Blush is an essential part of every makeup look. It makes us look more awake and completes our face, but it can also have the opposite effect. From the wrong color to the wrong kind, one blush mistake can ruin an otherwise very pretty look. I asked several renowned makeup artists what mistakes they see their clients making with blush and their best tips on how to easily fix them.
You wear too much
There are so many makeup mistakes anyone can make, but perhaps the most flagrantly bad is wearing too much blush. Luckily, this problem is pretty easy to prevent. Celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwin told me good lighting, being honest with yourself, and clean tools are the key to preventing this problem. “Take a look at your makeup in natural light before you leave,” she said. “Does it look heavy? Take a clean brush and smooth it out. You can’t blend too much when it comes to blush.”
Murat Evin of The London School of Make-Up suggested the best way to prevent overdoing blush is to check your brush before applying. “Be sure to gently brush off any excess powder from your makeup tools. If you don’t, it’s going to affect the appearance of your blush and can leave your complexion looking a little rosier than expected. Remember that there is always a way to correct it.”
You choose the wrong color
With so many different blushes out there, choosing just one can feel impossible. But Irwin has a great tip that works every time. “The easiest way to figure out a natural flush is to look at the inside of your lip. Whatever that color is, will be the most natural blush color for you.”
If you are still unsure, makeup artist Geoffrey Rodriguez, who has worked with a list of celebrities including Gigi Hadid, Padma Lakshmi, and Gabby Reece, suggests looking in the pink family if you have light skin. “Pink blush happens to be the most universally flattering shade,” he said, but thinks darker skin tones should stay away from pink. “Olive and darker complexions work best with a more peach or orange tone blush. Either will be effective at creating a healthy, natural glow.”
However, makeup artist Hillary Kline sees her clients not choosing the wrong color so much as too bright a shade. “I love hot pink, but that doesn’t mean that I am going to apply it to the apples of my cheeks,” she said. “I always tell my clients to steer clear of any blush hues that are too hot of a pink or are too red. Instead, pick a blush that is a few shades warmer than your natural skin tone.”
You choose the wrong kind of blush
From traditional powders to liquids, gels, stains, sticks, and even creams, not every kind of blush works well for everyone. Kline said the best formula is contingent upon skin type. “If you have normal or oily skin, I recommend using a powder. If you have a dry complexion, try a cream blush.”
Alejandro Falcon, who is the Artistic Director for Osmosis Colour Mineral Cosmetics, thinks the easiest choice for most of us is to just go with a powder. “Powder blushes, if formulated well, can be easier to glide on the skin for the average consumer and are easier to diffuse, for a soft flushed look that everyone loves on the cheeks,” he explained, but if you are good at applying your makeup, he thinks you can still explore other options.
“With creams or gel blushes, you have to be precise and know where you’re going to apply them,” he told me. “Especially if you have dry skin because the formulas can adhere to the dryness and then become hard to move or shape and can cause the colors to streak or separate on the skin.”
You are using blush to contour incorrectly
None of the makeup artists I spoke with have the same exact approach when it comes to using blush to contour. Kline doesn’t think it’s a good idea. “Steer clear of using blush to contour,” she said. “Instead, use a bronzer.” Irwin, however, said bronzer is a no-go as well. “Don’t contour with blush or bronzer!” she advised. “They all serve a different purpose.” Regardless, both experts said that the best way to contour is to use products specifically created for that purpose.
Falcon, however, didn’t agree with either Irwin or Kline. He believes using blush is fine, as long as you choose the right shade. “You want to start by choosing a neutral tone blush that will be similar or close to your natural skin color,” he said. “This way the contouring will seem natural and defined on the skin. Apply the blush at the front of the ears and then move the color forward and under the cheekbone to define the cheek area.”
Evin really likes using blush to contour. “Blush is a great contouring tool. The art to completing a perfect contour is choosing the right blush color,” he said. “Always opt for a darker, bronzed blush.” He also explained the easiest way to do this. “Simply dust blush onto your cheekbones, jaw line, and contour area for a quick and easy look.”