While much of the Korean makeup look is not up my alley (no matte lips, wuuuuut?!), other parts are absolutely My Bag. This includes the focus on youthful, glowy skin, which prompts Korean companies to produce dozens and dozens of lush cream blush formulas. (They produce a lot of nice powder blushes as well, but alas, I don't use powder blush.) I was particularly drawn to the BBIA Downy Cheek blushes, though, because:
- They're super cheap; I paid about $6 for each one at F2Plus1.
- The colors are right up my alley: pretty peaches, bright pinks, and soft pastels.
- There's no shimmer! So many pastel products are glittery or frosty, but these are absolutely shimmer-free.
The Downy Cheek blushes come in 3.5 gram pans, housed in simple plastic compacts. I'll be the first to admit it: the compacts are cheap-looking, and they certainly don't give the product a luxe feel. They're surprisingly sturdy, however, and they snap shut very tightly, so I won't bitch about it too much.
The formula has an especially emollient feel: rub your finger across one of these and it practically turns to liquid. The one exception is the Lavender shade, which is still very creamy, but has a slightly waxier feel than the other shades. I find that these are (like most cream blushes) best applied with fingers to prevent streaking and get a seamless look. However, you can certainly blend them out with a small synthetic foundation brush.
The thin texture of these blushes means you can layer them for stronger and stronger color. I personally tend to do two thin layers, which provides plenty of pigment on my fair skin; darker skinned folks may need to add a bit more to get real color pay off. The staying power on my dry skin is also decently impressive: I get about 6 hours of wear.
Here are the slew o' shades! The first two I purchased were #01 Pink and #02 Peach. Pink is (as the name suggests) a bright, cool-toned, bubblegum pink. Peach is a cooler peach with some pink in it. This has quickly become my favorite shade of the bunch; it reminds me of Kevyn Aucoin Tansoleil, but slightly brighter and "girlier."
I then ordered two more and decided to go for the "odd" shades you can't usually find in western brand line-ups: #03 Apricot and #04 Lavender. Apricot is that very yellow peach shade that never ever EVER looks right on me, but I keep buying it because Reasons. Lavender is one of the few true lavender blushes I've seen, and while it's lovely on pale skin, I think the strong white base will render this worthless on medium to dark skintones. (I swatched it on NC30ish skin and it looked very chalky.)
I've seen a review or two describe the BBIA Downy Cheek blushes as "matte," and I have to say I'm surprised by the idea. My skin is dry and I've been wearing these during the fall/winter season, and these definitely apply dewy and glowy on my skin. They do dry down to a more satin finish throughout the day, but they're definitely not matte on me. I'm therefore lead to believe that, between the emollient texture and dewy finish, these aren't the best option for oily skin.
To demonstrate the shine, the picture above shows #03 Apricot on my cheeks about 30 minutes after I applied it. There is no highlighter on my cheeks at all, but oooh, shiny! Also, yes, I am aware that this shade does not work on me at all, but I wanted to demonstrate the finish.
I am truly, truly loving these blushes. Except for Apricot (which looks awful on me), these have become a winter staple for me. If you're looking for a cheap but effective Korean cream blush, give these guys a try!
RATING: 4 out of 5