I feel like ever since Clinique launched their Cheek Pop blushes over a year ago I’ve heard nothing but praise. The first four color they released were really tempting but I knew they wouldn’t flatter my skin tone. I tend to shy away from pinks, corals and plums and go for earthier colors, warmer nudes and yellow-based peach/orange blush.
With the recent Spring 2015 expansion of the Cheek Pop line, though, I found myself drawn to two colors in particular: Nude Pop and Fig Pop. Not willing to commit myself fully and buy both at once, I decided to try one Cheek Pop first to see if the formula’s really as great as everyone says it is. I purchased Nude Pop ($21) during the Sephora VIB sale.
First off, I love Clinique’s aesthetic that features clean, minimalist packaging. The Cheek Pops come in lightweight, clear acrylic compacts and the blush itself has an embossed daisy motif. It’s pretty and feminine yet really clean and understated. There’s nothing particularly flashy or gaudy about it.
One thing that I’ve always appreciated about Clinique makeup is it’s all fragrance-free. The Cheek Pops are no different. The blushes are completely devoid of any scent which is awesome.
Many fair skinned people have been saying that Nude Pop shows up like a bronzer or bronzey blush on them but that’s not the case with me. In the pan Nude Pop looks peachy-brown but on my skin, which I’ve mentioned before accentuates the pink and red tones in blushes, it pulls peachy-pink. I don’t hate it on me. It’s a pretty color but not terribly unique. I was hoping it would show up more true to pan: less peachy-pink and a bit more dirty.
Nude Pop has a subtle sheen and a bit of shimmer that you can kind of see in the close-up swatch on the back of my hand.
Prior to using it, I’d been warned that the Cheek Pops start off with a harder upper layer that makes it difficult for a brush to pick up product but once you get past that initial “crust” the blush underneath is more pigmented and softer in texture. It’s true. When I first got the blush, it didn’t swatch well and the color payoff on my cheeks was poor; I really had to layer and build the color up. But I’ve used it a few times this past week and I’ve noticed it’s gotten progressively easier and easier to pick up product with my brush with each use and the color payoff has gotten a lot better as well. It’s still on the sheerer side but it no longer sucks. Using a stiffer blush brush also helps. However, I would only recommend the Nude Pop shade to people with lighter skin. I’m not sure it would show up on people with very dark skin except as a shimmery sheen.
When my Sephora order arrived and I first laid eyes on Clinique Nude Pop I thought it could be a lighter version of my beloved BECCA Bolero. Now that’s a nudey, bronzey blush. If you’ve never used Bolero, it’s like Benefit Dallas with better texture and color payoff. It’s the type of cheek product that walks the line between blush and bronzer and seems to go well with whatever other makeup I’m wearing.
Swatched side by side, Clinique Nude Pop is definitely a lot more pink. (Note: Bolero’s not as brown as it looks here. It’s just that the brownness of Bolero is emphasized next to the pinkness of Nude Pop. In person Bolero is actually a rosy bronze and a bit pinker than Benefit Dallas.)
I still can’t decide whether or not to keep Nude Pop. It’s kind of what I expected (a pretty peachy-pink) but not what I’d hoped for (a pretty light-nude), the blush has a lovely sheen but it also has shimmer particles, the color payoff’s average, the texture is firmer than I’d like (reminiscent of the Tarte Amazonian Clay blushes which are “meh” in my opinion) and most importantly it isn’t as skin-like and undetectable on my face as the BECCA blush. When I look in a mirror I can definitely tell I’m wearing a powder blush when I’m wearing Nude Pop. I think that’s primarily due to the sheerness of the blush (which forces me to pile it on in order for it to be visible on the cheeks) and the fine shimmer.
You’d think getting rid of Nude Pop would be a no-brainer for me since I seem to dislike it more than I like it but the daisy pattern is so beautiful I want to hang onto it in spite of everything 😛
All in all, Nude Pop’s an okay blush but if it’s a good representation of the Cheek Pops I don’t think they’re as amazing as everyone makes them out to be. Perhaps the deeper shades are better but as of right now I still prefer the BECCA blushes.