Saturday, March 19, 2016

Natasha Denona Blushes: Swatches and Review

Natasha Denona is a new indie-brand getting a fair amount of hype; they're probably better known for eye shadows (which I will review in the near future) but I was equally fascinated by the gorgeous blush duos.

Available on both and at US$38 (both have free shipping over a certain purchase), there are 19 duos available.

What you want to take note of if you're buying more than one is that many of the shades (e.g. the soft blending shade on the left) are repeated across the palettes. But the primary factor for deciding which duo you get should still be the main blush shade on the right.

Natasha loves a glow - think pearlescent, radiant, NARS Orgasm-esque glow all over the cheeks, not just a little highlight on the top of the cheekbones. Which is beautiful - but also prone to emphasizing large pores and uneven skin texture if you're not careful. While there are a number of matte blush shades, they are always accompanied by a shimmery blending shade. As far as I can tell, the ones with a pastel pink on the left, called Renee's Pastel Pink, are the only ones with a matte blender.

I ordered 5 in various tones to try out, and the duos are named below. (They all follow the names of the shades on the right.)

Natasha Denona blush duos from left: 02 Light Antique Rose, 14 Golden Coral, and 15 Sheer Nude
Natasha Denona blush duos from left: 09 Matte Peachy Nude, and 13 Golden Caribbean Coral
The formula is ultra fine-grained and smooth and reminds me a little of Charlotte Tilbury blushes, but one difference is there is a lot of powder "kicked up" whenever you tap your brush in this product. You will see tons of loose blush powder all around the pan. It's not a big deal unless you are wearing black and get some powder on yourself, because the softness and the talc content is what allows the product to glide on and not bunch up or streak on the skin.

I applied this several times directly on un-powdered skin, and often the moisture from foundations will cause blushes to grab and look patchy, but not in the case of Natasha Denona blushes.

Pigmentation level looks strong, but they do go on a little softer than you'd expect, and you can build up if you need, so you get a good measure of control which is nice. As for lasting power, it's not as good as Tarte blushes, but it's decent - comparable to what I get with Chanel or Dior.

I have to say I really like the glow though. My favorite duo is the Golden Coral duo, which reminds me of a softer, more glowy combination of NARS' Hot Sand and Deep Throat blushes. The texture is very translucent and flattering, and the glowing sheen somehow sculpts the cheeks and adds dimension even without a contouring or bronzing powder. It's not flat-out metallic; in fact I'd say the glow is a bit more diffused than you get with blushes like Orgasm, but there is still no way I can pull this off on days I have any bumps or spots on my cheeks, because the sheen will still highlight them.

Natasha Denona blush duo 14 Golden Coral
Like Charlotte Tilbury's Cheek to Chic blushes, there is a specific technique to using the Natasha Denona blush duos. The recommended application is to brush the main blush shade over the cheeks first, then use the softer shade on the left to blend out the edges around the main color.

However, I also like:
  • applying each of the shades on their own as a single shade (even the soft peachy-beige blending shade Toutou surprised me by looking fine as a very soft blush; if you have NC25 or lighter skin you can use most of the blender shades as blush)
  • mixing both shades together for a softer medium shade to apply all over
  • applying the blending shade over the cheeks and overlapping the cheekbones first, then going over with the deeper shade on the lower half of the area to add color and shape (see below)

All in all, I think they're actually surprisingly good value considering you get two shades and 14g per compact (a typical MAC blush has 6g of product and is not much cheaper if you're in Singapore). Plus, the whole presentation is lovely, with those sturdy, layered pink and white cases.

If you're a blush addict, love a good glow over your cheeks, and don't mind some powderiness on your pan (it doesn't go on powdery and chalky on the skin) these are a must-try.

Now I just wish the brand would come up with a 28 shade blush palette, considering their large lip and eye palettes are so popular. This way we can get a big mix of various shades without having to buy so many repeats in duos.


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