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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

Any time Tarte releases a new shade of their famous Amazonian Clay Blush line I get excited. The formula is perfect for me- plenty of pigment, great staying power and oh-so-smooth on the skin.

I was quietly browsing my local Sephora store and came upon a new shade I hadn’t heard of before.

Tarte Captivating Blush

The shade is called Captivating and so it was. It came home with me right away.

Captivating is described as ‘warm peach’ and I’d say that’s right on the money. It’s bright, but not garish. It’s easy to apply and, despite being very pigmented, is actually hard to overdo. It looks natural on me and it’s nice for the summer as it pairs well with a good bronzer.

I knew right away I would have to compare it to the other Amazonian Clay blushes I owned…

Tarte Captivating Blush Comparisons Dupes

Clockwise From Bottom Left: Tarte Blissful, Tarte Tipsy, Tarte Captivating, Tarte Achiote

Captivating is definitely less pink than Blissful and Achiote, and more peach than Tipsy.

Tarte Captivating Blush Swatches

Swatches L-R: Tipsy, Captivating, Blissful, Achiote

If you love the Amazonian Clay line already, this blush will be a great addition to your collection. If you’ve not tried it and just love peach blushes I have a feeling you will get a lot of use from this one.

Tarte blushes are cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, sulfates or synthetic fragrances so if you have sensitive skin I would highly recommend checking the line out. The blush retails for $26. I bought mine from Sephora, but you can also find them on Tarte’s website and QVC.


Tarte recently reformulated and re-released their very famous cheek stains. Along with those they released a new set of lip pencils called power pigments that are smaller in size and much more pigmented than the LipSurgence line. Both of the releases have shades that correspond directly to the Amazonian clay powder blushes- color me excited!

*press samples*

Tarte Exposed Products

Tarte Exposed Suite: Amazonian Clay Blush, Cheek Stain, Power Pigment

Tarte Blissful Products

Tarte Blissful Suite: Amazonian Clay Blush, Cheek Stain, Power Pigment

Tarte Tipsy Products

Tarte Tipsy Suite: Amazonian Clay Blush, Cheek Stain, Power Pigment

Tarte Cheek Stains and Power Pigment Swatches 2

Swatches L-R: Tipsy, Blissful, Exposed

The cheek stains and power pigments for Tipsy, Blissful and Exposed were very much like their powder blush counterparts. The power pigments are impressive. They have excellent pigmentation, feel cushion-y on the lips and actually moisturize. I did lip swatches of all the shades back-to-back and they didn’t dry them out, not even a little!

The Tipsy cheek stain was less pigmented then I would have expected. The new formula is definitely an improvement from the older version, however it’s worth noting that you do get less product and the price remains the same. It’s frustrating when brands reformulate and repackage an item (usually making it smaller) and then keep the price the same (or in some cases charge more). It’s a sign of the times I guess, as it’s becoming more and more frequent. It doesn’t mean that consumers don’t notice, because we do. Sometimes we overlook it because a product is that good- but it’s a hard pill to swallow nonetheless.

Tarte Exposed Power Pigment on Lips

Wearing Power Pigment in Exposed

Tarte Blissful Power Pigment on Lips

Wearing Power Pigment in Blissful

Tarte Tipsy Power Pigment on Lips

Wearing Power Pigment in Tipsy

Tarte True Love and Fearless

Tarte True Love and Fearless Cheek Stains and Power Pigments

I don’t have the corresponding powder blushes to these (sad face!) but these new colors are a welcome addition the to Tarte lineup.

Tarte Flush Products

Tarte Flush Suite: Amazonian Clay Blush, Cheek Stain, Power Pigment

Tarte Blushing Bride Products

Tarte Blushing Bride Suite: Amazonian Clay Blush, Cheek Stain, Power Pigment

Tarte Natural Beauty Products

Tarte Natural Beauty Suite: Amazonian Clay Blush, Cheek Stain, Power Pigment

Tarte Cheek Stains and Power Pigment Swatches

Swatches L-R: True Love, Natural Beauty, Blushing Bride, Flush, Fearless

The biggest surprise in this group was Blushing Bride. The cheek stain is actually quite different than the powder and lip versions and I adore it! It was my clear favorite of all of the new cheek stains. It’s bright, face-brightening and very pigmented. Fearless is a peachy-coral and True Love is a reddish-pink. Both of the shades really impressed me. Flush and Natural Beauty both look very similar to their powder blush relatives.

Tarte Fearless Power Pigment on Lips

Wearing Tarte Power Pigment in Fearless

Tarte Blushing Bride Power Pigment on Lips

Wearing Tarte Power Pigment in Blushing Bride

Tarte Natural Beauty Power Pigment on Lips

Wearing Tarte Power Pigment in Natural Beauty

Tarte True Love Power Pigment on Lips

Wearing Tarte Power Pigment in True Love

Ultimately the new packaging and great pigmentation make the cheek stains and power pigments a hit with me. The fact that they match my beloved Amazonian clay blushes makes them that much easier to fall head over heels for. The cheek stains retail for $30 and the power pigments are $24 and they are both available at Sephora or directly from Tarte.

My overall picks? All of the power pigments are AH-mazing, but Fearless, Exposed, True Love and Blissful are my favorites. For the cheeks stains I’d start with Blushing Bride, Fearless and Flush.

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?!

Hot off the presses and newly arrived on my door step is the uber giftable Tarte Bow & Go Set. This set will be available on QVC for one day only- Tomorrow, Nov. 18th. For only $49 you get three gift-ready sets to split up or give as one value-packed kit. It even includes the gold bow to top it off!

*press sample*

Tarte Bow & Go Set

See how pretty it looks by the tree?!

What you get:

– Palette of 16 eyeshadows in an array of dazzling neutrals

– Set of 4 full size LipSurgence Pencils in shades Wonder, Promise, Thoughtful, and Precious

– Set of 2 full size Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara and 2 full size SmoulderEyes pencils in Brown and Fig

I didn’t have a chance to get swatches up (we had some seriously nasty weather this weekend!) but here is a close up look at the palette and the LipSurgence Pencils:

Tarte Bow & Go Eye Set  Tarte Bow & Go Palette 2

Tarte Bow & Go Lip Set

Tarte LipSurgence Wonder


Tarte LipSurgence Thoughtful


Tarte LipSurgence Promise


Tarte LipSurgence Precious


This set is too cute for words! If you like Tarte as much as I do, you won’t hesitate in snagging this set tomorrow. It’s an excellent value for everything that’s included (seriously, 16 eyeshadows PLUS everything else…all full size?!). Head over to QVC tomorrow and pick this up, but don’t forget to get two– you know, one for someone else too. It is Holiday shopping season after all.