Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Beauty Discovered

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Apply Blush

Share your best tips and tricks for getting the perfect blush application!  Feel free to share your first experiences, how you’ve grown, what you’ve learned, and what, ultimately, you found most helpful in learning how to apply your blush.  (And if you haven’t conquered it, hopefully some of these tips will help you get there!)

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. A good tool goes a long way, because it helps you place the color right and then blend it out so it isn’t a giant blotch of color on your face! I like dome-shaped blush brushes with soft, not too densely-packed but not too fluffy, bristles.
  2. Apply less than you think you’ll need; it is always easier to amp up blush color than it is to diffuse it.
  3. If you’ve over-applied your color or it doesn’t want to blend/soften, take a loose powder (similar to your skin tone, if possible) with another brush and apply it over the areas you want it to look more diffused.  Sometimes I’ll take the brush I used for my foundation (which is usually liquid) to soften the edges.

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50 thoughts on “How to Apply Blush – Tips & Tricks

  1. Get friendly with your blush lids! I find colour so much easier to control once it’s been pushed into the brush — tap the surface a few times, then smoosh your brush against the lid/mirror to work it into the bristles.

    It’s easier (and cleaner) than tapping the colour off, and always delivers consistent, even colour 😉

    • Kris (kmk05)

      OMG I thought I was the only one to do that!

      This works for most blushes but for the REALLY pigmented ones, touching it to the back of your hand is still a great way to make sure not to apply clown cheeks, I find. I usually don’t do it and have to blend away for 5 minutes, haha.

  2. I think having a nice brushes make a world of difference. I feel low quality brushes for other areas can fly but not for cheeks. I personally need four cheek brushes to deal with all the blush formula.

  3. Lee

    I always had a problem making blush look subtle (I am extremely pale so it really shows up on me) until I tried using the MAC 187 (the skunk brush) for blush. It’s perfect, I can apply very lightly and build to the intensity I want. The dome brushes always deposit too much color for my complexion.

  4. carla

    That’s so true about having a good tool. For the longest time I was disappointed with some blushes that got gushing reviews. Most applied patchy on me (I was using a drugstore brand blush brush) until I got a MAC 168 and lo and behold all those blushes magically looked hundreds of times better. I invested more on good tools first before getting expensive makeup because from experience, cheap brushes generally won’t do your high end makeup justice.

  5. I agree that good tools can make all the difference! Also, I think it’s important to find out what kind of blush works best for you. I know most people find cream blush harder to apply, but I personally prefer it over powder blush.

  6. xamyx

    If I’m going for a soft, “natural” look, I dust any random brush with transluscent powder, then I’ll touch the brush to the blush pan. After tapping the product to my cheeks in 2-3 places, I blend with a soft flat Kabuki brush (I like the one from Physician’s Formula), in a circular motion.

    For a more “dramatic” look, I apply contour first, over my liquid/cream foundation, then using a soft, dense blush brush, I blend the blush onto my cheeks, and into the contour line. If I’m using a liquid/cream highlight, that comes next; however, if I’m using a powder highlight, I’ll use a setting powder first. I go over the blush using what’s left on the brush after I’ve powdered.

    I don’t have any brush preferences, personally, as I’ve found with all products, different brushes work better with some than with others. For the most part, I prefer a soft, dense brush for applying, and a Kabuki brush for blending.

  7. Cat G

    I’ve practiced with blush and I think I’ve figured out which blushes work best for me and which brushes give me what I want. My problem with blush is it always ends up looking great on my right cheek, but never as good on my left cheek! It’s really odd!!

    • Katrina

      What type of exfoliator do you use? I find that when I use the ones scrubing pearls, I wind up uninentionally scrubbing one side of my face more than the other. Switching to an acid based exfoliant has helped me achieve even luminous skin and prevented one side of my face from looking more patchy. Just a thought.

    • Sabriel

      Are you right handed? I always do a better job on the right side of my face, because I don’t have to reach across.

      • Cat G

        I think it might have something to do with this, but I think it’s also just that that cheek is different shaped, the “apple” is different and that side tends to be more shadowy than the other side (if that makes any sense).

    • Charlotte

      Something else might be which side the light hits your face from, for instance in my bathroom the window is on my left so that side always looks worse than my right side (unflattering natural daylight!)

      • Cat G

        Yeah, I’ve tried applying blush in all different lighting setting and rooms, facing the window, at the vanity in the bathroom, etc because I thought that might be it! Haha, it’s really not that big a deal but it is a bit of a mystery to me!

  8. Mariah

    Do you think the placement of blush is changing again? I know they always say “the apples of the cheeks” but I see more and more people going under the cheekbone and back towards the ears lately. I know the 80’s looks are back, but not as severe. Have you noticed any changes like this?


      I see placing blush under the cheekbones and pulling towards the ears as a form of contouring and sliming the face. Placing blush directly on the apples wakes up the face and gives a more youthful look. I usually use darker blushes under my cheekbones and lighter blushes on my apples.

      • Kendra

        I agree Antigone. I use dark blush under the cheek bones as a form of contouring. Also darker blushes (like berry blushes) look more natural when placed under the cheek bones then diffused upwards.

    • I don’t think it’s changed at all. Directly under the cheekbones (that is if you suck in your cheeks the hollow) is where you put your contouring and when you smile the apples of your cheek is where you apply blush.

    • Sabriel

      I scoured the internet about blush placement a few weeks ago, and I did notice that there is a lot of conflicting advice about where to apply it.

      Most sources seem to repeat the same “apples of the cheeks” advice, but I found a lot of discussion about a video by GossMakeupArtist where he claims that the apples of your cheeks are TOO LOW, because when you stop smiling your face will droop, so he wants you to dust the powder onto the cheekbones.

      I ended up not following that advice because I didn’t like the effect. Instead I have been mimicking the look I keep seeing in swatch/reviews, where people place the blush lower, under the cheekbones, as you describe.

      • San

        Gah, my cheekbones are just one finger width below my eyeballs!

        • Sabriel

          Right? I tried it his way and the blush was right up under my eyes. It looked ridiculous.

          It might be a good tip for people with med/low cheekbones and gaunt faces, but it doesn’t work for me. (I have high cheekbones and if anything my cheeks are puffy.)


    I am fair skinned and I use MAC 187 skunk brush with most of my blushes for a light application.
    I also use a FAN brush with my more pigmented blushes for a natural glow from within

  10. I always have such problems applying blush. I think it mainly has to do with not having a great brush, mine are all a bit too dense and pick up too much product. Any recommendations ladies?

    • Stacie

      I always use one of two brushes. I use a duo fibre for bright or highly pigmented blushes. For everything else, I use a Real Techniques blush brush. It’s really soft and domed. It places the color and blends at the same time. I really like it a lot!

    • xamyx

      Try “patting” the blush where you want it, then use a powder or Kabuki brush to diffuse the color, in a circular motion. Also, you can try dusting transluscent powder onto either the blush brush, or the blending brush.

    • Laura M

      Use a stippling brush (like MAC 187) instead of a normal blush brush! They are great for applying lightly and building up the color .I’m very fair skinned, so I often use this technique.

  11. Ellie

    I don’t know if this has already been said, but (as with all makeup) lighting makes a huge difference when I apply blush. What seems like enough under artificial lighting seems to disappear when I’m in natural light, so I’ll usually put on a bit, turn to a window or something, and adjust.

  12. My tip is for darker skinned ladies – I wear Nars tined moisturizer in Martinique and Polynesia; Don’t be afraid of bright colours! I know a lot of the beauty tips available out there showcase those with lighter skin, but – as is the case with lipstick the richer the pigment the better. I’m a fan of cream and gel blushes because I can use my hands to blend and smooth to my liking. I’m currently into Hard Candy’s double ended stick (one is a dark pink and the other a rich purple); I just put it on directly from the stick on to my skin and blend away. For powder blush you’ve got to use a quality brush. Eco tools has a nice soft blush, Nars has a really great investment piece, and of course MAC has a great one that’s cheaper than Nars and a bit more money than Eco tools. :)

  13. number 2 is so so so so right, lol.

    My best tip would be to smile and see where your natural flush hits your cheeks.

    also, if you have a dimple, like I do, try to hit that area last when there’s less product left on your brush bc it can get hung up and create a dark spot.

    • Jenny

      I´m sorry to say this, but that tip in my opinion it´s a terrible tip because when you´re smiling, you´re applying the blush in the right place, but then when you stop smiling, the apple of the cheek drops down, and the blush ends lower down almost in your mouth (I don´t know if I explain it correctly)

      • I’m not saying to apply while smiling. I’m saying to smile and see where your cheeks flush naturally. You’re looking for where the color will appear when you aren’t wearing the blush yet. I don’t smile during application, but I have noted the area where my cheeks blush naturally and that’s where I apply my cosmetic blush.

  14. I use different tools depending on the type of look I want and the type of blush I am using. However, more often than not right now, I reach for my NARS Yachiyo Kabuki brush. It diffuses blush beautifully without effort and works equally well with all my blush formulas. This brush is perfect for layering.

  15. This is great advice! Definitely worth the share! Thanks!

  16. everytomorrow

    I’m really pale (MAC NW15, possibly even a bit paler by the end of winter) but I recently picked up NARS Dolce Vita blush. I loooooove how it looks on me, but it’s SO pigmented that I’m having a tough time not over-applying. It’s dark, so it looks pretty extreme if I don’t apply it super lightly. My trusty but basic ecotools face brush is not cutting it — it picks up too much even if I just tap it lightly against the blush.

    Anyone have recommendations for a type of brush, or even a specific brush, for super-sheer blush application? Skunk brush? Fan brush?

    So far I’ve just been resorting to wiping some off with a tissue and layering powder over it, but that’s sort of messy and inexact and it’s really hard to get it to come out even.

  17. lindsay

    i apply with a dome shaped blush brush. if i feel like it needs extra blending or edge softening, i reach for my kabuki brush. i love blush!!

  18. I agree with number 3 on your list. I also do this by using my beauty blender. The traces of foundation on the sponge really give it a seamless blend.

    My other tip would be to layer a powder blush over a cream (Being very very careful not to over apply) I find that it adds dimension to the color, keeps the powder from looking….well powdery lol, and it helps it stay on way longer!

  19. Great tips. If working with a new blush I always like to test the pigmentation on the back of my hand first rather than going straight to the face

  20. Sandra JT

    For super pigmented blush I use a synthetic duo fiber stippling brush to prevent applying too much. For less pigmented blush I use a loosely packed synthetic blush brush. For cream & liquid blush/highlighter that’s highly pigmented I use the same duo fiber stippling brush. For ultra pigmented blush (like Fyrinnae’s blushes), bronzers & highlighters I use a loosely packed medium sized fan brush. For less pigmented cream blushes & contour products I use my Sigma F80, F82 and F84 brushes.

    I’ve got about 10 brushes that I use exclusively for different blush, bronzers, contouring & highlighting products. Didn’t actually realize I use that many for those products until I really thought about ît. They are necessary, though. I really don’t like walking around with clown cheeks. Obviously I don’t use them all àt the same time but they all have their specific functions.

  21. Sandra JT

    Forgot to say that very light, matte neutral eyeshadow shades also work great for blending out blush that’s been over applied, as does compact powder foundation & loose mineral foundation.

    My favorite way to apply blush is to stipple on a very light layer of cream blush, then a similar shade in powder blended out really well, then an almost translucent powder. I follow that with bronzer & highlighter. I don’t always have the time to go through all those steps but when I do, I make the extra effort because I love the final effect.

  22. Heidi

    When using products like the benefit tints apply and blend on one cheek before you apply on the other. I use a brush to blend those as well rather than my fingers.

  23. Ellen

    I have a puffy face and never seem to get my blush in the right place. The best advice I’ve ever gotten is from the Bobbi Brown consultants who use her “smile and place your brush on the apples and then brush back and towards the ear”. Because my cheeks are so puffy, the apple that I get when I smile winds up being rather low and forward on my face, but the rest of the line is true, so I just blend out the front. If I try to eyeball where the cheekbone is, I wind up placing the blush too high and that’s not flattering to the eyes. This method prevents the blush from going too high. I have no idea how to place highlighter on my face, if I use it I just place it on the apples. For contouring, I do the suck in the cheeks method that so many others have mentioned. I have also noticed that in ads the models’ blush seems to be under the cheekbones, and it looks quite stunning that way, but it may be because these models have such prominent, high cheekbones. I don’t know how this would work with my no cheekbone face! Thanks Christine, for introducing me to MAC Sculpt contour powder. Many years ago a make up artist introduced me to the idea of using taupe eyeshadow as blush to avoid the problem I was having with my brownish blushes turning orange on my fair, pink redhead complexion. It was a no name shadow #115. I was able to find it locally at a beauty supply store for a long time, but recently they stopped making it. The Sculpt is the closest I’ve come to a duplicate of that color. Its a drop lighter, but beggars can’t be chooosere! I never would have known it existed if not for this blog! I think MAC used to have a blush called taupe, I hope they bring it back some day!