The secret to achieving that warm, lit-from-within glow? The perfect blush. But as with pretty much all makeup products, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this beauty essential. The best blush for you depends on your face shape, skin tone, and skin type—not to mention your own personal style. Because no matter what anyone tells you, using makeup is personal and getting creative is half the fun.
But before you dive into the latest trend or experiment with new blush colors, it's always important to understand the basics. We chatted with celebrity makeup artists Joseph Carrillo and Kendal Fedail to find out exactly how to apply blush like a pro. Continue reading to learn how to create warm, rosy cheeks in no time.
About the Experts:
Blush comes in a variety of different formula types including powder, cream, gels, and liquid. Determining which will work best for you, though, not only depends on the look you’re going for, but also on your skin type. “My favorite blush formulas are creams and liquids because they melt into the skin and blend nicely with other complexion products,” says Fedail.
Though cream and liquid blushes offer that seamless, skin-like look, oily skin types may not garner the same effect from the formulation. Using cream or liquid blush could run the risk of product separation or more oil production on the skin. Instead, powder formulas may be the move. For dry skin types, the opposite may be true: powder formulas may emphasize dryness, while cream and liquid formulas may help keep the complexion hydrated.
Once you figure out what type of formula you want to use, you'll then need to find the perfect shade. If you’re hoping to achieve a more natural blush look, Carrillo says a good place to start may be to “Look and see what color you naturally ‘flush’ like in the gym or when you go for a run." Pay attention to this color and try to mimic it by finding a similar shade.
If you have fair skin, a cool pale pink is usually a great choice. For medium skin tones, you may want to try a neutral pink or peach blush. For olive skin, peach and rose tones tend to look stunning. And on medium to dark skin tones, warm reds, corals, and even hot pink shades look gorgeous.
To make sure that your shade looks extra natural on the skin, make sure the undertones in your chosen shade also match your skin's undertone (cool, warm, or neutral). If you're not sure which undertone shade you have, head here for our guide on how to know your undertones.
Once you have your perfect blush formula and shade in hand, you'll need to make sure you have the right tools handy. Powder blush tends to look best when applied with a fluffy, angled blush brush like the MODA® BRUSH Neon Angle Contour/Blush Brush. If you're using a cream blush or liquid blush, try blending with your fingers or a makeup sponge like the ORIGINAL BEAUTYBLENDER Makeup Sponge to blend. If you’re all about the makeup brushes, they can work for cream and liquid formulas too. Just make sure you’re using synthetic bristles for a better blend, says Fedail.
Now that you have everything you need, it's time to apply. If you're using a powder blush, begin by lightly swirling the brush in the blush compact, then tap off any excess pigment before gently swiping it onto the skin. If you're using a liquid blush like the YC COLLECTION Liquid Blush lightly dab the product directly onto the skin. Remember, less is more—you never want to go straight in with a heavy hand. Start off by applying a small amount of product and then slowly build your way up to your desired amount. If you want a bolder blush look, add more layer by layer.
The classic way to apply blush is to blend it onto the apples of your cheeks. (Not sure where this is? Smile into the mirror. See the front parts of your cheeks that pop up when you smile? That's them.) But now, with the latest TikTok trends, the consensus is that the higher the blush, the better and more snatched you’ll look. We’re going to go ahead and say it, though: This trend may not work for everyone. Your safest bet is to place your blush according to your face shape.
“We all have different-sized faces and shapes, so blush can be a tricky one,” admits Carrillo. Here are a few adjustments you may want to make depending on your face shape:
When using a powder blush, your first instinct may be to apply it by dragging your brush back and forth across the cheeks, but it’s best to lightly dab your brush on the skin instead to avoid moving around any product (like foundation) underneath. Dabbing onto the skin will also allow you to have more control over placement and pigment intensity.
Once you’ve applied and blended, step into some natural light to see how it all looks. Maybe you’ve created the perfect natural-looking flush, or maybe you were hoping for more of a pop of color. If you want to go bolder, go ahead and add another layer, repeating this process until you have your desired makeup look. Remember, makeup is about YOU and your creativity.
Now that you know how to apply blush, here are a few insider makeup tips you can use to make sure it looks its best.
When you apply blush is just as important as how you apply it. After prepping your skin with a makeup primer, apply any complexion products you want, including foundation and concealer. Then, apply your bronzer. Carrillo often likes to apply blush after bronzer so “the blush doesn’t overpower the face.”
To ensure that your blush shade ties in nicely with the rest of your overall beauty look, follow Fedail's golden rule: “If I’m using cooler shades on the eyes and lips, then I’ll use a cooler-toned blush like a pale pink or lilac,” says Fedail. “If I’m using warm colors on my eyes and lips, then I’ll either use a blush that’s more peachy or coral.”
What about shimmery or matte shades? “Finishes really come down to personal preference and what you like best on your skin,” says Fedail. If you tend to opt for dewy finish foundations, you might try a blush with a soft shimmer or sheen. If you prefer matte foundation a matte blush may be more to your liking.
“When you apply foundation, it most likely will cancel out the natural flush that most of us have around our cheek area,” says Fedail. Adding blush to your makeup routine is the fastest way to bring back that color and warmth to your skin.
Need your blush to last all day and night? Layering is key. “For maximum wear, I recommend first applying a cream blush then setting it with a powder blush on top,” says Fedail. Think of this technique like a setting powder but for your blush. This will lock in the pigments and finish, and your blush will look just as good at 11 p.m. as it did at 8 a.m. when you first put it on.
For a more sun-kissed look, try applying blush across the bridge of the nose and on the innermost part of your cheeks. This is where the sun would naturally hit you, so it’ll give you a sun-kissed effect without the damaging UV rays.
Looking for a blush formula that can become your new go-to? Here are 5 of the best blushes for a gorgeous, healthy glow.
Whether you're new to blush or you simply prefer a subtle wash of color, this matte liquid blush is super easy to apply. Simply dab a drop or two of color onto the cheeks and buff it out using a makeup sponge. Just a little bit of this formula provides a natural, blushed effect—perfect for that no makeup-makeup look. But if you want something more dramatic, it's super easy to layer this blush on for a more saturated effect.
There's a reason this is the top-selling blush in the country. NARS' powder blush offers a wide range of shades and finishes. To ensure an incredibly soft, blendable blush application, the powder is made up of superfine micronized pigments. While all the shades are stunning, the "Orgasm" shade is particularly iconic. It's a peachy pink with a golden shimmer that can work on every skin tone.
Looking for a blush that will help amplify a hydrated, dewy effect? Try this multitasking cream blush from the clean beauty brand ILIA. Made from a base of nourishing oils and butters (like sunflower seed oil, castor seed oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter), it's an ideal pick for dry skin types. As an added bonus, this stick is designed to also be used as a lip color, making harmonious makeup looks even easier.
Long day ahead? You're gonna want a blush formula that requires next to no touch-ups. Enter, this blush made from natural Amazonian clay. This not-so-secret ingredient is the key to longer, truer wear. It's also beneficial for every skin type: for oily skin, it can help to regulate oil production and for dry skin, it offers hydrating, moisture-locking benefits.
Not all blush formulas have to cost a pretty penny. This affordable option is perfect for a rosy glow on a budget. Made with conditioning vitamin E, this light-diffusing blush adds a natural, soft touch of rogue to any look. It's super blendable, buildable, and 100% cruelty-free.
If you’re looking to create that healthy, just-left-the-sun color on your cheeks, this lightweight liquid blush is it. The peachy-pink drops add a subtle, rosy flush and are formulated with omega fatty acids to keep the skin soft, soothed, and glowing.
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