ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polish Review and Swatches

“It’s not a nail polish, it’s a blush.”

Ayako is one of my favorite makeup Creative Directors. She has lived over 20 years in New York, working with celebrities and makeup artists like Francois Nars (another favorite of mine). I love it how Ayako thinks outside the box, creating high quality product to highlight one’s individual style. She is cool, edgy and awfully chic - not afraid of colors or texture variations. Today I’m writing about on of my favorite products from ADDICTION: the Cheek Polishes!

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes

ADDICTION’s Cheek polishes come in a nail polish -like bottle with a similar brush applicator. There are two available textures: non-pearl matte colors and with pearls of silver or/and gold. The cheek polishes retail 12ml for 3024 yen (including tax). As I’m typing this there are 8 permanent shades (including two highlighters) and seasonal limited edition colors.

How To Wear ADDICTION Cheek Polishes

Using a liquid blush is relatively easy. You shake the bottle with cap closed, then adjust the amount of color on the brush (similarly as you adjust the amount of nail polish). You could use the back of your hand as a palette and apply with a brush or a sponge, but I find it easiest to add about ~3 dots of the color on my cheeks and blending with my fingers. I use my middle finger to spread the color, then my index finger to blend. The Cheek Polishes set relatively quickly. If I feel there’s too much product or harsh edges I do a couple dabs with my Beauty Blender or Shaquda foundation brush.

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Addiction Cheek Polishes

ADDICTION is one of my favorite makeup brands, I feel Ayako can do no wrong (except reformulating my favorite foundation *grudge*). I think last year she reformulated the brand’s powder blushes and created 30 permanent shades with sensible color categories, but unfortunately her Cheek Polish range remained untouched. They have discontinued some older individual shades, which makes the range in my eyes a bit incomplete looking.. as I’m typing this there are only 6 blushers and 2 highlighters available. I wish they’d tweak and expand the current range. Meanwhile, they do bring out Limited Edition shades every now and then. I haven’t tried the highlighter shades (13 Reflection and 13 Moon Dance), but 12 Emotional has very little base color and is mostly very sheer with loads of golden glitter.

What I love about this formula is how weightless it feels on the skin. I personally like to wear a decent amount of makeup every day, but I don’t want to look or feel as if I’ve piled on a ton. The ADDICTION Cheek Polishes look and feel seamless on the skin with no tacky or greasy residue. I rarely blend makeup with my fingers, but with liquid blush and highlighter I make an exception. I’ve noticed that blush - especially cream blush - doesn’t last well on my cheeks, but with ADDICTION Cheek Polishes I can get at least 5 hour of decent wear-time without touching up or setting with a powder.

I actually like the packaging, but perhaps the caps should be a different color so they wouldn’t be confused with ADDICTION’s nail polishes? The mini bottle 09 Sensually was a gift with purchase and I don’t think I can even go through this small size during one life-time. You only need a couple dots or two small swipes of color per each cheek from the applicator. I wouldn’t mind if they reduced the product size and price ~1000 yen. Luckily the product seems to last well; I’ve had my 04 Revenge shade for a few years, but hasn’t gone bad or separated.

Swatches

04 Revenge - Matte bright red with a slight yellow undertone; “sunburn red”.

09 Sensually - Soft matte muted pink rose. (My favorite!)

12 Emotional - Sheer orange coral with gold pearl (with NARS Orgasm vibes)

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

While I’m in love with this product type, I do think there is some improvement in the shade range. 04 Revenge used to look a bit too much like sunburn on my face, but I’ve learned to pair it with my other makeup. I do regret getting 12 Emotional a little as it’s very shimmery with little base color - I’d prefer it to be more coral, like in the bottle. I wonder if it would suit better a deeper skin tone than mine? In order to get some use out of it I like to layer this Cheek Polish with other blushers, apply generously and skip the highlighter. Overall, I love the Cheek Polishes but I definitely prefer the matte shades. If you love easy-to-apply, quick and natural blush, these are worth checking out! xx

Products I Changed My Mind About

I don't mind being 'wrong' or changing my mind about things. Especially with beauty products you can fall in and out of love with something as your skills develop, skin or style changes from season to season, or maybe you find something more worthwhile. Today I'm taking a look at some products I initially wasn't toon keen about, but I have changed my mind!

Products I Changed My Mind About | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Mahalo the Petal mask

Original review here. This mask is so expensive it makes me shake - $95/€95! You do get a generous amount of product 3.4 fl.oz/100 ml in a sturdy packaging while the mask itself is carefully hand-made in Hawaii. I still consider this an investment purchase - a splurge if you may. Although I love high end skincare I thought no mask can make such a big difference in my skin to justify the Petal's hefty price tag.

Then I had the pleasure to meet Mahalo's founder, Maryna, in person at Naturelle’s event. Maryna is such a super cool person, vibrant, fun and full of knowledge. She corrected me that the Petal isn't a plain moisturizing mask, but more to balance and promote even, hydrated and glowing looking skin. I decided to give the Petal another go, "just to get rid of it" and soon I started noticing a difference in my skin. It was healthier, plumper, balanced and overall tone more evened out. I simply had good skin days after reaching for the Petal on a regular basis. I also started to appreciate the scent, feel and pampering aspect of the mask more and more. I’m now on my second jar!

Products I Changed My Mind About | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Rouge Bunny Rouge Blush Wands

Original review here. Although I gave overall a positive review, I wasn't blown away. The blush wands are good, but my expectations are sky high when it comes to RBR products. After the review I made myself to use these blushes despite not being totally in love - to use them up I suppose? But the more I tested, played and swatched the more I wanted to reach for them. Suddenly they have become my go-to blush formula.

They do sheer out during the day, but the wand is easy to carry in your clutch, dab on your cheeks, eyelids or swipe on the lips if you're in a pinch! I did the most gorgeous "no makeup" makeup look to my friend, Anna, with these blushes and used the shade Rubens in my Venetian Red Spring Look. I think the trick is to not swipe the product directly on your cheeks but instead use with your fingers to gently warm the product and pat on the skin for a natural, smooth, tint. Love!

Natasha Denona Eyeshadows

When I got my Beautylish Lucky Bag in 2017 (original post here) I was delighted to receive a Natasha Denona eyeshadow palette. I mean, c’mon, it’s Natasha Denona. Soon I noticed the shimmer/metalic shades were quite average and I wasn't blown away with the color combination either. Pretty, but I prefer my Viseart, SUQQU and Surratt shadows for example. In March I wrote about the eyeshadow palettes I had purged (post here) and had mixed feelings about parting with Natasha Denona. First of all, the shades look bomb on my friend whom I sold the palette. Secondly, I read Sweet Makeup Temptation's post (here) how the shadows are her favorite and how well her Builder One (my review here) works with the glitters. I’m weak when it comes to product + brush pairings.

The only problem is the price. These shadows are not cheap and while you do get a ton of product, great quality and whatnot, I cannot justify purchasing a larger palette. But when I saw there's a Mini Sunset palette available in Sephora, I asked an Instagram friend from the US shop it for me. I’ve heard some reviews the Mini Sunset isn’t as good as the full-size palettes, but I got to say I'm liking it. The shadows don't last as long on me as SUQQU or Viseart, but I’m happy with the Mini Sunset. So if you don’t have the funds and absolutely love a look of ND palettes.. give a smaller one a go? I’ve heard the new Mini Lila is very good.

Products I Changed My Mind About | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

The Beauty Blender

Who wouldn't love the bouncy pink egg-shaped sponge? Well, me. I adore brushes and there was no way a puff or a sponge would be added to my routine. Until I gave a go to a triangle shaped powder puff (by KICKS) that was gifted to me. It was nice for precise powdering and really pressing in product, which gave me the idea to dig out my old Beauty Blender. Especially during the sweaty, hot Summer months the Beauty Blender was wonderful for really pressing in loose powder, smooth the under eye area and make sure there were no foundation streaks. My quickly drying THREE Angelic Synthesis foundation (review here) that I didn't initially love applied much nicer with this damp sponge. Is it worth the hype? I guess. Price tag? Mmh.. maybe only on sale. Available on Cult Beauty* (international), Eleven.fi* (Finland).

Have you changed your mind about any products lately? Hits or misses?

*The Beauty Blender in the images above was kindly PR gifted to me.
(My original one is too battered for photos).

SUQQU SS18 Pure Color Blushes in 09 AYAKAGEROU and 106 HANAIROKA swatches & review

I can finally feel it - the Spring is here! The days are getting longer and brighter in Helsinki, but unfortunately it's not pretty and blooming just yet (we got snow just this week.. yuck). For me Spring time has always been the most stressful and busy season. On some days I want just crash in bed, maybe it's time for a self-care weekend & blog post soon? When I'm feeling more energized, I've been playing with some new Spring/Summer beauties. I have a lot to share, so stay tuned for upcoming posts! Today I'm sharing two gorgeous blushes from SUQQU's latest collection. 

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SUQQU SS18 Kindami collection

The inspiration for SUQQU's SS18 Color collection was inspired by Japanese kimono and "kindami", which is a traditional technique of grazing gold and silver to kimono garments. Very glamorous, radiant and feminine theme - just like SUQQU usually is. The collection is fairly large and consists of eyeshadow palettes, cream eyeshadows, liners, nail polish, totally new lip gloss line, lipsticks and 3 new blushers: 2 permanent and 1 limited edition. See full item lists and descriptions here (SUQQU Atelier Tumblr). I'm reviewing the last blush from this collection once I get my hands on it! The blushes retail £32/$34.00 for 7.5g/0.26oz of product. I bought mine on Selfridges, which ships internationally.

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Using Pure Color Blushes

I've talked about SUQQU's blushes multiple times and they are stunning. I haven't met a dry or patchy blush in this formula although I've tried many and in plenty of color variations from both limited editions and permanent collection. I'd say the pigmentation of these blushes is buildable: one swipe with a soft brush (such as squirrel hair) gives only a soft veil of color, but a couple of layers give a good color payoff. The old SUQQU blushes were hard to overdo, but with Pure Color Blushes it's easy to get too excited and keep applying, haha. Luckily these blushes blend beautifully, so you can adjust the opacity and sheen to your liking by adding the control color (right side).

I usually start by adding finishing powder on my cheeks and start building color using the left side. Using swirling motions I either apply the blush on the apples of my cheeks or blend towards the ear for more elongated look. Finally I blend the blush using the right (lighter) side of the blush, diffuse the edges and add a beautiful sheen which also brings dimension to the look. In my demo pictures I'm not wearing a highlighter, just SUQQU's blush! Really liking this formula and how you can adjust the amount of color.

Wearing SUQQU Pure Color Blush in 106 Hanairoka

Wearing SUQQU Pure Color Blush in 106 Hanairoka

Wearing SUQQU Pure Color Blush in 09 Ayakagerou

Wearing SUQQU Pure Color Blush in 09 Ayakagerou

Pure Color Blush in 106 Hanairoka* (Limited Edition)

106 Hanairoka (106 花色香) is a fresh red combined with soft, creamy pink-peach. This blush mimics the natural flush and redness in the skin, as if you had just been outside in crispy air or blushed. Healthy-looking and sophisticated "adult" red; not very sweet despite the lighter end of the blush being a creamier shade. When swatching with finger this blush applies a bit stiffer compared to Ayakagerou, but still easy to blend and apply. Hanairoka doesn't shy away and is easy to over-apply when you get excited about the crispy red tones. The result reminds me of ADDICTION's Cheek Polish in Revenge, except SUQQU's has more sheen and dimension to it. On my skin the look is a bit sunburnt as the shade is close to my natural redness. Sometimes I like this look as it makes me look healthy, but I need to pay more attention to concealing my real redness on my cheeks and perhaps use a foundation with more coverage. I could also adjust the blush better for my skin by using the lighter peachy side of the blush, but usually I get too excited and just slap on the red! I would imagine this blush looks stunning on medium to deeper skin tones as a pop of color.

Pure Color Blush in 09 Ayakagerou

When the sneak peeks of this collection were posted, my eyes went straight to the cool brown-beige blush 09 Ayakagerou (09 彩陽炎). In pictures, it almost looks like a contour and highlight shade, but wasn't marketed as such so I expected the beige side have some micro shimmer. In person 09 Ayakagerou has some reddish undertones, but looks nothing like a bronzer to me. For fair to medium skin tones it looks perfect as a defining "no blush" blush to add depth and definition to the face. Understated, but a very beautiful shade that compliments multiple lip and eye looks: imagine a strong red lip and glossy eyes or perhaps dark smokey eyes and mauve lips with this blush!

Swatches

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09 AYAKAGEROU - cool, muted brown with slightly red beige undertones with champagne highlighter-y side

106 HANAIROKA (LE) - bright healthy red with a pinky highlighter shade, combines to a chic reddish pink

Final thoughts

SUQQU's blushes don't disappoint and I'm especially smitten with 09 Ayakagerou. I have my eyes on 09 Momodaidai, which I will surely grab when it comes available again online. Despite being limited edition, I've recently seen 106 Hanairoka this on SUQQU's Japanese website - your best chance to grab it is to email a counter or a personal shopper. The blended side is quite near 03 Sumiayasake, which was also recently discontinued.

How do you like SUQQU's new blushes? Did you decide to get any?

*Pure Color blush in 106 Hanairoka was kindly gifted by SUQQU UK for a review. My thoughts are my own!