Monday, April 5th, 2010

Blush 101

Beauty Lessons: Blush Basics

What is blush? What is blush for?

Blush is any color makeup product that adds or changes the color of your natural cheek. It can brighten up your entire face by giving you a rosier, healthier glow and complexion. Blush can come in a variety forms, including cream, gel, liquid, or powder (loose or pressed). Similarly, blush can come in different finishes–they can be matte (meaning they’re flat or have no shimmer), shimmery (fine particles that reflect light), glittery (larger particles that reflect light), or satin (ultra-fine particles that impart more of a sheen). The intensity of a blush can vary from brand to brand and shade to shade; some blushes apply intensely even when used gently, while other blushes require more product in order to achieve richer color.

Best Brands for Blush

For POWDER BLUSHES, consider NARS ($26), MAC Cosmetics ($18.50), Smashbox ($24), and Benefit ($28). Both MAC and NARS blushes come in a wide range of shades, with several textures available, which makes them both solid brands from which to choose from. Smashbox makes exceptionally wearable shades with varying degrees of shimmer, and I’ve found it’s hard to go wrong with one of their shades. Benefit’s Boxed Powders are easy to use and travel with, plus the shade range is natural and wearable for even those who tend to be more heavy-handed.

For CREAM/GEL BLUSHES, consider Tarte Cheek Stains ($30) and Make Up For Ever HD Blush ($25). Tarte applies effortlessly and always looks natural with a subtle sheen; they’re excellent for those with drier skin and find powder blushes look cakey. Make Up For Ever is a creamy blush that is extremely blendable before it sets and gives a luminous, natural look–but it can also be layered for a deeper hue.

What color blush should I choose?

  • If you have cooler undertones, light blue-pinks, pastel pinks, roses, and plums naturally suit you best. To venture into warmer shades like apricots, corals, and peaches, choose shades with more pink tones than orange tones. You can also offset a warmer blush shade by pairing it with cooler eyeshadow or lipstick/gloss.
  • If you have warmer undertones, apricots, bronzes, corals, and peaches lend themselves well to your skin tone. For cooler shades, try more yellow-based pinks, red-based plums, and orange-based corals. If you wear a naturally cooler shade on your cheeks, you may find that wearing warmer eyeshadows or lipstick/gloss can work to create a more cohesive look.

What finish of blush should I choose?

  • For drier skin, try cream and gel blushes, which will blend easily into skin without adding any additional dryness or powder to your skin.
  • For oilier skin, consider a mixture of face primer, cream/gel blush, and powder blusher. Oilier skin will pair well with cream-to-powder or powder-based blushes, but a primer or cream/gel blush can be used to build a better foundation so blush lasts all day and fading is minimized.
  • For combination and normal skin, all types of blushes are suitable for you. It becomes more a matter of preference on what you like and enjoy using.

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39 thoughts on “Beauty Lessons: Blush Basics

  1. Roxanne

    Thank you for these tips! I just *love* blush, don’t you?

  2. I really love Blush, I’m a total blush and lipstick girl! Just this month I bought 4 of them and I keep wanting more. My fave brands for blush are Dior and MAC. Dior because I love the two finishes in one palette and MAC because there are SO many of them to choose from.

  3. lazeny

    I love NARS Orgasm. It’s very pigmented and the color is lovely. I have a very warm undertone and it goes more pink on me – but very, very flattering.

    Guerlain also makes incredibly lovely powder blushes. I currently have the Cherry Blossom and the Blush 4 Eclats sculpting blush. Shu Uemura Glow on Blush has a large variety of beautiful shades and finishes for any skin tone too – they just have really awful packaging.

    • I love Guerlain’s Blush 4 Eclats — I feel like it’s this secretly amazing product that nobody talks about!

    • OOOOOH I recently purchased Cherry Blossom to review & simply because it was SO PRETTY (it was so hard to use the first time…), and it’s got the most amazing formula. I’d love to try the Blush 4 Eclats blush…!! I’m really glad to know someone else has both and loves them both. 😀 Maybe I’ll try it out now.. But the price sure is steep!

  4. Andrea

    I really like blushes! I only have 4 at the moment cause lipsticks and eyeshadow really catch my eye!

  5. I don’t know if tips for application belong in here, but the issue I’ve had with blushes has more to do with pigmentation, due to me being VERY pale and pink. If you are having issues getting a blush to look natural, apply it, then go back over with a kabuki or bronzer brush to buff it out a bit. There’s certain blush colors that I HAVE to do that with, because otherwise it makes me look clownish(NARS Orgasm-i mean you!) SO if its a blush that you aren’t sure you can pull off, just buff it out a bit to make it more natural.

    • Application will be in a separate post! 😀

      • Sweet! I wasn’t entirely sure, but i wanted to make sure it’s said, since its like the ONLY thing that can make things look natural on me! If i just assumed that a color didnt work, or was wrong on my skin, i’d STILL be looking for an awesome blush!

        (side note-these must be fun to write! How do you decide when you’re finished? I always think of something else to ramble about or repeat when I try to do overarching explanations!)

        • I have over 50 topics already listed, LOL! It’ll continue on until a) I forget about it, b) run out of ideas, c) nobody comments (then I assume you’re bored/dislike this type of post), and/or d) something better comes along!

          And after re-reading your comment, perhaps you simply meant the post itself… I tried to break out the lessons sufficiently enough to allow for easy, bite-size morsels — so blush has blush basics, like your blush 101, blush brushes, and blush application. It’s the internet, so a lot of people don’t want to read pages upon pages, so keeping things short and sweet is always a good idea :) And when you can’t… break it up into multiple posts!

          • My problem is I used to teach piano and tutor, so I’m used to explaining something four different ways just in case one way doesnt make sense. I’m TERRIBLY long winded! In person, you can tell me to stop-but on the internet, it means a “short” explanation from me, with me focusing on NOT repeating in different ways, STILL lasts a good page and a half on something fairly simple. Its a little bit embarassing, but I don’t think anyone actually reads or benefits anyways, so there’s no harm. I just sigh longingly when I read something as concisely put together as this.

            One of these days I’ll get around to writing something exclusively on troubleshooting beauty products, and things to try before throwing them away as unusable. I kind of cringe at the thought though. I’ve been sifting through my collection a lot lately, trying to figure out why there’s some colors i rarely use, and what i don’t like about them, so i can fix it and get my moneys worth!

            Sigh. When did this become my social life? LOL

  6. Great post! Blush is my favorite make up item everr. However I wish this post had more high-end recommendations… for instance, I loooove Gurlain’s blush formula, and Dior’s, and would’ve liked to see how other brands compare (ie. Lancome, YSL, and the rest).

    • Recommendations were based on someone who is newer to blush, so they probably don’t want to spend quite so much on Guerlain and Dior yet 😛

  7. Sexy Sadie

    Blushes was something I did not care for before, but now it seems to become one of my make up passions.

  8. Rosie

    I like beauty lesson basics post. I am wanting to try the MUFE HD blushes, what looks best from what you’ve tried on warmer skin tones? Thanks, Christine.

  9. Megan

    Thanks for the post. Blush is my favorite makeup product. I never wanted to try them for fear of looking clownish/dollish. But once a MUA applied it for me I feel in love. I went from having none to 10 in 15 months:p

  10. Anna

    Thanks for doing a basics type of post, I really found this helpful/fun to read. It’s good to get back to basics sometimes =D

  11. Colette

    No Bobbi Brown love? Her pot rouges are great for dry skin.

  12. Erin

    I wish I had printouts for this to give to my friends every time they tell me how confusing blushes are, LOL. I’m a recent blush fiend; I used to NEVER use it! Now I feel weird if I don’t have any on–I feel like I look sooo tired. Blush makes me look 1000000x happier and more awake. I can’t imagine leaving my room without it! I’m in love with MAC Cantaloupe (PRO item), NARS Orgasm, and Benefit Sugarbomb.

  13. Evelyn

    Thanks for the info. I recently got into blush. I’ve been curious to try out smashbox blushes :)

  14. Emily

    Great info on the blushes. By the way Jane also makes great blushes too

  15. LNU

    I have cool undertones, good to know I’m using the right blush haha!
    I’m using MAC Mocha, its described as a soft plum-pink. :)

  16. shuz4ever

    I’ve always been an eyeshadow gal…but these past few days i’m on a major blush trip…spooky christine…it’s like u read my mind;-)
    So far i own only powder blushes and was really wanting to try out MAC cream blushes…(maybe a bit tricky with my oily skin)…would love it if u could do a video tutorial on application technique. BTW…u’r site is my make-up bible…thanks for all the effort u put in.

  17. Vale

    Really, a nice idea!

  18. What pink blushes would you recommend for warm medium skintones? Any brand.. except for the regular MAC blushes -for some reason the LE ones are great for me but the “regular ones” break me out?? Are they different btw?? Anyways, my favorite blush brands are NARS and Cargo but I’m willing to try Smashbox, Illamasqua, etc.. anything from Sephora or Nordstrom or even CVS if it’s good. I really like pinky lavender blushes like Azalea Blossom but all the ones I’ve tried are too cool and weird looking on me. I really want a nice PINK blush though.

  19. Sum

    wow christine just like you i was totally into eyeshadows for a year and a half and recently i got into blush…and im loving it yay! i have 8 9 already…this is a great post..i love ‘beauty lessons’ and application of blush would also be a great post! especially since so many of us have blemishes on our cheeks and no matter if i would concealer prior to blush, after applying blush th redness of the blemishes peeks through :S so confusing anyway lov all ur efforts!

  20. Luisafer

    nice tips, easy and useful!!! thanks again!!!

  21. 0037sammie

    It would be fab if you could slip in a line of your personal faves…like mac melba for blush, or dior skinshimmer for hightlighter 😉

  22. Very interesting article! When I read this, it feels like I am reading some kind of a beauty handbook/textbook on the chapter ‘Blush’. Well-written.

    P.s. Mind if I reproduce this in my blog for my readers with linkback here? Or you prefer that I just put a link to this post?