A little rouge goes a long way. At least that’s what our grandmother tells us and we haven’t been able to prove her wrong yet. When we brush a dreamy pink hue across the apples of our cheeks our confidence rises. We experience the type of excitement usually reserved for when we wear colored eyeliner. Because mastering a bright, flushed cheek means we can play the bashful card when our current crush says hi or simply get that ‘touched by sun’ look any day of the week.
The trick to pulling off blush the right way? Finding the right blush color and product texture for your skin tone. When you apply the wrong rouge your makeup instantly enters the clown zone. But the right color to accent your skin tone will make your Friday night makeup, and just about everything else in life, that much better. That's why we've enlisted seasoned makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci to reveal the definitive guide to blush shades, textures, and techniques for each skin tone. So take grandma’s words to heart, and our expert tips below, and you'll be well on your way to always picking the right blush!
Before you hit the "buy" button on that practically-made-for-you blush, consider the texture Ciucci urged. "Think cream for normal to dry skin, and powder for normal to oily types." Here's why: like a moisturizer, velvety formulas will absorb into the skin better and add much-needed hydration. Powder varieties can help mop up excess oil and sweat sitting on the skin. So you're getting the most out of the makeup – while also doing right by your complexion! Now, find your ideal shades of blush according to your skin tone.
Fair Skin Tone
Fair skinned beauties, don't get carried away with too vibrant shades; a soft pink, peach, or light coral will enhance your porcelain skin just right. Consider a creamy blush texture that yields a natural finish without being overpowering, Ciucci said. "Cream blushes mimic the skin's finish and settle into the skin in the most realistic way."
When applying, the key is a light application. "Tap the color onto your cheeks with your fingers or buff it in with a duo-fiber brush," Ciucci added. Too much product, or the use of saturated hues, will create a harsh finish reminiscent of Rocky Horror Picture Show's Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Avoid a stage makeup faux pas when you select the right intensity of blush for a natural, flushed cheek finish.
Similar to your fair skinned friends, pinks and peaches are your best bet. You’ll want to take these colors a step further by applying a deeper shade of each, or layering until you reach your desired vibrancy. A rich pink, and even certain shades of mauve, will leave you with a dramatic edge–especially when you apply blush on all the right spots. To find the right landing space for your chosen hue, smile and see where your cheekbones naturally pop. Apply a bit of blush up and down that half moon space and even into the corner of the eye area for perfectly placed warmth.
Bonus tip: If you're more olive, avoid cooler tones like plum as they can make olive-toned babes look sallow, Ciucci explained.
Deep shades of red, orange, and brown are the ideal blush colors for those with dark skin. "The trick is to choose a shade that looks crazy bright in the packaging," Ciucci said. These colors, unlike light powder pinks, will leave you looking radiant instead of washed out. Try a fuchsia (think dark radiant orchid) if your skin tone tends to be warmer; a bold tangerine if it is cooler.
Sweep blush onto your skin in a circular motion at the apples, and then outwards towards the tops of the ears for a gorgeous pop of color. By targeting the apples of your cheeks with a vivid swipe of one of these shades you’ll be left with a beautiful cast of color.
What pro makeup artists know – and are about to spill – is that a little strategically placed makeup can completely transform your face. It's the reason you hear celebs regularly credit their makeup squads for enhanced cheekbones, a luminous glow, and incognito psoriasis patches. When used correctly, blush can guarantee the lifted cheekbones you've craved (sans filler), make for a flawless photo finish, or hide embarrassing discoloration through their makeup illusions, according to Ciucci.
For Sculpted Cheeks:
Make a fish face and apply a cool matte shade into the hollows of the cheeks with an angled blush brush. To achieve, start at the top of the ear and drag the brush down to right before the underside of the apple. Boom, definition.
For a Youthful Glow:
To match the shade you'd naturally flush, take a selfie post-workout and try to find a similar blush shade. Apply that color starting at the apple of your cheek and blending down towards your jaw line, using your fingers to blend it in if it's a cream blush. Or, use a larger, fuller blush brush if the texture is powder. The age-defying trick may even get you carded!
For an HD-Ready Look:
Choose a more matte shade in a jet-milled formula (translation: it's been finely ground using machines that work at warped speed). Unforgiving high definition video and photography picks up every bit of texture and frost, so this formula will look the most natural and you won't have to worry about a makeup mishap.
For the Rosacea-Prone:
Pick a cooler shade like pale pink, plum or mauve because it will give some life to the skin without turning red. Apply foundation first, then gently buff it out using a soft kabuki brush. You both want to cover the inflamed areas AND have a bit of the warmth peak through your foundation. Next sweep on your blush with a damp beauty sponge for an instant lit-from-within flush.
For a Candlelit Glow:
Choose a pink, peach or gold-infused shimmery blush (not glittery!) and apply to the top of the apple of your cheeks. You'll have a nice natural flush with the light hitting the shimmer texture on your cheekbone, giving you that ethereal effect. To amp up the radiance after you’ve applied your blush, dab a pink or gold cream highlighter on top of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, on your brow bones, and in your cupid's bow. The candlelight effect will hit your features in all the right places.
What blush color do you lean towards? Let us know in the comments below!