It’s well worth learning how to apply blush properly as subtly applied blush makeup can make you look radiant. It perks up your face super fast, brightening your complexion, enhancing your face shape and making you look young and vibrant even if you’re under the weather or dog-tired.
I have to say I’m a late bloomer myself when it comes to blush. It took me a while to see what a difference it made but now I wouldn’t be without it so if you’re not wearing it every day, give it a try and see what it can do for you.
Types of Blush Makeup and How to Apply Them
When you go to buy blush, you’ll find it comes in different formats. Some will be suitable for you and the type of makeup you like to wear and others will be completely wrong. So it’s not just a case of how to apply blush correctly, but how to choose the right blush and apply that type of makeup properly.
Applying Powder Blush
This is the standard blush format we all know and love and it is one of the easiest types to apply and retouch. It comes in a compact similar to face powder, as mineral blush powder or as “pearls” (small balls of color). The blush with a slightly pearly texture or sheen is more flattering than a completely matte product.
The best way to apply powder blusher is with a blush brush but use a special brush not the one that comes in the compact. That will be too small and is only for reapplying when you are out and about.
Simply sweep the brush over the surface of the powder and apply to your cheeks. (See where to apply blush below). Avoid using your fingers as you will find that the oil from your fingers transfers to the powder and it will become clogged and unusable. Plus you are likely to transfer bacteria between your fingers and your face.
Powder blush is the best format if you have problem skin as it gives the most coverage.
On all skin types, it is easier to apply this type of blush makeup over face powder otherwise it does not blend well.
How to Apply Cream Blush
Cream blush comes in a small shallow pot or in a stick like a fat lipstick. It goes on very smoothly and is great for a sheer look in summer or to give a natural looking youthful blush in the daytime.
Some cream blush products are not so good in terms of staying power however and you may find that setting your cream blush with a little powder blush is in order – just make sure you don’t add too much color like that or get back to a matte effect you don’t want if you decide to try this.
If you don’t set it in some way, you may find you have to keep reapplying a little during the day to maintain the same effect especially if you have an oily complexion or it is very hot.
Some cream blushers dry to a powdery finish however and these are less problematic.
Cream blush works well for drier and more mature skins while powder or gel is recommended for oilier ones. Powder is best over any kind of matte foundation or powder while cream works better over bare skin.
With cream blush you can’t avoid using your fingers as it is quite concentrated in color and you will need to blend in well. Make sure you have clean hands before applying and transfer the color to your cheeks with a cotton bud rather than dipping your fingers into the pot.
Mousse Blush : What’s the Difference?
Mousse blush is similar to cream (so follow the same tips on how to apply it). Mousse may have a lighter texture however (filled with air) whereas a cream blush may be heavier or gel like. Mousse blush may also come from a pump spray rather than a jar.
Sometimes these different formulas are used for marketing and novelty value though rather than making any difference to the format of the product so determine how much color you need for your cheeks by the actual texture and density of the product you’re using rather than the name of it. Use less of a thicker denser blush cosmetic than you do of a lighter formula.
Applying Gel Blush
A gel blush is a type of clear cream blush that dries quite quickly and therefore need to be blended in without too much delay after applying with brush or fingers.
These blushers are good for complexions that don’t need much coverage as they have a clear rather than opaque finish.
They are best applied just over moisturizer as they just don’t work so well over matte foundation or powder. They are good for oily skins as they have a bit of staying power.
How to Apply Liquid Blush
Liquid blush or cheek stain comes in a small bottle that generally has a brush attached to the lid (like a nail polish bottle).
The formula is usually sheer and adds natural looking color to cheeks provided you paint it on and then immediately blend it with your fingers – even more quickly than a gel.
The problem is that once liquid blush dries, blending is impossible, so you have to act quickly. But that’s also the great thing about blusher in liquid form as the color lasts. Once it is dry it is there for the day until you wash it off so they are great if you want long lasting color.
If you have dry cheeks you may find liquid blush very drying. It is best for normal and oily complexions.
Where to Apply Blush
For a simple blush application suitable for most face shapes apply blush softly to the cheekbones in a sweep from the center of the cheekbone fading outwards towards the temples to give a soft rosy glow.
You should not actually reach the hairline with the color.
If your cheekbones are not obvious, then aim to start the color from the apples of your cheeks and then fade outwards.
Simply smile to puff up your cheeks and then start your blusher application from the fullest part of your cheek.
This is the best way to accentuate good cheekbones, or to bring out missing cheekbones, if yours seem to be non-existent
How to Apply Blush for Your Face Shape
You can make small adjustments for your face shape without any elaborate makeup shading.
To slim down a round face simply apply blusher in a short one and a half inch line from the center of the cheeks downwards and then blend in, taking the color not too far towards the sides.
To widen a narrow face, place blush on the cheekbones but blend straight outwards towards the ears (without actually reaching them) rather than upwards to the temple.
For more elaborate adjustments see this article on How to Contour Your Face With Makeup.
How much Blush To Apply
As with all face makeup you are aiming for a natural flawless look and therefore less is more. You want to look as if you have been on a walk outside on a spring day not like a circus clown. Apply a soft sweep to the cheeks and stand back from the mirror to judge the overall effect on your face and to see if you have a healthy look. If not add a little more but no more than a little each time before checking the effect. Overdoing blusher is a classic makeup mistake.
Do You Need a Blush Brush?
You will need to use your fingers with cream blush. Just apply color where you want it to be most intense (according to your face shape) and then blend. Use a blush brush with powder blush but not a huge one so that you are in control of where the color is going. Make sure that you apply with smooth movements in one direction to avoid irritating the skin.
Which Color Blush to Purchase
|Bronzing Powder or Blush?
Bronzing powder is not strictly meant as blush but it is similar to blush powder and comes in a bronze shade. It can be used in place of blush in summer.
How to Apply Bronzing Powder?
It should be applied with a big brush to those parts of your face which would normally catch the sun – so the bridge of the nose, the tops of the cheekbones, the brow and your chin. But don’t stop at your face, apply a little running down the center of the neck and collarbone so you don’t have a pale neck and chest to go with a face which looks like it has caught the sun.
Don’t use bronzer as a blusher unless your skin tone is olive or darker as it can look dirty on fairer skins.
The color you select can make a big difference so take a bit of time to get this right. Blush makeup comes in all kinds of shades from very light peach to deep rust on the warm side of the color spectrum and from pale to bright pink on the rosy cool side. Again you are aiming for a natural look.
Fair complexions are best with soft or peachy pink, medium complexions with a tawny color and deeper complexions with a deep rose, coral or bronze.
Don’t be frightened by the depth of color in the packaging as all blush will look more subtle on your face when blended in. Test them on the inside of your arm to see how the color works with your natural skin tone. This area is the nearest to your (non-suntanned) face.
A soft neutral works best in daylight hours with a slightly deeper shade adding drama for evening if you like a dramatic look. The darker your coloring the more “drama” you can get away with when choosing a blush color.
Blush in Summer
If skin tone deepens in the summer, you can wear a deeper blush color too but keep it quite sheer for the summer months. You can wear cream, gel or mousse blush without a full makeup base for a natural look.
Problems with Blusher?
If you add too much blush, fade the color with a little foundation and powder applied over the top.
If your blush has disappeared during the day, add just a little blush powder. Be careful not to overdo it.
If you have applied lightly and tried to blend the color but your blush still looks like a block of color sitting on the skin, it is probably because you used the wrong color so it won’t blend with your skin or foundation.