I always feel a little weird reviewing blushes. It’s not like I don’t have favorites, and some diehard must haves that have found their way into my kit. I love to layer blushes with my contour, and it’s a rare showday where I don’t have at least 5 different blushes mixed together on my mug. But blush isn’t…fun. It’s not like an eyeshadow palette, with bright colors and shimmers and velvety mattes. If blush is doing its job, it should be seamless, melting into the overall look in a way that is visually pleasing but not showing off.
I have two new sets of blushes and highlights that I was working on reviewing, and I decided to mix them together. I figured that would give you a little more insight into what I look for in blushes, tell you what I think about these two brands, and also keep me from writing two rather short, less useful posts about blush.
First up is Ofra.
A couple of years ago I did a review on the Ofra liquid lipstick formula. That review was lost in the great World of Champagne crash of 2017 (let’s not dwell too long on those dark times!), but it wasn’t very positive. The formula was a little inconsistent, though the mattes were decidedly better than the metallics. In the last couple of years, however, the brand has gone through a bit of an overhaul with really gorgeous new packaging, plus select products are now available through Ulta.
Even though I knew I wasn’t super excited about the brand after my experience with the lipsticks, I kept seeing people using the highlighters in videos and they always looked amazing. Plus, the new packaging for the single blushes and highlighters is cute, sleek, and very crave-worthy. I know I shouldn’t buy makeup just for the packaging, but these are seriously cute. When I was in Phoenix this past winter, I was at Ulta and I swatched a couple of the highlighters, and they really did look like they were going to be as good as I imagined. But one highlighter for $29? I wasn’t sure, so instead I bought the highlighter trio pictured above. It was also $29 but I got three smaller pans of highlight for the same price as a single.
That highlight trio is the NikkieTutorials collab, and features Space Baby, a white based highlight with serious blue shift; Glazed Donut, a stunning and creamy pearl shade that is the one I had been lusting after in full size; and Glow Goals, a pretty golden bronse shade. They are intensely pigmented and they are a stunning, impactful highlight. I decided that Ofra needed to be put back on my radar.
Fast forward toa month or so ago, and I get a notification on Facebook (I swear, their algorithm seems to know any time I have any sort of spare change in my bank account and starts pelting me with new makeup recommendations!) that Ofra was having a sale. I was already interested, and I already liked the formula of the highlighter, so a sale on top of all that? Sign me up!
The sale had blushes, normally $29, on sale for $14. I picked up three shades: Punch, Bellini, and Mai Tai. There was also a secret special that I hadn’t seen advertised: For any order over $35, they included a full size Rodeo Drive highlighter, and all orders over $40 receive free shipping. So for only $42, I got 4 full size cheek products and didn’t have to pay for shipping. Not bad.
For the swatches of each shade, I did a finger swatch with more intense pigmentation to show the color on my skin, and then I used a brush to the right of it to show it more spread out, closer to how it would look in actual application. There is no primer or foundation underneath.
Punch is a lovely berry pink shade and has some pretty good pigmentation. I don’t use this kind of shade all that often, but for richer, more jewel-toned looks I sometimes like a shade like this to blend out from my contour, and then top it with just a bit of peachy blush to brighten it. I love the detailing in the pan – their rebranding is super cute and definitely gorgeous! I worry about keeping the white, satin-finish packaging clean, but that’s a story for another day…
Bellini is a peachy nude blush. I was hoping that it would be a dupe for the Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Baby Love that I use almost every time I do my face for blending out my contour. It’s a similar shade, but I don’t think it’s going to be a full on replacement. I’m currently out of Baby Love, so I couldn’t compare them next to each other, but when I used this shade it was a little lighter than how I usually like it to look. It’s still a nice light and easy natural flush, so I’m sure I’ll get lots of use in blending out blush when I get too heavy handed (which is often).
Mai Tai is a creamsicle orange blush that is kind of wild, but I love it. It reminds me a little bit of Lines & Last Night from Marc Jacobs…the lighter shade in that pan, anyway. this is a great option if you like a bright, peachy look and you can apply it lightly to just get a really warm peachy glow without it looking too orange. I’ve been so drawn to peachy orange blushes lately, I’m not sure what the deal is!
Here are the swatches:
L to R: Punch, Mai Tai, Bellini
What I like about these blushes is that they are pretty diffused, even when I did the finger swatch. If blushes are too concentrated, it’s very easy to go overboard – and for someone who already paints themselves up like a damn circus clown, it’s nice to have something that doesn’t just immediately go on super dark. If you notice the tail end of the finger swatches (you can see it best with punch), it almost looks streaky. In an eyeshadow, that would be terrible, but that’s actually something I look for in a blush – having that sort of diffusion means that it will usually go on the face and blend in more easily to your other powder products. Unless you want super harsh 80s “cheek streaks,” that sort of blown out look is really an asset in picking out your blush.
Rodeo Drive is arguably Ofra’s most talked about highlighter (and if it’s not Rodeo Drive, it’s definitely Glazed Donut!), and it’s a lovely pale gold champagne. I have a lot of highlighters in this kind of shade and tone, but it was full size and it was free, so no complaints from me! As expected, the formula is beautiful and pigmented and applies like a dream. Now that I have the mini palette and this full size and I’ve had the chance to try them out at a few shows, I am definitely thinking about picking up a couple of the other highlight shades. I wish they did more “odd” colors, like something with a green shift or a bubblegum pink, but even with their collection of more “natural” tones, they have some gorgeous options.
L to R: Space Baby, Glazed Donut, Glow Goals from the mini palette, all finger swatched; Rodeo Drive finger swatched and then brush swatched
Seeing Rodeo Drive next to Glow Goals, there are some similarities, but I definitely like Rodeo Drive better for my pasty flesh. As you can kind of see in the comparison between the finger swatch and the brush swatch, these highlighters are great because they have a good amount of pigmentation, but it is entirely possible to get a more blown out, subtle look or go ham and get full on interstellar glow! These are some of my favorite new highlighters of the moment and I’ve been using them quite a bit – like I said, I imagine at least a couple more of the full size highlights will make their way into my collection!
So my adventures with Ofra were a success – let’s move on to the other blush brand I wanted to cover in this review: Lime Crime.
Not too long ago, Lime Crime released their SoftWear blushes: a “cream to powder” formula that had gorgeous florals on the packaging and references computers and technology for the shade names. A cute idea, but does the product live up to the packaging?
L to R: Hotspot, Flower.AI, Hyperlink, Megabyte
There are twelve shades of soft matte blush; Hotspot, Flower.AI, and Hyperlink are all this formula. There are also 6 shades that are called glow blushes that are meant to be sort of a blush highlight hybrid, and Megabyte is one of those. They all perform about the same, but Megabyte, which looks sort of like glow in the dark plastic when it’s not glowing, is definitely a brighter, glowier shade. The formula is a bit stiffer than a lot of cream formulas, but I actually found that to be a good thing.
One of the reasons that I dislike using cream and liquid blushes and highlights is because I like to use a lot of powder products on my cheek to set things, and these products can tend to grip and pull at the powders and disturb the makeup underneath. These will do the same thing if you get too aggressive with them, but if you are gentle I found them to actually do a lot less damage to the products underneath. Tapping with a finger if the best way to go. It can take a while to build up the pigmentation if you really want a strong color payoff, but it can be done and the results are really beautiful!
Hotspot if a bright red in the pan but it almost takes on a berry tone when it’s applied. Can definitely be built up to a stronger red tone if needed. Flower.AI is a bubblegum pink, and it keeps that shade without being too overpowering, which is nice. This sort of pink can be tough to do, and I actually really like this one. Hyperlink is a peachy pink; I don’t really love the color, but it performs as well as the others. I just didn’t do a great job of selecting colors – I got it on sale, so perhaps a bargain convinced me I could love this rather neutral, not very interesting shade. C’est la vie! And Megabyte is a really cool shade. I’m not sure how I’m going to use it yet, but there have been so many neon palettes lately, and I think this could be a perfect complement to an 80s-inspired neon look!
They aren’t my favorite blush products – no cream formula ever will be for me – but they are a solid offering and if you love cream blushes I think you will love these. If you like to wear blushes on bare skin without foundation underneath, then I think you’ll love these double, as they will be super easy to apply and customize the level of pigmentation without having to worry about disturbing your base!
I don’t know that blushes will ever hold the same level of excitement for me as eyeshadow palettes, but they are an important part of building my ratchet face! They are the often unsung worker bees who help build up the structure of the face so that the dramatic eye looks and sensual lips can really shine. And these two companies are giving you some great options to get those cheekbones snatched and looking their best!
Let me know in the comments – what are your favorite blush formulas? What kinds of colors do you look for? Favorite brands? If you are passionate about blush, this is the time to share that love – sound off below!