How to Apply Blush to Complement Your Face Shape

May 29, 2024
By: Jamie Allison Sanders | by L'Oréal
How to Apply Blush for Every Face Shape — Plus, Some of Our Top Products

You’re probably well aware that the right blush can liven up your features and give your skin a rosy glow, but that’s not all it can do. If you know how to apply blush to flatter your face shape, you can subtly sculpt and define your face—even without the help of contour or highlighter. If you’re wondering where to apply blush to make your favorite features pop, we’ve got you covered. We tapped professional makeup artists Melissa Walsh and Shreni Patel for advice on the best blush placement for every face shape. Read on to learn how to apply blush like a pro and put your best face forward.

How to Apply Blush on a Diamond-Shaped Face

If you have high, prominent cheekbones and a narrower chin and forehead, chances are good you have a diamond-shaped face. The proper blush placement—typically, right along your cheekbones—can help accentuate your bone structure while helping to balance your more angular features.

Patel suggests using a powder blush and sweeping it onto the skin it with a fluffy brush. If you need a recommendation, try NYX Professional Makeup Buttermelt Blush—the pigment-packed formula glides on smoothly and blends seamlessly for a natural-looking flush. Once you find your most flattering shade, here’s how to apply blush to complement your features:

Step 1: Lightly sweep your brush across the powder blush to pick up pigment.

Step 2: Apply the blush to the most prominent part of your cheekbone, avoiding placing the pigment directly on the apples of your cheeks.

Step 3: Blend toward your cheekbones in a slight arc to help create balance and visually soften sharp angles.

How to Apply Blush on an Oval-Shaped Face

Blush placement for oval faces is pretty straightforward, says Walsh, who adds that those with oval faces “can basically get away with anything.” That being said, she favors a higher application—usually, just along the cheekbones or slightly above. Avoid blending it too far down your cheeks, which can visually weigh down your face and disrupt your natural facial harmony. For a controlled application, we suggest reaching for a liquid blush, such as the Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Cheek Tint. The doe applicator will help you control where you place the product, and you can add less or more depending on how vibrant you want your blush to be. Here’s a step-by-step for nailing your blush application:

Step 1: Patel recommends starting by putting one dot of product on the apple of each cheek. (You can always add more later for a more vibrant look).

Step 2: Using an angled blush brush, blend the pigment toward your ear. This placement can help “break up the face and add definition,” Patel says, and help sculpt your cheekbones.

How to Apply Blush on a Square-Shaped Face

Square faces are roughly equal in width from the forehead to the jaw and tend to be more angular than rounded. For this face shape, both Walsh and Patel advise applying blush to the apples of the cheeks—this placement can help visually soften your more angular features for a harmonious look. You can use any blush you choose, be it cream, powder, or liquid. For a seamless application, look for one with a texture and finish similar to the rest of your makeup.

Here’s how to apply blush for square faces:

Step 1: Smile to locate the apples of your cheeks.

Step 2: Apply your chosen blush to the most prominent part of the “apple.”

Step 3: Use a makeup sponge or brush to blend the pigment in a circular motion to add roundness. Take care not to blend your blush outwards horizontally, as this can visually widen your face and may look too stark against your angular features.

How to Apply Blush on a Round-Shaped Face

Round faces tend to be widest around the cheekbones and have rounded (hence the name) rather than angular edges. Those with round faces may also have softer features and a naturally youthful look. To help create a bit of definition, skip applying blush on the apples of your cheeks. With a lower blush placement, round faces look more sculpted and defined. Walsh recommends applying your blush below your cheekbones, just above where you’d put contour. Again, both powder and cream (or liquid) blush formulas can work well here; choose a formula that’s aligned with your personal preferences. Then, follow these steps:

Step 1: Make a fish face by sucking in your cheeks. This can help you identify the hollows of your cheeks and determine where to put blush for the most flattering effect.

Step 2: Apply your blush in a line below your cheekbone, starting from where your cheek meets your ear and ending the line at the center of your cheek.

Step 3: Blend to soften the line. Patel recommends “sweep[ing] upwards” rather than outwards to help visually lift the face. She also advises adding a tiny bit of blush onto the bridge of your nose “to define and slim the face.”

How to Apply Blush on a Heart-Shaped Face

When it comes to blush for heart-shaped faces, there’s a unique method of blush application you can try: blush draping. This technique involves applying blush along the top of the cheekbones instead of the apples of the cheeks and blending it toward the temple in a distinct curved shape. This blush placement helps emphasize your prominent cheekbones and can help create a balanced, harmonious look. Because you’ll want your blush placement to be fairly precise for this technique, we recommend using a liquid formula, such as the Urban Decay Hydromaniac Dewy Liquid Blush.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the technique:

Step 1: Apply a few dots of liquid blush to the tops of your cheekbones.

Step 2: Use a makeup sponge or brush to blend the pigment upward and outward. Patel recommends blending the blush “into the ear, hairline, and temples in almost a ‘C’ shape” that arcs around the tail of your brow.

Step 3: Use a blush brush to further diffuse the pigment and soften any harsh or obvious lines.

How to Apply Blush on a Long Face

As with blush for oval faces, blush for long faces is pretty flexible: you can apply it either to the apples of your cheeks or along your cheekbones. The former will add softness and create the illusion of fuller cheeks, while the latter placement can help sharpen and define your cheekbones. Either way, Walsh suggests “starting under the pupils and blend[ing] to the middle of the cheeks.”

Here’s what you’ll want to do:

Step 1: Use a brush to apply a cream or powder blush to the center of your cheek, just beneath the pupil of your eye.

Step 2: Blend slightly outward with a brush to create a thick straight or lightly curved line.

Step 3: For fullness, dot cream blush directly on the apples of your cheeks (and blend well).

Our Favorite Editor-Approved Blushes

Now that you know how to apply blush to complement different face shapes, check out some of our favorite blushes worth adding to your collection.

Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Cheek Tint

Embrace the ever-popular dewy makeup trend with this liquid blush, which combines intense color with lightweight blendability for a seamless, vibrant wash of color. One dot of the pigmented formula for a natural-looking flush, two for long-lasting color, or three for an intense, full-glam glow. No matter how much you choose, you’ll enjoy up to 12 hours of luminous wear.

It Cosmetics Glow With Confidence Sun Cream Blush

Give your skin some love and get your glow on with this blush-bronzer hybrid from IT Cosmetics. The buildable formula features a 92% solid serum skincare base and contains a caring blend of skin-loving ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, peptides, and vitamin E. Whether you’re heading out on a tropical vacation—or just want to look like you did—this weightless, creamy blush in five gorgeous shades is an ideal partner in your warm-weather makeup routine.

NYX Professional Makeup Buttermelt Blush

A powder blush is always a solid go-to, especially for those with oily skin. If you’re looking for a new one to add to your lineup, we can’t recommend NYX Professional Makeup’s Buttermelt Blush highly enough. It’s infused with mango, almond, and shea butter and blends like a dream for a seamless flush. Plus, each of the 12 vibrant shades wears for up to 12 hours without transferring or fading.

Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Glow Blush

Giorgio Armani Beauty’s beloved Luminous Silk Glow Blush is another powder blush worth your while. Unlike standard matte powder blushes, this finely-milled powder features light-reflecting pigments that evenly bounce light off the face for a subtle, lit-from-within glow. It’s buildable, applies smoothly, and is available in eight stunning shades to complement a range of skin tones and undertones.

L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Blush

If you prefer your makeup to have a matte finish, consider trying this soft matte option from L’Oréal Paris. Available in four bold, pigmented shades, this weightless blush looks and feels amazing for up to 24 hours. Like the brand’s other longwear formulas in the Infallible line, this blush is sure to stand up to whatever your day (or night) has in store. It’s heat-proof, waterproof, transfer-proof, and humidity-proof—making it the perfect blush to reach for once temps start to soar.

Urban Decay Hydromaniac Dewy Liquid Blush

Level up your no-makeup makeup days with this easy-to-apply cheek tint from Urban Decay. The lightweight formula contains kombucha filtrate and marula oil and helps hydrate the skin for a plump, glowy look. It’s suitable for all skin types—including sensitive—and can easily be built up if you want a bolder pop of color. Choose from six juicy shades, including sunny coral peach, red-orange, and deep berry.

NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Blush

With its double-ended stick format, the NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Blush is unbelievably easy to apply, no matter your skill level. The stick lets you be super precise about where you place your color so you can easily apply blush for your face shape. Pair the coordinating shades together for a contoured, sculpted effect, or wear either shade on its own for a natural-looking flush of color.

Valentino Beauty Eye2Cheek Blush and Eyeshadow

We’re on board with any makeup product that has multiple uses, and this pigmented blush is no exception. The cream-to-powder formula effortlessly melts into the skin for a radiant, natural-looking finish, while the sheer, buildable color lets you customize your look depending on your mood. Dust a light layer for a subtly pretty flush, or build up the pigment for a statement blush moment. The best part? This blush also doubles as an eyeshadow. We’re totally into the idea of a monochromatic matching blush and eyeshadow look, so we consider that an absolute win.

Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush

Not quite a liquid blush, not quite a cream—Maybelline’s Cheek Heat blush effortlessly toes the line between both worlds. The water-based formula has a lightweight, creamy texture and glides effortlessly onto the skin, leaving behind a soft, dewy finish. Pick from one of six rosy shades and dot it onto your cheeks for a naturally-flushed look.

Merit Beauty Flush Balm

Merit Beauty’s Flush Balm has a cult following, and once you use it, it’s not hard to see why. The lightweight, buildable formula melts into the skin, delivering a gorgeous flush of color that looks like your skin (but better). We love that it’s formulated with vitamin E—and that it boasts an ultra-inclusive shade range, with nine stunning hues designed to flatter fair and deep complexions alike.

Next Up: These Are the Best Blush Shades for Every Skin Tone