Last week, like any diligent beauty follower, I pulled my Allure magazine from the mailbox and began my routine flip-through. Lauren Conrad cover shoot… Cynthia Rowley body suit… Complete mass of sunglasses… Then, finally, behold: The Beauty Reporter.

I love this newsy section, where you can find the lowdown on the mag’s latest product favorites. Since it encompasses the skincare and hair care gamut, I think it’s a good resource to scour—but take with a grain of salt, of course. This month? The folks at Allure were touting creamy blushes. Particularly, a staff member was lovin’ on Hourglass Aura Sheer Cheek Stain ($45). She promised it offered the best kiss of color and basically just melted into the skin.

I have been skeptical of creamy blushes for a while now, because I have an oily complexion. And the texture of these products has never seemed conducive to correcting or helping the problem. However, since Hourglass Aura was getting such high praise, I decided to check out the company’s website. As it turns out, O Magazine also gives the cream blush a stamp of approval, as the glossy’s endorsement is proudly displayed on the press page. Along with InStyle’s. After seeing three big names recommend it, and the little note stating the product is free from oil, fragrance and phthalates, I decided it was worth trying out. And with a $45 price tag per tube, it had better be très awesome, right? Well… let’s talk about it.

The Good: First off, the packaging of the product is fabulous. It comes in a twist-click dispensing tube, which is anti-mess and would be great for travel. All three of the colors—petal, flush and rouge—are pretty. Your choice just depends on what you prefer to complement your skin tone. The blush is liquidy and dispenses onto a pad, which you gently smooth over your cheeks. Work into your skin with fingertips and it all but disappears, leaving behind a summery glow. However, I still set the color with a tiny sweep of blush powder, which really preserved the pinkish hue. Now. On to the important stuff...

Hourglass’ cheek stain is water-based, and this is a good thing for a few reasons. First, the light, color-kissed glow is achieved that way—it creates a natural, dewy look. It’s subtle. It does not scream: “I have on all sorts of face paint!” Which is exactly how all makeup should be. Also, when water is listed first on the label like in Aura, it usually means the product is at least 75% water. So, the formula is not particularly saturated with other chemicals. Finally, for people with problem skin (like moi), products that are mostly water-based and oil-free really are best to keep pesky dermatological issues in check.

Other added bonuses of Aura? The color stain is enriched with Vitamin E for hydration—never a bad thing. Also, most of the ingredients are low-hazard, ranking a 0 or 1 in the Cosmetics Database. Now. For the not so awesome…

The Bad: My one real gripe with the wear aspect was that Aura didn’t hold up that well in warm weather. It was 80 degrees in my neck of the woods, and without that swipe of powder blush I applied, the stain wouldn’t have held on for the entire day. Since I have oily skin, my cheeks got a little too dewy. If you’re skin tends to be dry or normal, the wear would probably last longer.

My biggest ingredient concerns with this product are the cyclopentasiloxane and PEG-10 Dimethicone, especially since these silicones have a higher concentrations in Hourglass Aura. Cyclopentasiloxane is used to make the cream blush spreadable and blend well into the skin, but there are concerns that about environmental effects, particularly in marine life. PEGs are not ideal, as some believe they are toxic additives that can seep into the skin. However, usually if your skin is healthy, you should be okay. It might be wise to avoid Aura (or other products with PEGs) if your skin is scratched or broken open, though.

Then, of course, there’s the price tag. Is this product really worth the $45 cost? We know Allure, O Magazine and InStyle seem to think so. If you read that too and wondered the same question, here’s your bottom-line answer:

I like this Hourglass cheek stain. I like the natural glow. I like that it’s primarily oil-free, fragrance-free and water-based. But if you’re on a budget when it comes to your beauty products, it’s not worth the cost. There are other products that do a similar job for far less cash.

So, yes. It’s good… It’s just not quite that good.

But hey—if money isn’t an object, if you like to give yourself an occasional makeup indulgence, or if you have an extra $50 to drop on a beauty product, Hourglass Aura wouldn’t be a waste. If that’s the case, then totally go for it.


Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Tocopherol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Diisostearyl Malate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Barium Sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. May contain: Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Mica (Ci 77019), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Red 30 (Ci 73360).