How to apply blusher the modern way

It can mean the difference between dusty rouge and seriously glowing skin.

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 20: Models are seen backstage ahead of the Luisa Beccaria show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 on September 20, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Rosdiana Ciaravolo /Getty Images)

It's dubbed the 'magic wand of makeup' but how to apply blusher the right way seems to elude most of us. Whether it's placement on the face, the best shade or playing with different textures, blusher can slip into ruddy circles on the apples of cheeks if you're not careful.

Jennifer Aniston's makeup artist Gucci Westman says: "The best blush doesn't look like blush. It subtly enhances and brings everything together." 

Thankfully the latest raft of blushers make light work of carving out cheekbones, warming up your skin tone and creating an irresistibly suggestive flush when paired with the best bb creams (opens in new tab)

In fact, today's formulas are more user-friendly than ever and blend in so beautifully that it feels like something entirely new rather than an age-old beauty trick.  

Ahead some fool-proof tricks for meshing blusher to your skin minus racing stripes or looking like you've blasted your face with the car radiator for too long.

How to find the right shade

One tip for decoding your perfect shade of blush is to match it to the color of the skin inside of your lip. Otherwise, this is a general rule of thumb: pale pink is the shade most people with fair skin naturally blush, so a powder or cream will have the same effect. Peach works on everyone but especially flatters and balances the tones in olive skin while terracotta, corals and berry shades pop against dark skin.

Apply cream blusher under your foundation

Such is the texture of cream blush that it imparts a believable dewy flush. However, the order in which you apply it in your makeup regime makes a big difference. If you've ever applied cream blusher on top of foundation you've probably found that it muddied the shade. Vincent Ford, global makeup artist for Nars has this advice:

"Daub on a mousse or cream blusher before foundation for a lit from within effect." 

Remove excess blusher on the back of your hand

Powder formulas still tend to be the most popular, probably on account of their long-wear credentials. To prevent a dusty coating, Vincent recommends: "Swirl a brush in your powder blusher and pack the product on by pushing the brush into the back of your hand. This gets rid of any excess product and prevents too much color deposit on the face."

Blusher isn't just for the apples of the cheeks

Where you place your blusher changes the shape of your face. Vincent says: "For a soft contour, add a little cream blush on the apples of the cheeks and take a powder blusher underneath the cheekbones." 

A runway look favored by the likes of Isabel Marant is to buff the color along the cheekbone and around the temples in a hazy c-shape. Gucci’s preference? “I find a horizontal oval shape, that stretches along the tops of the apples and back toward the upper ear, is flattering on most face shapes. I also like to add a touch of blush on the bridge of the nose.”

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Fiona Embleton is a multi-award-winning beauty editor who has tested over 10,000 products in her 10 years +  of writing and shooting beauty stories. For the past four years, she was the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, having previously worked in the role of Beauty Editor at both Stylist and Cosmopolitan. She has recently gone freelance and alongside My Imperfect Life, she has written for titles including ELLE UK, ELLE Canada, Buro 247, Harper's Bazaar Arabia, Vogue Scandinavia, and ES Magazine. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first-class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography, and catwalk trends. She loves jumping on the latest internet-breaking beauty news, dissecting the best red carpet looks, and having the crème de la crème of dermatologists, make-up artists, and hairstylists on speed dial so she can tap them for the best advice. She’s a discerning beauty shopper and knows it can be confusing trying to navigate what’s hype and what really works. So if she really likes something, you can trust that she has reached that opinion by vetting it against everything else she’s ever tried. Her career highs? Interviewing Cate Blanchett and winning a Jasmine Award for the deeply personal feature Cancer Stole My Mother’s Scent.