Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Latest Addiction (pun intended)

I go through phases with makeup. One day, I feel the need to own every nude lipsticks ever made, and the next day,  I'm tracking down every limited edition peach pink blushers (with cute embossing) ever released. The same lack of commitment holds true when it comes to powder and cream products. Hence, my owning seven cream/liquid cheek products in one order. In my defense, I was going through a dry skin phase from being too adventurous with trying out different chemical peels -- in the colder months.

Addiction is a Japanese brand founded by Ayako, who many know is the former NARS creative director. Apart from a few bold blush color similarities between both brands, there really isn't a whole lot of overlap. Addiction focuses mainly on more sheer and shimmery delivery, whereas NARS really hones in on the bold and pigmented.

Addiction isn't a new brand to me, as I have a few of their powdered eyeshadows and quad, as well as powdered blushers. However, the cream side is a new territory for me (and apparently is one I'm missing out on based on other bloggers' reviews of the Cheek Sticks, which are sometimes touted as the best thing since sliced bread.)

Faced with 17 color options, it's only appropriate I start out with five. What exactly are these Cheek Sticks, you wonder? In short, they are a cream cheek and lip product, but what makes them so special is the way they're packaged (hello, convenience!) and their formula.

Let's look at the colors.

Reflection seems like a silver highlighter in the bullet, but it's actually very subtle when blended out on the cheeks. It actually gives more of sheen similar to the RMS Living Luminizer. This doesn't accentuate pores at all, and the shimmer is very fine making it very mature skin-friendly. On the lips, this works best as a lipstick topper or just dabbed in the center.

I was most excited for African Sunset, because it falls into a blush category I have a soft spot for: light peachy-coral base with gold shimmer. (How many of them can I own? Never enough apparently.) I had to layer this a few times on my NC25 skintone for it to show up as a true blusher, but I knew that going in. On much darker skintones, this definitely works better as a highlighter. As a lipstick, this shows up as a peachy nude shade.

Revenge is to Addiction as Orgasm is to Nars. It's the #1 selling shade from the brand, and it's perfect for gals who are looking for a natural flushed shade. There is no shimmer in this, and it's the boldest of the five. I'm slowly warming up to this shade as a blusher, and it's great for days when I'm going makeup-free and just want something to pop on the cheeks. This translates into a blue-based red on my lips. (As an aside, Canmake Cream Cheek in CL01 is an exact dupe for a fraction of the price and it performs just as well!)

Going back to my favorite color category is Tea Rose -- a true nude with the perfect balance of pink, peach, and brown. I love this for days when I'm going for a minimal makeup look or paired with a smoky eye. It does take some layering, much like African Sunset, but if you're like me and prefer buildable shades, this is a must have. It's also great for those looking for a shimmer-less option. This translates on my lips much like it did on my cheeks color-wise.

I've been recently bitten by the contour-and-highlight bug, so my kneejerk reflex was to pick up every contour and highlight shade, cream and powder, from every line carried in the U.S. and Asia. Slight exaggeration (perhaps?) aside, Argan Tree is a fabulous contour shade. In short, it is Kevyn Aucoin sculpting powder and Dolce&Gabbana "blush" in Tan in a cream stick form. It gives just enough depth to mimic a shadow without looking too ashy. Great for contour, and darker skintones may get away with using this to contour and to warm up your complexions. I haven't tried this on my lips, nor do I plan to either.

(L-R: Reflection, African Sunset, Revenge, Tea Rose, Argan Tree)
I had mentioned earlier that what makes the Cheek Sticks stand out from the myriad of convertible lip and cheek products out in the market these days is the formula. It's creamy enough where you have a good few minutes to blend, but it sets to the point where it's perfectly dewy and silky -- never to the point where you would have to worry about your hair sticking to your cheeks all day long. I'd guesstimate a wear time between 8-10 hours when set lightly with a powder, which is beyond decent for a cream product! These are best applied by drawing onto your face and then blended out with fingers or a synthetic brush. I really cannot fault these in any way, except possibly the price tag (around $40USD a piece) and the ease of access to the brand in general.

Next up are the Cheek Polishes: intentionally designed so a majority of the population (including yours truly) had mistaken it for nail polish at some point in time. These are the liquid version of the Cheek Sticks, but with a few differences. The polishes set much faster, so you do need to work quickly with the product. Also, it's best to apply a couple of small dots on your fingers before applying onto the cheeks, because dotting the product directly to your cheeks will leave you with a noticeable stain. That, however, is a good indicator of how long-lasting these blushers are. Budge-proof, waterproof, the product basically stays on until you remove your makeup.

Because I usually gravitate towards the lightest colors in a range of shades, picking up Chic was a no-brainer for me. Despite looking like a milky peach nude shade, it actually applies much darker on me. I suppose you can use this as a lip stain, but with my chronically dry lips, I decided to pass on that option.

Tadzio is a favorite amongst beauty bloggers, and I can see why. It gives that natural, healthy flushed look... that can easily veer into the slapped cheeks territory when over-applied. This gives a more pronounced stain than Chic.

These Cheek Polishes remind me a lot of the Becca Beach Tints. They're easily buildable, and they give a more skin-like finish. However, the Cheek Polishes dry down to a more silicon-y, velvety feel than the Beach Tints. You only need a little bit of product with the polishes, so a bottle will last you a lifetime.

Price-wise, the Cheek Polishes are on par with the Cheek Sticks -- around the $40USD mark, depending where you purchase. It is just a matter of preference, portability, and ease of use between the two forms of cheek products. I personally love both formulas. The polishes are, in my opinion, slightly more high maintenance than the sticks, as the sticks are more travel-friendly and apply more effortlessly. Come summertime, though, I know I will be appreciating the longer wearing formula of the polishes!


  1. How come it never occured to me to visit your lovely blog?? It's funny that my sis, when she visited the Addiction counter for me last year in Japan, commented that it's like a more Japanese Nars, without knowing Ayako's history at Nars! I have the Sticks in Revenge and Damask Rose, and the Polish in Revenge. Agreed the Sticks are leas high maintenance! Now I really want to get African Sunrise, Chic and Tadzio!!

    1. Aww thank you!! I'd referred to your blog many times in the past for swatches and reviews as well! <3 Isn't it funny how brands just influence one another nowadays? I sense some Addiction inspiration in Surratt's line. The Addiction cheek products are addictive -- I'm already eyeing a few of her Summer collection shades! :)

  2. Lol at 'slapped cheeks territory'! I haven't ventured into Addiction yet. Fear I'd get addicted ;-P

    1. Haha! It's a dangerous territory indeed -- next to THREE Cosmetics ;)