Sunday, February 17, 2013

Neutral Blushes (Benefit, Tarte, MAC, Annabelle)

There was a time when these sort of shades were all I'd wear. In fact, my first MAC blush is Blushbaby which forms a part of the ensemble below. Prior to Blushbaby, I only had one or two other blush from the drugstore which I picked with untrained eyes, randomly betting that they wouldn't clash with my skin tone or look overly garish. At MAC when I first asked for a blush recommendation, I remember the saleswoman sweeping a quick look at me and declaring, "Blushbaby, definitely." And that was the beginning of my blush whore ways. Because after the neutral, you want a pink or a plum or a red... and the list goes on and on, to our great collective joy!


"Neutral" blush is basically used to describe the natural tan or browned rose shade which ideally suits every skin tone and is considered a fuss-free makeup look. The result is supposed to add a hint of colour to the face without drawing attention to the cheeks, adding dimension and contour and flush in one fell swoop. Over the years, I relied mostly on MAC Blushbaby and Benefit Dallas. (Can you see how both show signs of being well-loved and how Blushbaby even has a slight dip in the pan?)

Top Left: MAC Equilibrium / Top Centre: Tarte Stellar / Far Right: Annabelle Pronto
Bottom Left: Benefit Dallas / Bottom Centre: MAC Blushbaby

MAC Equilibrium (Limited Edition from Fall 2011 MAC Me Over Collection) - It's the most brown of the bunch and I use it sometimes to contour.


Tarte Stellar (Limited Edition from Holiday 2012 Blush Set) - It looks quite brown in the pan but has just enough rosiness and shimmer to make it a really good neutral blush.


Annabelle Pronto (#32) - Definitely more brown than rose but much lighter than MAC Equilibrium. I add it on those rare days when I don't want to look flushed but don't want to look completely bare.


MAC Blushbaby - It looks so pink compared to all the others!


Benefit Dallas - It's marketed as both a bronzer and a blush, but I think that really depends on the individual and their skin tone. I like it as blush.


And now the swatches under a variety of lighting:

Left to Right: Benefit Dallas, MAC Blushbaby, Annabelle Pronto, Tarte Stellar, MAC Equilibrium



As you can see, there are similarities but no sure dupes within the bunch. I won't be getting rid of any at this point, but I definitely won't be adding to the collection either. Swatching these and taking stock killed my desire for Tarte Exposed and NARS Douceur which everyone touts as the universally flattering neutrals. I think that I can manage with what I have.

Swatching these have also rekindled my love of classy neutrals. When I took these photos a week ago, I fell back in love with Blushbaby and used it non-stop until Friday. But I'm such a fickle beast. As of today, it's all about peaches and apricots. After that will be corals. Then maybe purples! I can barely contain myself right now. Blush is the best. #blushfiend

52 comments:

  1. I adore Dallas! I have to use a duo fibre brush and a very, very light hand on my pasty skin but it's fab for lazy days for me. Now I want Blushbaby too!

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    1. I'm always surprised by people who don't have Blushbaby. I feel like everyone else in the world had one before I did, lol.

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  2. I have some in this family but none of the 5! I do own Tarte Exposed, and I was impressed in the beginning. Still love the color, but it is no longer one of my favorite formulas! It just doesn't last too well on me for some strange reason.

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    1. That's funny because Tarte claims to be long-wearing. I don't have issues with blush fading despite having oily skin, so it's hard to tell. Reapplying blush is never a problem with me though. Always a pleasure, hahaha!

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  3. I was all about neutral blushes at one time. I think I went crazy. Then, it was all about pinks, then peaches, then brights, then bolds, you get the idea. That said, Blushbaby looks really good! I don't need anymore blushes, I really don't. But darn, Blushbaby DOES look good >_<

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    1. Lol! I want to see crazy Lily. I also want to see how many blushes you have!

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    2. LOL! I have a space I confine my makeup to. If I can stuff them within that few drawers, then I keep them. Otherwise, less loved items will be given away :-)

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    3. I've outgrown my train case, but god help me, I can't stop accruing blushes!

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  4. I find that these transform more than any other. I have MAC Harmony which turns pink on my face. I don't really like it any more. I've swatched Exposed and same - rosy blushy nudey not brown.

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    1. I forgot about MAC Harmony! I think these shades can look quite brown in the pan but contain rose and appears pink on cheeks. Equilibrium and Pronto are pretty brown though. But Pronto has parabens and Equilibrium was LE. :(

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  5. I gotta pull out Blushbaby-haven't used it in awhile! My fave neutral is Prism actually-that was my first blush I ever bought and I still love it! And yes-blush IS the BEST haha!

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  6. I'm not really into "neutral" blushes, but that Blushbaby looks really good. Do you have a blush inventory post? I want to see them all:)

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    1. I have an old one from two years ago but the current collection is quite different. I don't feel like doing a complete showcase inventory so you'll just have to bear with the colour themes for now, sorry. :)

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  7. I love Blushbaby so much, it's my go-to everyday shade. I want RBR Delicata though, it will probably be the next blush I buy!

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    1. Delicata looks like a good one! Never tried RBR and not about to go there anytime soon, but I hope you do. :D

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  8. Blush IS the best :D *echo echo echo* You're not helping me quell my Blushbaby lemming at all! Today I got to swatch it in-store, and I totally dig it but need to compare it to the Milani blush I have which is sort of like a neutral plum. Also need to see it on my face as it might not be what I want once I've got it on. But it sure does look like it in your photos/swatches! I agree that you have a good enough collection of neutrals to not need any more. And their kind of boring by nature anyway. I WANT YOU TO BUY A PURPLE BLUSH OMG...that would be amazing.

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    1. You should really try it on the face and see if it's worth getting or not and get rid of that lemming one way or another. If it doesn't work, it'll die. If it does, you know that you can pick it up at any time because it's permanent. Win win. :)

      I have a purple - MAC Vintage Grape. I want one even more purple though, lol.

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  9. Oh my god, Liz, I need Blushbaby. Damnit, blushfiend! And purple blush YES PLEASE.

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    1. It's permanent and will always be there when you're finally ready!

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  10. Thanks for this post - I LOVE neutral blushes! I really like Equilibrium... too bad it was LE! I really want it now! Dallas is next on my list too!

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    1. They have a habit or re-releasing LE shades, so keep an eye out. :) There are some interesting shades from the Strong collection - did you take advantage of those?

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  11. Blush IS best! #blushfiend #forlife
    My blush fiend story actually started out backwards. It was hot pinks to corals & finally introduced neutrals to my collection late last year. Next up is RED!

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    1. Hehe, I love our #blushfiend ways. :D

      I want to see YOUR collection, Ashlex!!

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  12. I need Blushbaby in my life, I've never actually seen it before and oh it is a pretty. I love Dallas, and swear by Tarte Exposed (you be strong though!) I was thinking of getting some of the blushes from the MAC Strength collection, but Blushbaby is so pretty...

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    1. Yeah, man, YOU of all people need Blushbaby. ;D

      I have no intention of getting Exposed though it makes me happy to know you have and love it. I liked MAC Strength but couldn't justify purchases at the time. Blushbaby is permanent so it'll always be there.

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  13. hail to #blushfiend! I have Dallas and douceur and god knows must be >100 blushes at home lol I like neutrals the best, then there came lavender purples, oranges, cool pinks, though corals never look that great on my skintone but I still haul them otherwise!

    and it was wine red and plums latest :) that obsession with blush quickly spread to eyeshadows instead.

    sometimes I wonder to myself how was I able to blog about a single blush per day for 30 days back in last last year?! couldn't possibly do that now. I even feel sick when looking at the massive blush stash, to the point that I think I could just keep a few of them and stick to them for the rest of life.

    speaking of which, i would love to know what are the 'top' blushes that others swear by!! (hmmm maybe a separate post on that lol) seriously considering the idea of a bluh swatch fest!!!

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    1. oh and blushbaby makes a great neutral with rosy tones!!

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    2. I was amazed at your blog sale, so your permanent collection must be really awe-inspiring! I want to see so badly, lol. Do a post, Jenni!

      Sometimes I have the urge to drastically downsize as well, but I miss some of the shades I parted with last year and don't want to feel that again. So I'm doing the colour series to really critically compare the shades and keep the ones I like and get rid of any silly dupes that I don't use.

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  14. I have literally been going back and forth on Douceur, Blushbaby, and Exposed for almost a year now--I hear all 3 are must-haves but I just can't decide which I will get first. As a result, I haven't gotten any and my neutral blush collection is quite pitiful :/ I think I need to just write the names of all the down, close my eyes and randomly point. I will start with that one and go from there...:P

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    1. I think your new Becca blush is similar to those as well, no? Blushbaby is definitely rosier than Douceur and Exposed, so I'd say it's in a category of its own. As for the battle between Douceur and Exposed, only by trying it on will you know! They're both so damn collectable, haha. :D

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  15. Blushbaby was my first 'proper' blush too although these days I favour peach toned blush. Good to see that dent in the pan Liz!

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  16. The only neutral blushes I have are a Lancome GWP that I have never, ever used, and the Becca beach tint in Fig. I'm afraid that putting neutral blush (or bronzer, for that matter) will merge with my freckles and make my face a giant splotchy mess. Irrational? Absolutely, but I tend to stick to peaches, pinks, and the occasional red. The Tarte is really pretty, though. Maybe I should try working with what I have to see if they work.

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    1. Oooh, blush GWPs are rare from Lancome. I only end up with weird shades of lipsticks and sub-par shadow quads.

      I don't have freckles and never thought about that issue, but it totally makes sense! I think if applied with a light hand, it shouldn't cause a problem, but I suppose only trying it will tell. I sometimes have a similar fear re: acne scars and reddish blush, but a nice layer of foundation and concealer gets rid of that problem easily.

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  17. Such a lovely array of neutrals!!! I didn't realize that Blushbaby had that much pink in it!! They are all solo pretty!

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    1. Thank you, Helen! I'm surprised by how many people like Blushbaby. It is a pretty nice shade to have. :)

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    2. I have become quite a blush fiend myself! I will have to swatch Blushbaby. My growing blush stash is largely is basically different shades of pink- I may need an intervention :-)

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    3. Lol, I'm not a big fan of pink, so I'll hop on over and yell at your next showcasing of pink stuff, hahahahaha. ;D

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  18. I love how you always manage to find a way to remind me of what I already might have & how to start appreciating it; I'm referring to the neutral blushes in my stash, which surprisingly, I don't have a lot of; NARS Douceur is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, and while I love its subtle touch, my fair-to medium skintone seems to to "swallow" neutrals, lol! Personally, I prefer the look of a peachy/pink blush on me, but now I will go a look over my less intense shades & see if I can't make them work in other ways!

    PS: love that Tarte blush!

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    1. I know you have a deep and abiding love for corals, which is where I feel I fail as a blush fiend. TO BE REMEDIED THIS SUMMER PERHAPS, hahaha! ;)

      Sometimes I favour the no-blush-but-really-I-am-wearing-blush look. That's where these guys come in handy! But I also love all other shades of blush. Gotta keep spreading the love. :D

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  19. Great post, Liz! The only shade I've tried out of these is Dallas, which I definitely prefer as a blush too - it doesn't quite work for me used all over as a bronzer. I've been reaching for NARS Douceur a lot recently, which is actually pretty similar to Dallas, it's just less shimmery and the formula is less powdery. They're both great shades, though.

    Agree with the other comments on Blushaby, it looks like a lovely shade!

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    1. Douceur is such a Nat shade. I'm not surprised you have it and reach for it often. :)

      Looks like Blushbaby is the top favourite. Everybody get one! lol

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  20. I totally agree, blush is the best! I also have Benefit Dallas and I like it too. I kind of want Tarte Exposed, but if I'm being completely honest, it's because I have the LipSurgence and I just want the blush to match it. :P

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    1. Trust me, I know the feeling. How do you feel about the matching Benefit glosses to the blush counterparts? :x

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  21. How to I not own Blushbaby? Great post as always Liz xx

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    1. I don't know, but it needs to be remedied at some point. ;)

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  22. Blush really is the best, Liz. It really is. CLOWN CHEEKS UNITE.

    Is it weird that I've never worn Blushbaby? I use it all the time on my clients, but never on myself. I don't know why. I think when it comes to neutrals, I prefer something with shimmer, like MAC's Warm Soul or Sunbasque, to give my skin a glowier look. But it looked great on you last time I saw you!!!

    Oh, man, I was OBSESSED with all of Benefit's boxed powders back in the day. I remember using Dallas on a daily basis, and Hoola was my favourite bronzer of all time. I ended up liking Sugarbomb more than Dallas, though. I'm kinda over them now, but I still love Hervana, Coralista, and Bella Bamba. :) I'm considering getting Thrrrob, but will have to swatch it to see if it's too light for my skintone... God, I'm such a blush whore. It seems like I just can't have enough.

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    1. Blushbaby might seem boring when you have the rest of the MAC collection to play with. But I love it!

      Benefit stuff are so collectable. Right now I have a simultaneous love/hate for it. I feel like I'm over the cutesy packaging, but there are still a couple of things from them that I want. Damn them! Just get Thrrrob and stop thinking about it, haha. :D

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  23. My first individual blush was also a neutral, the gorgeously and easy-to-wear Cargo Tonga.
    It seems similar to Blushbaby. Speaking of which, I'm digging the dip in that blush. :)
    As you can see, I'm catching up on your blog. Cheers!

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    1. I imagine most first blushes were neutral. :)

      I keep forgetting about Cargo because it's only at Sears which I hardly go to. But they have great blushes!

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