An Ode to Cream Blush

cram blush

When the weather in the Northern hemisphere starts warming up, and the beach (or at least a patch of green grass in the park) starts beckoning, I know it’s time to start switching up my makeup routine. It’s almost instinctive – powders start feeling goopy and heavy, your skin wants lighter products (with sunscreen!) and you don’t feel like spending lots of time getting ready. In summer let’s face it, everyone generally looks better with a flush of healthy colour.

With that in mind, I love cream products as they are fast, portable, can be dabbed on with a finger and let your natural glow come through. For me in summer, it’s all about cream blushes and bronzers. Here are my picks of the season:

Stila Convertible Colour – these are the prettiest flush you will find in a compact. I carry about 8 in my kit on every makeup job, and pat them on to the apple of the cheek either with my fingers, or with a sponge. You can also blend in with a brush, and my favourite for this is the MAC 187 large duofibre blending brush.

Paul & Joe Creamy Cheek in 03 – this is it, this is the one that I’m personally wearing all summer long. Deceptively pale in its sweet Art-deco inspired pink packaging, it can be built to a gorgeous flush of colour with a subtle shimmer that makes you look uber-healthy.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge – These come in a gorgeous chunky pot and really can be used on lips and cheeks. I love Calypso Coral for a punchy flush of colour and Summer Tan for a monochromatic bronze effect.

NARS Multiples – yes, every one raves about these because they are amazing. The shimmery bronze-y shades are my favourite, and I mix and match St Barts, South Beach and Palm Beach depending on the models’ skin tone. You can also add Malibu or Riviera on the apples of the cheek (if you felt like taking a walk on the wild side.)

Chanel Bronze Universel – a big, chunky beautiful pot of caramel bronze goodness with a hint of shimmer – just enough to look like skin, that you buff in with a big brush. Such a perfect start to the day as well – dipping into a big pot with the double C’s on top.

Becca – juicy, sweet little pans of blush in punchy, unusual colours like Hyacinth, Turkish Rose and Amaryllis. I keep a good selection on hand at all times, and it is equally sweet on lips. This is a lovely range for the summer months as no-one does flattering, natural, juicy summer colours like an Aussie brand, and this one definitely fits the bill.

These are just a few of my favourite cream blushes – The other lovely thing about cream blushes is you can layer them under your powder blush or bronzer to create a new, more longer lasting blush colour. Because cream blush, like summer, will fade. But the memory of it lingers on.

Hot Polish: Paul & Joe no 16

Why is this my new favourite hue? I’ve had it for awhile and I pulled it out to use it yesterday, only to discover the most perfect scarlet polish ever. It’s just the right balance between blue and orange and makes me instantly think of Betty Draper in Mad Men. (And I think we all know how I like to think about her).

Since red is one of the hot colours for European Autumn/Winter I’ll be wearing this frequently, and coming over all 1950’s housewife – except for the stifling girdles, obsession with what the neighbours think, and cripping bouts of depression to be medicated by cocktails, cigarettes and Valium. You know, just the good bits.

January Jones Mad Men

Beauty Breakdown: Rose Byrne At the Breakthrough of the Year Awards

Rose Byrne At the Breakthrough of the Year AwardsLovely Aussie actress Rose Byrne was sporting a red lip at the Breakthrough of the Year Awards in LA, and her makeup artist, Amy Hollier, was channelling modern glamour. “I’m always inspired by old Hollywood glamour, but this look was definitely a modern version of that. It was more Angelina Jolie in Manhattan, than Marilyn Monroe in Hollywood”, Amy said.

Rose is beautiful, great at what she does (Damages is one of my favourite series EVER, and anyone who can hold their own with Glenn Close must be a fairly serious actress), and we both grew up in Balmain in Sydney, so I am quite partial to a bit of Rose.

Amy Hollier used the following products to get the look:


  • Stila Starlight shadow “on the inner corners of the eyes, then blended out across the top lid and under the eyebrow arches. The shimmer picks up the light to brighten the eyes and give them a pop”.
  • Paul & Joe mascara duo in black “One of my favourite mascaras for dramatic black lashes”, says Amy.


  • Stila Longwear Lipliner in Passionate
  • Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Red Sinner

Brand Breakdown: Paul & Joe Beaute

Paul and Joe - Cream Blush This is such a gorgeous brand. It has been flying under my radar until now for a silly reason really – the packaging is beautiful art deco inspired pieces, but a lot of it is glass. So since my injury it’s too heavy for me, and it’s been languishing in all it’s French Art Deco gorgeousness, at home. That is, until I had the inspired idea to decant the foundations and eye makeup remover into lightweight plastic Muji bottles! Now I have the lovely packaging on my dresser instead, because it really is too pretty to hide away.

The brand is the makeup offshoot of Sophie Albou’s Paul & Joe, the French clothing label, and its ethos is like the clothes – simple, beautiful, feminine and classic, but always cool. The idea behind the clothes is ‘Accessible Luxury’, which I think certainly comes across in the makeup line as well.

The texture of the makeup is sheer, with an almost watercolor effect on the nail polishes and cream blushes (which are one of my favourite pieces in the line. I am OBSESSED at the moment with the shimmery peach cream blush in 03). They also do lovely eye glosses which are super cute, and lip glosses in juicy, yummy colours.

The brand sells in the US at Bergdorf Goodman, in the UK at Harrods and Fenwicks, and is huge in Japan. They are an especially good line for those with pale complexions, although they do also go reasonably deep in their colour selection, which we know is always a plus in my book. I am always a bit wary of brands that think the world is one colour! (Or a maximum of six).

They have quite a few foundations in the line, but the one I like the most is the Cream foundation. It has a lovely, silky texture and a range of colors that is quite unusual – they seem to have certain colours that are hard to find elsewhere, so if you have trouble finding the right colour for your skin in other brands, this is definitely one to check out.

They do a skincare line (the eye makeup remover is a favourite) and all of their foundations and primers have active ingredients based on skincare properties. And the packaging makes me swoon! How could you resist the pearly pink eyeshadow and blush containers, the floral printed lipsticks and the glass flacons for the skincare? It’s really beautiful, and for girly girls you’ll be in heaven.

Paul and Joe - Lipstick The other thing I really like about Paul & Joe is it has weird colours – as a makeup artist I love a strange colour that’s slightly off, and in keeping with the retro packaging, some of the colours are a bit 1950’s (but in a good way!) Salmon, candy pink nail varnish, unusual eyeshadow shades – it’s not your typical range of makeup. They bring out special collections each year, which all go on to become big collector’s items. The latest range is the Sahara range, with gorgeous blotting powder sheets and a shimmering body oil.

The surprise standout product for me in this line is the Moisturizing Foundation Primer, which is really surprising as I am Not. A. Primer. Girl. Up until now I have thought it was the Emperor’s New Clothes of makeup – yet one more product to buy, or think we should be using, that actually (excuse the expression), does bugger all. But I am loving the way the Moisturizing Foundation Primer feels on my skin, and it definitely makes my foundation go on smoother. Does it make it last longer? I’m not really sure yet. Primers need a rigorous testing cycle in different conditions, but so far, this guy is making me change my opinion of primers in general, which is no mean feat. I could be gradually moving over to the Primer Dark Side.

For summer they have a Protective Foundation Primer UV with an SPF of 40 (! Yes, 40. Ain’t no sun getting’ through that sucker. Fantastic). Unfortunately it only comes in two shades, (both on the paler side) so make sure you check it before you buy as it won’t be for everyone. Having said that, it is a good one if it’s the right colour for you as it leaves a great texture on the skin, a nice glow that reminds me of the Prada Tinted Moisturiser (also fabulous).

I can see why Paul & Joe has such a cult following, and the products are very high quality with a lovely texture to them. But the sweet packaging alone makes it a collector’s dream line. Worth a look.

Trends: Coral

I don’t know about you guys, but I for one am Officially. Over. Winter. In my mind it’s done – I’m sick of the scarves and coats and hats and ready for some tropical style—ee warm weather.

So if I can’t have summer in actuality, I’m going to fake it. Which means getting into the color on everyone’s lips and cheeks. Yep, coral. A shade you might be frightened of, quite rightly, because you think “Oh my God, Nana”. But like lots of things (such as clogs and double denim) that are so wrong they’re right again, coral is the lip color for spring.

Why? Because it’s just really gorgeous and flattering, and it’s more interesting than pink and not as full on as red or orange, so you can feel like you’re making a statement and flirting with a trend yet not feeling like an escapee from Disney’s Small World. Coral is pretty, flattering and lady like. Call it the Mad Men effect.

It’s no longer a color for Mrs Slocum. It’s more a modern version of Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. (For really, who DOESN’T want to be cuddled up in a convertible with Cary Grant on the Riviera?)  It’s true, it’s a color that had its heyday in the 50’s and 60’s, called something clever like “Shrimp Cocktail”, and everybody’s gran had a tube of the stuff in their bathroom. But now with the improvements in technology and a wider range to cater for all skin tones, it’s possible to find a shade of peach for everyone.

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly

Corals to Covet

Bobbi Brown has a whole Coral collection out this season, called Cabo Corals. I’m loving the Cabo Coral Pot Rouge, which is the yellow-er sister to Calypso Coral Pot Rouge (which has a bluer undertone.) Cabo Coral would be beautiful on anyone, but it’s gorgeous on deeper skin tones, and those with more yellow-ish skin. The Cabo Coral lipstick and the shimmery nectarine Sunset Beach gloss are pretty spesh as well. I even like them all together – call it the Double Coral Face! Bobbi Brown  Lip Crayon in Coral Pink is also on my wishlist – it’s gorge.

Benefit – Coralista blush, which came out last year but is still right on trend for 2010. We do love Benefit’s blushes,( although why they insist on calling them “Face Powders” is beyond me –  I think it’s confusing and misleading.) But call them a blush and they are DIVINE. Coralista  went straight into the Top Ten of Benefit’s prodiucts as soon as it was released, so I’m clearly not the only one with a love of all things peachy.

Illamasqua – Obey lipstick, the perfect 60’s peach lip and Excite powder blush, a vivid apricot, are my top shades in their range.

Paul & Joe Cheek cream in 03 – this gives you that watercolor, lit from within glow.

NARS – Casablanca and Barbarella lipsticks are both classic corals, plus the new Summer 2010 collection which I’m BEYOND excited by, has Love Devotion Lipstick, a sheer guava stain, and Enchanted, a coral cream blush (which J Lo, and  Zoe Saldana  wore to the Oscars.) And let’s face it, full monty coral needs luminous skin, so add a bit of Orgasm Illuminator whilst you’re at it. Oh and you could add NARS lipgloss in Orgasm whilst you were there. You know, if you wanted.

How to Wear It

Even though grannies are cool again (witness the incredible resurgence of grey hair and the lavender rinse that Kelly Osborne has been sporting lately), still there are limits to how Gran can you go? Let’s think about it instead as how Grace can you go?

So I would advise  going coral strongly only on one feature – for instance, if you’re sporting a coral cheek, just do a peachy stain on the lips, and vice versa. There is no need to become a Technicolor Shrimp Cocktail billboard! I love it with a soft, neutral shadow on the eye, something like NARS Cyprus or Estee Lauder Cinnamon single eyeshadow. And natch, neat brows, lovely skin and lots of ladylike lashes (but no clumps please, this is the Riviera).

Serendipitously, I found a video from the new NARS Youtube channel that is the look from the Autumn/Winter 2010 Marc Jacobs show that has, drumroll please, Lilac Eyes and Coral lips together in one look!