M: I don’t know about you, E, but when spring finally arrives all I desire is Pink.
E: Is that right, M? Uncooked sausages, strawberry ice cream, minor sunburn and Calpol?
M: Yes, all of the above.
E: Perhaps not all together.
M: But also bright pink lipstick and a healthy flush of colour on my cheeks. Ideally, from running around a flowery meadow; realistically, from a little pot of cream blush.
E: I love cream blush. It’s the easiest and most rewarding of all the make ups. Even a cack-handed beauty fool like me cannot ruin it.
M: Least effort, maximum effect. And you can carry it around for easy, on-the-go touch ups. There are some beautiful blushes around.
E: Gorgeous. Beautiful packaging, feather-light textures, lovely flattering long-lasting shades.
M: The problem is, E, beautiful blush comes at a price, and I’m broke. Winter, with is unrelenting demands of central heating and comforting takeaway curries, has bled me dry.
E: Yes. My wallet currently contains four clothes moths and a Hungarian forint.
M: So we’ve been on the hunt for some cheaper alternatives.
E: Beauty bloggers are crazy for “dupes” (cheap versions of expensive classics), and we’ve been testing their suggestions.
M: Less beauty-hall-counter fondling, more Superdrug rummaging. Here are the results.
We want: Armani Blushing Fabric
Dumb name, gorgeous product. Giorgio’s sleek little tube delivers a totally natural veil of colour, rendering you lightly flushed as if from a wholesome stroll in the park (before you get hit on the head with a frisbee, chased by a dangerous dog and stung by a wasp).
Arman Blushing Fabric, £29, debenhams.com
We’re getting: Rimmel Stay Blushed! Liquid Cheek Tint
Apparently dumb names are de rigueur in the cream-blush-in-tubes market. This is pretty much the same formulation: a whipped lighter-than-air mousse that blends out for a beautiful glow. Pop of Pink gives Armani’s neon-pink shade 02 a run for its money.
Rimmel Stay Blushed! £4.49, boots.com
We want: Chanel Le Blush Crème
Oh, Chanel, with your beautiful, desirable packaging you are totally corrupting us. In this dinky little pan, you get a fairly dry cream texture that dries to a powder style finish and lovely true shades: we love the look of soft pink Affinité and the more in-your-face Chamade.
Chanel Le Blush Crème, £27, debenhams.com
We’re getting: Bourjois Cream Blush
Bourjois little round blush pots are a deserved classic and the new cream formula version is a delight to use, even if the pots are a little plasticky. The cream-to-powder formula is very reminiscent of Chanel and foolproof, even for beauty idiots like us.
Bourjois Cream Blush, £7.99, boots.com
We want: Nars The Multiple
Who could fail to be charmed by these fat sticks of cosmetic joy? The peachy Orgasm is the stuff of legend and universally flattering, despite a spooky amount of sparkle; the gentler coral Portofino is pretty great too. The Multiples have a soft, almost greasy texture for a lovely sheer finish.
Nars The Multiple, £30, spacenk.com
We’re getting: No7 Pop Glow Cream Blush Stick
No7 can be a bit hit-and-miss, but these fun chubby colouring-in pens are winners. The colours are bright and on-trend, and blend out to a sheer and dewy flush. If you have one of those Boots vouchers languishing in your wallet, it’s a real bargain.
No7 Pop Glow Cream Blush Stick, £9.95, boots.com
Have you found other beauty dupes? Tell us in the comments below.