A Dupe for the SK-II Facial Treatment Masks


There is nothing I love to spend my hard-earned cash on more than some skincare. I will drop major amounts of money on peels, sheet masks, or tubs of goo like it’s nobody’s business. But since I’m supposed to be a responsible adult now and watch my spending, I’ve started researching low-cost dupes for my favorite skincare treats. I love a good sheet mask and even though they only cost $7-12 each, those small costs add up really quickly. DIY sheet masks come in handy especially when the seasons change and you don’t have anything in your skincare arsenal to moisturize your dry skin or combat a new batch of acne.

I first heard about the Missha First Treatment Essence on Refinery29 where they described it as a dupe for SK-II’s cult classic Treatment Essence. On Amazon the Missha version costs $30 while the SK-II full-sized bottle will cost you $165. This alone is a great dupe, but I took it a step further and made my own version of the SK-II Facial Treatment Masks with the Missha Essence. First, you need to find a set of dry, compressed face masks (I bought mine from Muji for $8) or use some hi-end facial cotton like Shisheido’s Facial Cotton. In a bowl, pour the treatment essence over the mask or cotton pads until completely saturated with liquid. When the mask is wet you apply it to your face for 15-20 minutes and let the essence soak in. After you remove the mask, pat in the remaining essence on your face and sleep with it on.

A cheaper alternative to this if you don’t want to waste your essence is to saturate the mask in 1/4 cup of witch hazel, 3/4 cup of water, and one teaspoon of aloe vera gel to combat acne. You could also mix a cool cup of chamomile tea with one tablespoon of aloe vera gel and half a teaspoon of honey to reduce redness, irritation and dryness. Both of these recipes will leave the skin slightly tacky afterwards, so it’s important to wash your face after removing the mask.

These masks are super easy to make and won’t break the bank if you have an unhealthy obsession with sheet masks (like I do). Let me know if you try any of these out and which works best for you!

Read This If Your Lashes Won’t Curl

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I have the straightest lashes ever. Period. End of story.

If I didn’t spend 10 minutes on my lashes in the morning they would point straight down no matter what mascara I applied. I know there are solutions like lash extensions and lash perms, but those are both costly and require a lot of upkeep. Over the past few years I’ve tried so many mascaras in hopes of finding something that gives me perfectly curled eyelashes, but I always end up disappointed. Most formulas I tried – even the waterproof ones – made my finicky lashes clumpy and spidery (or worse), weighed them down and straightened them out even after I had spent a good ten minutes curling them.

The two things that are the most crucial components of keeping a curl are a good pair of curlers and heavy duty waterproof mascara.

In terms of eyelash curlers, I often switch between my Kevyn Aucoin curlers or the cult classic Shu Umera curlers. Each get the job done, but the Kevyn Aucoin ones seem to get the closest grip to the base of my lashes. Place the curlers as close to possible to the base of the eyelashes and pump the curlers open and closed to get a good crimp on the lashes. Hold down the curlers for 1-2 minutes and quickly move to mascara.

In the last year I had a major eyelash aha moment when I discovered Japanese mascaras. Japanese girls know the struggle of straight eyelashes more than anyone and they’ve developed some killer formulas that keep them lifted and full all day. These mascaras are also extremely waterproof and won’t go anywhere if you take a shower, swim or cry when you wear them (trust me, I cry every time an Iams commercial plays on TV).

My first foray into Japanese Mascaras was the Fairy Drops Scandal Queen Mascara. This formula gives me the most perfectly curled lashes that stay put all day. The thick wand evenly distributes the product, but because it is so big I tend to get some extra mascara on my eyelids no matter how hard I try not to.

Fairy Drops had some distribution problems late last year and I couldn’t find it anywhere so I decided to try Heroine Make’s Long and Curl mascara. Both the Long and Make and Volume and Make versions will give you lifted and full lashes, but the Long and Make gives me even longer and more evenly separated lashes. In the last few weeks I’ve been reaching for the Heroine Make’s version over the Fairy Drops version because it’s so easy to apply and I rarely have any transfer on my eyelids. Both formulas are very dry, so as a rule of thumb you should veer towards drier formulas: the drier the formula=the less your lashes will droop.

Are there any waterproof formulas I have to try? Have you had any success with eyelash extensions or perms? Let me know below!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


How I Combat Cystic Acne

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I have so many skincare products that I could easily use a different product every day for a month, but recently I’ve pared back my routine in a major way. In October I suddenly started suffering from some of the worst hormonal breakouts of my life. Even though I had my routine down pat this summer, as soon as the seasons changed my skin started acting up all over again.

I tried everything on my hormonal chin breakouts, including benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, prescription lotions, lasers, light therapy, glycolic acid peels, and every mud mask on the market. I had purchased the MV Organics Rose Plus Booster ($120) and Rose Soothing and Protective Moisturizer ($40) products last April because they were getting a lot of praise from skincare bloggers and had glowing reviews on Cult Beauty. Although they were so lauded for balancing hormonal skin, I hadn’t used them because I was so focused on using acne-specific products and heavy-duty skin peels. Last month I noticed both products were due to expire in March, so in an effort to avoid wasting the enormous amount of money I spent on these 2 products I took a risk and started to incorporate them into my routine.

After just 5 days of using these products, I completely changed my skincare routine to revolve around these truly life-altering products: I pared back on all the exfoliators and masks I had been using previously and my skin cleared up drastically. The Rose Booster Plus is composed of Camellia (Camellia Sinensis) Oil, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinesis) Oil, Rosehip (Rosa Canina Fruit) Oil, Rose (Rosa Damascena) Oil, Geranium (Pelargonium Roseum) Oil, Vitamin E non GM (Tocopherol), and Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract and is definitely the most effective of these two products. Think of the oil as the active serum that will balance out your skin while the moisturizer acts as a coat to seal in those ingredients. The moisturizer is made of Water, Camellia (Camellia Sinensis) Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinesis) Seed Oil, Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Oil, Vitamin E non GM (Tocopherol), Honeysuckle (Lonicera Caprifolium & Lonicera Japonica) Extract, Xanthan Gum and Potassium Sorbate and soothes and protects the face from elements. I originally decided to buy this moisturizer because it was free of shea butter, silicones, and coconut oils, which are all ingredients that aggravate my skin and cause blemishes. So far, this is the only moisturizer that has met my criteria and is one of the few that hasn’t broken me out once!

At this point, the only 2 products left from my old skincare routine are the Tatcha One Step Camelia Cleansing Oil and the Rice Enzyme Powder. In the morning I skip cleanser and wash my face with a dampened wash cloth. I then press 2-3 drops of the Rose Booster into my skin followed by the Rose P&S Moisturizer and 3-4 sprays of the Goldfaden MD Sun Visor. At night, I cleanse with my two beloved Tatcha products and follow up with the Rose Booster and Rose P&S Moisturizer again. Since starting this super simple routine my skin has cleared up enormously. I haven’t had a single blemish since I started using these, which is HUGE for someone like me who had 1 or 2 new pimples a day just a month ago. I recently went to a new esthetician and she even told me my skin was astonishingly balanced and hydrated for this time of year.

Even if you’re scared of oils or are worried that this will only aggravate your skin further, trust me when I say that no product that is specifically labeled as “anti-acne” has done as much for me as these products have. I’ve heard similar claims for the Mun No.1 Ankari Youth Serum, which is also a plant-based oil with very simple ingredients. Although neither of these options are cost-effective, those who really suffer from acne know that finding a product that is truly effective and clears up your face is priceless. I for one have spent a small fortune trying out different products and finding a solution to my breakouts.

Has anyone else had success using oil to clear up their hormonal acne? Let me know what brands you suggest I try next!

Hourglass Ambient Bronzer

I’m sure by now you’ve heard all about the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. These magical powders aren’t easily detected on the skin but are meant to blur features and act as an Instagram filter in real life.

When Hourglass launched their Ambient Bronzer ($50), I thought this would be my forever go-to bronzer. I’ve historically had a hard time finding the right bronzer for my Siberian winter-level pale skin. The Balm’s Balm Desert ($21) is a light bronzer that is widely loved by pale girls, but it can look slightly pink in certain light so I avoid applying it to my forehead or under my jaw. Benefit’s Hoola bronzer ($29) on the other hand, is much more cool toned and is best used as a contour shade under the cheekbones. I was hoping the Luminous Bronze light shade, which is described as a perfect warm candlelit color for pale skin, would add a touch of warmth to my complexion.

My mom bought this before I did and warned me that it turned her bright orange. This initially worried me because my mom is darker than I am, but I decided to try it out based on all the hype I had heard about its glow-giving powers. My end conclusion is that this color is very, very warm and looks ruddy on lighter skin tones. Both colors from this range are very warm and borderline orange in color, yet they are too sheer to use on the darkest skin tones. Like the Ambient blushes, these are extremely pigmented so it’s best to only use a small amount when first trying this out. These also have the highlighter aspect of the original Ambient Lighting Powders mixed in so they can look very shimmery if applied with a heavy hand.

If you have olive or medium-toned skin I would definitely give these a try as the formula and soft texture can’t be beat. These glide on the skin very smoothly and have great longevity so if they suit your skin-tone these could be a winner. Meanwhile, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect bronzer!

Empties #2

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Is there anything more satisfying than finishing off a huge pile of products so you can free up some space in your cabinet for new purchases?

At the end of the year I finished off a heap of skincare and body products that I loved in 2015. This round of empties totals $456 worth of product, so it’s safe to say I won’t be repurchasing everything I finished this time.


La Roche Posay Serozinc x 2 $14.99- This is a tres grande pain to get a hold of but well worth the trouble. I’ve finished close to a dozen cans of the stuff and written about my love of Serozinc here. I find that it helps heal blemishes and calms down any irritation I might have after exfoliating or using acids. Repurchase – I already have 6 backup bottles and will pick up a suitcase-full next time I’m across the pond. UPDATE: La Roche Posay is starting to sell Serozinc in the USA. It’s available on their US website and ships in 3-5 days! BEST DAY EVER!

Joanna Vargas Daily Serum $85 – I’ve also written about my love for the JV Daily Serum before and although it is majorly pricey for such a small amount, I continue to love it. The orange smell is so uplifting and the aloe vera-based gel really calms and hydrates my sensitive skin. Also, Joanna Vargas has recently re-branded and repackaged her whole range so I can’t wait to get my hands on a new bottle of this stuff! Repurchase – Already working through another bottle!

Chantecaille Pure Rose Water $68 – I don’t know when or why I decided it was a good idea to buy a rosewater spray this expensive, but it probably had something to do with Caroline Hirons calling this “the Rolls Royce of rosewaters.” Repurchase – No. I’m going to try some less expensive versions first.

Pai Echium Eye Cream $52 – This was the first eye cream I’ve ever purchased. Before this, I would hoard eye cream samples and use whatever I had in my stock pile. It took me nearly a year to finish this because I use eye cream so sporadically. I never had noticeable results the morning after using this at night but it could be a good option for someone who has a lot of allergies or is worried about using something too active. The pump packaging is also a huge plus because I hate dipping my grubby fingers into tubs of expensive eye cream! Repurchase – No. I’m an eye cream floozy.

Goldfaden MD Sun Visor $45 – I’m terrible about wearing sunscreen. I know it’s the most effective anti-aging strategy, but I always forget to put it on until I have a full face of makeup and I’m ready to walk out the door. Luckily, this spray can be used over makeup and is dispensed in a very fine mist that won’t disrupt your face makeup. I love that you can spray this throughout the day to top up your sun protection and I also love that it’s lightweight and has no sunscreen smell. Repurchase – I have already repurchased this, but the nozzle on my second bottle seems to be broken and doesn’t create the same fine mist! Sadly, this one needs to be dispersed into my hands and then applied to my face, so be sure to keep your receipts in case you also get a faulty one!

Biologique Recherche P50V $62 – This chemical exfoliator has a cult following among beauty editors and bloggers, so after hearing it described as “Jesus in a bottle” for the umpteenth time I finally caved and bought this pricey stuff. The first few times you use this formula, it burns. When I say burn, I mean your face will be fire red for an hour after using it. Although I’ve tried using this for months on and off, both with water on a cotton pad and without, this was way too strong for my skin. After a few days of use, I’d develop intense cystic acne along my jaw. Even though everyone warns you that there is an intense purging period, the breakouts never died down even after continuing to use it for 3 months. I’ve since moved on to the Radical Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads and they’ve made an enormous difference to my skin. Repurchase – No. Maybe later in life.

Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil $48 – You’ve heard me wax on about this cleansing oil before, and my love has not faltered. This is my 2nd empty bottle and I have a new one waiting for me to crack into. Repurchase – Forever and always.

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle $25 – The classic micellar water that everyone has used in the last 2 years. It has yet to fail me and will remain in constant stock in my cabinet. Repurchase – Of course, although I wish it was easier to find in the US.

Hair & Body

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray 2.2 oz $22 – I hate finishing off these cans. The scent and results are addicting, but it seems like the small cans run out of product after only 4 uses! This stuff is so expensive (the larger 8.5 oz bottle is $44!) for something that runs out so quickly and I hate myself for continuing to buy them. If someone has found a cheaper alternative, I’m all ears! Repurchase – After I win the lottery.

Whish Shave Cream in Pomegranate (sample size) $20 – This is the one and only sample from Birchbox that I’ve ever liked…and I picked this one out at the Birchbox Shop. Although I’ve cancelled my Birchbox subscription, I’ll continue to buy this shave cream because it’s so moisturizing and smells so good that it almost makes me look forward to shaving my legs. Almost. This formula isn’t as foaming as your typical shave cream from the drugstore, but moisturizes your legs with natural ingredients like squalane, organic shea butter, organic green tea extract and organic coconut oil. Repurchase – Yes!

Frederick Fekkai PRX Reparatives Intensive Fortifying Mask $25 – I received this mask as a GWP at Space NK. I’ve used a small dime-size amount once a week for the last few months and I’m addicted to the scent and the results. It makes my hair so soft and shiny, even in the dead of winter, so if you have dull or coarse hair this is a great option! Repurchase – Yes!

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil $21 – I’ve heard about this shower oil for years, but never thought I’d actually enjoy the smell of almonds on my body. Let me just say that this stuff is amazing. I realize that this is an insanely expensive body wash, but it is so moisturizing that it’s almost worth the super high cost. If you get dry, scaly skin this time of year, this is worth the investment. Repurchase – I already have my backups.

Grown Alchemist Vanilla & Orange Peel Hand Cream $24 – I received this in a GWP from Space NK last year and I only just finished it. I’m not a huge fan of hand creams because they either make my hands feel oily and greasy or make my hands feel drier than they were before I applied it. This one doesn’t necessarily moisturize my hands that much, but the vanilla and orange smell is addicting and is a welcome addition at my work desk. Repurchase – No. I need something that smells good and moisturizes.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


The Best of Tatcha


I’ve been a huge fan of the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder and Camelia Cleansing Oil for over a year now and a few weeks ago it was time to stock up again. Although the cleansers are expensive and it’s painful to part with that much money for something that is washed down the sink, they easily last over 6 months even when used twice a day. I was so impressed by my first foray into Tatcha that I decided to try the Deep Cleansing Rice Powder, the Eye Masks, the much-raved about Dewy Skin Face Mist and the Supple Moisturizer.

Of all these purchases, the first one that I had to try was the Deep Hydration Eye Masks. This time of year when my skin dry and sallow, my under-eye bags are particularly noticeable. Although these slide around your face unless you lie down flat when they’re on, they quickly moisturize the skin under your eyes and keep them looking bright all day. However, these cost almost three times as much as my beloved Boscia Sake Hydrogel Eye Masks (Tatcha costs $12 for one pair while Boscia costs $15 for 3 sets) and those remain on my eye even when I walk around.

The next product that spoke to me was the Dewy Skin Face Mist. Many a blogger has raved about this and I was an easy sell. This promises to provide a luminous glow when misted either over or on top of your makeup. I prefer to use this under my makeup to provide some slip and dewiness under my foundation because it tends to look a little wet when sprayed over a finished face. A word of caution for my acne-prone skin girls: this contains algae, a highly comedogenic ingredient, so it’s best used sparingly if you’re prone to clogging.

So far, the Tatcha line has not lead me astray and I will continue buying their cleansing products far into the future. Let me know if there are any products that you’ve tried from the range and loved!


October Favorites

photo 2 (10)

Hasta luego autumn. It’s time to batten down the hatches and prepare for those polar vortexes to hit. Ahhh the joys of living on the east coast.

I’ve been really excited about makeup lately and it’s largely because I’ve found some products that create a truly flawless base that is super luminous. I start with the Laura Mercier Radiance Primer: a silicone-free primer that gives you a good dose of champagne glow underneath any foundation. Next, I put on my all-time favorite foundation the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation with a damp beautyblender. I haven’t been wearing much foundation lately but since buying the Radiance Primer and the beautyblender I’ve rediscovered my love for the Luminous Silk. Although the primer provides plenty of radiance, I like to exaggerate it even more with the W3ll People Bio Brightener (swatched below). By dabbing this on the top of the cheekbones this impacts a serious candlelight glow. This will last you forever since you only need a tiny dab for each application. The last makeup bit I’ve been loving this month is the YSL Rouge Pur Couture 1 Le Rouge (swatched below). I saw Alessandra Steinherr wearing this in a Instagram a few weeks back and I picked this up the next day, it’s that beautiful. This is now the most prized possession in my makeup stash because it’s the most beautiful bright red color that has a semi-glossy finish. Although I own plenty of red colors, this one is so sexy and makes every outfit I pair it with feel like a special occasion.

My skincare routine hasn’t changed much in the last month but two items I introduced at the beginning of October are the Dr. Jart Dermajet Micro Mask Clearing Solution and L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil. The Dr Jart Dermamask is an individual sheet mask that promises to hydrate acne prone skin and clear breakouts with a combination of tea tree oil and salicylic acid. I bought this on a whim without reading any reviews about it before trying it. Safe to say, the sheet mask section at Sephora has become a serious problem for me. I’ve used plenty of hydrogel masks, including the ones from Boscia, and cotton masks, like the SK-II version, but none of the tens of masks I’ve used in the past can compare to this. This mask is made of a super thin microfiber that meshes perfectly with the skin and stays put the entire time it’s on your face. For the first time in my sheet mask-using history, I was able to walk around with this on without it falling off and even forgot I was wearing it at one point. It does leave a bit of a sticky residue but I have no problem washing it off once I’m done using the mask. I’ve already bought 3 backups so I have these on hand when I need a little help with my skin.

Before I discovered L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Oil I was seriously lacking in the shower department. I had read people go on and on about how great the shower oil feels and how smooth your skin is when you get out of the shower, but I was convinced I was going to hate the smell. When I visited the L’Occitane shop in the West Village, I finally decided to check it out and instantly fell in love. This stuff is pretty pricey at $25 per 8 oz of body wash, but I bought the smaller version and have only made a small dent in it after using it all month.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture 1 Le Rouge

YSL Rouge Pur Couture 1 Le Rouge

W3ll People Bio Brightener

W3ll People Bio Brightener

What were your favorites this month? Let me know!

Aurelia Monday to Sunday Bamboo Muslins

photo 1 (10)

If you love properly cleansing your skin but hate the idea of having to use 14 individual towels to remove your cleanser, you and I have something in common. We all know by now that to properly remove a cleanser we have to use a face cloth to get rid of excess residue and properly prevent clogged pores. I was tired of using up my precious few small towels just to remove my face cleanser and I was looking for a gentler option that would treat my skin nicely as I removed makeup.photo 2 (9)

I first saw these online a few weeks ago and luckily stumbled upon them the next weekend at the beautiful Brooklyn beauty destination Shen Beauty. As weird as it sounds, I think I like them so much because they remind me of days of the week underwear. I just love the idea of having an exact number of clean face cloths for each day of the week. If you tend to be just a little OCD and this gives you immeasurable amounts of joy, you know what I’m talking about.

These are definitely more expensive than your average pack of cheap towels, but since these are antibacterial you can use one muslin morning and night for one day without bacteria breeding. The bamboo fabric is so finely woven that it’s perfect for sensitive skin that tends to flare up after a vigorous scrubbing. Even after a few loads in the washing machine you won’t feel like you’re scratching or damaging the skin while you’re lifting away your daily grime.

Will you be trying these muslin cloths? What’s your favorite way to remove makeup? Let me know!

The Oskia Renaissance Duo

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Oskia had a big moment last year when every British beauty blogger seemed to discover the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel at the same time. In the midst of all this hype, I was lucky enough to experience the Oskia Glow Facial at the Berkeley Hotel for what was by far one of the best facials I’ve ever had. Safe to say I went back for the facial once or twice before I moved to New York and bought every product they use during the treatment. My esthetician told me that the Cleansing Gel and Renaissance Mask were so similar in formulation that you only really need one because they can be used interchangeably as a mask and cleanser. Since I hate making decisions, I bought both and now have backups ready for when I finish these two.

The mask is a thick jelly texture and turns white when rubbed into the skin. In her review of the product, Caroline Hirons says she accidentally used this as a cleanser the first time she used it, but the results were so amazing that she continues to use it that way. If you love the idea of a super creamy cleansing balm that you really need to work into the skin for a good few minutes, you can definitely use this as a cleanser. As a mask, this exfoliates dead surface cells with fruit acids, lactic acid and prebiotics and reveals brighter and softer skin after 20 mins. A note for all of you who are sensitive to fragrance: this smells pretty strongly of rose, a natural and soothing rose albeit, but still very noticeable.

The Renaissance Cleansing Gel is definitely the star of the range and has received praise from every blogger and her mother. This pink gel comes in a beautiful, elegant white tube and transforms from a gel to a thick oil when worked into the skin. I prefer to use this on a dry face either in the morning or after an oil cleanser at night and I notice that my face always looks more hydrated after use. I don’t use this every day because I find if I use it too often small spots emerge on my cheeks over the course of the day. With a cleanser this thick you have to use a wet washcloth or a flannel to remove it or else your pores will be in major trouble.

These are very luxurious treats and are amazingly brightening even when used just a few times a week. Although there aren’t any stockists in the US, both Cult Beauty and Beauty Bay offer free worldwide shipping for the products. Will you give Oskia a go? Which product are you most interested in trying? Let me know!

The Perfect Natural Flush

photo (7)

I love makeup (that’s no secret by now), but I have a major aversion to blush. I hunt for the perfect shade every time I walk into Sephora or a department store and have asked countless sales associates to help me find the right color, but I very rarely find one that suits me. Maybe this is because I naturally have a very rosy hue and blush only exaggerates my redness to clownish levels or makes me look dirty and ruddy. Here are some of the few blushes that suit those of us who don’t want to look even redder than we already are, but still want the perfect, natural flush.

Nars Deep Throat $30- My first blush love has been a long-term affair. I still use this one all the time and it’s the most flattering coral-y pink I have ever used. This gives the perfect flush to my cheeks in the autumn and is a year-round favorite of mine.

Smashbox LA Lights Silver Lake Sunset $29 – This is a new find for me and I bought it mainly because my number one girl crush Emily Weiss of Into the Gloss recommended it. I apply this straight to my cheeks from the tube for a creamy wash of coral flush. This is the BEST fall shade as it perfectly matches the berry or copper tones you’re probably already wearing on your lips and eyes.

Milani Romantic Rose $7.99 – I have been lusting after Tarte Exposed and Nars Douceur for a loooong time now, but I never took the plunge because I knew the brown neutral color didn’t quite suit me. Every time a sales associate applied these in the store I couldn’t help but think that they made me look a lil’ too muddy. When I saw Milani’s neutral offering in the drugstore I grabbed this up and figured that if I was going to try a darker shade that it might as well be one that cost under $10. This one is slightly pinker and lighter than Tarte Exposed, but still an amazing dupe for a blush that is more than three times the price.

Milani Luminoso $6.97 – This is one of my favorite everyday shades and I especially love the price. This is a super glowy and brightening shade that gives a sheer coral color to the cheeks. Rather than placing this solely on the apples of my cheek, I like to brush this pigment up my cheek bones and use it as a highlighter. These Milani baked blushes are great dupes for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes since they create a similar pigmented wash of color but for nearly one-fifth of the price.

Makeup Forever HD 225 $26 – This might look really frightening in the pan because it is so pink and very pigmented, but when blended out this is the most natural and brightening blush I own. I lightly dip a finger into the creamy formula and blend it out with a stippling brush to create a super glowy and pink flush. Although this one is on the pinker side, it compliments red-toned skin perfectly.

I have my eye on Benefit’s Dandelion for my next neutral blush pick. It looks just light enough to give a bit of color without being overwhelmingly colorful. Do you have any recommendations for blushes I should try next?