We Put Universally Flattering Makeup to the Test
One lipstick, one blush, one tint. See how these fan favorites fare
When I come across fashion labels or boutiques that brand their items as “one size fits all,” I admit I can’t help but raise an eyebrow. Maybe it’s the skeptic in me talking, but to chuck every size and body type under a single umbrella? Talk about casting a wide net.
This skepticism also rings true with beauty products. There are countless products on the market that are branded as “universally flattering,” but exactly how true is this claim? Curiosity piqued, the Wonder team puts fan favorites and new releases to the test. Up ahead, discover how Benefit’s Benetint cheek and lip tint, NARS’ Orgasm blush and MAC Cosmetics’ new #MacMaker nude lipstick look on fair, medium and tan skin tones.
RELATED: A Beauty Debate on Skin
BENEFIT Benetint, P1900. Available in Benefit branches nationwide.
We can’t talk about tint without Benefit’s iconic Benetint coming up in the discussion. This stuff has history: it was initially developed as a nipple tint for an exotic dancer. These days? It’s recognized as one of the most talked-about cheek and lip tints on the scene.
Color: Rose-tinted, this stuff promises to lend the skin an “innocent yet provocative” flush. As a cheek tint, it definitely delivers. We generally tiptoe around shades of red as they could come off too bright or overwhelming on certain skin tones, but this stain lent each of us a subtle pop of color. However, as a lip tint, the color worked best on Cheska’s fair skin. On Ayee and I, it blended out to a dark magenta, which did not do justice to our medium to tan tones.
Number of coats: The Benetint packaging prescribes applying three strokes on the apples of the cheeks. This makes for ultra natural flush. However, in order for the rosy color that Benetint is known and loved for to truly surface, we had to repeat this process at least twice.
Texture: Thin and watery, which makes for easy layering and retouching!
NARS Blush in Orgasm
NARS Orgasm Blush, P1700. Available in Rustan’s Makati, Shangri-la, Alabang Town Center, Cebu and Central Square.
A long-time favorite in the beauty realm, Orgasm is arguably NARS’ top-billing product. In fact, they even built a whole collection around this shade, expanding to include the Orgasm illuminator, liquid blush, lip gloss, lip balm and the oh-so-handy The Multiple. Here, we tested how the classic blush fared across our skin tone spectrum.
Color: This shade brought out the best in each of our skin tones, but appeared to complement warm-toned, tan skin remarkably. Marketed as a peachy pink with gold shimmer, it also lent all of us that covetable glazed donut effect (always appreciated!).
Number of coats: Fair-skinned guys and gals, apply with caution! The blush immediately popped against Cheska’s fair skin, while Ayee and I had to dip our brushes back in the pot multiple times over.
Texture:NARS isn’t called the blush authority for nothing. This stuff applies like a dream: smoothly comes off the pot and latches onto the brush, off the brush and onto the skin. It didn’t cake either, even as we piled it on!
MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in @mainedmc
Described as a “muted peachy beige,” the newest addition to the #MacMaker color roster was introduced earlier this month as a shade that would flatter every Filipina. Created by actress Maine Mendoza (the first #MacMaker from our country, mind you!), the limited edition shade flew right off the shelves.
Color: Two coats of the @mainedmc shade looked noticeably different on each person: a dark pink on Cheska, slightly peachy on me and rosy on Ayee. Perhaps this is the essence of a universal nude. It leverages on each person’s color, bringing out the cool tones or warmth in our undertones. While Cheska’s fair skin made for better color payoff, it looked more washed out on warmer skin. Despite this, it was, dare we say, a look.
Number of coats: Each of us applied two coats each. The color showed on each of our skin tones immediately, but a second coat was necessary to smoothen the matte finish.
Texture:This stuff was ultra creamy, even more so than the typical MAC lipstick. This could be a hit or miss, especially for those who aren’t used to lipstick, but none of us could deny that lathering this stuff on our lips wasn’t a chore at all.
The verdict? Each of these products could work across fair, medium and tan skin tones, but there’s a big distinction between what simply works and what looks truly flattering. Perhaps it’s a matter of personal taste or what our eyes are trained to appreciate, but at the end of the day, whether it’s a widely recognized holy grail or an utterly bare face, what works best is whatever makes you feel like a doll-faced beauty goddess—skin tones be damned.
Art Alexandra Lara