Makeup trends come and go, I know. But with such a saturated industry it was to be expected that here and there a few unique shades of blush would make it to the permanent line of a handful of cosmetic brands, right?! And I think there was a moment when this was true. Newly launched blush lines would have their purple, orange or bright red pop of colour. And it’s 2021 and nearly all have been discontinued.
I could rant about it until I get purple in the face, but instead I’m going to show you some (still available!) options for you to get purple in your face.
I’ll start with the blushes that are still permanent, but I’ll also show some of my favourites that you might yet still find some stock at a few retailers, even though they’re gone. Here’s my selection:
Excuse all the beiges and the peaches in the photo, but every lilac and purple blush that I have that’s not discontinued happens to be in a palette. Don’t worry, all of them are sold individually as well.
Swatches comparing all of the blushes are at the end of this post.
La Femme Blushes: Mulberry, Purple Passion, Mauve Sparkle
I first heard about La Femme from Wayne Goss (that video is ten years old!). I believe La Femme is very well known around makeup artists, which makes sense, because their blushes are inexpensive, obscenely pigmented, and there’s a large and interesting range. I used to see this brand being used by and recommend for people with darker skintones or who had a harder time getting blush to show up on them in general.
Having a fair to light skintone myself I can tell you from experience that these can be hard to work with precisely due to the pigment. “Naturally flushed” can turn into “you need an ointment for that” in 0.2 seconds. But you can get around that with a lighter hand and a flimsier blush, and the shades are worth it. They have three that I consider purple/lilac: Mulberry, which is a orchid-like lavender colour, Purple Passion, a mid tone purple with a bit of shimmer, and Mauve Sparkle, a cool toned mauve with a lot of grey in it, which makes this such an interesting shade (and surprisingly wearable – it’s almost a contour).
La Femme blushes are still available for sale at the same website I bought them years ago, Camera Ready Cosmetics (this is not an affiliate link), but there are other websites, usually ones that cater to professionals, that stock them as well.
Clinique Pansy Pop
My Pansy Pop is in a palette, but it’s permanent and in a pot for purchase. And Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
This was a Holiday 2020 limited edition palette, and I had none of the three shades in it, so it seemed only right to get it. Also, not all retailers carry the full Clinique blush line, which is annoying because the lavender shade is always left out of the selection, so when I saw an opportunity to get it, I took it. If you’re in the US, you’re lucky, because Sephora carries it. I got mine online, at Selfridges.
The Clinique Cheek Pop blush line is fantastic – it’s that dense, creamy, powder-gelée formula that looks very natural on the skin, even if it’s lilac. It blurs skin texture, it has a soft luminosity to it and never looks like a powder. This shade in particular is one of the most “natural” lavender shades you can wear if you have really warm toned skin, like me.
Discontinued Favourites in case you can still find them
Why is MAC Full of Joy discontinued? Why?
I’m not an idiot, I know why these shades keep getting dropped. These are not easy to pull off. Lilac and purple on the skin can look like a bruise. You have to balance it with the rest of the makeup look, and even then, it’s likely not going to look good for a lot of people. So people don’t buy them as much. And like with foundation shades, when they sell less, retailers stop carrying them, and we end up with less variety and less diversity.
I know the business case is not on my side on this, but come on, what’s one fun, unsellable colour here and there? There’s a limit to how many pink blush one can have, right?! (says the b*tch with 50 shades of peach. I’m a hypocrite).
Sigh. Anyway, if you find the last of any of the following specimens, snatch them, ’cause they’re gone.
Mac Full of Joy
My favourite lilac blush, ever. It’s very light and cool toned, and I can not wear it when I’m too tan, but in the winter it’s the cutest “porcelain doll cheeks” shade ever. It’s a frost finish so there’s a lot of shine too, making this an almost blush-highlighter hybrid.
MAC is a brand that in spite of their popularity amidst the average consumer, is very geared towards makeup artists, so it should have some out-of-the-box, editorial style shades in it’s permanent line. I don’t get why they got rid of Full of Joy. I’m filled with resentment.
True story, I remember Illamasqua being born. I was already an avid beauty content consumer when the brand launched over 10 years ago. They were very artistry-oriented, avant-garde, theatrical, and colour-driven. The products were solid. They had the most intense blush colours: blood-red, purple, bright coral, and this gorgeous cool toned orchid magenta. Some of the names rivalled the Nars’ blush names and would make you blush before the brush touched your cheek.
And then they sell out. And every new launch started getting more and more mainstream. What happened to you, Illamasqua? There was a point in time when you were my favourite makeup brand. Ever.
Thrust has been discontinued for so long that I honestly don’t think you’ll be able to find one, but I could not make this post without an ode to what once was, in my opinion, the most innovative brand on the market. There is, however, a dupe for this shade in this post. Look at the swatches below.
Milani Fantastico Mauve
Look at a drugstore brand, venturing out to make unconventional blush shades! Now there’s a rare occasion! It would be more commendable if it was still around. It’s also been discontinued for a long time but it’s the only drugstore and the only baked blush in this post, so I wanted to include it. The texture is powdery but smooth and blends easily, but the shade is surprisingly less purple than what it looks like in the pan. It ends up being a lot more mauve than purple, at least on my skin.
Mind you, if the swatches look more mauve or plum than lilac or purple is because my skintone is really, really warm. These are very cool toned shades, trust me.
Mac’s Full of Joy is 100% lilac, and no other shade compares to it. It’s so cool toned that it makes the other shades look pink by comparison. It’s the lightest and most shimmery of the bunch. Clinique’s Pansy Pop is very cool toned as well, but has a lot more pink in it.
Illamasqua’s Thrust and La Femme’s Mulberry are pretty similar! Thrust is a bit darker and more neutral toned, but honestly, on the cheeks, you’ll struggle to see the difference. And their performance is pretty similar too: they’re both very pigmented, matte, and with a soft powdery texture.
La Femme’s Purple Passion is undoubtedly purple and the darkest on the selection. You don’t see this violet shade in blushes very often. Mauve Sparkle is genuinely one of my favourites. I never found anything else like it. The texture is a bit different from the typical La Femme formula: it’s drier and less pigmented, but that makes it easier to work with, and it’s a great everyday shade.
Poor Fantastico Mauve. It looks lost in there. I guess it’s more mauve than purple. By itself, and on the cheeks, it’s definitely more purple than what it appears in the swatch. It’s just that all the others are so cool.
Anyway, today in age, it’ll probably be easier to find a lilac or purple blush in a indie brand. I know Lethal Cosmetics has at least one. If you know of more lilac/purple blushes that are currently available and I haven’t mentioned here, please comment down below, so that this can become a reference page for people who might be looking for this type of shade. I would really appreciate it 🙂