Blush Fiends Issue #1: The Blush That Started It All

Blush Fiends Issue #1: The Blush That Started It All

I’m not one to talk much about eyeshadows. I’m the sort who sometimes can’t be arsed to wear a lippie out of the house. I don’t do a lot of Face-of-the-Day blog posts nor write much about lip colours. But I’ll be damned if I don’t write about the one thing I love more than anything about makeup: the blush.

Introducing Blush Fiends, a small collective of bloggers who came together to fight the world against pastiness. :P

Our first mission is to introduce the blush that started it all. The one that started that passion for colour on our cheeks. The one that began that towering collection of blushes.

For me, there were two blushes that did that. The very first one that started my putting a bit of colour on my cheeks and the second that brought that colour to a whole new level.

Blush Fiends Issue #1: The Blush That Started It All

The First Blush

My very first blush was something by Estee Lauder. It was a gift-with-purchase and handed down to me by my mother. This was 10 years ago. It’s been so long; I can’t even remember the name of the blush. Needless to say, the blush has been discontinued for years. It wasn’t a bright shade; in fact it’s one of those ubiquitous dusky pink shades that are so sheer, you probably wouldn’t see any difference to your skin unless you really paint stripes on your cheeks.

Estee Lauder Signature Silky Powder Blush in Pink Kiss

My mother was not a fan of rouge on cheeks. In fact, she still calls it rouge today when everyone else is calling it blush. When the blush was given to me, I had no idea how to wear it and she wasn’t too keen on teaching me. I remembered turning to CLEO magazines for help. I was fresh out of university then and was about to start my first job as a junior engineer in an office dominated by men. I didn’t want to look girly. I wanted to be taken seriously.

Estee Lauder Signature Silky Powder Blush in Pink Kiss

So I used very little blush per application. In hindsight, it made no difference to my face whatsoever. In time, I started to try out more blushes but they were usually similar in colour. They were almost always dusky pink. When more beauty blogs came out, I tried out even more blushes, adding a little more rouge to the cheeks but always keeping it safe.

As the blush has been long discontinued, I managed to find something similar from Estee Lauder to show you. It’s the Signature Silky Powder Blush in Pink Kiss (also no longer available). It’s slightly pinker than the original blush and I’ve used a lot more in the picture to show you what the shade is like. Ten years ago, I would never have applied it as much as you see in the picture below. In fact, you probably won’t be able to see it on my face at all.

Estee Lauder Signature Silky Powder Blush in Pink Kiss

The One That Got Me Out of my Comfort Zone

I moved to Australia early 2008. Finally I had access to brands like NARS, something I could only see online but never in person. Back then, NARS prices haven’t gone down yet so it was something around $60 for a blush. It was a lot of money for someone who had just moved here and was unemployed. Still, I was intrigued. One day I went to Mecca Cosmetica to try out this very popular NARS blush that many beauty bloggers and magazine editors raved about – the Orgasm.

NARS Exhibit A

When I told the makeup artist I wanted to try out the Orgasm, she took a good look at me.

Honey, I don’t think the Orgasm would look good on you. It’s not as universal a colour as most people think it is. You need a pop of colour“.

NARS Exhibit A

Then she took out the most outrageous colour of makeup I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t even wear that shade on my lips, let alone my cheeks! I would look like a baboon’s ass! That’s right. She took out the NARS Exhibit A.

NARS Exhibit A

Holy batman. The horrified look on my face amused her greatly. I told her I’ve never ever worn such an insanely bright shade before and was adamant on trying the Orgasm instead. To prove me wrong, she applied the Orgasm on my cheeks and she was right. Even under the bright white lights, I looked bland. I looked boring. Defeated, I told her to might as well make me look like a baboon’s behind with the Exhibit A whilst fully prepared to wipe all that bright slap of orange off my face once I stepped out of Mecca.

NARS Exhibit A

Whaddyaknow. It was beautiful. After years of dusky pink, I was actually wearing orange on my cheeks and, oh what the hell, I looked pretty damn good. She didn’t go all 80s crazy painting stripes on my cheeks. She used a very light hand with the blush and the bright pop of colour gave my pale face an amazingly great flush. It didn’t look over-the-top, it was definitely brighter and heavier than how I’d normally wear blushes but I absolutely loved it. I didn’t even have to think twice; I snapped the Exhibit A up in a jiffy and left Mecca that day feeling like a million bucks.

Estee Lauder Signature Silky Powder Blush in Pink Kiss and NARS Exhibit A

From then on, it’s pigmented blushes for me all the way. I no longer purchase sheer blushes. Give me strong pigmented blushes like Ben Nye’s Powder Rouge in Fuchsia, Tom Ford’s Narcissist, etc or give me nothing at all. Sheer Japanese blushes (with the exception of Jill Stuart) don’t interest me much anymore.

Estee Lauder Signature Silky Powder Blush in Pink Kiss and NARS Exhibit A

It’s funny how my love for blushes started from something you can barely see on the cheeks and moved on to something so intensely bright, it’ll knock your socks off. What started out as a blush or two in my makeup collection grew to well over 30 compacts and powders in my makeup drawers. It’s a love I cannot describe. Pastiness died in Mecca Cosmetica that fateful day and never will it resurrect.

Enough about me. Do check out my Blush Fiend comrades as they tell you their stories of the blush that started it all.

Stay tuned for Blush Fiends: Issue #2! ;)

If you’re a blush lover too, what’s that one blush that started it all for you?

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42 comments… add one

  1. Claire

    What a wonderful and interesting story, I am fascinated by how many details you remember. I know exactly what you mean, if you say, that you didn’t want to be girly (job, etc) but taken seriously. I never liked that ompa lompa look and was afraid, that I will use to much blush without even knowing it (lighting). I can’t really remember how it all started, but this I do remember very well: I was at a MAC counter for the first time (and this was the time, where I started wearing makeup) and a very friendly MAC MUA talked to me for about two hours, and tought me how to use blush, bronzer, eyeshadow, etc. That, I believe, was the first time, I enjoyed wearing makeup. I now know what i like and what I don’t like, what products I like, what colours I prefer, etc. But I still like to experiment from time to time, mostly, I am looking for my HGs now.
    Claire recently posted..L’Oréal Color Riche 603 Parisian RooftopsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha it’s interesting the things I can remember and the things I can’t. Makeup? But of course! Technical engineering thingamajigs? Err say what? :P

      That sounds like such a great makeup experience for you. Unfortunately I’ve not had a good one with MAC, but I’m so glad you did. It’s really good when makeup artists take their time to actually teach you how to use certain products rather than just push products for you to buy. I haven’t had such good experience in a long time. I would love that sort of one-on-one with a makeup artist so that she can teach me how to use bronzer and contour my face. Fingers crossed I encounter someone as patient and understanding as the one you had :)

  2. Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    Ooh wait, you’re right! My first blush was *most likely* a GWP too. I thought it was a Cargo blush or Stila blush from a palette my parents bought me for Christmas when I was young, but you just reminded me of GWPs :P My mom LOVED Estee Lauder and almost exclusively would wear their cosmetics (most of them from the GWPs she would get after buying their creams :P). I remember always begging for the makeup once I got a little older and she would give me the shadows and lipsticks to play with :)
    Becca @ The Beauty Sample recently posted..The Sample: NEW Lush Fair Trade Honey Shampoo Review & PicturesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hee hee kudos to GWPs that start our makeup journey! :P It’s almost always something our mums/aunties/friends pass on to us, isn’t it? I was just like you too; always asking mum to give me her free eyeshadows and lippies to play with. She’ll keep the pretty cosmetic pouches the items come from and let me use the lippies. :)

  3. Lily (@ChloeAsh)

    Oh, look at Exhibit A!! I love bright bold cheek colours. And it looks so fresh on you. So. Much. Better than the Estee Lauder one :-P
    Lily (@ChloeAsh) recently posted..Blush Fiends: The One That Started It AllMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahah thanks Lily. The Estee Lauder one’s pretty sheer so I had to practically dig my brush into the powder to get the colour to show. The Exhibit A is just crazy bright, isn’t it? No wonder it scares the crap out of people who see it without trying it first :P

  4. Paris B

    Tine, this is seriously scary but I REMEMBER YOUR EXHIBIT A POST! :O LOL I remember you made me want it so badly but since I was so put off by the whole melty case thing I have since passed on all Nars blushes and no longer lust after them. The blush that started it for me is a L’Oreal Blush Delice – now we haven’t heard that in yonks eh? ;)
    Paris B recently posted..Bag Lust: Gucci Vintage Web Boston Bag – You will be mine!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahahahaha I remember you wanting it too! Yeah, it’s such a pity that NARS blushes are so pretty but the packaging just meh. I remember the whole melting cases too. Gah.

      Oooooh the Blush Delice! OMG now I remember you blogging about it! Ever since you blogged about it, I wanted it so bad. And I did get one not long after you blogged about it I think. But I think their packaging or something changed? It wasn’t the one you had, I think.

    2. Connie De Alwis

      I remember the Exhibit A post too! Sometimes makeup can surprise you :)
      Connie De Alwis recently posted..Teal There Was YouMy Profile

      1. Tine

        Hahaha you are so right, Connie! :)

  5. Kaye

    Absolutely great post Tine, I laughed so hard.

    It brings back so many memories of my first blushes! Wow. I remember I fell in love with the Maybelline mousse one (can’t remember the name for the life of me right now). It was barbie pink and shimmery as all hell lol! I loved it though.

    Makes me want to go and try find it again :)
    Kaye recently posted..How To Create A Blog Header (Like I Did) – Part TwoMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Oooh one of my earlier blushes was the Maybelline mousse too! I didn’t have the pink but I remembered getting the orange one. Kinda freaked me out back then on how orange it was and I didn’t know how to use it. I don’t think I even got more than 2 uses out of it >.<

  6. SharonC

    What a lovely story! Really enjoyed it!

    1. Tine

      Aww so glad you enjoyed it Sharon. I enjoyed writing it too :)

  7. LeGeeque

    Tee hee hee. Heeeeeeeeee-lah-rious post! :D

    The one which started it all for me was Benefit Dandelion which is now my HG blush.
    LeGeeque recently posted..My Tribute(s) to an Arty(istic) IconMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks :D.

      Ahh the Dandelion. The first time I saw the Dandelion was in magazines in the UK over 10 years ago. Benefit hadn’t been in the market long, and the blush packaging was pretty and unique that magazines just love to use. It was more expensive than I could afford as a skint student so I’d actually cut out pictures of the Dandelion and paste it on my scrap book. I kid you not, I had a blue scrapbook similar to my List of Lusts posts back then (I’ll try to find the book and bring it back to Melbourne). I stuck pictures of the Dandelion in the book hoping that when I start working, I’ll finally get one and not just a picture.

      Needless to say, my first purchase from Benefit was the Dandelion. I didn’t even care if it was too pale for me. It was something I coveted and finally own the real thing. :)

  8. peach_

    Hi Tine, fun post! What a great MA for persisting. I can definitely see that Exhibit A gives you a flattering flush! :)
    peach_ recently posted..Dior Vernis Gris Trianon 306 (Trianon Grey Spring 2013 Chérie Bow Collection)My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahaha thanks! That makeup artist was a fun one. Boho chic ;)

      PS: I love your blog btw. One of my favourite nail blogs to read :)

  9. cuteandcurls

    This has to be one of my most favorite blog :)

    My first blush was Body Shop but darn I cant remember the color name. Unfortunately the color itself has been discontinued too but that was the blusher that got me into applying more color to my cheeks. Then I found MAC and eversince then im hooked ..however when I was in Melbourne 2 years ago ..I found this blusher by Australis, I just love the color. Props to you for taking the risk in trying out that NARS color, I would love to find one make up artist at MAC whom would recommend me a good color that brings out my skintone ..

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks! Australis has good stuff. It stocks my current holy grail of mascaras. A lot of people either go for it or rejects it altogether because of the price and usually rather unkempt shelves (young ‘uns mess it up).

      Honestly, if that makeup artist didn’t tell me to give it a go, I would most likely have gotten the Orgasm that day. She could have shut up and let me buy that popular blush instead of recommending something so crazy bright that doesn’t really appeal to most women at first glance. I could have walked out of the store buying nothing at all. I guess that’s why I love going to Mecca Cosmetica despite the crazy prices. I know I’ll always get good service :)

  10. Joyce (bronzerbunny)

    YAY!! I loved this post and the cute pics of you. Nars Exhibit A looks GREAT on you – I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on anyone with a similar skintone to me…. The one thing that makes me sad about Nars blushes is that there is SO much shimmer :/ I prefer blush without shimmer for daytime! YAY BLUSH FIENDS!

    1. Tine

      Aww thanks Joyce! I love yours too! The Exhibit A is just crazy bright but it works. I bet it scares a lot of people who walk past and see the colour.

      Blush Fiends FTW! Hopefully next round, we’ll get more of the girls in :)

  11. Jess @ Miss J. Shopaholic

    Omg I had the exact same experience at Mecca with Exhibit A, reckon it might’ve been the same MUA? LOL
    Jess @ Miss J. Shopaholic recently posted..November & December 2012 Beauty Favourites!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Hahahaha could be! How clever is that makeup artist eh? Capable of selling such an usual colour? I’d promote her to head MUA, man :D

  12. Victoria

    I really enjoyed this post :-) I cannot even remember what my first blush was, probably a drugstore brand. Lol. I am using MAC’s blushes now and they are really good in terms of pigmentation and choice of colours. What did Paris meant when she said NARS blushes had melting cases? I was tempted to get one of their blushes since the colours are so lovely.

    1. Tine

      Glad you enjoyed the post Victoria. It’s probably one of my favourite ones to write :)

      As for melting cases, NARS packaging is quite notorious in melting in not-even-high heat. I read about it on several occasions on other beauty blogs. Check out Paris B’s blogpost on the melted case: http://www.mywomenstuff.com/2008/06/falling-out-of-love-with-nars-blushes/

  13. Jackie

    Love the Exhibit A on you, wins hands down.

    My first blush was probably a violent pink/mauve to match the mauve sparkly lip and eye. It was the early 80′s when I started working and earning make up money. Thankfully I only have one hilarious passport photo to prove how bad 80′s make up was for me, not to mention the hair ( I was a hairdresser – yikes!)

    Have you seen the Sunset blush that Aldi has at the moment? They even had a tester. Grabbed a couple the other day for $5.99 and love the colour.

    1. Tine

      Awww thanks Jackie. I agree! :)

      Hahaha that is hilarious! Ah such memories of bad makeup and bad hair. I have a few pictures of me with one flat stripe of bright blue eyeshadow on each eyelid. Man, thinking about it makes me shudder.

      Ooh Aldi has a new one? I must go check it out pronto!

  14. plue

    I can’t remember which brand or which blush that started it all, but I do remember my very first blush which was from Silkygirl, i think the name is Nectar blush/ nectar rose.

    i think it was MAC mineralized blushes that took me by storm, and ever since then, blushes are my vice. If a makeup collection ain’t got any blush, you bet I skipped it without looking at them!
    plue recently posted..Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Ooooh I remember Silkygirl blushes! Jenn (Makeup Makes Me Happy) used to blog about them ages ago and that got me started on them too!

      Hahaha high five, sister. I’m so with you on the part about a makeup collection not having a blush. I ain’t looking at them either ;)

  15. Carina

    First time reader, but I’m going to follow you riiiiiight about NOW. Great story! I love that blush on you so much, it makes me want to try it myself!
    Carina recently posted..Elevate Your Look with Benefit Creasless Cream Shadow/Liner in StilettoMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Aww thank you Carina! And welcome to Beautyholics Anonymous!

      Do give it a go. I know it looks crazy bright but with a light hand, it looks amazing on :)

  16. Larie

    I like more pigmented blushes, too. They can always be sheered out and they can be so beautiful! Exhibit A is a gorgeous example – what a healthy, beautiful flush!
    Larie recently posted..Beauty Week at a Glance: Jan. 13 – 19My Profile

    1. Tine

      My sentiments exactly, Larie! :D

  17. Lisa

    So funny how we get caught up in the hype of a product, like NARS, “orgasm”. You, like so many, thought you just had to try it, yet it was not right for you!
    Packaging, names, colors are all traps we fall for, yet it is the product combined with the key to application that counts! Without proper application, no amount of money spent on a product will help!
    Remember to Blend!!
    Lisa recently posted..Bare Minerals Blush: WarmthMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Haha you’ve hit the nail on the head, Lisa. I like that the makeup artist told me it wouldn’t work for me. She could have just kept quiet and sell me the Orgasm since it would sell a lot better than the Exhibit A. So glad she changed my mind :)

  18. Norlin

    I’ve never ever tried any of the Nars blush but have heard so much about orgasm and I think was it Deep Throat? But when I looked at them online, they looked pretty meh tbh. Desire & Sin (hahaha how appropriately named!) look like they’ve got my name on it, so I might try them. And yes, that Ben NYE’s fuchsia blush – TO DIE FOR! I know because I got one too remember! ;)
    Norlin recently posted..Mixing On-Trend Items with Classic Pieces for WorkMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Next to the Exhibit A, the Deep Throat and Amour are my favourite. The Deep Throat has a richer colour than the Orgasm :)

      I’m so glad I got that Ben Nye blush in Fuchsia after seeing yours. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

  19. Kimberley

    Exhibit A is such a gorgeous blush! It looks so great on you!
    Kimberley recently posted..Adore Beauty Haul: Alpha H & O&MMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hehe thanks! You’ve got to give it a try if possible. I know it looks overwhelming at first, but it’s just lovely on the skin :)

  20. ksuan

    Loved this post and can’t wait for the next installment, Tine :)

    Now you’re making me itch a little to try Exhibit A. Hmmmph
    ksuan recently posted..Review: Topshop Highlighter in SunbeamMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Hehehe hopefully will do another one this new year ;)

      PS: You have to try the Exhibit A. It looks shocking but it’s absolutely gorgeous on.

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