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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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.