8 Rules of Blush

by Jett Middleton on July 24, 2011

Too many of us resort to a robotic, three-second swipe of blush as we’re flying out the door—which is a pity, given its power. Here are still-simple tricks for the prettiest flush.


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1. Keep it believable
The whole idea of putting color on your cheeks is to mimic a healthy glow.  Though there’s room for variation, roses are best for pale skin; apricots for medium; and muted brick reds for dark.

2. Find the right formula
Cream blush blends in more easily than other formulations and generally looks a little more natural.  It’s nice for women who have normal to dry skin; it’s almost like an added layer of moisture.  But cream blush isn’t suited to oily skin; the color can migrate and fade too quickly. Gel, by contrast, is good for oily skin, but not for dry. Dry patches will catch the color, and you’ll have a hard time blending it in.  Powder blush works for normal to oily skin. It offer long-lasting color.

3. Learn proper placement
For the most natural look, begin blush application at the top of the apple of your cheek. The idea is to deposit most of the pigment ‘where rosiness would first appear naturally, if you were simply flushing’.  If you can’t see where that spot is, smile to push the apples up. Then, placing the color on the part that lies directly below your pupil, blend outward, toward the ear.

4. Choose your tools wisely
For bright powder blush, a good fan brush is a must.  It’s best at distributing color evenly and creating a soft effect.  A fan or a big, fluffy brush works with other powder blushes, as long as it’s soft. The bigger brushes can be too thick, giving you too dense an application.  For cream or gel blush, the best tool is your fingers!

5. Powder first
Even if your skin isn’t oily, 
a layer of translucent powder used as a primer for your powder blush will help the pigment go on uniformly and last longer, says Mercier. If you like a dewy look and normally avoid powder, just powder the area where you’ll be applying blush.

6. Layer if necessary
One of the biggest complaints from women is that their skin ‘drinks up the cheek color by midday.’ To prolong it, first apply a little cream blush and let 
it sink in, then dust a bit of translucent powder over the area and finish with powder blush. The color should last for hours.

7. Pick a finish
First, think of the lighting: Certain lights reflect more than others, fluorescent especially, so skip anything too sparkly at the office. Then consider your skin. Blushes with shimmer bring sallow skin back to life, while matte blushes are ideal for oily skin, eliminating shine and staying put longer. Sheer blushes, which tend to be creams or gels, look best on very dark or very pale skin, since they allow the skin to show through.

8. Don’t overflush
If you have rosacea, tone down the redness with an opaque foundation. Then apply blush. If your rosacea verges on purple, peachy or soft bronze blush will counteract the redness. But if your skin is more rosy, look for a muted or peachy rose, says Mercier. And for truly red rosacea, try a brownish rose.

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