So it's actually been slightly longer than a week since I announced that I'd be reviewing TheBalm's Frat Boy Blush as part of my make-up clean-up project, but I suppose that just means I have an even more informed opinion for you today.
To start, I still find myself a little confused about what color this blush is, exactly. I mentioned earlier that in person it looked like more of a peach-y, salmon-y color, but the more I used it the more it did actually feel like a rather traditional (if slightly warm) pink.
Here in the pan it does look orange-y, and very close to the shade of Nars' iconic Orgasm blush (minus the sparkles).
But when swatched out, it's just a very bold, deep pink:
And worked into the skin, at least on my NC-10 coloring, it blends down into something quite natural and, again, pink:
So I just don't know. Pink, coral, peach, salmon... you can check it out in-person to see if the color (whatever it is) works for you. But I did feel that this confusing correction was necessary for anyone still squinting at the screen in confusion whenever someone called this blush "apricot."
On to the meat of the review:
I spoke about this in the preview, but the cardboard packaging winds up being more durable than you'd expect. Cardboard is more shatter-proof than its plastic contemporaries, although as you can tell from the pictures above it does get scuffed and dirty more easily (and it's harder to clean). While I wouldn't recommend throwing the blush straight into the bottom of your purse, it is easy to throw into a makeup bag where you don't have to worry about it knocking up against your other products. Having said that, the pigmentation and longevity of this product is such that unless you prefer to do your makeup at work, you won't really need to have this on hand to re-apply throughout the day.
Ease of Use
You do need to have a blush brush to apply, as the serious pigmentation of this product means that it would be nearly impossible to avoid looking streaky if you tried to put this on with your fingers. So if you are someone who likes to touch up on the go, this would not be as easy as a cream blush — but it's definitely neither harder nor easier to use than any other powder blush.
The pigmentation and texture is why this blush is fantastic. The tiniest tap of your blush brush loads you up with product and distributes evenly and naturally across the face. Whatever this color is, it's a really beautiful, brightening shade that restores a bit of vitality to my ghost-white skin.
Forgive my closed comedones (I'm working on them). But as you can tell, it's a very subtle blush that won't give you the impression of having just come down with the flu. Instead, I think it looks like it could be my natural coloring and does its job without drawing attention to itself.
I really loved this blush and am sad about having to cast it aside in favor of the next tester for the coming week. I genuinely can't find fault with it, and it's obviously staying in my collection, so this is nabbing a rare 10/10 from me.
Bonus shot of the two sides of my beloved Elegant Women of Hannibal makeup bag from Artscow: