I missed out on getting last year’s Sephora + Pantone Universe cheek palette so when I saw this year’s available for sale, I jumped on it right away. It may just be me but I think this year’s Color of the Year, Marsala, is much more wearable than last year’s Radiant Orchid.
The Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio is a limited edition highlighter and blush palette. I purchased mine from sephora.com ($28).
Within the lightweight plastic compact you get three powder cheek products: Spanish Villa (frosty beige), Coral Pink (matte apricot), and Marsala (matte brick red).
I have to admit I’m the tiniest bit disappointed by the Marsala shade. I kept hearing how Marsala was a brownish red but on my skin it comes across really red. In fact, the entire trio pulls pinker/redder on my skin compared to how the products look in the palette. Spanish Villa, which looks a lot more golden in the pan, swatches pinky beige on my skin. Coral Pink, which looks rather peachy in the pan, swatches a lot more pink on me. And, like I said, Marsala translates as really red on me; sadly, I don’t see much, or any, brown on me. In general, I find red blush really difficult to wear. I was hoping for something earthier with more of a russet hue that wouldn’t make my cheeks look so feverish. I prefer mixing Marsala with Coral Pink to tone down the redness a bit and make it more wearable for me.
If you were hesitant about buying the cheek palette because you thought Marsala would be too ’90s-era brown, there’s a chance you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much it isn’t. It’s definitely a blush you need to swatch before buying because it can look very different depending on your skin tone. I’ve seen other blogger/YouTuber swatches and Marsala looks a lot warmer and browner on some of them.
That little color nitpick aside, I’m impressed with the overall quality of the palette. The powders are all soft and smooth with amazing color payoff. The Marsala shade in particular is incredibly pigmented. Fair skin gals, beware, you’ll need to use a light hand with that one. I recommend using a stippling brush or big, fluffy blush brush to diffuse the color and keep it from looking clownish.
Just for kicks I decided to swatch Marsala alongside some of my other newer blush acquisitions, SheaMoisture Varkala Spice and Becca Songbird. Marsala’s definitely a whole lot more red than either of those two blushes.