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When we talk about makeup, the chatter is always about how to apply foundation flawlessly, tips to achieving the perfect cat eye look, or how to get your brows to look totally on fleek. The most underrated product? Blusher, probably.

It’s hardly discussed, but hey – it is one of the most important item that can help you achieve a radiant glow, taking your overall complexion from flat to fab if you do it right.

This comprehensive guide to blusher will tell you everything you need to master the art of blushers and avoid the dreaded ‘baboon’s butt’ look.

Find out your skin’s undertone

Before thinking about blusher, it is important to know your skin. While we usually have a good idea of our skin colour and skin type, there is one important detail we tend to overlook – skin undertone. This refers to the underlying hue of your skin which is responsible for the sallowness or pinkish flush on your face. There are generally three undertones – cool, warm, and neutral – and knowing which of these your skin falls into is useful for deciding which blush, foundation and lipstick to use to bring out your best features. Here are a few methods you can use to determine your undertone.

1. Colour of veins on your wrist

One of the quickest ways to determine your skin undertone is to look at the colour of your veins on the inside of your wrist. The skin on this area is thin and the veins peek through easily. If the colour of your veins is blue or blue-purple, then you have a cool tone. If the colour is green or blue-green, then you have a warm tone. If you have mix of blue and green veins, or you cannot tell if it is either, you have a neutral tone.

2. Gold and silver jewellery

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The rule of thumb is that if you are cool-toned, silver jewellery such as white gold and platinum will flatter your skin; if you are warm-toned, gold jewellery such as rose-gold, copper, and brass will flatter your skin; and if you are neutral-toned, you get the best of both worlds and any jewellery will flatter your skin. Try testing it with a necklace or bracelet, and if you have trouble deciding, ask your friends to help!

3. Hold a piece of white paper to your face

Blusher Guide Skin Undertone Test

Another trick to determine your undertone is to contrast your skin with a piece of white paper. If your face appears pinkish next to the paper, then you have a cool tone. If your face is yellow-brown next to the paper, you have a warm tone. If your face looks grey instead, you have a neutral tone.

DV Tip: Make sure to do this in natural light as artificial lighting can cast a blue or yellow sheen on your face.

How to pick the right colour

Now that you have a better understanding of your skin, let’s talk colour. There is an endless number of colours and shades in the market but not all of them may be suited for you. Ultimately, you want something that complements your skin colour, makes you look radiant, and enhances the natural flush in your cheeks.

For our fair-skinned friends, blusher will stand out strongly on your cheeks so go for a soft pink or peach colour. Darker colours such as wine or bronze will be too harsh for your skin and look unnatural.

If you have a cool undertone, a pink or apricot blusher will complement the pinkish hue of your skin.
If you have a warm undertone, a peach blusher can help to brighten your overall complexion.

For our friends with medium skin tones, deeper colours such as coral or mauve will give your skin a radiant glow. Don’t be tempted to reach for a sheer colour because chances are, the blush will not be visible against your complexion. Even if the pigment appears too concentrated for a natural look, it will blend nicely into your skin to give that desirable ‘inner glow’.

If you have a cool undertone, go for a mauve or sheer plum colour to enhance your cheekbones.
If you have a warm undertone, pick a coral, deep peach, or wine colour to bring out the ‘candlelight glow’.

For our dark-skinned friends, you’d be surprised at how deep bright colours compliment your complexion! Don’t be afraid to load up the colour; it will fade into your foundation and give a nice contrast to your complexion. A deep pink or bronze blusher can illuminate your cheeks and make them the stars of your face!

If you have a cool undertone, a fuchsia, plum, or berry colour will make you look chic and sophisticated.
If you have a warm undertone, a raisin, bronze, or brick colour will give the ‘shining goddess’ look.

How to apply blusher according to your face’s shape

Nailing down the perfect colour for your skin tone is only half the battle won – you still have to consider application, which is more than sweeping the blusher on your cheeks. There is a plethora of techniques you can employ for varying looks and effects, but it is important to fit the blusher to your face shape in order to bring out the best features.

For a square and oval face shape

How To Apply Blush Face Shape 2

One of the central purpose of blusher is, well, to mimic a blush, because that will brighten our complexion. Not only that, it draws attention to the fullness of your cheeks, balancing out a square or long face shape.

Concentrate the colour on the apples of your cheeks using a circular motion, with a dense and dome-shaped brush. Extend the colour slightly towards your ears with the remaining product left in your brush to blend the edges. With regards to where to stop, imagine a line running through the centre of your eyes, down to your cheeks. Don’t bring the colour past this line (unless you are going for the Japanese drunken look, and in that case, why not!).

For a diamond and heart face shape

How To Apply Blush Face Shape 1

For a diamond or heart face shape, rather than emphasising full cheeks, highlighting the cheekbones will make your facial features more prominent. This will also bring an edge of sophistication into your look! To locate your cheekbones more easily, suck in your cheeks. Apply the blusher in a C-shape from your cheekbones to the temple. Again, don’t extend the colour past the centre of your eyes.

For a round face shape

How To Apply Blush Face Shape 3

If you didn’t know, blusher can actually be used to sculpt a round face as well! Especially for girls with fair or medium skin, using a peach blusher will complement your skin better and look more natural compared to a bronzer or contour powder. It brings subtle shadows (and radiance!) to your face, slimming it without washing out your complexion. Simply suck in your cheeks and sweep the blusher underneath your cheekbones, following the natural curve. Bring the colour up into your temple and hairline to emphasize your facial features. Doing this will instantly make your face slimmer and sharper!

What are the different blusher formulas and which should you use

1. Powder

Powder blusher is one of the more conventional type of blushers that is still pushing on strongly in the makeup game. It blends very well into the skin and gives a wide coverage without being too overdone. For an all-over rosy look, gently sweep the powder on your cheeks with a large fluffy brush.

Powder blusher is especially great for oily skin as it will absorb excess oil and control the shine. One of the downsides, however, is that it wears off easily throughout the day and you have to re-apply it to maintain the colour. It is also not ideal for dry skin, accentuating dry spots and emphasizing the bumps on your skin so if you have these problems, stay clear of it!

2. Cream

 

Cream, unlike its powder counterpart, is great for dry and bumpy skin. It has a hydrating formula and glides over the skin to even out the bumpy layer. In fact, this formula is your go-to blusher for achieving that soft, below-the-skin translucent blush.

Cream blusher can be applied by softly patting the product on your face and blending the edges with your fingers. Despite its many benefits, this formula does not mix well with the oils on our skin. People with oily skin may find the colour patchy and uneven after an afternoon in the sun so unless it is for a short event, you’re better off with powder blusher.

3. Gel

Gel Blusher

Source: Beaut.ie

Fancy the Korean dewy glow? Gel blusher can give you exactly that! It is made with a hydrating formula that imparts a youthful radiance to your face when light hits it. Not only that, it is lightweight and goes over the skin like water, making it easy for your skin to breathe.

For girls with oily skin, this will be a real treat for you: gel formula, once dry, stays on your skin like a stain, so you too can sport the dewy look without worrying about shine or colour fading. Just dab the colour on your cheeks with your fingers and you’re good to go.

4. Stain

Blush Application Tips 13

Source: Beauty MNL

Cheek stain is one of the newer additions to the makeup range and so far, it has been quite promising in delivering a natural healthy glow. It is extremely long-lasting, so much so that if you decide to spend a full day working out in the gym, you can expect to come home with rosy cheeks. To apply, simply dot the product along your cheekbones and blend using your fingers. As it is very pigmented, a little goes a long way! Do exercise caution when using cheek stains because many of them dry quickly and become difficult to blend once they set, so move quickly to avoid the Korean bride’s ‘yeonji-gonji’.

Common blusher mistakes you should avoid

Let’s face it. None of us start out as makeup experts so mistakes are bound to happen. That is why we have listed some common mistakes for you to look out for, to reduce those awkward moments when you made a blusher mistake.

Applying too little blush

This is a common mistake, especially since we want to avoid the ‘baboon’s butt’. However, if the blusher is not visible enough, it can give your complexion an uneven tone. The best way to gauge if you have enough blusher on is to stand under artificial lighting, at least a shoulder-length away from the mirror, and observe if your cheeks have a natural flush. However, if you are going to spend the day outdoors instead, you’d want to stand under natural lighting instead of artificial lighting. Blusher shows up less prominently in natural light so pack more on!

Applying too much blush

On the other hand, we may run into the problem of packing too much pigment onto our cheeks. To avoid this, dust excess powder off your brush before applying it, or if you are using cream or stain, apply it a little at a time. You can always build up the colour, but to take it away is more tedious. That is not to say taking out the colour is impossible though. Just use a brush or sponge that has your leftover foundation and dab it on your cheeks to knock the blush colour out.

Dusting powder blusher directly on liquid foundation

Liquid foundation mixes with powder to form a streaky mess of colour – definitely not a good look to wear. Set your face with translucent powder first, then apply the blusher to avoid patchiness. This is a mistake that many people make, so don’t feel too bad if you do this!

Putting cream blusher directly on powder

Cream blusher is the opposite of powder! If you apply cream onto powder, the powder will clump and make your face look blotchy and bumpy. Remember: cream goes before powder. Hence, apply it before setting the foundation with translucent powder. (Make sure not to confuse this with powder application!)

Using shimmery blusher on bumpy skin

Glitter – always a go-to for instant jazz. Not for bumpy skin though. Glitter blushers reflect light off our skin and accentuates the pores and bumps on it, making our face blotchier than they originally are. If you experience this issue, opt for a matte blusher instead.

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It’s one of the most indispensable items in anyone’s makeup routine, and it makes a huge difference to your look. But how do you actually apply blusher so that it works the best for you?

How To Apply Blusher 10

You might think that blush is one of the easiest makeup item to master, but it’s actually shockingly easy for one to go from “healthy glow” to “Pikachu” if you don’t know where you’re going with your makeup.

Why do you need blush?

If you are applying makeup at all, you are probably reaching for base makeup like foundation, or even just BB creams and tinted moisturisers. These types of makeup are designed to provide coverage, which hides blemishes, scars, pores, and, most importantly, redness. If you’re aiming to look like you have flawless skin (assuming you don’t already have that), then base makeup is the entire crux of your routine.

How To Apply Blusher 10

Foregoing blush may look good for a photoshoot, but not for an everyday makeup look.

Unfortunately, base makeup also comes at a cost. While it does a great job at concealing imperfections, having your face the same uniform shade of colour tends to make anyone look a little paler and sickly.

That’s what blush is for: it puts back the colour in your cheeks that you may have knocked out with your base makeup. Some redness in your cheeks not only helps to give your face a naturally flushed, healthy look but it also makes you look more awake, energized and present.

The blush colour that looks best on you

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You might have guessed it by now, but blush colours do not follow an one-size-fits-all concept. Some people look better with a lighter pink blush, while others find that coral shades are more up their alley. So how do you choose the right shade of blusher to apply?

We always encourage experimenting and trial and error with makeup, because you just never know when something might look unexpectedly smashing on you. However, this is a general guideline on what shades you might want to start with first in the world of blush:

  • For sallow skin with yellow undertones: try orange, coral, or reddish-pink shades
  • For skin with a lot of uneven redness: try light pink or peach shades
  • For dull-looking skin with cooler undertones: try vivid oranges and pinks

Which type of blush should you go for?

How To Apply Blusher 8

Source: Bestproducts

Most blushes come in compact powder form. Some of these also come with mini-brushes inside the packaging for more convenient touch-ups on the go. If you’d like something a bit easier to handle, invest in a good blush brush or a dome-shaped brush.

Sometimes, you may also find cream blushes. These blushes could come in pots or tubes, and usually have a thick, creamy consistency, almost like lip balm. You can apply this type of blush directly with your fingers.

How To Apply Blusher 9

Source: Beautezine

The same also goes for cheek stains. They’re basically liquid pigment: very watery in consistency, but really hitting the spot with its pigmentation intensity. With cheek stains, dot a few spots on your cheeks and spread them out with your fingers. Take note that some can dry down very fast, so you may need to work fast with these ones by blending out one cheek first before applying the stain on the other.

Last but not least, we have been seeing an up-trend with cushion blushes. They look almost exactly like cushion foundation and BB cushions which have already been taking over the beauty world for the past few years, except that they dispense a reddish blush pigment instead of skin shades. Pat on the blush on your cheeks like you would with a regular BB cushion, but go in with a light hand as they can be very pigmented.

DV tip: If you are going for liquid-based blushes (i.e. anything that isn’t in a compact powder form), make sure that you apply these over your foundation but before you apply any other powders on your face, such as setting powder. As a general rule of thumb for makeup application, you should avoid applying liquid-based makeup on top of powder-based ones.

How to apply blusher

Here’s a fact that not many people know about: the colour of your blush actually affects how you should be applying it!

For pink or plum blushes

How To Apply Blusher 4

Use a pink blush if you’re a fairer skin tone, and a plum one if you have a deeper complexion – they both work in the same way. Pink or plum blushes can be very flattering and give your skin a youthful flush, as if you are actually blushing.

How To Apply Blusher 5

You want to concentrate this colour on the apples of your cheeks, where blood is naturally concentrated when you are flushed. Applying this shade of blush is relatively straightforward: smile widely and use circular motions to swirl the colour on to the areas that protrude highest.

DV tip: According to celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose, pink blushes should not be extended into your laugh lines – that’s the area where your skin folds from the outer corners of your nose to the outer corners of your mouth when you smile.

How To Apply Blusher 2

Source: Elle

To get a rough gauge on where your blush should stop, put a finger running diagonally along the corner of your mouth to your nose. Your blush should not extend beyond your finger!

For peach, coral or brown shades

If you’re looking to create a more contoured, chiseled shape to your face, then these shades are for you. Unlike pink and plum blushes, these colours are darker which means that they work better to create more sculpted looks with a tinge of colour.

For these colours, you are looking to accentuate your cheekbones, so you should be loading the most pigment there. If you don’t know where your cheekbones are (we feel you), suck in your cheeks (the way you would when sucking on a straw) and look at yourself in the mirror.

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Start from your temple, around the level of your ears, and then sweep the blush forward. You should be stopping where the apples of your cheeks begin.

TL;DR

If you are using a pink or plum blush for a youthful glow, concentrate the colour on the apples of your cheeks but not beyond your laugh lines. If you are using a peach, coral, or beige shade for blush-contouring, sweep the colour along your cheekbones, from the tragus of your ear to where the apples of your cheeks begin.