Ever since I saw Kathleen Lights and Jaclyn Hill rave about the Milani baked blush in Luminouso I knew I HAD to try it! I then picked up 1 baked and 1 powder blush straight from the Milani website in my US haul. It did take a while for me to receive it but thankfully I didn't get charged any customs and my goodies were all in perfect condition (I was really worried about the compacts breaking or being damaged upon arrival).
Packaging:The packaging of this blush is very simple. It has a see through lid so you can easily see the colour of the actual product when reaching for it in your makeup organizer/vanity. I love the gold edges – it adds a glam touch. The blush flips up to reveal a cute (good quality) mirror and a little brush. The brush definitely isn't the best. It feels scratchy and prickly on my skin and I won't be using it but I like that they included it. The compact is a little bulky as well, but because its not very wide it still fits into my compact holder/organizer.
The first thing I noticed when I flipped the blush to reveal the brush is the smell – it smells like a wet animal. Seriously, that is the only way I can explain it. When I washed it though, the smell went away *sigh of relief*. I won't use the brush because I find it doesn't apply blush well at all, but I washed it anyway so I could let you all know whether the smell lingered or disappeared. Milani is cruelty free so there's no way the brush is made of sheep/animal hair/fur. It is synthetic bristles.
Because this is a baked blush, I didn't expect it to apply very well. However when I first applied it, it felt silky and velvety and applied pretty evenly. I'm not usually a fan of baked blush formulas, but this particular one is pretty easy to work with and is very pigmented. It does contain shimmer, but not so much that you end up looking like a shimmering mess. For those of you afraid of sparkle/shimmer, don't worry, because you can buff away any shimmer as much as you like and it still ends up looking gorgeous.
I'm not as light skinned as Jaclyn or Kathleen, so I chose a slightly darker shade – Berry Amore. It is described as a berry rose with gold shimmer. As you can see in my swatches below (in direct sunlight, shade and with flash) this shade is not really a berry color at all. On my skin it's more of a warm coral/peach with golden shimmer.
What I love about this blush is the fact that on days when I don't feel like wearing a full face of makeup but still want some "color" on my face, I just dot some concealer under my eyes, apply some mascara, lip tint and this blush and everything looks very natural and pretty. It instantly adds a brightening effect to my cheeks unlike some other blushes that looks horrible or very obvious without a full face of makeup. This blush is so natural it looks good with and without a full face of makeup. I find that when wearing this blush I don't need any (though I sometimes still apply it anyway) highlighter because it sort of illuminates and adds color at the same time. The shimmer is subtle, and not chunky or glittery at all. It is also easily buildable which means if you wanna layer, go right ahead.
Without primer or foundation this blush lasted me a good 4 hours. With foundation and primer it lasted 9 hours on my combination skin, and the best part is when it faded it did so evenly (some blushes fades and ends up looking patchy). Bare in mind though, that wear time may differ from person to person because different factors come into play such as skin type, where you live, primers you use etc.
Tools For Application:
Now, I know I said this blush is pigmented and it is, BUT, it does depend on what brush you are using. I first used my Real Techniques blush brush to apply and it didn't show up on my cheeks well because the brush is so fluffy. Because this is a baked blush formula, you need a much denser brush. I then tried using my flat top angled kabuki brush (pictured below) and it worked perfectly (I reviewed the 10 piece kabuki brush set here, if you wanna take a peek). The brush picked up the perfect amount of blush and I applied it in a stippling motion. It doesn't have to be an angled kabuki brush, a flat top kabuki or other dense blush brushes will also work. If you are light skinned (NC30 – NC35) you'll have to use a light hand. If you are darker though (NC40 – NC45) you can easily build up this blush to give you your preferred wash of color on your cheeks. If you have very light/pale skin I don't think this blush would look good on you, neither will it look good on deeper skin tones (NC50). There are however a variety of shades so I'm sure you'll find a shade perfect for you.
Overall I am honestly cue Beyonće voice crazy in-love with this blush. It's all I have been reaching for lately. I find it so easy to apply and I love how the overall effect on my cheeks is luminous and natural. Now I know why Jaclyn Hill and Kathleen Lights love these, they're AMAZING and very much worth the hype. I regret only purchasing one. I definitely want to get my hands on all of the other shades!
Where To Purchase:
I purchased mine directly from the Milani website for $8.
Update: Milani Cosmetics is now available in South Africa! You can't see, but I'm doing a happy dance. They are legit and their prices are incredible. You can check them out here. For the month of August they're having free shipping cue fangirl screaming who's ordering?!