Diary / Beauty / Jun 29, 2023
Expert Tips: How to Apply Blush
Written by: Piper Gray
Photography by: Ben Ritter & Jon Paterson
Even those with the most minimalist makeup routine understand the power of blush. It brightens the face, lends dimension to your complexion, and imparts a youthful warmth—plus, it’s one of the easiest applications to master.
We’ll go over how to prepare your palette, choose the right blush (and even bronzer) for you, and apply color according to your face shape.
Prep your skin
Before you apply any makeup product, you’ll always want to start with a clean, moisturized face. (Even if your skin is dry, cleanse it. Even if your skin is oily, moisturize it.) This ensures you’re starting with a nourished, smooth palette that your makeup can easily lock onto. This is especially important when you want to draw attention to your cheeks with a pretty blush; skin that hasn’t been properly prepped may show texture—like dryness or blemishes—that will pull focus from the color.
By now, you probably know that we’re going to recommend our solid oil cleanser, The Cleansing Stick, that powerfully but oh-so-gently eradicates any residue from yesterday’s makeup or this morning’s workout class. And then, depending on your skin type and its needs, our Light Moisture Cream and our Miracle Cream offer a healthy hit of moisture. Wait for your moisturizer to fully soak in before applying any base layers—like foundation or concealer—and then also give those a minute to settle before proceeding to blush.
Find the Formula for Your Skin Type
When you think of blush, you’re probably picturing a powder that you can apply with a brush. But there are a few other formulas out there that you may prefer. No matter which type you choose, blushes of all kinds are incredibly easy to apply.
Powder blush, like our beloved Best Blush, comes in a compact and is applied with a brush, like The Blush Brush. With a powder, you can subtly build up to your desired boldness or stay soft and natural with a diffused swipe. Just make sure to lightly tap the brush against a surface first to remove excess powder.
Powder blushes suit all skin types but they are especially great for those with oily skin because you’re not adding extra shine or glow. Super-dry skin types may worry that a powder can unintentionally highlight their skin’s dry texture, making makeup appear patchy or cakey, but sufficiently moisturizing beforehand will help. And with The Best Blush, there’s little fallout, so you don’t have to worry about extra powder settling where you don’t want it to.
A cream blush is what it sounds like: emollient, soft, blendable. It may come in a compact as a balm, or it can come in stick form. This is better applied with your fingers so you can maintain better control where exactly you want to pat on color and dimension. Our Miracle Balm offers a soft wash of warmth for your entire face, but stick to your cheeks if you’d like to use it as a blush-like pop of color. (To blend it for maximum softness, you may want to use something like The Everything Brush to maintain control of the application.) On the other hand, the Lip and Cheek Stick can be applied directly from the stick or with your fingers for an equally layerable addition.
Its flexible texture is well-suited for most skin types, especially if you want to add in a subtle sheen along with your color. But if you have oily skin, you may want to take care that you’re not overapplying the blush as its velvety consistency is meant to be utterly blendable. (Extra oil could make it slide.)
Again, the formula is all in the name. Given its consistency, a liquid blush can be applied with your fingers for a stronger but effortless-looking flush of color, or with a brush for a more precise yet blended appearance.
Liquid blushes can be matte and are meant for longer-lasting staying power. Given their potency, start with a light hand so you don’t accidentally apply too much color. These formulas are great for all skin types as they’re super blendable and buildable.
Choosing the Right Blush Color
If you don’t know where exactly to start, you can figure out your natural flush by gently pinching your cheeks. This will help you figure out which hue will look like second-skin.
Another helpful hint: a pink blush flatters everyone, Bobbi has always said, but not to worry, we’ll break it down for you.
The best blush colors for fair skin
The best blush colors for medium skin
The best blush colors for olive skin
The best blush colors for dark skin
One foolproof product we always recommend for everyone: Miracle Balm in Miami Beach. It’s ultra-flattering on all skin tones.
O.K., so while this category isn’t exactly blush, bronzers are a great substitute, or you can use them in addition to your favorite blush for extra warmth and definition. In short, blushes are in the pink and red color families, while bronzers tend to be more orange, meant to resemble a sun-kissed glow. So if you’re looking for more of a just-back-from-vacation appearance, you may want to forego blush and instead focus on bronzer.
Our fan-favorite Bronzer is a sheer powder that adds instant vitality to not only your cheeks but anywhere the sun touches: your nose and forehead, too. Similarly, the Gel Bronzer mimics a suntan, but in a lightweight, blendable skin tint.
Applying Blush to Different Face Shapes
Spoiler: We’re not a big believer in hard and fast rules when it comes to applying blush according to your face shape. You can watch Bobbi demonstrate here, but a foolproof method for all face shapes is to focus on the apples of the cheeks, pulling color up toward the temples, and softening on the sides of your cheeks. But, if you’re using blush to not only impart warmth and color but to also define your face more, here are some general tips.
Start at the apples of your cheeks and blend the blush upward, toward your temple and ear lobe, to lift the face.
If you have a heart-shaped face, picture the letter C. That’s the direction you’re going to want to go in with your brush or fingers. From the top of the cheeks, move in almost a semi-circle to the end of your brow, right by the temple.
The apples of your cheeks will be the real stars of the show here; focus there to give your cheeks fullness and your complexion dimension.
Oval or oblong faces
Think diagonal here. Start a little below the apples of your cheeks and move upwards to elongate the face.
The Bottom Line
Blush should be a staple in everyone’s makeup bag. It can be used on its own, atop your moisturized skin, or in addition to your base layers to lend warmth and color to your complexion. No matter which formula or color you choose, blush is easy to apply, for even the most amateur artists among us.