I know that we're all digging into fall collections now, partly in an effort to forget that it's August and the weather is downright insufferable. However, it is still summer, and these two blushes from Cargo are quite a good fit for the current mood. They have a summery packaging (I love the seaside illustration on their boxes), and the Swimmable range is spot-on for days you feel like you're walking through thick soup as soon as you get out of the door. Both were sent to me months ago and I almost forgot about them for a while, only to rediscover that I could put them into good and effective day.
Cargo regular blush and the water-resistant Swimmable feel very different. I only have one example of each, so they might be slight variations between colors, but here's what I've experienced. The regular powder blush in Mendocino, a true berry shade with the finest shimmer, feels almost gritty when first swatched. It has put me off slightly, because there are so many finely-milled blushes competing for cheek space that it was surprising to encounter this hard-pressed dense texture. It's a good reminder, though, that powder blushes are not applies or blended with fingers, and the test is in the final look on one's face.
A standard blush brush picks enough product at first swipe (it is richly pigmented) and blends it nicely with little effort. Mendocino looks healthy and radiant on skin, and in my opinion is a great summer-to-fall color. I like it quite a bit, but here's where I understood Cargo's need for a second, long-lasting formula. It might be because of the texture and the way the blush sits on skin, but on very well-prepped face it absolutely requires a setting-spray if I expect it to stay put throughout the day. Otherwise it fades within three hours or as soon as I touch my face. Applied over a cream blush Mendocino lasts significantly longer. Still, I expected more.
Bali Swimmable blush provided a different kind of surprise. Looking at it in the pan I expected this warm desert rose shade to be significantly bolder. Touching the surface, I thought this was Cargo's big win. The silicone (beware if you're sensitive) gives the blush a great texture and a beautiful sheen. However, it affects the way the pigment appears o my skin, unless I build it up to a level I usually don't dare to go. It requires a dense, preferably synthetic flat-top brush and some buffing. Another way to go is to use Bali as a blush-topper.
As for the water-resistant claim, the jury is still out. I'm not a swimmer, so that hasn't been tested. I think Swimmable holds through sweat and a summer rain reasonably well, but then again, almost every blush in my collection does, so I don't see the big deal. It doesn't require a special cleanser, doesn't leave a stain, and a quick swipe of pre-cleansing Bioderma removes all traces of Bali.
Bottom Line: For the colors, not the formulas.
Cargo Mendocino Blush & Bali Swimmable Blush ($26 each, made in Canada) can be purchased from Ulta's website (not in store, though). The products for this review were sent to me by PR.