A Touch of Blusher talks…blushers!

by PJ on Thursday, September 11, 2008

in all about Japanese cosmetics, makeup, makeup - blusher, What do you think? Beauty topics and thoughts

(It’s more than just A Touch of Blusher, it seems…)

One of the things I try to do on my blog is to share my thoughts on beauty items from both East (mostly Japan) and West. Today I’ll be talking about blushers and, specifically, how pigmented western and Japanese blushers tend to be.

Very generally, there seems to be a wider range of pigmentation levels in blushers from western brands than in Japanese brands. For example, among the ones you see in the photo, Chanel’s Irréelle Blush is quite sheer, while the ones from MAC and NARS are very pigmented. Japanese blushers, like those from Majolica Majorca, Lavshuca and AYURA, are more towards the sheer side.

One of the reasons seems to be that many western makeup brands cater to a wide variety of skin tones (in terms of dark/light as well cool/warm). On the other hand, most major Japanese brands are either sold locally in Japan or within East Asia where there isn’t such a wide range of skin tones. I think people with darker skin tones will find that some blushers from Japanese brands are simply too sheer and don’t really show up on the skin.

Another reason, I think, is that Japanese customers seem to see the role of blushers slightly differently. This is reflected by the fact that some Japanese brands either categorize blushers as part of base makeup (along with primers and foundations) or release new blushers along with new base makeup items.

In most cases, for them, and many customers in Asia, blushers, when worn, just like foundations or concealers, are not to be seen. Like a freshly powdered face that should look ultra-natural (which is something Japanese base makeup excels at), blushers should simply make the face look healthy and slightly flushed, and nothing more. I think this is the main reason why most Japanese blushers are softly pigmented with relatively basic but natural colors. (The shade range is often small.) Even though some of them have shimmer, they still look natural and glowy, not glittery.

But there are of course exceptions. The shimmery particles in Canmake’s Loose Cheek are bigger than the norm in Japanese cosmetics and I think it definitely appeals more to a younger consumer group. (Many thanks to my friend Lynn for having me try this item.) Also, as Shu Uemura has been a professional beauty brand available globally, its blusher range features a very wide variety of shades.

I think, overall, I have been enjoying using Japanese blushers more. It is much harder to go wrong with the shade choices, mainly because most shades are quite natural anyway and they are not that pigmented. Also, since I can be quite heavy-handed at times, I tend to find it easier to apply blushers from Japanese brands. Even for someone like me, who likes to wear blushers relatively sheer, I can still enjoy the fun of slowly building up the color intensity to the level I want.

What about you? Have you tried blushers from both sides of the world? What would be your verdict?

Blushers featured in the photo above:

From Japanese brands-

Majolica Majorca Cheek Customize in PK333 and OR211

Lavshuca Cheek Color in PK-1

AYURA Aura Veil α in Sweet Pink

Albion Eprise Water Face Color in 100

From western brands-

Chanel Irréelle Blusher in Tea Rose

Fafi for MAC Powder Blush in Fashion Frenzy

Prescriptives Blush More Or Less Creamy Cheek Color in Thai Orchid

NARS Highlighting/Blush Duo in Albatross/Torrid

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

parisb Friday, September 12, 2008

I’m into blushes too and have tried blushes from both Western and Eastern cosmetics. I wholly agree with you that in general, Asian cosmetics tend to be sheerer. I don’t own many blushes from Asian brands partly due to this as every colour will look quite similar on the skin. That said, like you, I’m also prefering sheerer colours now (after going through my experimental phase) as its harder to make mistakes but yet, I still prefer the Western blushes e.g. Chanel because their packaging tends to be better. I’m not into that whole minimalist clear case Japanese thing :) Great post PJ


CC Friday, September 12, 2008

I’ve bought Laneige Snow Magic Box blush recently.


心。葵 Friday, September 12, 2008

Hm… I have blushers, and loads of them, and most of it are quite sheer. I like sheer blushers for the fact that even if I made a mistaken, it’s not noticieable and i can build up the intensity if I want to.

I like Japanese style of makeup becuz it’s natural and not overdone and looks healthy. Unlike Western, they are a bit heavier and more dramatic I feel.

I find it harder to pull off an everyday look with those colours compare to JP style!

JP MU still is my number 1 seat! :D

have a good weekend!



Elvira Friday, September 12, 2008

I completely agree with your analysis. You are spot on. I have had the same experiences. MAC & NARS tend to be heavily pigmented while the MM, and Etude House blushers are so sheer I use them as highlighters mostly. Shu being the exception which seems to have both light and heavy pigmentation for a wider range of skin tones. Thank you for a wonderful analysis and article!


beauty parler Friday, September 12, 2008

I have a few Lavshuca blushes & they're much more sheerier than the Western blushes!


Molly Friday, September 12, 2008

I couldn’t agree more. Japanese blushers are kind of safe choices and I have to say most of the time, I’ve found those blushers from Japan such as Kanebo have more delicate powder and thus stay put on face naturally. I personally think that blushers should be only a part of base make up with a slight hint of natural flush or help in contouring face shape. Thus, I definitely go for Japanese blushers! Blushers from western brands are not bad actually (I actually own many of them, Nars, MAC, etc) but I still prefer Japanese blushers as I gravitate towards natural-looking makeup. :)


jojoba Friday, September 12, 2008


I tend to avoid Japanese makeup because many don’t work for me. However, that’s mostly eye makeup but blushes are OK.

As Japanese mu tend to be sheer and light so blushes actually works better in a way as I prefer my cheeks staying soft and somewhat muted if possible.

But like parisb I prefer keeping my western stuff esp Chanel JC for almost the same reasons.


PJ Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hi Paris,

Good to hear from you again!

I agree with you on the packaging. I tend not to like transparent lids either, and I also really love Chanel’s packaging. The Tea Rose blusher from Chanel in the photo is one of my favorite blushers… :)

Than you for your comment again! :)


PJ Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hi CC,

Thank you for letting me know! I saw the photo on your blog. :)

Thank you for stopping by again! :)


PJ Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hi Plue,

It seems that we have similar thoughts on Japanese blushers and Japanese makeup in general! I usually reach for Japanese makeup for everyday looks as well..

Thank you for sharing your thoughts again! :)


PJ Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hi Elvira,

You are very welcome. I am glad you enjoyed this post!

I think, among major western brands, blushers from MAC and NARS are certainly among the more pigmented ones…

Thank you for stopping by my blog and posting your comment again! :)


PJ Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hi Beauty Parler,

I certainly agree with you. Thank you for your comment! :)


PJ Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hi Molly,

Thank you for reading this post. :)

I go for natural-looking makeup as well, which is mainly why I also tend to prefer Japanese blushers. I think most of them do a very good job at very subtly shaping the face.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts again! :)


PJ Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hi Jojoba,

Like you, I do like quite muted looks for the cheeks. I find that most Japanese blushers have the right pigmentation level for me for a nice bit of color which is still understated.

Thank you for posting your comment again! :)


wannabelyn Monday, September 15, 2008

i find shu uemura to be very pigmented or the ones i have are anyway. are they an exception?
downside is that they break so easily.

I have a lot of NARS blushers and they are my favourite so far just too many shades to say no too.



PJ Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hi Lyn,

I see. They can be slight exceptions, among Japanese blushers. Like the fact that they have a very wide range of shades, they seem to be of varying pigmentation levels too. (I only mentioned Shu Uemura’s shade range and not pigmentation levels because I haven’t had a lot of first-hand experience with their blushers.)

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts! :)


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