Blush is one of those must-haves that can really change the way your face looks (hello, happy and healthy glow!). We’re here to give you the the complete lowdown on this beauty product, including how to find the right color, how exactly you should apply it and how to differentiate between all those textures.
Pick Your Perfect Palette
For the most realistic color boost, the glowy pink that your own cheeks take on after your morning jog, afternoon pilates class or any other physical activity is the most flattering. If you're not able to pin down that post-workout hue, here are a few other tips for choosing the prettiest shade, courtesy of makeup artist Dell Ashley.
- For those women with fair complexions, peaches and corals are the most flattering. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Rose Petal gives a faint flush to cheeks without overwhelming other makeup.
- For women with medium and olive skin tones, try the brighter L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Color Lift Blush in Peach Gold Lift, which has soft, sunny undertones that complement warm complexions.
- A nearly electric color like NARS Blush Exhibit A seems shocking in the compact, but looks lovely on dark skin.
Find Your Formula
Blush comes in nearly as many formulas as does foundation, and with good reason. Blush should look natural and like a second skin, while adding just a hint of color. Here’s how to figure out which type is best for you.
- Powder: This is the most common type of blush and comes in the widest variety of shades. It’s great for those with oily skin, as the powder goes on softly and can help to absorb excess moisture. Try: MAC Powder Blush. Tip: Toss aside the miniature brushes that are tucked inside the blush compact and instead apply powder using a brush with a longer handle and dome-shaped bristles, like YSL Blusher Brush.
- Gel: Gel blush is ideal for those who wear little to no foundation, since it offers a transparent flush of color that lets skin peek through. Do avoid adding face powder on top of a gel blush, as it can start to look muddy or cakey on the skin. Women with drier skin should try YSL Voile de Blush, which has a dewier texture and adds a sheer, radiant glow to cheeks. For a gel-like blush that performs better on an oily or moisturized complexion, try Giorgio Armani Blushing Fabric.
- Cream: Thanks to its smooth, buttery consistency, cream blush gives a slight sheen to the skin. This makes the more hydrating formula ideal for those with dry skin. Try: Three Custom Color Specialists Crème to Powder Blush. Tip: Tap (instead of sweeping) it onto cheeks using the pad of a finger for the lightest finish.
- Stain: These liquid blushes, like Benefit Benetint, offer staying power. If you tend to see your blush disappear before midday, switch to a stain to give you an enduring flush.
Apply With Ease
When you’re looking to create an everyday, natural rosy color, Ashley recommends keeping blush on the apples of your cheeks, above the tip of your nose and away from your undereye area.
For a more sculpted appearance (think Jennifer Lopez), reach for blush, bronzer and highlighter to bring out your cheekbones. Try: Urban Decay Naked Flushed palette, which includes all three. Contouring can really add definition to the face, but it is a more challenging technique. To get it right, Ashley says to follow these steps:
- Step 1: Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks with a domed, fluffy blush brush.
- Step 2: Follow with bronzer in the hollows of the cheeks. (Don’t know how to find “the hollows?” Feel along your cheekbones with your fingers and apply bronzer directly along the dip underneath.) The bronzer should go along the whole length of the cheekbones and up to your temples. Tip: Choose a bronzer that's one to two shades darker than your skin for subtle sculpting.
- Step 3: To really slim your face and draw attention to your bone structure, add a touch of shimmery highlighter on the highest point of your cheekbones, along the area between the nose and the cheek.