Hair & Makeup

5 Blush Hacks That Will Instantly Transform Your Skin

A lit-from-within glow tops most women’s summer beauty goals, and with painterly blush a key makeup trend seen on recent red carpets, it’s no wonder cream and balm-textured blushes – layered strategically for an ultra-hydrated look – are having a makeup moment right now, says MALENA HARBERS

Beauty
Gigi Hadid complemented her floral gown with a rosy glow at the 2024 Met Gala

As helpful as coverage from a concealer or sheer base can be, blush is no doubt one of the most transformative makeup items in your beauty bag for pepping up skin ­– witness the higher and sharper cheekbones it delivered for Gigi Hadid, Camila Morrone, Amanda Gorman and Greta Lee at this year’s Met Gala. Powder blush is particularly great for creating a lasting look, but melt-into-skin formulas, such as liquids and balms, are ideal for mimicking a natural flush. Here’s how to get the look…

Take baby steps with your blush

If you’re used to applying powder blush, look to liquid blushes that set like a powder but look more natural and balmy when applied with fingertips. Products such as Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Blush Wand and Chantecaille’s Cheek Gelée present a great in-between, offering a semi-matte finish that mimics real skin without sheen. Pat the formula into cheeks and blend upwards with your fingertips for a natural look that will last.

Make use of the multitasker

“Cream blushes are great multitaskers for adding a pop of color to eyes, cheeks and lips,” says Gucci Westman, makeup artist and founder of Westman Atelier. “This will make your look cohesive, too.” Use your fingertips to blend the color, which helps the formula melt into skin and avoids a heavy-handed or cakey application. Even better: balm and stick formulas are easier to blend without a mirror and can boost luminosity.

Think about your undertones

“It’s really nice to offset undertones with your blush,” says Westman. If you have a warm undertone, you can play with a blue-based pink or berry color, while orange-red hues will counterbalance cooler undertones. Consider intensity, too. “On paler skin, I like to give a bit of a rosy flush,” says Westman. “Peachy nudes, like my Chouchette shade, look so great on everyone. And I love a bright flash of Poppet on darker skin – it delivers a super-healthy, flushed look.” For deep skin tones, it’s better to opt for a highly pigmented, brighter shade of blush. Although it feels counterintuitive for a subtle look, going for a fainter color and building up pigment will often result in a heavy finish that jars against a dewy base.

Blush vs bronzer

Feel like you have to choose between a bronzed or blush look? Don’t: you can do both – it’s just about clever application that ensures your look isn’t overloaded. After applying your bronzer (cream is best to mesh textures well), apply your blush in a targeted spot. “To amplify the sun-kissed look, I’ll dab cream blush in an oval shape in the middle of the cheekbones,” says Westman. “I go for a nude peach that picks up on all the bronzy tones and brightens skin.” A gentle sun strip across the nose cheats a beach-bronzed finish, and adding a touch of cream blush to this will only accentuate it. For this look, Westman suggests opting for a peach hue, or, for deeper skin tones, a reddish-orange will bring out your natural flush. Swipe the blush across the bridge of your nose and softly blend outwards – ensuring the edges of your flush are diffused – for a realistic sun flush.

The foolproof hack to making it last

For oily skin, the dewy-makeup influx can pose a problem when it comes to staying power. Makeup artist Sir John – the man behind Beyoncé’s luminous glow and resilient live-show makeup looks – doubles up on textures to make blush last longer. “When I do a cream blush, I’ll set it with a little bit of a powder blush. That duality of using two steps and setting the first layer gives you a Teflon base, even if you’re using the most minimal amount of powder, and you’ll still get a natural, flush-from-within effect,” he says.

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