Here’s why you should be wearing blush—plus the proper way to apply it for your face shape
When I first got into makeup as a teenager, blush was the product that I couldn’t live without. I sucked at eye makeup and my skin was clear as day, so blush was the one thing that made sense for me. I loved how it made my face come alive with just a light swipe on each side of my face. Long before highlighting and contouring became a part of “everyday” makeup routines, most people relied on blush to give their faces warmth and vibrancy. Somewhere between Instagrammable makeup and YouTube tutorials about highlighting and contouring, blush has become makeup’s abandoned distant cousin.
I don’t know why we abruptly stopped wearing blush. For a while, it seemed that many brands launched new products in every category except for this one. I have noticed, however, that more of my favorite beauty content creators are wearing blush again. Also, brands have been taking note and are slowly but surely launching new blushes to get us excited about this forgotten step of our makeup routines.
To be clear, blush and bronzer are not the same.
In my years working as a freelance makeup artist, this may have been one of the top five misconceptions I encountered. Though some people may apply the products somewhat similarly, they serve two different purposes. Blush varies in shades of pinks, reds, mauve, peach, etc. and is meant to brighten up the face (make you look youthful, so to speak). Bronzer, usually made in varying tones of brown, sculpts the face and gives it a sunkissed look. I believe bronzer is equally as crucial as a blush because after applying foundation, your face can look super one-dimensional. However, these two products do not serve the same purpose.
Before learning the best way to apply blush, you first need to find the most flattering shade for your skin tone.
There are some general guidelines that you can follow to determine the best blush color for you. However, it may come down to your personal preferences. One trick is to base your choice on the natural color of the innermost part of your lips. For instance, if the inside of your lips look mauve (like mine), a mauve blush tends to be a very flattering and natural-looking blush shade for you.
Most artists recommend pale pinks for fair skin, mauves and berries for medium skin tones, and brick and terracotta shades for dark skin. From my experience, peach tends to be a universal blush shade, so starting there may be a great idea as well. I’ve honestly found a shade in each color family that suits my skin tone. From my experience, it’s worth experimenting to find a few blush shades that you love.
Once you find your perfect blush shade, it’s time to apply it according to your face shape.
Like most things makeup, blush isn’t necessarily one size fits all. How you apply blush (according to your shape) will determine if it’s flattering or a fail. To get you set up for success, we spoke to former celebrity makeup artist and founder of Dose of Colors Anna Petrosian to get tips on applying blush to several face shapes.
For round face shapes:
The last thing you want to do is make your face look more round. Instead, Anna suggests applying blush right below the apples of your cheeks and extending towards the hairline. This helps to bring dimension to your face.
For heart face shapes:
According to Anna, the best way to apply blush for this face shape is by “applying the blush slightly behind the apples of the cheeks and blending to the temples.” Heart-shaped faces tend to look very “strong” or “structured,” and applying blush this way helps to soften the face shape.
For oval face shapes:
If you have an oval face shape, you can somewhat play around with the placement of blush so long as you don’t apply it where your bronzer should be. Anna’s favorite way to apply blush to oval face shapes is by “starting at the middle of the cheeks and blending towards the earlobes.”
For square face shapes:
The name of the game of square face shapes is less is more. Anna suggests focusing on the apples of the cheeks and blending towards the nose to soften the face shape. Any more than this may add more to the squareness of your face which is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish here.
No matter what face shape you have, the right blush formula and tools are key to having a flawless application.
Anna’s professional recommendations aren’t limited to the placement of your blush. The type of blush you use and the tool used to apply it also determines if your blush application will be flawless or clown-like:
"For powder blush (recommended for normal to oily skin), apply using a small/medium fluffy brush [like this one from Dose of Colors.] For cream blush, apply and blend using your fingers or preferred beauty sponge. Cream blush is a [better] option for people with dry or mature skin."
We promise that if you follow Anna’s advice, you’ll be on your way to blush perfection in no time.
To help you relaunch your blush journey, we’ve found a few blushes that come highly recommended amongst blush lovers such as myself.
1Mented Cosmetics Blush in the shade Peach For The Stars
2Marena Beaute Powder Blush in Shade Tarou
3Coverf FX Monochromatic Matte + Shimmer Blush Duo/listheader]
NARS Exposed Cheek Palette
5Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick