Ahhhh blush. Many women avoid blush (according to InStyle Magazine, about 47% of American women today wear blush compared to 1948, when 66% wore it) but it can be your beauty secret weapon. For healthy, natural color, nothing beats blush. However, blush tends to overused as well. To avoid looking like a clown, try these steps to choosing blush and applying it.
See my list of the best blushes for every price point and find out which blush is the No. 1 beauty editor favorite. And don't miss How to Pick the Perfect Blush. Some blushes are better for oily and dry skin types.
Time Required: 2 minutes (once you get past the first couple steps below)
- First choose the color using nature as your guide. According to InStyle, the trick is to find a color that matches your cheeks when they're flushed after exercise or being out in the cold. For a quick test, "spank" your cheeks and use the resulting color as a guide. (We suggest doing this in the comfort of your home away from other people, wink). Another trick is to match your lip color. Fair skin looks great in rose, olive in peach & dark skin in apricot or even red.
- Now that you have the color, choose the right formula for your skin type. Powder is typically best for oily and combo skin. Cream is great for dry skin. Liquid and gel are great for oily skin. For even better results, combine cream and powder together. "It helps my blush stay on longer and looks more luminous," said makeup artist Laura Mercier in O Magazine. Keep in mind stains -- great for well-moisturized skin, not dry skin -- tend to dry very fast so blend well and fast.
- Apply foundation, eye color &andlipstick. While blush is usually your second-to-last makeup step (before powder), you should experiment with what works best for you. Some makeup artists like to apply blush BEFORE foundation for a more "natural" look.
- Throw out the freebie "Barbie-size" blush brush that comes with the blush. Use a professional full brush instead (I like MAC's blush brush No. 116), but don't use the same brush you use for your powder.
- Put the blush on your brush, tapping off any excess or put a dab of gel on your fingers.
- Look into the mirror and smile. This helps you figure out where the "apple" of your cheek is.
- Since you want a healthy flush, it's best to apply blush only to apples of your cheeks. Keep color light and blended. If you're using gel or cream, NYC makeup artist Carlo Geraci (in O Magazine) suggests dabbing it on with your middle finger, then blend with your ring and middle finger. The clean finger will pick up any excess blush.
- If you've gone a bit too heavy on the powder blush, a bit of translucent powder over it will calm it down. For cream blush, blot the color off with a tissue. Since gel and liquid blush "stain" the cheeks, the only way to lighten them is it wash your face, moisturize and reapply your makeup, this time more sparingly.
- Finish your look with a sweep of translucent powder.
- Extra tip: For a sun-kissed sheen dab bronzer on your forehead, chin and nose BEFORE you apply the blush. To make sure it doesn't look like a stripe, use "a big brush and a light hand," suggests makeup artist Bobbi Brown in Lucky Magazine. See my list of the best bronzers.
- Expert tip: Feel free to experiment with different ways of shading. Makeup artist Shane Paish suggests in InStyle, to try a C-shape shading. To do this, apply a sheer highlighting powder in a c-shape from your temples to your cheekbones. It should go from the center of your brow bone to the center of your cheek, Paish said, "like the shape of a parenthesis."
- Clean your brushes with baby wipes. If you don't keep your brushes clean, they'll gather bacteria and transfer it to your skin.
- For a sexy look, dab a little shimmery blush on the highest point of your cheekbone nearest your eye.
- Using powder blush? Always sweep it in one direction. Going over and over or around and around causes streaks and can hurt your brush.
- Cream blush is great for mature skin. It blends easily and therefore looks very natural. For gel or cream blush, dab a dot on the apple of the cheek and two smaller dots up the cheekbone. Blend the dots together up to the hairline.
- Dusky pink blush will warm up any tired-looking skin.
What You Need:
- professional blush brush
- translucent powder
- bronzer blusher