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Betts's Boudoir: The greatest blushers of all time

April 4th 2012 / Hannah Betts

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What Hannah Betts doesn’t know about beauty products isn’t worth knowing. Here, she shares her favourites. This week: rouge

Soooooo in last week’s Boudoir, I promised you more on my elaborate, five-highlighter cheekbone creation strategy. Never let it be said that I am one to renege on my word.

It took me too long in life to realise that a pallid complexion can only really sing with rouge. At Oxford, my Victorian literature tutor would routinely inquire whether I had galloping consumption (alas, my eyes were insufficiently sparkling). The combination of dark hair, irises and lips plus ultra-anaemic face means that it’s all too easy to go creature of the night sans blush. For a couple of years now, my vivifier of choice has been Clinique’s Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Iced Lotus: a luminous petal of a sort to suggest a girlish flush.

However, there is luminous and there is luminous. One of the many reasons why fake tan is so ghastly is that it can be so irredeemably flat, whereas natural skin gleams, boasts lustre, coruscates. And, if it doesn’t, one must make it.

Illuminators are an area in which my OCD comes tragically to the fore. In the wake of a recent move, my cosmetic collection is at its most minimalist in years, and yet I can still immediately lay hands on - ahem - 19 brightening powders. Moreover, I have just disposed of a beloved, but crumbled-to-death Dior number, another three sit in travel bags, and two are at chaps’ houses.

Much of the blame for this obsession must rest with Guerlain. I was an impressionable 16 in 1987 when the House brought out its Météorites illuminating spheres, a cult from their very inception.
My mother, a Big G acolyte, immediately played ball with said balls. Violet-scented, bonbon pretty, these candy-coloured enhancers come presented in a rosette-stamped, embossed metal pot, inspired by Marie Antoinette’s jewel box. Think both complexion and dressing-table eye candy. Three shades remain permanently on sale (Teint Rose, Teint Beige and Teint Dore), plus the summer and Christmas special editions that inevitably prove my downfall.

This summer’s incarnation is an aqua-themed Pucci tribute, Météorites Perles d’Azure, featuring: green balls to diminish excessive pinkness, pink to counteract dullness, blue to remove the yellow from jaded skin, and mauve to lend brightness to shadowy areas. It’s not my all-time favourite pot o’ pearls - being on the rather blue side of blue – but, naturally, I both own and wear it. Spring’s pinky gold, solid Meteorites compact, Cruel Gardenia, is, however, aching lovely and I intend laying down another several.

The slant of cheekbone French traditionally excel at this sort of malarkey, wit fellow Gauls Dior, Chanel and Givenchy being similarly highlighter-tastic (again, seek out seasonal limited editions).

For those of a pragmatic disposition, Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Bricks provide a conveniently portable, one-stop illuminating and bronzing / blushing shop. Launched in 2003 and, like Météorites, relying upon a baking technique, Bob’s bricks present radiance in multicoloured strips rather than balls. Five shades of such slabs have now been joined by a new product – Brightening Finishing Powder – the aim of which is an overall, rather than merely cheek-focused gleam.

But why opt for practicality, when one can amuse oneself by wallowing in hyperbolic cosmetic excess? And so my Saturday eve extreme cheekbone luminosity layering experiment came to pass: how glow can one woman go?

1) First prep step: illuminating moisturiser
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl
AKA youth in a bottle, innit? You may require a shade other than white – say, bronze or opal - and so be it.

2) Second prep step: light-reflecting foundation
Diorskin Sculpt Line-smoothing Lifting Make-up
A gloriously radiance-imparting base and, Diorlings, if you ever stop producing it, know now that I will kill myself. Or opt for a still lighter BB Cream – Lauder’s DayWear BB rocks.

3) Chanel Powder Blush in Luna
A white blush - who’d have thought it? It doesn’t look as if Chanel makes this any more, but, by God, it ought to. Luna is/was the perfect cheekbone focuser and vampiric Brits demand it.

4) Guerlain Météorites Perles in Teint Rose
One of the House’s permanent trio and a fetching blend of pearls and pinks.

5) MAC Beauty Powder in Snowglobe
I know, I know, another ancient limited edition the shade of sheeny flesh.

6) Guerlain Météorites Illuminating Iridescent Powder
Currently on sale (see above) - a ravishing, pinky gold affair.

7) Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in Rose
...could, of course, be deployed on its own (see above), but where’s the fun in that? Givenchy’s Le Prisme Blush Bucolique in Bucolic Rose is also sublime for a less shimmering, more subtly scintillating flush.

And Reader, I could go on, only now it’s getting silly. (Although I confess I may just have dusted round my jawline with Bobbi B’s Brightening Finishing Powder to lend my jowls definition.) Add a hit of the aforementioned Iced Lotus and Bob’s your uncle. Girls went wild, chaps obv didn’t notice a thing, and I got to glint minxily all evening.

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