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The Pleasure Principle — Fulfill Your Blush Fantasties With The Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush Collection


Once upon a time, if you asked most makeup devotees to name the brand that simply nailed the art of the powder blush, you’d hear a resounding chorus of voices exclaiming, “NARS!” It was that simple, that irrefutable. There were nice blushes launched by a multitude of brands, but they never reached the near-regal stature of NARS Cosmetics’ Orgasm blush (or, as I like to refer to it, the Baroness of Blushes). In recent years, however, NARS has started to experience some competition from brands like Tarte, with its highly pigmented and antioxidant-infused Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush range, and now Urban Decay, which has applied the adventurous, edgy, non-conformist ethos that made its eye shadows and lipsticks so popular and injected that same energy into its new Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush collection.

NARS’ Orgasm blush helps women attain a believable, flushed-face, post-climax glow, but the Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blushes ($26 each at UrbanDecay.com and Sephora.com) go a step further. Orgasm may be inspired by pleasure, but Urban Decay’s Afterglow blushes celebrate something even more intense, something more euphoric, a thrill so engrossing that it feels intoxicating and almost hallucinatory.  The “Afterglow” moniker says it all — these are blushes that capture the aura of a woman after experiencing intense post-coital satisfaction or perhaps that emotional “high” she rides after experimenting with psychedelic drugs like MDMA. And it’s not one blush hue that captures this intense satisfaction, but 12 rousing, punchy, captivating shades.

Now, in their packaging, the colors might seem too loud, too abrasive, too intimidating, as if they’d produce clown-like results, but Urban Decay would never have you running around like a real-life Phyllis “Pizazz” Gabor with marked streaks on your cheeks! The Afterglow blushes boast a finely milled powder formula that’s actually remarkably blendable, allowing you to achieve a believable, lit-from-within, long-lasting glow that’s as subtle or intense as you desire — all without the build-up often left behind by powder blushes of lesser quality. The powder formula is so luxurious on the skin that it’s almost creamy, gliding beautifully along the cheeks. It’s extremely lightweight and yet it’s also dense enough to control so that, as you sweep your brush along the apples of your cheeks, you won’t have to grapple without specks of dust floating everywhere (another of my usual blush gripes!).

In terms of the colors, the range includes everything from soft nudes to bright red and blue-based pinks, some matte and others infused with a hint of shimmer.

Here’s a list of the colors in the Afterglow 8-Hours Powder Blush collection and their descriptions (per Urban Decay):

Video: a soft nude

Indecent: a light peachy nude

Kinky: a light peach with light shimmer

Rapture: a deep mauve with a hint of shimmer

Fetish: a medium pink-nude

Bittersweet: a bright purple

Obsessed: a light pink

Quickie: a bright, blue-based pink

Crush: a medium pink

Bang: a bright red-orange

Quiver: a medium red

Score:  a medium pink-peach with a touch of shimmer

If some of the blush names correspond to existing lipstick and lip pencil shades, it’s no coincidence since you’ll find striking similarities in these products’ tonalities.

I had the chance to try five of the twelve blushes, and I can’t even decide which one I love most! To say these blushes are phenomenal would be an understatement.

Let’s go to the tape — or, rather, the swatches!

Let’s start with swatches of Obsessed, a light peony pink with cool undertones and a matte finish,  and Score, a summery seashell pink with a golden peach hue and a touch of golden shimmer.



Already smitten? Then wait until you see these next two shades: Indecent, a light peach hue that borders on nude and has a near-matte finish, and Crush, a perky honeysuckle pink with medium intensity and an appealing satin finish.



Last but not least, we have Fetish: a medium-intensity, pink-y nude that’s got a bit of a mauve-ish or fig-like undertone.



Since the true test of a blush is how it looks when applied to the cheeks and blended, I’ve included a couple of shots of me wearing some of these beauties!

Here’s me wearing the Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush in Score:




As you can hopefully see from the photos above, Score delivers the type of peachy-pink color that’s perfect for summer, making you look like you’ve been basking in the sun.

Next, check out  me wearing the Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush in Crush:



This honeysuckle pink gives the skin a youthful vitality, perking up the entire face and exuding a joyful energy.

And here’s what’s also amazing about these blushes: while some have a shimmery finish and some don’t, all of them incorporate light-diffusing particles that help to blur any imperfections and perfect the skin. These light-diffusing particles also make the blushes have a seamless look.

Time to give those cheeks some satisfaction!

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