my collection since then. A gal can only go through so many blushes in her lifetime, and let’s be honest – once they’re on our faces, a lot of the apparent differences all but disappear.
I’ve arranged these by colour family, and I did this by using the very scientific process of “sort according to the colour in the pan”. You’ll see that some of these straddle multiple categories or might fit better in a different one than I’ve put it in, but I think we will survive my shortcomings.
By the way, I’ve slightly underexposed the swatch photos because I think the colour accuracy is a bit better when I do that.
First up, some of my peachy blushes!
Sleek Blush by 3 Palette in Lace
Sleek blushes are very, very nice, and if you live in a place where you can saunter on down to the drugstore and buy one then you should consider yourself very lucky. Some of us have to have to order them online like savages.
The Blush by 3 palette was a Christmas 2013 present from Aisling. I requested it because I was in a phase where I only watched British YouTubers and everyone talked about Sleek all the time. (Uh, does that really obviously date that phase in my life to 2013?) I use the middle shade in the palette, Guipure, the most. Actually, it’s the only shade I really use at all. I don’t normally go for shimmery blush, but this one gives a beautiful glow: just check out the swatch below! The two matte shades are so pigmented that they easily verge on clownish on my skintone, and I definitely would not normally wear straight up orange blush anyway. I take a pretty firm anti-orange stance on most things, generally.
Chanel Sunkiss Ribbon Harmonie de Blush
This late 2015/early 2016 LE blush was one of my absurd Optimum points luxury purchases. You know how it is, or maybe you don’t because you’re a better person than me. I’m not really sure what compelled me to buy it, because I’ve never been interested in Chanel makeup and prefer cool-toned makeup most of the time. As with most multi-tone products, I apply this by swirling my brush around the entire pan, which generally gives me a peachy glow. Sometimes it leans pinker and sometimes it leans more orange depending on what exactly my brush picks up. It’s quite sheer, which I find delightfully user-friendly, and the end result is always pretty. But is it worth $70 CAD? Absolutely not!
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush
It’s funny, swatched next to all of these blushes Luminous Flush appears quite pink, but on my cheeks it definitely reads as peach. This is easily my second favourite of my Hourglass blushes, which, as you may know, are my all-time favourite blush formula. In the summer I probably use this blush 2-3 times a week, which is pretty high proportionally.
L-R: Sleek Crochet, Sleek Guipure, Sleek Chantilly, Chanel Sunkiss Ribbon, Hourglass Luminous Flush
These are my two neutral, go-to blushes appropriate for pretty much any occasion.
Benefit Boxed Powder in Hervana
Benefit seems to be a rather polarizing brand: I know people who swear by the line as a whole and who love the kitschy aesthetic, but I’ve read a lot of backlash against the brand for having subpar products masked by cute packaging. Personally I’m not wowed by Benefit overall, but other than my arch-nemesis They’re Real! mascara (which I’ve mentioned so many times that I’m sure you are all aware of how much I despise it) I’ve never had a dud product from the brand. I’ve had several Benefit blushes in the past, but destashed most due to the bulky packaging. I kept Hervana only because it’s the perfect natural blush for me. Swirled together, on me it reads as a soft, slightly warm brownish pink. It’s truly one of those products that goes with everything. Sometimes I forget I have it because it’s not very exciting, but I’m currently going through a phase with it. It’s hard to mess it up, really! I just wish it were more travel-friendly, because I could easily get through a month-long trip with this as my one and only blush.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure
You may remember that Mood Exposure is my favourite of the ALBs, and probably my favourite blush of all time. If you were to simply look at it in the pan, you’d probably wonder how something so dull could possibly be somebody’s favourite. But on the skin it transforms: it’s an incredibly brightening, flattering mixture of plum and brown with the healthiest luminosity. If I lost all my blushes this is the one I would repurchase immediately. Because Hervana is so bulky, Mood Exposure is the blush I always take travelling with me. For a weekend trip I need a minimum of five lip colour options, but I can get through ten days with just Mood Exposure, easy.
L-R: Benefit Hervana, Hourglass Mood Exposure
Bright blushes! Yay!
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat
This was my very first ALB, a hand-me-down from Aisling because she found the hot red-coral too intense for her tastes. I’m so glad she passed it on to me, because I don’t know that I would have discovered this formula otherwise – it’s surprisingly unhyped on ye olde internette. Generally I like to apply this with a stipple brush, and it’s more of a summer shade for me, but it’s stunning. It’d look great on darker skin too.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta
I think Radiant Magenta was a bit of a mistake of a purchase on my part. There’s nothing wrong with it: it’s just as finely-milled, glowy, and long-wearing as my other three ALBs. But it’s pretty similar to Diffused Heat (although Diffused Heat ironically appears more magenta on the skin – the tan swirls in Radiant Magenta tone it down significantly), and I don’t think I really need both. As I’ve said, that’s my sole gripe with the ALB line. It’s not extensive, and many of the shades are quite similar. I don’t know if I can bear to part with Radiant Magenta, even so, because I paid a pretty penny for it and I just love the ALBs in general.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Natural Beauty
I first laughed when I saw that the name of this bright pink-red blush was Natural Beauty, but applied lightly it actually does make me look how I naturally do when I’ve just come out of the cold. This formula isn’t my favourite; it’s rather stiff, and I prefer something softer and more finely-milled. However, I like that it’s not too pigmented (with a colour like this that would be a real killer), and the colour is one of my favourites.
L-R: Hourglass Diffused Heat, Hourglass Radiant Magenta, Tarte Natural Beauty
Finally, plums and purples and berries, a category which I love maybe a little too much…
ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Rain
You know, I bought this to see if I would actually wear lavender/lilac blush, and the answer is no, not often. (Don’t be fooled by the pan you see. This is the result of perhaps five applications.) However, I have on several occasions been very happy to have this on hand, as when I go out with my friends I usually do pretty funky makeup and enjoy applying this with a very heavy hand all the way up to my temples. It’s a fun product! But I’m not going to upgrade it for a more expensive lavender blush, probably.
Sleek Blush in Flushed
This was another Aisling hand-me-down, and it’s one of my favourites for fall and winter. It’s a warm berry shade with a satin finish and very subtle gold flecks running through it. It looks absolutely beautiful and glowing. I think this would look even better on deeper skintones that can take more colour. You’ll see in the swatch that it does come off warmer than it looks in the pan, but that’s also because it really doesn’t photograph true-to-colour. That’s been one of my ongoing struggles with this product! If you’re in the market for an affordable, warm-toned plummy blush… this may be the one!
Guerlain Rose Aux Joes Blush in Wonder Violette
Another absolutely wild Optimum points purchase! This is a soft, warm pinky plum. It’s another one which appears warmer on my skin than it does in the pan. I do not think it’s worth $60 and will not buy another Guerlain blush, with Optimum points or otherwise. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it: the formula is nice and I like the colour, but there’s better stuff out there for cheaper. Speaking of which…
NARS Blush in Sin
Personally, I think NARS blushes are a little overrated formula-wise, but some of the colours are to die for. Sin is the colour of a bruise, which sounds very unappealing but which I adore. I have nothing else like this and I rarely see anything similar on the market. This blush doesn’t go with every makeup look, but I love having it on hand. I doubt I’ll become a NARS blush collector, but if any of the colours call my name I’d be willing to buy another one. (And yes, I felt like I truly belonged in the makeup community when I bought this. I mean, are you a real beauty blogger if you don’t own a NARS blush?!)
L-R: ColourPop Rain, Sleek Flushed, Guerlain Wonder Violettes, NARS Sin
And that, my friends, is the extent of my blush collection. Fourteen total if I count the shades in the Sleek palette separately, twelve actual products. I think that’s pretty manageable, and I don’t think I could realistically trim it down much. I genuinely use and like everything I have here. I can also easily list every product in my blush collection off the top of my head, which I think is a pretty good benchmark.
Next time shall I do a more boring category? I don’t want to exhaust all the interesting ones too early on…
Today I’m inventorying my smaller palettes for you. As a general rule, I tend to reach for large palettes more often because I remember I have them and because they usually give me everything I need all in one place. I tend to neglect my singles and even my smaller palettes. I could probably pare down this collection, but that would be a post for another day. Also, I think I could have included some of the palettes from this post in the last one, but I divided them up based on gut feeling and we’re all just going to have to deal with the consequences.
Wet N Wild The Silent Treatment Trio
Pretty much since the moment I bought this trio back in the summer of 2013, I’ve been telling myself that one day I will get an empty palette and depot the eyelid shade of this trio so I can toss the other two. I have not touched either the crease or browbone colour in at least three years, but the taupe-y purple shimmer of the eyelid shade is one of my favourite eyeshadows ever. It’s divine. I keep this crappily-packaged trio around solely for that colour. It’s one of my most-used eyeshadows of all time.
Sleek I-Divine Mattes V2
You know those palettes that you keep around because they have a lot of really interesting colours that you might want to use one day even though you never actually do want to use them? Yeah. I actually did love a few of the shades in this palette many eons ago, but I haven’t touched it in years. Yet I cannot yet part with it! I wouldn’t say these eyeshadows are amazing, but they’re totally workable and the price is right. I’m going to see if I can get some use out of it now that I’ve remembered that I have it.
Unnamed Lancôme Quad, Lancôme Blush Sweetness, Lancôme Lavender Grace
These are all GWP sizes that I’ve picked up from work over the years; if you want to shell out $55 you’ll get larger pans and slightly more substantial packaging. The first quad, which has no name, contains the colours (clockwise from top left) Kitten Heel, Honeymoon, Platform, and Madison Ave. I love the shade Kitten Heel, which is the most beautiful shimmery peach. The other colours are all generic but pair well with Kitten Heel, so this works perfectly as a self-contained, slim, easy-to-carry quad.
I love the soft, romantic hues of the Blush Sweetness palette. Not everybody likes soft pinks on the eyes, but I think this palette gives a really gorgeous effect, and the shadows are very soft and smooth.
I love having Lavender Grace on hand for days when I really just want to wear purple eyeshadow. I don’t have pure purples anywhere else in my collection, but I do like wearing them occasionally, so I hang onto this. It’s not one of my most-used palettes, but it fills a gap in my collection to be sure.
The Body Shop Smoky Plum Quad
I’m pretty sure this was a limited edition holiday product several years back. I’m a sucker for neutral, taupe-based purples and plums, so I really dig this palette. The shadows are a bit on the sheer side, but they’re fine to work with and all the colours go together well. You know how sometimes you get a quad where you just can’t work one of the shades into the look easily? This palette is the opposite of that.
Urban Decay Naked Basics
Clearly, I use this palette all the time. I have a go-to look that I could do in my sleep, or more accurately, when I’m half-awake and running late. It’s perfect for travel because it’s so tiny and the rubberized packaging makes it resistant to shattering, plus it closes very securely. The shade Naked 2 is the best crease colour I’ve found for my skintone and I really wish UD sold it separately. I didn’t think I’d use this palette much until I got it, and now I can’t imagine life without it. I use it several times a week. It’s very boring but very functional.
Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs in Les Violines
Okay, so, we all know that $71 CAD for 4 eyeshadows is absolutely ridiculous, regardless of how soft they are. This is a fact which I feel that I must establish right off the bat. If you know me at all you’ll know that I purchased this palette with Optimum points, which is always what I do when I feel like indulging in something I would never in a million years use real money on. Though the price tag is absurd, I really do love this palette. These taupe-y purple shades are some of my favourite to wear (see above), and I really appreciate that all these shades are completely matte. Obviously, there’s not a lot of versatility in the looks you can get from this palette, but it’s really great if you like these types of colours.
Wet N Wild Comfort Zone
Again, I should probably depot the colours I actually use from this palette and toss the rest. Wet N Wild shadows are by and large actually great quality, but most of the shades in this palette are similar to things I already own elsewhere in my collection. However, the blue-brown duochrome and the olive green shade alone justify the five bucks I paid for it. I’ve swatched a few of the other shades, but I don’t know that I’ve actually put them on my eyes. I don’t think this palette works on its own either as all the shades are shimmery (as is par for the course with WnW palettes). One day I promise I will buy a small palette and depot those two shades and the taupe from the Silent Treatment palette and toss the rest!
Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con No 7 Plush Eyeshadow Palette in The Lolita
My friend Kristin got me this palette for Christmas because she wanted to get me something that I’d never get myself. And she is very right that I would never spend $71 actual dollars on an eyeshadow palette with seven shades, because that is absurd. (But I’d spend $71 fake Optimum point dollars on an eyeshadow palette with four shades, obviously…) This is sort of like the Naked Basics palette elevated: you get all your very basic shades and a few fun shimmery ones, though they’re all still neutral. I really like the looks I’ve managed to make with this palette, but that one ultra-shimmer shade in the middle SUCKS, guys. It’s fallout city with no actual colour payoff to make the fallout worth it. And, I don’t know, I just feel like if you’re going to charge $71 for seven eyeshadows you should make them all useable, at least. It’s too bad, because the texture of the other shadows is lovely, and there’s a super pretty iridescent pink colour that looks beautiful in the center of the eyelid. It’s just, you know, how can I be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about this palette when that one shade is so goddamn bad?
Between these guys and my large palettes, you guys are probably like, “THAT IS ENOUGH EYESHADOW CLEM.” But no! I still have some singles, which will come at you someday. I don’t know when yet, because I have a backlog of posts I need to finish up and publish before I get to another inventory post.
I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and start an inventory series on my blog to showcase everything I have and give products I don’t mention much a chance in the spotlight. I’m kicking things off with a category which interests me but is manageable. (I’m afraid to do lipstick, guys.) I have a fair amount of eyeshadow, so I’m focusing on my big palettes today. I’ll do smaller palettes, quints, quads, and trios in another post, and singles in yet another. I’m not sure if my next inventory post will be eyeshadow or if I’ll bounce over to another category of makeup. We’ll have to see where my whims take me.
I currently have five larger shadow palettes, which I think is a pretty good number. There’s a lot of variety within those five palettes, but it’s a manageable number and I can use each one of them regularly. I’d say that eyeshadow is my second biggest makeup love, next to lipstick. Lipstick got me into makeup, but once I figured out how to apply eyeshadow to my eye shape I never looked back.
I’ll likely arrange the products differently in future posts depending on what makes most sense (for example, I’ll do lipstick by colour family), but today I’m just going to speak about these in chronological order of when they came into my collection.
Urban Decay Naked 3
Like a number of items in my makeup collection, this was a very generous gift from Aisling, who didn’t like the rose-gold shades in this palette on herself. I went to visit her in Brighton and came out of it with a snazzy palette! Out of all three full-sized Naked palettes, this one seems to be the most contentious. Some people love it, but most people don’t use it as much as the Naked 1 and 2. I can see why: it has a much clearer colour story, and you can’t get that many different looks out of it. It’s a rosy, soft palette. I actually really enjoy these colours and have quite a few go-to looks I can create with them. These shadows are definitely not the best quality I’ve used (my Anastasia, Kat Von D, and LORAC palettes all easily best this one in terms of pigmentation and blendability), but most of them are perfectly fine. (The shade Buzz is a notable exception; it’s a bit of a mess.) I have to be in a specific mood to use this palette and it’s not the type of thing I’d throw into a suitcase with the knowledge that it’ll cover all my bases, but I do like it.
This palette got a tonne of hype back in the day and now we barely hear anything about it in the land of beauty blogging, which I suppose is the natural cycle. I wasn’t really that interested in it (probably because we can’t get LORAC in Canada) until I saw it on r/makeupexchange for $35 and had to do it. In contrast with the UD Naked 3, this is a palette I travel with, because I feel like I can get a million different looks out of it. There are a few shades that I feel are redundant, but there are so many that are absolutely glorious that I can overlook that. Gold is my favourite gold shadow ever and a staple of my go-to look for any special event I have.
Stila Eyes are the Window – Spirit
I lusted after this palette for at least a year and a half until spending my Optimum points on it in early 2016, and I use it less than I thought I would. There are a few standout shades in here; my favourite is the burgundy, Pigalle. Between the time I first saw it and when I actually bit the bullet and bought it, I accumulated enough neutral eyeshadow that this palette is actually kind of redundant in my collection. I still like it and use it, but not as often as I’d imagined. These shadows are quite sheer – though not unpigmented – so they’d be better suited for someone who prefers to build up colour slowly.
Kat Von D Shade and Light
I feel too icky about Kat Von D to buy any more of her products, but this palette really is phenomenally good. These are some of the creamiest, most blendable mattes I’ve come across. This palette is great for self-contained looks and it’s the perfect complement to those palettes that just aren’t complete on their own. I can get such a variety of looks out of this palette: warm, cool, soft, smokey… If you don’t like shadows that kick up a lot of powder I’d avoid this, but if you don’t mind that too much then this palette really is great.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance
You guys, this is my favourite palette. It just is. I know I’m so two-thousand-and-late here, but I just can’t think of a more perfect palette for my tastes. Setting aside the fact that the shadows are beautiful quality (which they are), every single colour makes sense to me. There’s not one shade in this palette that I don’t use happily. I love that I can do a variety of neutral looks but that there are also interesting, bold colours. This palette is just so well thought-out and interesting yet complete. I’ll have a full review with several looks up at some point.
This is likely more eyeshadow than any human could ever go through in a lifetime, and that’s not even taking into consideration my smaller palettes and singles. I did just get rid of two palettes, though, and even if I never actually use up all of this eyeshadow each palette fits a slightly different niche in my collection, so I’m happy to hold onto them all for now.