Fashion, beauty report: drugstore blushes last as long as brand name in home test

When it comes to beauty products, more expensive does not always mean better. It’s nice to splurge on name-brand cosmetics occasionally, but for many of us it’s necessary to buy on a budget most of the time.

Fortunately, drugstore cosmetic companies have drastically improved the quality of their products over the past few years, so much so that several drugstore finds are on par with higher-end products. Most often these are eye or cheek products, especially blushes.

As I was browsing the beauty aisles at Wal-Mart recently, I noticed that the Hard Candy Fox in a Box blushes were packaged strikingly similarly to Benefit’s Boxed Powders, a collection of high-end blushes and bronzers with a hefty price tag of $30 per unit.

Aesthetically, there are virtually no differences between the two: both are packaged in cutely designed square boxes and come with mini applicator brushes. Hard Candy’s blushes even emulate some of  Benefit’s powder designs, mosaics of four squares of varying pink shades that are meant to be swirled together to produce the perfect color.

Just from eyeing them, the main difference I could see was the price tag; the Fox in a Box blushes were about $7 each, a fraction of the price of the $30 Benefit blushes. I purchased two, “Hot Flash” and “Spicy and Sweet,” to compare to the two Benefit blushes I own, Coralista and Bella Bamba.

In terms of color swatches, Hot Flash, a warm pink color, is a perfect dupe for Bella Bamba, and Spicy and Sweet, a dusty coral, is a gorgeous alternative to Coralista. But do the cheaper blushes perform as well as the high-end ones?

To test this, I wore Coralista on one cheek and Spicy and Sweet on the other during a school day.

Each applied smoothly and had a high color payoff, and each left a subtle sheen on its respective cheek. For both blushes, I opted to use a different brush than the ones provided; they’re handy for on-the-go, but I recommend using an actual blush brush for the best, most even application.

At the end of a busy day, both blushes had held up well. Coralista was a little more vibrant after 12 hours of wear, but not enough so, in my opinion, to justify the steep price difference. The same results proved true for Bella Bamba and Hot Flash: Bella Bamba’s color lasted only slightly better.

Overall, the Hard Candy boxed blushes are an excellent alternative to shelling out $30 dollars apiece for the Benefit blushes. The color and packaging are nearly identical, and the qualities and performances of the blushes are so similar that I would recommend opting for the Hard Candy blushes to save the bank.

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