Review, Swatches & Dupes: MAKE Matte Finish Blush in Cinnabar

Someday soon I’ll have to do a monochrome look– nothing but reds from brow to chin. I’ve got a vault full of appropriate lipsticks from the orange to the wine. And my stash of red eye makeup is nothing if not respectable– I tend to favor that sickly sorceress look in the winter. What I didn’t realize till I started planning this post: I also own more red blushes than peaches or pinks. They even outnumber my signature purples!

I guess it makes sense. I’m a fan of rich pigment in my color cosmetics and hey– maybe I like a fairytale narrative guiding my hand when I stipple. Red cheeks are for princesses charmed in old-growth forests, a color palette of snow and blood.

Speaking of palettes– art historically inspired beauty brand MAKE has been on my radar for a while, ever since Carina started killing it with their eye and lip palettes. Based in New York, they’re known for high-concept capsule collections distilled from, say, the watercolor hues of English Romanticism or the baked-clay colors of a technicolor desert. Basically, MAKE is smart, deliciously pretentious, with a strong point of view– a bluestocking’s beauty brand. They also a earmark portion of their proceeds for We See Beauty, a non-profit that supports “women-owned, worker-led cooperatives”. (You can find find MAKE  at a number of retailers, online and in meatspace. But if you want to maximize the amount of makeup money to go to WSB, consider buying from We See Beauty’s virtual storefront!)

I’ve been lusting after their palettes for a while now, especially after seeing what Carina could do with three different shades of tonal white. But I thought I’d ease myself into MAKE with a smaller purchase. So here’s their Matte Finish Blush in Cinnabar, an “intense crimson with a red undertone”.


Availability: $25 on We See Beauty, Barneys New York, or Nasty Gal 

Quantity: 0.16 oz



In the pan, Cinnabar looks like a fairly neutral red, neither orange nor berry. It rubs down to a rosy pink rather than a coral– something about the shade reminds me of pickled beets, although it’s far softer and warmer than borscht!

The texture seems to me to be pretty ideal– it’s silky enough to come away easily on the brush, but not so soft that it kicks up powder. It allowed for one of the least messy app jobs I’ve ever managed with a blush.

Cinnabar is plenty pigmented. But I find it a little easier to blend out than some other high-impact reds– NARS Exhibit A comes to mind. It doesn’t set quite a quickly, and you can sort of smudge it around with your fingers after stippling with a brush, thereby adjusting the distribution. It makes application a little less nerve-wracking. That said, though, Cinnabar– like all reds– is not for the color-shy.



Cinnabar comparisons and dupes. (L-R): Cinnabar, NARS Exhibit A, Nyx Red Cheeks, Nyx Statement Red, Amazing Cosmetics Cinnamon Spices, Nyx Bordeaux, Sugarpill Love+. Bottom row is just Cinnabar, for comparison.

Cinnabar comparisons and dupes. (L-R): Cinnabar, NARS Exhibit A, Nyx Red Cheeks, Nyx Statement Red, Amazing Cosmetics Cinnamon Spices, Nyx Bordeaux, Sugarpill Love+. Bottom row is just Cinnabar, for comparison.

Finally, here’s Cinnabar next to the other red blushes (and an eyeshadow) in my stash. It’s the most similar to Nyx Red Cheeks, which has a cream formula. It’s significantly less orange than NARS Exhibit A, and a trifle cooler than Sugarpill Love+, the lone eyeshadow represented above. Nyx Statement Red and Amazing Cosmetics Cinnamon Spices both look fairly similar in the photo above, but they’re shimmery in finish in contrast to Cinnabar‘s matte. Nyx Bordeaux is more muted, being a burgundy-wine color, verging on brown.

Full Face:

Eyes: Too Faced Shadow Insurance Candelight, Too Faced Brow Envy, Benefit High Brow Glow, Urban Decay Naked3 Palette in Limit, Trick, Mugshot and Blackheart, Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in Plushie, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 23L, Bobbi Brown Everything Mascara

Face: Nyx Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer, Skin79 Oriental Gold BB Cream Plus, Make Up For Ever 5 Cream Camouflage Palette in No.2, Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder in Light, Anastasia Beverly Hill Build-Your-Own Contour Palette in Sand, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Dim Light, Urban Decay All-Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Lips: Nyx Butter Lipstick in Hunk

2 thoughts on “Review, Swatches & Dupes: MAKE Matte Finish Blush in Cinnabar

  1. YAAAAAY! I was looking at this!! I was looking SO HARD at this. Unfortunately, all the Barneys I visited after the one in NY didn’t carry them 😦 This looks great on you.


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