I’ve never been a big fan of Kylie Jenner’s beauty empire Kylie Cosmetics. Unlike the brand’s (literal) sister company KKW Beauty, whose uniquely formulated, blendable, and creamy contour and highlight sticks quickly quieted skeptics (myself included), Kylie’s products have been pretty consistently lackluster. Her lip kits, the brand’s hero product, are subpar in performance (they’re incredibly drying, wear off quickly, and transfer easily), and have an ultrasweet candy fragrance that I find frankly nauseating. Her lip glosses are similarly disappointing: I ordered one during a flash sale and when it arrived, I was shocked to find that the tube was filled up only about halfway — a total waste of money.
If you’re wondering why I’m being insanely critical today, it’s because I want to make it clear just how ready I was to write off Kylie’s most recent launch, a line of reformulated blushes, highlighters, and bronzers. But over the past few months, I began noticing something peculiar: Some of my most trusted fellow beauty obsessives were posting regularly about the Kylie Cosmetics blush. My friend Joelle Hyman, a visual editor at Allure and total beauty guru, posted a picture of the pale-pink shade “Winter Kissed” and peachy shade “Close to Perfect” on her Instagram, with the caption: “Girls, these blushes are it. Holy grail!” I texted her to ask if it was really that good and she wrote back instantly: “Rio…” she said, “You need her.”
I was intrigued but not yet persuaded enough to pull the trigger. That was until I saw the same blush, this time in the pinky, berry-toned shade “Rosy” on friend and makeup artist Shayna Goldberg’s Instagram. I messaged her urgently. “Ugh, it’s so good,” she replied. “It’s the only thing I recommend from her line.”
At which point, I ordered Kylie Cosmetics blush in the shade “Baddie on the Block”, a pinkish-apricot. Since Shayna and Joelle both specifically mentioned the blush’s high pigment and long wearability, I tested it a day where I knew I’d have zero time for touch-ups — straight from the office to a friend’s birthday dinner. Usually, I have to reapply my blushes a couple times throughout the day — I’m a cream blush person (they tend to be the most natural-looking), and my MAKE Bisou Bisou and RMS Lip to Cheek fade fairly quickly.
That morning, I applied it on the apples of my cheeks (over my Kosas foundation). The first thing I noticed was that Shayna and Joelle were dead on about the the pigment: A little goes a long way, and it’s easy to overdo it. The second thing I noticed was that unlike my usual go-tos (mentioned above), which give me a soft, natural flush, this creates a slightly louder, yet still natural-looking, look. The third thing I noticed was that I loved it: It made my complexion beautiful, bright (but not too aggressively bright for daytime), and intensely youthful-looking. Unlike powder blushes I’ve tried in the past (like the widely beloved NARS Orgasm or Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Air Blush), this was not too sparkly, too cakey, or overly drying on my temperamental skin. It blended out beautifully — and gave more life to my already pasty, pre-winter skin than any of my standard cream blushes.
That day, three different people complimented my makeup and asked me what I was wearing on my cheeks. But the moment I fell hard for the stuff was when I got home from birthday drinks. I looked in the mirror and found that the blush was right where I left it; my skin looked exactly as vibrant and perfectly flushed as it did when I left the house that morning.
While I am not going to change my opinion on Kylie’s lip kits or glosses, I will say this has become an instant staple in my makeup cabinet — and is easily my favorite powder blush I’ve ever tried. Who knew?
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.