My mother did a stand-up job teaching me life’s essential truths to live by. “Please” and “thank you” are non-negotiables. Always chew with your mouth closed. Oh, and NEVER leave home without applying a little blush!
You see, I come from a long line of rouge-loving women. Regardless of whether the day calls for heading to the office, going to the gym, attending a fancy affair or simply staying in to watch novelas (we Latin women love our Spanish soap operas), you better believe our cheeks are painted to perfection. Heck, even my minimalist mother, whose makeup routine consists of just three products, won’t leave the house without a flush. It’s safe to say “blush culture” runs through my veins.
But my cheeks haven’t always come up roses. Oh no. My blush application skills were hard-earned. From color and formula selection to application and placement, it took me years to perfect my blush skills. Intrigued? Of course you are. Here’s my story:
Love at First Blush
Like most women, my first introduction to makeup — blush in particular — was through my mother. I have vivid memories of sitting atop the bathroom counter, watching her apply a deep red rouge onto her high, chiseled cheekbones (a physical trait that skipped me in the gene pool, much to my chagrin). I just couldn’t fathom how, with one flick of the wrist, her face took on a beautiful, rosy glow. I wanted to know ALL of the secrets.
My first few attempts were feeble, at best. I remember locking myself in the bathroom with my mother’s blush compact in hand, vigorously brushing the stuff onto the baby fat of my cheeks—no precision or strategy. Shockingly, the results were not quite as magical as those attained by my mother. Instead of soft, rosy cheeks, I created a bruised look. Ouch. Blush and I did not get off on the right foot.
Despite my initial childhood trauma, I was not to be deterred. I was determined to carry on the blush-wearing tradition of my ancestors. So when my teens (and the hormones) hit, I reached again for the product that had had let me down in the past.
My makeup as a teen can best be described as experimental. As a young millennial, my beauty and fashion idols consisted of pop singers and the entire cast of Clueless, so my makeup style was all about the frost and glitter. This was incredibly evident in my blush choices. My shade preferences included hot pink hues with sparkly finishes. Not only did the colors clash with my olive skin tone, but the glitter also accentuated my unblended handy work. In my mind I looked every bit the “It girl”, while in reality I looked every bit the clown. And, since my friends were influenced by the same force of ’90’s pop-dom, my blush intervention didn’t come until well after my high school years … and, sadly, my prom photos.
Finding My Mojo
Every good love story has a great ending and this one is no different. After years of dysfunction and misunderstandings, blush and I finally came to a solid understanding in my early 20s. It was around that time that I started working at a well-known department store and befriended some talented ladies at the makeup counter. It was through this third party that I came to see the error of my blushing ways. They taught me how to blend properly and matched me with blush shades that complimented my skin tone and gave me a lovely, natural flush. I like to think of trips to the makeup counter as couples’ counseling sessions in that you walk away with a better understanding of your makeup.
As a grown woman of 30 I can safely say that my relationship with blush has come full circle. We’re at a healthy place of understanding: I know what shades work best for a more natural flush and how to work with the more outlandish colors (when I’m feeling daring).
Blush and I have officially found our rhythm and the tune is beautiful.