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Sweet Cheeks — Maybelline New York Launches Face Studio Master Glaze Glisten Blush Sticks

maybelline-master-glaze-by-face-studio-blush-sticks

I’ve always loved the idea of a tactile approach to makeup application, of using fingers to dab, blot, tap, blend, and smooth cream eyeshadows, blush, lipstick, lip stains, highlighters, and so forth. Sure, I rely on tons of brushes and sponges when creating an elaborate makeup look, but I also often find myself using my fleshy finger pads to blot my lip color or apply tiny dots of highlighting cream along my cheekbones and temples. If you go backstage during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, you’ll often notice that the key makeup artists alternate between professional tools and the most basic applicator of all: their hands. Part of the appeal of using one’s fingers is that it helps to achieve a more natural, fresher look, one that’s less deliberate and precise. With all these factors in mind, then, allow me to sing the praises of one of Maybelline New York’s  latest launches: the Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Glaze Glisten Blush Stick ($8.99 at mass food and drug retailers).

The way the blush sticks are packaged makes them reminiscent of Tarte’s award-winning Cheek Stains — after all, they each come in a cylindrical tube — but the Maybelline Master Glaze Glisten Blush Sticks’ tubes don’t bear the elaborate and playful patterns that now adorn Tarte’s re-released cheek stains but, instead, feature colors that correspond to the cheek stain hue at its center. The Maybelline Master Glaze Glisten Blush Sticks are also markedly smaller, and they feature twistable, retractable, lipstick-like cylinders as opposed to the push-up construction of Tarte’s Cheek Stains.

Conceptually, the products are also alike: for each one, the goal is to roll the color right along the cheeks and deposit a veil of sheer color that will infuse life into the complexion, then blending that color using a brush, sponge, or one’s fingers.

Beyond these initial similarities, however, the two products have some marked differences. For one, all of Tarte’s products feature 100% natural ingredients meant to soothe, protect, and moisturize the skin. Since Maybelline is not a strictly eco-conscious brand, its products do contain artificial ingredients and preservatives (much like about 90% of cosmetics brands). That said, the Maybelline Face Studio Master Glaze Glisten Blush Sticks do contain shea butter, a lovely emollient that hydrates and conditions the skin. Another key difference: while some of Tarte’s Cheek Stains boast creamy consistencies, other have slightly stickier, more gel-like textures. All of Maybelline’s  Face Studio Master Glaze Blush Sticks, however, have the same lightweight, almost air whipped consistency which, if I dare say, is even softer and creamier than that of the best Tarte Cheek Stains.

When you glide the flat tip of each blush stick over the skin, the sensation is beyond delightful — it’s softer than if you were to tickle your skin with a feather! Similarly, when you blend the color into the skin, it feels softer than if you were manipulating the most finely milled powder. The resulting color is sheer and natural-looking but also has a dewy quality to it thanks to the glazed pearls in the formula.

That said, the colors aren’t as long-lasting as Tarte’s Cheek Stain hues nor is there as vast a selection of shades. That said, given how affordable they are, these Blush Sticks are definitely worth investigating.

Six shades are currently available: Warm Nude, Just-Pinched Pink, Pink Fever, Make A Mauve, Coral Sheen, and Plums Up.

Below, you’ll find swatches of all six shades — first, when initially applied and, second, after being blended into the skin. Let’s start with three shades Just-Pinched Pink, Pink Fever, and Nude Rebellion (a limited edition shade available only for Spring 2014). As you’ll see in the photos below, Just Pinched Pink is a sweet, peachy pink that feels innocent and feminine. Because of the peachy undertones, it might remind you of a conch’s interior or, for that matter, of ballerina pointe shoes. The Pink Fever shade, meanwhile, is a high-voltage, blue-toned pink that, when first applied, is reminiscent of MAC’s Candy Yum Yum lipstick hue. Last but not least, Nude Rebellion is a sultry, shimmery golden nude hue with an all-over luster.

Below, check out swatches of Just-Pinched Pink, Pink Fever, and Nude Rebellion:

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maybelline-master-glaze-swatches

Next, see how the colors are transformed when blended into the skin.  As you’ll hopefully notice, the concentration of glazed pearls varies from shade to shade so that, in this case, the Nude Rebellion is chockfull of golden pearls whereas Just-Pinched Pink has a sheerer finish and less sparkle.

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Next, let’s take a close look at the Coral Sheen and Make A Mauve hues. The Coral Sheen shade looks like a bright, almost fluorescent orange in its packaging but, when applied to the skin, it looks a bit softer — albeit still bright and clean. It actually reminds me of a cantaloupe-inspired, melon-y shade. The Make A Mauve blush hue, meanwhile, is a full-bodied wine-meets-dewberry color.

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maybelline-master-glaze-coral-sheen-and-make-a-mauve-swatches

Though both colors look intense when first applied, they soften quite a bit as they’re blended into the skin — especially the Coral Sheen hue. I do like the Coral Sheen shade but find it doesn’t suit my particular coloring too well since the orange tones make me look like I’ve been sustaining myself on a carrots-only diet. As for the Make A Mauve shade, it’s a traditional rosy red shade that should work for most gals and give them a natural flushed appearance. Both feature just a hint of scattered pearls to make the skin glisten and give cheeks a bit more life.

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maybelline-coral-sheen-and-make-a-mauve-blush-sticks-blended

Last but not least, we have Warm Nude and Plums Up. The Warm Nude blush hue is beautiful, reminiscent of a luxurious cashmere camel coat and featuring irresistible golden tones. The Plums Up shade, meanwhile, is tawny and dark, more akin to a redwood brown than a ripe purple plum.

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When blended in, both colors again look significantly more sheer. That said, if you’re fair-skinned like me, you may want to steer clear of the Plums Up hue since it might make you look like you’ve been pummeled (the result is a bit bruise-like). The Warm Nude shade, meanwhile, should look flattering on many a different skin tone and should lend any complexion a sun-kissed charm. That said, I’m still a bit more fond of the Nude Rebellion hue than the Warm Nude shade since the former feels sunnier, and a bit more bronze-like.

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Out of all the Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick shades, I’m most enamored with the Pink Fever, Just-Pinched Pink, and Nude Rebellion shades.

Which hues are you coveting?

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