I’ve had my eye on Espoir as a brand for years now. I first came across them while I was a student in Korea but didn’t have the chance to try their products – they’re not actually that expensive, but I was living on a very limited allowance as an exchange student. Now that I’m working and can afford to spend more on my make up though, I’m pretty keen to get back into what felt just out of reach back then.
Espoir (stylized as eSpoir) is primarily a make up brand and has a focus on enhancing natural beauty – blending a professional make up artist vibe with popular, accessible trends. Because of this, their products are fun but still maintain a sleek, high end aesthetic.
The product that I’ll be showing you today is called the Real Up Cheek, and I’ll be straight up with you – this is one of the cutest blushes that I’ve never seen, and it’s not even cat themed or an anime collaboration! There are five shades in the range, but I’ll be reviewing Cheery Berry and Caring Coral. These are all available at StyleKorean for USD$16.20 (on sale from USD$18) so pop on over there if you want to check them out.
And now, let’s get into this review!
The Real Up Cheek is essentially a powder blush. It is available in five bright, soft colours which are perfect for every day wear, and have a semi-sheer, watercolour finish for a natural look. It also claims to have a highly blendable soft texture, making it perfect for both beginners and more experienced make up users.
The shades (and some approximate colour descriptions) are:
- 01 Cheery Berry: A warm, light berry pink
- 02 Bubbly Pink: A cool toned, bubblegum pink (see NOTE)
- 03 Caring Coral: A warm apricot coral
- 04 Loving Peach: A warm, light orange peach (see NOTE)
- 05 Smiley Sand: A neutral, light nude beige (see NOTE)
NOTE: As I don’t have the other three shades, I have approximated the descriptions from official photos. There are some official colour descriptions, but I didn’t want to post them exactly as-is, as some sounded a bit off. However, the official swatch photos do seem pretty accurate so I would recommend to go by that.
The packaging design for these is absolutely killer, and Espoir have done a great job of balancing something youthful and cute, with a more high end aesthetic. First off, you will find that the unit cartons have a natural, uncoated finish. They are all colour coded to the blushes and make use of a bright, summery colour scheme. They are also printed on the inside with a bold, solid colour and a cute message – ‘Cheer Up and Cheek Up,’ a message that is also embossed on the product.
The real winner here though, is the actual compact. The blushes come in a square, clear plastic compact with a subtle raised logo. It also has a cute pun printed on the front, all uplifting messages that are sure to bring a smile to someone’s face. Aside from the fun aesthetic, the actual quality of the compact is really good too – the plastic feels substantial, but is still lightweight, with a solid closure and smooth surface.
Out of the two shades, I definitely think that Cheery Berry is my personal favourite – the berry-pink is really flattering and gives a natural flush. It’s also very easy to build up the colour in certain areas; I like to do a light wash all over my cheeks first, then build it up a little more on the upper cheeks (a little beneath my eyes). Caring Coral is also a very pretty colour, but has a lighter tone and doesn’t build up as much. I tend to wear this when I want a more natural, no-make up look.
Overall, the blush formula is nice. It’s smooth and soft, as per the product claims, and also builds up a little bit. The sheerer pigmentation means that you’re unlikely to ‘over-do’ your blush, so it’s really good for quick morning routines.
My only criticism of these blushes would be the limited depth – these would only work for skin tones from fair to light. A way of fixing this would be to introduce some deeper tones, but making the formula more translucent so it can be built up for different skin tones.
And now, here’s the verdict!
SO WHAT IS IT?
A powder blush with a soft, blendable formula and a ‘watercolour’ finish
- Absolutely gorgeous packaging
- Good range of colours (from berry-pink to orange and nudes)
- Blendable and buildable formula
- Weightless finish – does not look powdery
- Suitable for all experience and skill levels
- Higher price point
- Only suits fair to light skin tones
- PRICE POINT | 2/5
- PACKAGING | 5/5
- SHADE RANGE | 2/5
- PIGMENTATION | 4/5
- BLENDABILITY | 5/5
- LONGEVITY | 3/5
OVERALL RATING? 7/10
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
Honestly, I really like these blushes and wouldn’t hesitate to collect them all – the formula is soft and wears well, and I like how it looks on my skin. Depending on your base make up and skin type, you may need to reapply during the day, but this is expected for lighter blush shades. The main downside to this product is the lack of depth – it really will only suit certain skin tones, and I would only recommend this to people who wear shades up to 23.
This is also one of the more expensive options when compared to other k-beauty blushers (comparable to Too Cool For School and 3CE). I still think it’s fairly priced but for more affordable options though, you can also look at the Romand Better Than Cheek (which also has a beautiful powder formula).
WHERE TO GET IT FROM