I remember the first time a makeup artist ever graced my cheeks with blush; I was seven years old and celebrating Shichi-Go-San, a traditional Japanese rite of passage when five-year-old boys and three- and seven-year-old girls visit shrines and pray for health and prosperity. In addition to its cultural significance, the holiday is also a major photo opp — hence the makeup artist. Looking back on the photos now, I can't help but laugh at how much the look is simply, not working. My lips were painted a crimson-red lacquer, and staring me right in the face were bright pink cheeks that made me look like a Madame Alexander doll. It was enough to scare me away from blush entirely until my twenties. Even when I did pick it up, the shades I gravitated towards blush shades that were as neutral and un-blush-like as possible. That is until I tried Rare Beauty's beloved Soft Pinch Liquid Blush.
When Rare Beauty debuted back in 2020, its Soft Pinch blush tubes quickly became a hit — so much so that they added new shades last year. With highly-pigmented payoff and unique shades, they were catnip to blush lovers — but no surprise there. However, I realised that they were just as enchanting for novices like me. Since a little goes a long way, you can build it up easily, creating your own blush adventure. For this story,
Selena Gomez Rare Beauty sent me three shades to play with: Joy (a dewy peach), Faith (a matte berry), and Love, a matte terracotta.
Each blush comes in a small tube and can be dabbed on your cheeks, back of your hand, or a make-up palette using its oversized doe-foot applicator. You need as little as a tiny dot to get a natural flush, but you can certainly build up for a more intense hue. The formulation also dries down into a long-lasting finish. Joy was perfect for summer, and I reached for it constantly for al fresco dinner dates and was perfect for the sunburn-but-make-it-blush trend that's so popular right now. Faith scared me at first, but in the spirit of the purple blush trend, I tapped the smallest amount possible right on top of my cheekbones and blended it out. The result: A just-came-in-from-the-cold berry flush that I actually loved. My favourite of the bunch was Love, which I combined with Faith in the selfie here. (Soft Pinch is perfect for mixing, as you can see in the swatch party above.) A coworker even complimented my rosy cheeks on a video call — that's how good this stuff is.
The bestselling blush has earned a whopping 698,000 "Loves" on Sephora, and has an overwhelmingly positive rating to match. "[It's the] only blush I will be using ever again! It blends so well even with my fingers, [and] the color matches my skin tone so well," raves one Sephora customer. At $34 a pop (but TBH, they look and feel even *so* luxe), they're on the pricey end of things — but then again, I seriously doubt that I'll ever finish a single one because I only use a dot for each cheek. Finding the right blush to make your skin truly glow from within? Now that's rare.