The first day of Autumn is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited. While I enjoy the summer, it’s been quite hot and humid here for about as long as I can tolerate. I prefer the fall with the cool breeze, changing colors and warm soups! I love the weather when you need to throw a sweatshirt on to go for a walk at night.

In celebration of fall I went through my makeup and picked out the shades for eyes, lips, cheeks and nails that I always wear this time of year. I am going to start with my favorite- blushes!

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Shown: NARS Madly, Hourglass Mood Exposure and Laura Mercier Mocha Spice

In the fall I tend to go for similar colors for lips and cheeks. Nudes, berries and rosy tones make up the majority of my choices for both categories. I think I reach for nudes more because I tend to amp up my eyes more in the fall. These three shades are all very nude, in my opinion. None of them are completely matte, which I like. Nude shades can be harder to blend into the skin without a satin finish or a bit of sheen. It makes it more skin-like.

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Shown: Tarte Blushing Bride, MAC Stark Naked, NARS Mata Hari, NYX Raisin

Not all berry shades have to be intimidating. They can be a berry pink, have a mauve tone, etc. that make them easier to wear. MAC Stark Naked was limited edition (NARS Sin is somewhat close) but the rest are readily available. Mata Hari was a surprise for me when I bought it years ago because I expected it to be a summer color. While it does look great with a tan, Mata Hari is a chameleon. It has just enough mauve/murkiness to it mixed with the right amount of berry pink. It’s a must have for me.

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Shown: Illamasqua Sin, NARS Mounia, Becca Raspberry/Opal

While you can certainly use more sheer tones, it’s also fun to throw in some of those really pigmented colors that can imitate the effect of the cold. Illamasqua Sin and NARS Mounia are perfect for the fall. NARS Mounia was discontinued awhile back, but try a shade like NARS Taos or MAC Ambering Rose for a similar effect. Becca’s Beach Tint Shimmer in Raspberry/Opal is also worthy of fall must-have status. It’s the only cream product that made my list- but for good reason. The color gives a nice, refreshing berry tint while the highlighting aspect leaves behind a warm and wearable gold sheen. The two paired together are perfection and the formula is wonderful with excellent staying power.

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Swatches from L-R: Illamasqua Sin, NARS Mounia, NARS Mata Hari, Tarte Blushing Bride, MAC Stark Naked, NYX Raisin, Hourglass Mood Exposure, NARS Madly, Laura Mercier Mocha Spice, Becca Raspberry/Opal

Also worth noting are the two highlighters I reach for in the fall season.

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Shown: Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous and Guerlain Parure de Nuit

Both of these majestic (yes, it’s that serious) highlighters were sadly limited edition. Try another highlighter from Guerlain, like their meteorites perles. MAC has released a highlighter called Superb that is pretty spot-on for Rose Rendezvous. I have some comparison swatches of similar highlighters done here. If you ever spot one of these in a blog sale definitely snatch it up!

That wraps up my favorite cheek products for the fall. I’ll be doing eyes next!

Yes, spring is very near! Time to bust out the pinks and corals and of course, the cream blushes!

Here are my picks/thoughts:

 

I mentioned in my recent video that I had finally picked up Bobbi Brown’s rather famous blush in Pale Pink. A reader asked if I would do some swatches comparing it to a few other colors in the same family. As I love doing a good swatch-fest I happily obliged (thanks Shayna)!

Hot pink blush is something I have a hard time resisting, as you will see below. It’s just a fun, face-brightening shade that no one should be scared of- no matter how eye-searingly bright the color in the pan may seem!

Hot Pink Blush Comparison

The contenders, clockwise from bottom: MAC Pink Swoon, Illamasqua Nymph, Tarte Amused, NARS Desire, Smashbox Radiance, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink, Milani Delizioso Pink

All of my hot pink blushes are matte. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if hot pinks are really catered to that particular formula. In any case, all of these are beautiful in their own way and some are more similar than others. I believe Smashbox Radiance I have owned the longest and Milani Delizioso Pink is brand new.

All of the swatches below were done with the same brush on unprimed skin.

Hot Pink Blush Comparison Swatches Sun

Swatches L-R (in direct sunlight): Milani Delizioso Pink, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink, Smashbox Radiance, NARS Desire, Tarte Amused, Illamasqua Nymph, MAC Pink Swoon

The least pigmented is Pink Swoon and the most pigmented is NARS Desire, followed closely by Stila Custom Color Pink. NARS Desire is the most warm-toned of the group, along with Smashbox Radiance and Tarte Amused. Stila and Milani are definitely cool toned.

Hot Pink Blush Comparison Swatches Shade

Swatches L-R (in shade): Milani Delizioso Pink, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink, Smashbox Radiance, NARS Desire, Tarte Amused, Illamasqua Nymph, MAC Pink Swoon

The best texture goes to Illamasqua, Milani, NARS and Stila- all of which were smooth and soft. The biggest disappointment is MAC Pink Swoon. Although it looks nice when applied when swatched it loses a lot of it’s luster, especially when compared to some of the other standouts in my collection. Lasting power goes to Bobbi Brown, NARS and Tarte. I haven’t properly tested Milani so I cannot compare that one yet. I don’t have a problem with wear time on any of these blushes, but the ones noted above stood out to me as being particularly long-lasting .

My overall picks? NARS Desire, Stila Custom Color Pink, Bobbi Brown Pale Pink and Tarte Amused. If you’re on a budget the Milani blush is a great option. Skip MAC Pink Swoon. It isn’t as pigmented and the color in the pan isn’t exactly the color you get applied. Illamasqua Nymph is lovely all the way around, but it really isn’t hot pink as much as it is a bubblegum pink so I don’t feel right comparing it to the shades above.

I hope you found this helpful! What’s your favorite hot pink blush? Is there anything I am missing out on?!

Is there anything quite as feminine or dainty as that perfect pop of pink swept lightly across your cheekbones? I recently had a request to swatch all of my pink blushes (thanks Katherine!) and I was happy to oblige. I didn’t know when I first sat down to take photographs for this post just how many (or few) pink blushes I would have. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you know that I tend to prefer my peach and coral blushes and often gravitate towards those types of shades in new releases.

However, I quickly realized that I do in fact own a number of pink blushes in a wide variety of tones and finishes. Please note that this is only for powder blushes. I intend to do a cream blush post separately only because swatching the two different textures together isn’t exactly ideal.

I have tried my best to group them together in a way that makes tonal sense. Enjoy!

Pink Blushes 1

Clockwise from bottom left: Milani Dolce Pink, Benefit Rockateur, MAC Pink Cult, Chanel Rose Ecrin, MAC Pink Tea, Rimmel Autumn Catwalk, 17 First Kiss, Estee Lauder Tease

These are the lighter pinks and the more neutral pinks that can almost border on nude. Some are matte and some are quite shimmery. The lighting here looks slightly different as a storm ended up moving through as I was finishing and this was the last photo I needed to take. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Love thunderstorms though. ;)

Pink Blush Swatches 1

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: MAC Pink Cult, MAC Pink Tea, Chanel Rose Ecrin, Rimmel Autumn Catwalk, 17 First Kiss, Benefit Rockateur, Milani Dolce Pink, Estee Lauder Tease

Pink Cult has quite a grey cast to it, which also makes it quite unique. It was limited edition- I depotted mine but I think it came out with the Jeanius collection in 2010? It’s a favorite for me in the winter. Pink Tea and Rose Ecrin are wonderful blushes that work well under pretty much any circumstance as they border on being nude. Autumn Catwalk was a gift from the lovely Tiffany of Will Work for Makeup well over a year ago, maybe even two- and it really does add that “hike on a windy fall day” color to the cheeks. I feel like drinking hot cider just looking at it. The 17 blush came from a friend overseas who used to have such an incredible blog (I miss you H!) and is amazing considering the price- I think it retails for 2 or 3 pounds. Rockateur is new and I just featured it in my last post- amazing!!! Dolce Pink and Tease are both quite shimmery- Dolce Pink being lighter and less pigmented and more noticeably sparkly on the face. Tease is that gelee formula I love and makes for a very glowing complexion.

Pink Blushes 4

Clockwise from bottom left: Stila Custom Color, Illamasqua Nymph, MAC Well Dressed, MAC Azalea Blossom, Stila Love at First Blush, Tarte Fantastic, MAC Two Virtues, Tarte Adored, Cargo Catalina (also pictured Milani Dolce Pink and Estee Lauder Tease but are not in the swatches below)

These are the cooler toned pinks and ones that have a slight lavender twist.

Pink Blush Swatches 4

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: MAC Azalea Blossom, MAC Two Virtues, Tarte Adored, Stila Custom Color, Tarte Fantastic, Illamasqua Nymph, Stila Love at First Blush, Cargo Catalina, MAC Well Dressed

Can you even see Well Dressed? It barely shows up on my current skin tone. I feel like when I am more pale it does, but it’s not earth shattering. It’s one of the first MAC blushes I purchased due to all the hype it got on Youtube and blogs at the time and frankly I’ve never really understood why. The Stila Custom Color, Tarte Fantastic and Illamasqua Nymph are all fairly similar- with Nymph having the best texture. Fantastic was limited edition and is a mini size that came from a set. Love at First Blush was limited edition as well but the pigmentation isn’t that great. Azalea Blossom is a true treasure and I am glad MAC has repromoted it a few times. Two Virtues and Adored are nice shimmery options for a slightly purple-hued pink. Catalina is the only Cargo blush I own and it’s rather nice. I enjoy the texture and pigmentation.

Pink Blushes 3

Clockwise from bottom left: Benefit Bella Bamba, Smashbox Pop of Pink, Illamasqua Hussy, Burberry Rose, Tarte Dollface, MAC Dollymix, MAC Mighty Aphrodite, Physicians Formula Healthy Booster Rose, Too Faced Candy Leopard

These are more the medium pinks, some are brighter than others but these are the standard, “suit all” shades that are so easy to use.

Pink Blush Swatches 3

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: Burberry Rose, Illamasqua Hussy, Tarte Dollface, Physician’s Formula Happy Booster Rose, Smashbox Pop of Pink, MAC Dollymix, Too Faced Candy Leopard, Benefit Bella Bamba, MAC Mighty Aphrodite

I hesitated including Mighty Aphrodite because it does border on being coral, but if you use the pink side a little more in ends up turning out a little more so. Illamasqua Hussy is the brightest of the group and Burberry Rose the darkest. Both are favorites of mine in terms of pigmentation and formula. Tarte Dollface is a super easy, never-fails shade that just seems to look good on everyone. Smashbox Pop of Pink is new to me (the newest is this group) and came in a set that may still be available at ULTA. I am super impressed with it. MAC Dollymix has a reputation all it’s own and seems to work well on a wide variety of skin tones. Too Faced Candy Leopard came in their Leopard Love palette (unfortunately limited edition) and is very soft and glowy. Bella Bamba is a nice watermelon pink with the right amount of shimmer.

Pink Blushes 2

Clockwise from bottom left: Sleek Santorini, MAC Her Blooming Cheek, MAC Azalea, Burberry Hydrangea Pink, NARS Desire, Tarte Amused, Smashbox Radiance, MAC Flaming Chic

These are the brights. The almost-neon and the ones you really have to take care in applying.

Pink Blush Swatches 2

Swatches (direct sunlight) L-R: Sleek Santorini, Burberry Hydrangea Pink, MAC Her Blooming Cheek, MAC Azalea, MAC Flaming Chic, NARS Desire, Smashbox Radiance, Tarte Amused

I have a hard time deciding between NARS Desire, Smashbox Radiance and Tarte Amused. All three are quite similar and add the most amazing pop of color to the face. I simply love these shades! MAC Flaming Chic is the lightest in pigmentation and Sleek Santorini is the heaviest. Just look at that glaringly bright color! Can you believe that it is from the drugstore? If you’re unfamiliar with the brand it is from overseas and is widely carried in drugstores (they call it “high street”) there. You can order the brand online but I’ve yet to see it carried in store in the U.S. – though I firmly believe they should! MAC Azalea is also quite the neon shade and I have to take extreme care when applying. MAC Her Blooming Cheek is similar but has no shimmer and is slightly lighter (and was limited edition).

That about wraps things up. I’m quite satisfied with my pink blush collection and feel I have most tones and finishes covered. I do still have a few shades on my wishlist (namely Chanel Rose Initial, Dior Rosy Glow and MAC Pink Swoon) but I’m not feeling the need to rush out and purchase them any time soon.

What are your must have pink blushes? Is there a shade I need to know about?

I have been noticeably procrastinating on writing this post. My last year’s favorites were done as a series, divided into categories, and was incredibly time consuming. I will be doing a separate post (check for that later this week) of my yearly favorites showing the products I reached for the most in eyes, lips, face and nails. This post, however, focuses solely on 12 products that I not only loved but that were released in 2012, as well as one product failure for this year.

2012 New Favorites 2

Clockwise from left: Guerlain Meteorites Perles D’Azur by Emilio Pucci, Chanel Joues Contraste Brume D’Or , Illamasqua Cream Blusher Zygomatic, Tarte Clean Slate 360 creaseless primer*, Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

Guerlain Meteorites Perles D’Azur by Emilio Pucci(LE)- I cannot tell you how many times I used these since getting them earlier this year (I believe May?). They became a regular part of my daily routine, adding a touch of glow to my skin without being obvious.

Chanel Brume D’Or(LE)- It was hard to decide between this, Notorious and Fleur de Lotus (all three are gorgeous and lovely in their own ways). But I decided on Brume D’Or because it really added a color of blush to my collection that is the perfect neutral when I have a summer tan. I used this a lot last summer and the color it gave was fabulous.

Illamasqua Zygomatic- Along with the powder blush Naked Rose, Illamasqua added to their blush lineup this year with some stellar shades. Zygomatic is a perfect neutral blush that blends into your skin like a dream, and great for those “no make-up” make-up looks.

Tarte Clean Slate 360 Primer*- The best eye primer I have used to date. It’s about 3/4 gone because I have literally not done my eye makeup without it since receiving it. I like that it comes in squeeze tube form vs. a wand (more hygienic) and it really makes a difference in how my makeup applies and how long it lasts (12+ hours).

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush- I’ve been a fan of these brushes created by Youtube Beauty Extraordinaire Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo. They are synthetic and super soft. They don’t shed and they hold up well to use and washing. This brush was a new release this year and was my absolute most used brush of the year. I use it daily for blending tinted moisturizer or foundation and even my concealer.

2012 New Favorites 1

Clockwise from left: Dior Fairy Golds, Laura Mercier Gilded Platinum, Too Faced La Creme Naked Dolly, Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick Empress, MAC Lipglass Revenge is Sweet, BareMinerals Ready Liner 5am, Urban Decay Mushroom

Dior Fairy Golds Swatches

Dior Fairy Golds(LE)- This was released in Dior’s holiday collection along with Night Golds (another favorite of mine). But between Night Golds and Fairy Golds, I definitely used this one the most. It has a slightly cooler tone to it and is a little more wearable for day-to-day use. The shadows were creamy and pigmented and long-lasting.

2012 New Favorites Swatches

Swatches L-R: BareMinerals 5am, Laura Mercier Gilded Platinum, Urban Decay Mushroom, Chanel Brume D’Or, Illamasqua Zygomatic, MAC Revenge is Sweet, Hourglass Empress, Too Faced Naked Dolly

BareMinerals 5am Ready Liner(LE)- What a gorgeous shade! This was released in their limited edition Night Vision set (which I have yet to review). Let me say I’m absolutely hooked on this formula! This shade was the reason I purchased the set, but I was blown away by the staying power of the liners in general. The black that came with the set is super black and stays on my waterline ALL DAY. Through a workout at the gym, my shower, meetings, errands, traffic…! Might be the best liner formula I have ever tried. Super creamy and easy to apply.

Laura Mercier Gilded Platinum (LE)- A gorgeous platinum shade with high shine and a smooth texture. The pattern? Fabulous.

Urban Decay Mushroom- Urban Decay revamped their eyeshadow formula this year and re-released many shades as singles, and added new ones to their lineup. I had always wanted this shade but it was previously (I think?) only available in their larger palettes. I jumped on this as soon as I saw they had released it as a single and wasn’t disappointed. Incredibly buttery in texture and excellent color payoff, this shadow is worth a look if you don’t already have it!

MAC Lipglass Revenge is Sweet(LE)- I am actually not a huge fan of the lipglass formula in general, however, I have been wanting this particular shade since it was released in the Disney Venomous Villains collection back in 2010 (anyone else miss those days of clever collections?!). I was happy to see it being repromoted in a collection this past November. The formula is actually more tolerable than I remember, not quite as sticky as it once was. The color is sheer, but lovely on the lips adding just a nice kiss of pink.

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick Empress*- 2012 was the year of the liquid lipstick with several companies coming out with their own variation on the trend. This formula was my favorite. My favorite shade is actually Muse, but I seem to have temporarily misplaced it! The three shades I have all perform the same: long lasting, highly opaque coverage and smooth texture. As with any liquid lipstick/matte lipstick you need to be wary of dry patches on your lips as they will inevitably make those look worse and more obvious.

Too Faced La Creme Drenched Lip Creme Naked Dolly- Actually Naked Dolly is a new purchase for me, prompted by Tiffany of Will Work For Makeup. I originally purchased the shade Juicy Melons back when these lipsticks first launched last summer. It was a go-to shade for me well into the fall. I’ve been into nude lipstick lately so when I saw Tiffany feature this I knew I had to pick it up. Creamy, opaque in one swipe and super comfortable wear this has to be the best new lipstick formula released in 2012 for me.

And lastly, the one product fail for me this past year:

MAC vs Sigma F25 Brush

Sigma F25 Tapered Face Brush- I cannot tell you how much I dislike this brush. I used it and washed it for months before finally giving up on it. It is supposed to be like the MAC 138 (both pictured above). After realizing I would NOT be able to continue using the F25, I purchased the 138. The reason? It sheds… ALL OVER THE PLACE. In my products, on my face, on my clothes, on my counters. Literally every time I used it 5-10 hairs would fall out. I have no idea how it has any hair left at all. Do yourself a favor and skip the F25. The MAC version is softer, much less shedding (only a few hairs when I first washed) and has a better feel on the face. I wouldn’t even give this brush away, let alone sell it in a blog sale. I wouldn’t want anyone else going through the frustration I experienced with it.

Well, after that rant I think I can end this favorites post. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you have a wonderful week! Feel free to share your favorite new products of 2012 below!

*Items marked with a ‘*’ were provided by PR for review purposes only*