Everything old is new again…formulation-wise, that is.

Drugstore beauty products.  Even if you don’t use them, we have all seen them. These products are often a young person’s initiation into the grown up world of makeup artistry, as they can be affordable to one who has limited allowance or part-time job income, and due to their budget pricing, are the wise choice for those who are just starting out in the realm of the 3D art form of painting a human face up.  Within the genre, there are higher end brands (like your L’Oreal Paris and Revlon items, for example) and more economic lines as well.  Today, I’m going to delve into a comparison & review of a very popular product in a very popular economy brand:  Wet N Wild’s blush compact in Pearlescent Pink.

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I’ve attached a photo here of both the original packaging of the blush (left, as Pearlescent Pink 831E Rose Nacre) and of the newly released reformulated version (right, as Wet N Wild Color Icon Pearlescent Pink 325B).

OLD VERSION:  On first glance between the old formulation and new, the most obvious difference is the size of the product versus the size of the brush in each package.  The older version had a wider, angled flat blush brush and a smaller pan of product, labeled as being 0.14 oz.  The label on this version also fails to state anything about if the product is cruelty free or not (which to many beauty consumers out there is a very important fact to know for sure, as the answer can determine if one is going to make a purchase of said product or not). The label instead states on the reverse side (back of the blush when you flip the compact over) that it is dermatologist tested.  Since it never says if the dermatologist(s) in question conducted human and/or animal trials, I don’t have an honest answer on if this blush hurt any animals before hitting the cosmetics market, so I have a mild amount of animal lover’s guilt over owning it, but it’s not a confirm-able guilt. (No, this doesn’t make me feel any better.)  The ingredients are clearly listed in a readable font on the reverse side label, so a consumer can check the list of what the blush contains before purchasing it to prevent anyone from buying something that they know contains an ingredient(s) that breaks them out or causes allergic reaction. I’m glad that Wet N Wild does this, because some companies’ packaging doesn’t allow access to the full ingredient list until after purchase because of the seals, or put the list in a micro-sized font that is pretty hard to near impossible to read. As an eyeglass & contact lens wearer, I appreciate that I don’t have issues reading the label on this blush.

The brush in this older version, as with most compact add-on applicators, doesn’t do much when used to apply the actual product.  It appears to be made of natural hair, and is just barely soft to the touch but has a firm, stand up type of bristle.  When wiped across a face on its own without any product, it doesn’t scratch, nor did this brush leave any shed hairs behind on my skin.  As compared to some blush compact brushes, it’s a hair above average and could be used in a pinch for base product placement (meaning: just tap the powder onto where you want it but don’t wipe the brush across your face), though I would still highly recommend blending the product out on your face/your client’s face with a quality blush or powder brush to help evenly distribute the  blush and blend it in for a more natural look. Or, you could use the brush to blend out an eye shadow look if your client or you happen to have larger eyes/lids (I do). Or, just toss it out or give it to a kid to play with.  Brush rating: 5 out of 10 as far as throw-away free included makeup applicators go; 1 out of 10 when rated against actual makeup brushes.

The product itself has a raised swirl design to the finish instead of a flat surface.  I found that this makes for an uneven surface for your makeup brush to pick up product from until this portion wears down. Not a big issue, but it is just a little bit odd. I know some of the other brands out there, both drugstore & high-end cosmetics companies, tend to do this with some of their compacts, and I’ve never seen a benefit of this other than an artistic finish, but hey, maybe it’s just the borderline of where my artist’s eye stops & my critical thinking kicks in.  The blush has a few flecks of what appears to be a gold shimmer, but it’s not a frosty or pearlized finish in any way; perhaps more of a satin look instead.  To check color, I have checked the color of this blush in multiple types of light, including sunlight, cloud-light (also known as fading Northeast winter afternoon light), bright indoor halogen light, fluorescent bulb office light, flash from my camera phone and phone photos taken without flash as well. I have found that in some light, it resembles a rose gold, in other light, a peachy-pink with gold shimmer (akin to a very famous French high-end cosmetics company blush with a naughty name you’d think was straight out of “50 Shades of Grey”), yet in other light, it reminds me of a pale berry or wine color.  Knowing this, I created swatches on my own arm of both versions of the blush, both over no other makeup or product (the left side of the photo) and over a swipe of face primer (Smashbox Cosmetics’ Original Photo Finish Primer). My skin tone is a medium-to-tan with yellow undertones, similar to a MAC Cosmetics foundation shade NC42 (if this helps give you an idea in makeup-speak).  I didn’t have any other human volunteers present to create swatches on to give you perspective on what this product would look like on paler or darker skin tones, or on neutral and pink undertoned complexions. My apologies.

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NEW VERSION:  To start, the newer package clearly has both the logo (cute little smiling bunny!) and verbal notice that the product is cruelty-free right on the front of the compact in a very visible size.  [Side note on this:  To the marketing department staff at Wet N Wild: bravo to creating a smart packaging design, as this is an example of winning logo placement.]

Next, you’ll notice that the newer version of this blush has a much more narrow, straight-edged flat blush brush and a larger pan of product, labeled as being 0.20 oz.  The rear label on this version also reminds one that the product is cruelty free but doesn’t make any mention of if the blush is dermatologist tested or not.  It’s a trade-off that I can live with, though.  The ingredients (some of which are the same as in the older blush version, some of which are new to this formulation) are still clearly listed in a readable font on the reverse side label, so a consumer can check the list of what the blush contains before purchasing it to prevent anyone from buying something that they know contains an ingredient(s) that breaks them out or causes allergic reaction. I’m glad that Wet N Wild didn’t change this.

The brush in this newer version, as with most compact add-on applicators, still doesn’t do much when used to apply the actual product.  It appears to be made of natural hair, and appears to still be made of some sort of natural hair.  When wiped across a face on its own without any product, it was scratchier than the original version’s brush was, and I did experience some micro-shedding with this brush as it shed  tiny bits of its hairs behind on my skin.  As compared to some blush compact brushes, it’s a hair below average and l honestly feel this one is only good for going into the recycle bin.  Wet N Wild would have been better served just tossing the brush concept completely, and not adding one to the compact at all.  There are enough powder blush products on the market that do not include a brush that the customer base would not have complained about this new blush coming without a brush.  Brush rating: 0 out of 10 as far as throw-away free included makeup applicators go; 0 out of 10 when rated against actual makeup brushes.

The product itself has a flat surface.  This surface can better showcase the slightly more pearlized finish than the original version had. I’d still say that in some light and at some angles this blush appears more of a satin finish than a pearlized one, but when you directly compare it to its prior incarnation, it’s definitely more pearly.  To check color, I have again checked the color of this blush in multiple types of light, including sunlight, cloud-light (also known as fading Northeast winter afternoon light), bright indoor halogen light, fluorescent bulb office light, flash from my camera phone and phone photos taken without flash as well. I have found that in some light, it resembles a rose gold, in other light, a peachy-pink with gold shimmer (akin to a very famous French high-end cosmetics company blush with a naughty name you’d think was straight out of “50 Shades of Grey”), yet in other light, it reminds me of a pale berry or wine color.  Knowing this, I created swatches on my own arm of both versions of the blush, both over no other makeup or product (the left side of the photo) and over a swipe of face primer (Smashbox Cosmetics’ Original Photo Finish Primer). My skin tone is a medium-to-tan with yellow undertones, similar to a MAC Cosmetics foundation shade NC42 (if this helps give you an idea in makeup-speak).  I didn’t have any other human volunteers present to create swatches on to give you perspective on what this product would look like on paler or darker skin tones, or on neutral and pink undertoned complexions. My apologies.

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USER TESTING:  I am wearing both blushes (old on one side of my face, new on the other side of my face) as part of my full daily face of makeup to compare the wear over foundation, primer, and SPF 15 moisturizer today to test the actual wear. I only received these 2 blushes 4 days ago (as a gift from my Mom, as she knows I beauty blog) so the only information I can give you so far is that they both go on well, without any streaking or unevenness.  However, I feel that the newer version seems to have more of a glow to the finish.  This could have something to do with where the mica is on the ingredient list of the blush (higher up on the list = more of it in the product).  So far, both feel nice on the skin and look almost identical on (according to me).  The second opinion that was available feels that the old formula goes on a bit more red/wine colored while the newer one looks a bi peachier (according to my husband). I’ll upload photos of each here and let you be the judge.

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Outside of today, though, I’ve only worn swatches of both blushes on my arm and on my the back of my hand.  The swatches felt light, with no oilyness that some of the cheaper quality drugstore makeup sometimes degrades down to on my combination/oily skin.  The surface powders up quickly on both blushes when you swipe a makeup brush across it, so it’s easy to get enough product on your brush to apply.  The pigment load appears so far to be a bit above average for a drugstore item: not bad,  as a little bit on my blush brushes really did go a long way.

Do you have either or both of these blushes?  If you do, add your comments below on what you like or dislike about either formula so we all know.