Billed as the summer make-up trend of 2020, pink blush is having its renaissance. Waving goodbye to warmer peach tones we’re more used to wearing, over-the-top rosy hues were all over catwalks this season, from the likes of Hermes, Sies Marjan and Michael Kors.
Make-up artists also experimented with placement, from extending right up to the temples to across the eyelid for an all-over flush of colour. Glowy skin was back in too, with cream products taking centre stage.
Following this resurgence across the runway, it came as no surprise that two powerhouse make-up brands launched new cream blushes for the summer months. Rihanna’s label Fenty Beauty released a line of 10 shades in April, while Charlotte Tilbury extended its much-loved pillow talk collection, with two limited edition cream blushes inspired by the signature shade. Both launches tap into the pink blusher trend.
Each brand makes similar claims: a healthy flush of colour, blendable texture and a glowy, sheer finish. Although where they differ is in size. Even though Fenty Beauty’s compacts received criticism for their miniature dimensions, Charlotte Tilbury’s blusher offers even less product (by weight).
With all that said, we put both to the test, considering how wearable the shades felt, how easily they blended into the skin, whether they disrupted any base products that were already applied, how buildable they were and their price points. We also compared the finish of each product and how long they stayed fresh on the skin.
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Fenty Beauty cheeks out freestyle cream blush, 3g: £19, Harvey Nichols
Paying homage to the statement blush theme in recent trends, Fenty Beauty launched 10 shades earlier this year, defying the standard peach blush offering by introducing new colours to the market, from a cool toned true purple to a hot red. The brand stresses that although these shades might look daunting in the pan, the creamy formula has a sheer finish that looks far more wearable on the skin.
Staying true to the look of the summer, we tested “strawberry drip”, a cool toned coral pink. The brand describes the formula as “light-as-air” and “sweat and water resistant”, while suggesting the cream is buildable, impossible to overdo and easy to blend, with a glowy sheen that doesn’t feel sticky – essentially promising everything you’d want from a cream blusher.
We tested the formula during different stages of our make-up application, both on top of liquid and powder products, to truly put it through its paces. When applied with a make-up sponge, the cream buffs into the skin with ease, sheering out into a more natural looking shade than in the pan, while still maintaining a pigmented flush of colour on the skin.
The cream has a balmy texture that aids blendability but doesn’t look greasy – we loved the true pink shade for a statement pop of colour that still felt wearable. It strikes the perfect balance between being incredibly easy to blend (there’s nothing worse than a block of colour on your cheeks that won’t budge) and delivering colour-pay off that lasts on the skin. This worked well over a foundation and cream bronzer and also built up nicely when we applied another layer after setting the skin with a powder, leaving a healthy looking sheen. It also looks great on its own – dab onto the apples of your cheeks with your finger tips for a flush of colour on bare skin.
The compact is very small, but a little goes a long way with cream blushers, especially with sheer formulas like this one, so it will last you a while. We loved applying it on the high points of our cheeks and up over the temples for a bolder look. If you’re a blusher fan looking to experiment with new shades, you’ll love this.
Charlotte Tilbury pillow talk lip and cheek glow, 2.5g: £30, Charlotte Tilbury
The latest addition to the coveted pillow talk line comes in cream blush form, as the brand launched the new “lip and cheek glow” formula in two shades this month. Both inspired by the original pink nude, the cream blushers come in a deeper berry shade and a lighter rosy pink, which accommodate different skin tones. Charlotte Tilbury brands this as a multi-taking product, perfect for both the lips and cheeks, giving a “fresh-looking” flush of colour.
Applying in the same fashion as the Fenty product, this formula felt far more emollient, almost like a tinted lip balm, with a higher gloss finish. The cream applies very pigmented initially, but buffs out effortlessly for a sheen of colour that is more natural looking than the Fenty shade. We tried the deeper wine hue, “colour of passions” and it still looked natural on our fair to medium skin tone. This is the ultimate your-skin-but-better product, delivering a healthy looking sheen to the skin and a sheer flush of berry pink that emulates natural rosiness in the cheeks.
The glossy finish hits the light beautifully, giving a more dimensional look to the skin which we really love. This applied well on top of both liquid and powder products and is easy to build, although is definitely more sheer and dewy than the Fenty formula. The cream contains skin-loving ingredients such as beeswax and vitamin E for their nourishing properties, but if you’re not a fan of glossier products on the skin, you may not like this. Despite its balmy formula, it doesn’t feel greasy or sticky on the skin, and sat on top of matte products successfully. Just like the Fenty cream, this looks great on bare skin too, adding a hint of rosiness to your complexion.
We can’t ignore the price tag – at £30 for 2.5g (0.5g less than the Fenty product and £11 more), it is expensive, even by Charlotte Tilbury’s standards. The old Hollywood style compact helps soften the blow, though.
The verdict: Fenty vs Charlotte Tilbury cream blush
Both formulas are very similar and deliver a natural flush of colour to the skin that we’re obsessed with. It would be unfair to make the call based on shade ranges, as Fenty Beauty’s release is a brand new line whereas Charlotte Tilbury’s is part of a wider collection, but considering the price difference and the fact that it has introduced daring new shades to the market, Fenty Beauty wins our best buy.
We love how the formula manages to remain pigmented while glowy and fresh looking and can’t wait to try more shades. If you love a sheer cream product or avidly collect items from the pillow talk range, we’d still vouch for Charlotte Tilbury’s blush, but it is a pricey buy when the results from Fenty Beauty are just as good.