A love story (with an unavoidably sad ending)

Last summer, I stumbled across something that – to me – turned out to be truly magical.

<3

While on an experimental quest to replace my top-end makeup with high-street dupes, I found myself in the midst of a rare sale in Boots and spied this marked-down mirrored compact from then unknown-to-me brand UNE. Saying “hey, you ALWAYS need a new blusher” under my breath, I slapped down the ol’ Advantage Card, thinking nothing much of my purchase until it came to the next morning and the time to tinker with my face – and then – oh, my, goodness.

A creamy texture that transformed almost instantly to a delicate, powder finish? Said cute, mirrored holder that slid open and closed so neatly? A gorgeous shade of gently-flushed dusky pink which transported even the most tired of skin into English Rose territory?

It was love at first sight. I slipped the UNE Breezy Cheeks in 02 into my bag and from that day forth, was never parted from it. I raved about this new discovery and sent even the most committed designer make-up fans scuttling secretly into Boots to check out UNE’s wares. Converting people left, right and centre, I was a true die-hard UNE afficionado, trumpeting the brand’s brilliance to anyone who would listen.

One otherwise uneventful day, my beloved blusher ran out – and, reader, I’m not proud to say that I turned my back on my sweetheart. I’d already been flirting outrageously with a Korres powder bronzer that had snuck into my makeup bag, and now my UNE was done, I rediscovered my affection for a neglected bright pink Bobbi Brown blush. My NARS Multiple stick in Orgasm, purchased on a crazed whim, finally got the workout its pricetag deserved. I moved from gel blusher to cheek stain and back again, fluttering between brands and textures like a rosy-cheeked, cosmetic-craving butterfly, subconsciously confident that my UNE blush would always be there for me – for better, for worse.

Then just last night, as Daisy and I Facebook messaged back and forth about our next beauty feature for Cambridge Edition, I started to think a little harder…

…about the problems I’d had locating my blusher back in January, prompting me to go as far as to tweet the company (a rarity for me) to nervously enquire about availability.

Forboding...

About how, despite their reassurances, the next few months saw UNE shelves slowly emptying, with little or no restocking. Even opening the secret drawers beneath the racking (we all know they’re there) proved fruitless.

And then, thinking about it, the last time I’d been into Boots to browse for basics I hadn’t seen the white, mirrored section…. hang on – was UNE even there?

I rushed across to the brand’s Facebook page and scrolled down their wall. The last update was from March:

Uh-oh

No longer “widely available”? I dug a little deeper.

*end of Planet of the Apes*

I clutched at my heart and sank to my knees (ok, I was lying on the sofa with the laptop on my belly and a cat on my legs, but the thought was there). What would I do? It took me at least a decade of searching to find this perfect blusher and I wasn’t too thrilled at the thought of starting from scratch.

There was hope. A little light Googlage and a tip-off from another fan’s distraught comment on UNE’s Facebook page led me to the website Fragrance Direct. I raised a sceptical eyebrow, but then – there it was. My beloved. And just £2.99!

Feeling a little like a bootlegger I looked over my shoulder and filled my shopping basket with a stockpile of my favourite shade, crossing my fingers these would last a little while and absent-mindedly wondering how best to keep them in mint condition (suggestions welcome). And then a few of the matching lipsticks and balms from the brand – that I’d previously resisted but which were now also heavily reduced – may have found their way into my order as well. When the package arrives I’ll update this post with a picture of the blush in action, but if you’re reading this now, I suggest you hop on over to FD and hook yourself up before my resolve crumbles and I order sixty of the darn things.

I know favourites come and go, and the time will come when UNE and I part ways for good – but this is the first time I’ve had a loyal staple get discontinued. At a rough guess, this last desperate purchase leaves me with about half a year of natural-looking, glowy cheeks. The sensible thing to do would be to start looking for a replacement immediately – however for now, I’m happy to enjoy the final few months and go about my day with gently flushed cheeks, smiling rosily about the good times.

RIP, Breezy Cheeks – you will be much missed.

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