Like many in the beauty community, I was very excited about this launch. Even though a lot of reviews started to get released the day I placed my order I decided not to watch or read any until I had the chance to try this blush for myself. I really just wanted to enjoy this product without any ideas of how it performs or doesn’t perform for other people. I also wanted to just use it like a “normal” makeup user without trying to review it at the same time. I received my package on Friday, May 28th and I didn’t waste any time, I started wearing it the next day. I ended up really happy I made that decision not to check reviews and just have fun with it.
I have really tested this out and tried it over different foundations and with different brushes, so this is by no means a first impression. I want to make that clear, not to hate on first impressions, but to point out that you can have different experiences working with something in different ways. Hopefully, I can explain my experiences well enough to help you make your own decision on whether or not this would be a good purchase for you personally.
Pat McGrath Divine Blush, $38.00
The shade Paradise Venus has a demi-matte finish and I’d agree with that. It is not flat matte, but there is no discernible shimmer on the skin, just a slight healthy looking sheen. The formula has a lot of pigment and lucky for me, my default blush brush (Estee Lauder natural hair blush brush) is fluffy. A fluffy or loosely packed brush will diffuse pigment easier. I don’t have any issues with extra powder being kicked up when using this formula but after several uses, I do have a very little powder around the edges of the compact and on the mirror. More on that towards the end of this review.
What foundation finish is best?
I have tried Paradise Venus over MAC studio fix fluid (set with MAC mineralize skin finish natural), MAC studio fix powder plus foundation, and Estee Lauder double wear. The MAC studio fix fluid plus mineralize skin finish natural has the least matte finish of what I tried and I did find that the divine blush was the hardest to blend over that base. I didn’t notice any patchiness but it did feel like it took more time to spread the pigment across my skin. I didn’t notice any blending issue over the MAC powder foundation or Estee Lauder double wear. So I think this is best used over either a matte finish or powdered cheeks.
Update June 6, 2021: I realized it would be helpful to actually tell you the foundation shades I used for color reference. I have linked previous posts that have some swatches.
- MAC Studio Fix Fluid in C8, set with MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural in Dark (see MAC C8 applied here)
- MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in C6/C7 mixed
- Estee Lauder Double Wear in 4W4 Hazel (see 4W4 applied here, I can also wear shade 5W1)
What brush is best?
If you are someone who sticks to synthetic brushes, you may want to give this formula a pass. I do think that this formula blends more easily with a natural hair brush. I wouldn’t call it hard to blend with them, but it does take more effort to smooth it out with my synthetic brushes.
I have tried this formula with 5 different brushes so far and to me, it just looks nicer with the natural hair brushes. They give the blush a more diffused appearance and they also bring out the healthy sheen that makes the formula a demi-matte. When applied with the synthetic brushes I feel like the blush looks more matte on the skin. From the best to apply this formula to the worst I tested the Bobbi Brown blush brush, Estee Lauder natural hair blush brush, Sigma F10, Smashbox precise blush, Smashbox angled blush.
Even though my Estee Lauder brush is my favorite, I actually think the formula applies even better with the Bobbi Brown blush brush. The added density of the Bobbi Brown brush moves the pigment better while still diffusing the color.
The Sigma F10 is a great synthetic alternative. It performed the best out of the 3 synthetics that I tried. In comparison to natural hair, you can still get a nice diffused look, but it takes more building up for some reason.
The Smashbox precise blush was ok, but it gives a more matte finish and I’m not sure why. It gets the job done it just looks heavier on the skin. It definitely made me miss that healthy sheen I was getting when using natural bristles.
The Smashbox angled blush was the worst and not just because I don’t like angled blush brushes. This particular brush picks up way too much product at once and also causes a lot of kick up in the pan. The brush is nice and fluffy, so it does blend well, but starting off with so much product does put you at a disadvantage with such a pigmented formula. And if you’ve read my reviews then you know I don’t like a powdery formula and for some reason, this brush turns it into a powdery mess.
Is it messy? Does it have powder kick up?
I did finally watch some reviews on YouTube and read a couple of blog posts. I did see some complaints about the excess powder kick up and in my experience, the brush used really seemed to make a difference. I took the below picture early this afternoon after having used the blush at least 7 times. I have not cleaned the compact since I received it and this is as messy as it has gotten. Of course, with continued use, it will get messier. For me, when I dip my natural hair brushes into the pan, I don’t see any kick up. I will point out, however, that this is your mileage may vary territory. It is also possible that it depends on what shade you purchase. I personally can’t stand messy products and I have not had issues with this blush at all.
Some of these blushes are talc-based and some are mica-based, so I wanted to include the ingredients for this particular shade.
To sum it up, I personally love this blush and would recommend it to blush lovers that typically use fluffy natural hair brushes. If you like a dense blush brush, I don’t think you’ll enjoy the formula. If you like synthetic brushes, you might still enjoy it, but you need to like a matte finish and be willing to blend for longer.
I hope you found this review helpful. If I can answer any questions for you, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks for spending some time with me today!
If you enjoyed this post, please consider sticking around and checking out more of my content.
- Brands A-Z: Check out this index if you want to know what products I have posted about in the past.
- MAC Cosmetics: I likely have some swatches you’ve been searching for if you love Mac as much as I do.
- Shop My Stash: Join me as I share swatches of my products and occasionally search for alternatives to new releases.
**Disclaimer: I purchased all products featured with my own money. This site participates in the WordAds program, receiving a minimal commission from displayed ads. For my full disclosure policy, click here.