Blush can really add a lot to a look, but it can be easy to over-apply color and be unhappy with the end result. A lot of blush application is in the technique and adjusting that technique for different types of formulas, especially more pigmented formulas or shades that offer more contrast from your natural skin tone.
How heavy-handed you are will often dictate how natural or how intense the blush will appear on your skin. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to apply your blush easily, keep reading for these tried-and-true makeup tips!
Apply Blush in Layers
Build up coverage gradually, rather than applying more to blend out later. Buildable coverage is not a bad thing; pigmentation is not everything! By applying sheerer layers of product, it is easier to achieve diffused edges, even coverage, and avoid disturbing your complexion products because you had to blend too much!
Sonia G Face Two Brush
What Tools to Apply Blush With
Use the right-sized tool for your cheeks! Depending on the size of your features, a smaller or larger brush might better. You’ll want to adjust the size to suit your cheek bones as well as the types of products you use. If you use sheerer products, smaller and larger brushes work just fine, but if you use more pigmented products, you might find more precise brushes do a better job of placing without overdoing.
For more pigmented formulas, use a softer, feathery, less-dense brush. My personal favorites are to opt for brushes marketed for highlighting (often tapered and are moderately dense) or a fan brush, which is more feathery and less dense.
For sheerer formulas, use a medium-sized, denser brush. More typical blush brushes–wider brush head, some doming on the edge, more tightly packed with bristles–do best with sheer to medium pigmented formulations as they can pick up more product on the larger surface area and can also get more product off the surface of a stiffer formula.
Blush Brush Recommendations
- Sonia G. Face Two ($48) — flatter edge, great for really buffing and diffusing blush onto the skin
- Sonia G. Cheek Pro ($46) — traditional, moderate-dense brush, not too big or too small
- Sonia G. Fan Pro ($32) — small, precise application with a less-dense brush
- Chikuhodo Z-8 ($111) — luxuriously soft for feathery, diffused blush application; best with more pigmented products or those preferring sheerer coverage
Kaja Beauty Hella Azalea & Poppy Champagne | Look Details
Where to Apply Blush
Apply to the apples of cheeks, just above or below, and diffuse toward the ears or temples. Experiment with placement to find the right blush placement that suits your facial features and your style. Some general guidance on face shapes and blush placements:
- Heart-shaped faces do well with blush that starts closer to the ear and extends to just below the apples of the cheeks
- Longer faces do well with blush pulled more upward, applied just below the apples of the cheeks
- Squarer faces do well with blush applied just below the cheek bone to help add definition
- Oval faces do well with blush applied on the cheekbones and/or just above
How to Blend Blush Like a Pro
Cheat the blending by using the leftover foundation on your brush/sponge to blend. Most of us apply foundation prior to blush, which means that there’s some residual amount still on our brush or sponge (and if you use fingertips, then just go back and get a smidgen more), and this can be used to diffuse and soften the edges of more unblended blush. It’s also really useful for when I’ve diffused and spread the color too far beyond where I want my blush to be, so I can make the area look skin-like again.
Use small, circular, buffing motions. To really even out and blend out more intense blush, I like to use small, circular motions–buffing–which help to soften, even out, and then gently disperse blush slowly but surely.
Always use gentle pressure! Not being heavy-handed has always been a tough lesson for me to learn and practice, but the gentler I am, the less mistakes I make.
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
How to Fix Blush Mistakes
Total failure? First, breathe; it’s okay, it’s makeup and it washes off. We all have off-days and better and worse application. Re-apply your foundation over top, whether by using a residual amount that’s leftover on a brush/sponge (like the first tip under how to blend above) or if it just feels like abort-mission-level mistake and you just need to get a blank canvas all over again.
Help! I’ve overapplied my blush! See cheating the blending–a sheer layer of foundation will reduce the intensity quite a bit. Similarly, you can also use a skin-hued loose or pressed powder blended on top, which will have the same effect.
My blush is too shimmery! Apply translucent powder (I prefer loose), which will help to tamp down the shimmery finish of your cheek color. You can also try using a matte blush of a similar hue, but this can often result in less-shimmery but more-intense coverage so it doesn’t always work as well!
Need helping finding the right blush formula? Check out our top picks for blushes here.