Think of blush as the secret weapon in your makeup armory. Get the application right and it can be so much more than a simple pop of color: the formula, the placement and even a subtle shift in shade can lift your complexion instantly. Here’s everything you need to know about how to apply blusher…
Where to wear blush
“Placing blush higher up on the cheeks is the most flattering way to wear it,” says Vincent Ford, the lead makeup artist for NARS. “It lifts the face and is far more youthful.” Exactly how high is “higher up”, though? The apples of the cheeks are the perfect place – find the ideal spot by smiling and then sweep blush on the roundest parts of your cheeks. “Highlighter can still be applied along the cheekbone to give a sculpted look if you feel you need it,” says Ford.
How to apply blush
Most makeup sits better when applied over a base, but blush flies in the face of this rule. “I find that when you wear blush on bare skin, the color pops more,” says Ford. He advises going for a cream or liquid blush, as it will blend into the skin much more easily. If you do wear a base of foundation or primer, a powder blush tends to work best over the top. “Wearing it over a base will bring you a polished, blended look,” says Ford.
What type of blush should you wear?
With mask-wearing a reality for some time yet, it’s important that your blush is able to hold up under friction and warmth. Not all formulas are up to the task, but if you want your look to stay put, use a liquid formula. “They give a super-long-lasting, flushed-from-within look,” explains Ford. Suitable for all skin types, from the oiliest to the driest, liquid blush is brilliant for all-day wear, as it doesn’t slip, slide or fuse into your other makeup as many cream or powder blushes can do.
Which color blush is right for you?
The whole point of blush is that it puts a little of that lost flush of youth back into your complexion. As we age, our skin and lips lose color, which can leave things looking a little lifeless. “I always pick out a color that I can see in the undertones of someone’s skin,” says Ford. To understand your undertone, pay attention to your skin the next time it naturally flushes – the shade it takes on is your natural coloring. “If you have pink undertones, go for a pink or berry shade. Complement yellow or golden undertones with warm peach, while darker skin tones will glow in deep plums.”
Which tools should you use to apply blush?
Makeup brush, sponge or fingers? The answer is it really depends on the type of blush you go for. Ford prefers to “use fingers to apply liquid or cream blush, as it helps to give a natural, flawless look”. Powders, says Ford, are best applied with a soft blush brush, to allow you better control and to create a sculpted effect.
How to wear blush: a step-by-step
1. The apples of the cheeks are the perfect place to wear blush; find the ideal spot by smiling and then apply blush to the roundest parts of your cheeks. However, if you’re going to be wearing a mask, blend your blusher outwards and upwards from the apples to the tops of your cheeks so a hint of color is visible at all times.
2. Try swapping a powder blush for a cream or liquid formula, as it will blend into the skin much more easily and can simply be applied with fingertips.
3. If you want your look to stay put all day, use a liquid formula, as it doesn’t slip, slide or fuse into your other makeup (like many cream or powder blushes do). Liquid formulas tend to set fast, so make sure you blend it out quickly after application if you want to enjoy a seamless finish.
4. The darker your skin, the more pigment your blush requires. Deep plums and burnt oranges look beautiful on very dark skin, while skin with a pink undertone will likely suit more of a rose or berry shade. Olive skin tones or those with a yellow undertone will flow in warm peach and coral shades.
5. Use a damp makeup sponge or your fingers to apply liquid or cream blush, as it helps to give a natural, flawless look. Powders are best applied with a soft blush brush, to allow you better control.
6. Depending on the formula, some liquid blushes can set faster than you can blend it in. In this instance, lightly mist your skin with something like Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Evening Mist to reactivate its texture and buy you some more time to blend.