Stila Aqua Glow Watercolour Blush in Shimmering Lotus - review and swatches


I included this product recently in my Project Dent series to make sure it got some good use and to also make me review it, so I wanted to post on it now while it's fresh in my mind.

The short story is that I do like it and it's great for adding a natural flush to the cheeks - particularly in summer, since it's that kind of light and fresh product - but the long one is that I would still rather reach for my powder blushes, so it's something I've had to remember to use and not one I grab without thinking.

It's a different kind of product in that it's watery in texture (so I wouldn't call it a 'cream' blush and it's more like a tint than anything else), plus it comes in a light plastic tub that holds a white mesh cap, which is where the product comes out.

I do like the look of the packaging in theory and it's light and compact enough for travel, but in practice I don't think it works - or at least mine doesn't - because mine started travelling up the edges of the lid from the moment I upended the tub (and you're meant to shake it before use, which doesn't help). 

Also, do be sure to screw the lid on tightly because if you don't, too much will come through the mesh - this happened a little with mine but I've seen that it's happened to another blogger to the point where that whole white cap is now covered in pink.

I guess Stila was jumping on the cushion trend with this packaging and I do think the brand's packaging looks much sleeker and classy than it used to, but in this case it didn't quite work and I wouldn't recommend throwing this in your handbag because you might end up regretting it.

Stila claims/product details:
  • Add a sheer burst of colour to the cheeks and leave behind a rejuvenating cooling effect with Aqua Glow
  • The lightweight, water-based gel formula provides a pretty, luminous-looking complexion
  • The mesh-touch colour dispenser provides a single splash of colour per application, allowing you to build to your desired level of colour
  • The waterproof formula ensures long-lasting wear, sheer natural looking colour coverage and a stunning, healthy-looking glow
  • Formulated without parabens, sulfates and pthalates
  • RRP $39 AUD for 6.1ml

'Shimmering Lotus' is the only colour I would have bought from the range because it suits me the best of the five shades available, but unfortunately it's also the only one that contains large chunks of gold glitter (I think others have shimmer but it's not as chunky as this).

I wasn't planning on buying the product but I'd had a Stila makeup application and the lass who'd done it was very good and had spent so much time with me, that I really felt that I should. Since this product wasn't too pricey and I only have one other non-powder blush, I opted for this in the hope that it would fill a gap in my collection - and while I wouldn't go so far as to say that I regret the purchase, this isn't a product I reach for very often.

I've photographed it in direct sunlight above and in natural light below. It's a gorgeous colour, but any review I've seen of it has commented on the chunky glitter and everyone seems to wish that Stila hadn't thrown that in the formula. I have to agree: it makes no sense, and it's so visible on the face that it turns a 'natural' blush into something else altogether.

Below I've left an unblended patch on the left and sheered it out on the right (direct sunlight):

And in natural light:


Outdoors, in the shade:

There's an indoors shot of me wearing it below (click on any image to enlarge it):

And outdoors (and note I've added a swipe of it over my nude lipstick, just to add a little more colour):

Below I've tried using it as a lip stain. It's not designed for that so it's no surprise that it's a little drying and sits in lines, but it's certainly something you could try (and it works better for this purpose when paired with a gloss or worn over a lipstick, as I've done above):


Overall I think this is a decent product, but it's not without its failings.

The texture is very thin and it does have a water/gel consistency that makes it more like a tint than a traditional cream blush.

I personally think that it's best to apply this with your fingers - I just dip my clean finger into the bit that comes away on the lid when you open it (so the stuff on the upper cap, not the product where the mesh is) and apply it to my cheeks from there. 

One of the Mecca staff said she found application difficult and preferred a sponge, but I personally think that would suck up too much product and risk disturbing your base - though it's certainly worth playing around with different applications to find what works best for you.

Do note that the product is much more pigmented than you might think, given that it claims to give a 'sheer burst of colour' and also given the light texture. It's definitely a sheer, natural product on the face, but don't apply too much to start with or you'll have clown cheeks and might also struggle to get the stuff to blend in.

While I do think the pigment is good, I've also found that it fades a little not long after application (perhaps some colour is absorbed as the product sets), so it's worth applying this, waiting five minutes, and then seeing if you need to add more once that first layer has dried down.

'Shimmering Lotus' is such a beautiful orange-based coral that's flattering on a range of skintones, but it really has been spoiled by the addition of the chunky gold glitter - and the glitter is one of the reasons why I don't reach for it often. I've seen a few people say this, so do be sure to test the product before buying it because you mightn't like the glitter either.

I love the dewy finish this gives the skin, and I'm also happy that it feels lightweight so I'm not aware that I'm wearing it. I don't think it has a 'cooling effect' when applied, but it doesn't dry out the skin - if anything, it's a little hydrating - so it's a good product for those of us with dry skin. It also doesn't cling to dry patches or pool in pores, which I'm happy about because some non-powder blushes do this and it's nice to find one that doesn't.

On the lasting power, it's not terrible but on me the colour starts to fade after about the four-hour mark. I haven't seen many others complain of fading so it could just be something to do with my skin, but again, I would test this before buying it if lasting power matters to you. It wouldn't matter to me so much if this were a product I could cart around in my handbag, but as mentioned above, the packaging makes that difficult due to the leakage issues so I don't reach for this if I want my makeup to last.

All in all, this isn't a bad product but it's one I absolutely think you should test before purchasing. I like how mine looks when I wear it (chunky glitter aside), but it's not without its issues. Indeed, it may wind up on my Project Pan 2017 list because I'd like to get some good use from it before it goes off - I've already had it for almost year so I do need to dedicate myself to using it more soon.

Have you tried these? Let me know what you think if so : )

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