Blush may seem like one of the simplest makeup products to apply, but there’s a lot more to it than you may think. Not only do you have to consider what color is best for your skin, but also what type of blush product is best for you (powder? cream? stain?), what your face shape is, and what occasion you’re applying the blush for.
That’s a lot to think about! But no matter what your answers to all those considerations, everything comes back to the brush. The best blush application begins with the best blush brushes. There are so many shapes and brands of blush brushes - it can be overwhelming. In this piece, we’ll give you blush application tips as well as help you choose the best professional makeup brushes.
Pinks, Peaches, Plums and Browns...Oh My
Choosing the right color for you skin is an important initial step. The color and hue of the blush you choose may vary depending on the occasion (you may choose to wear more neutral blush during the workday, but a more dramatic color for a night out on the town, or a slightly different color during the more sun-kissed summer months than in the colder (and often paler) winter.
But to begin, makeup artists recommend choosing a blush color that suits your skin’s undertones.
“What does THAT mean?” you might ask. Well, we’re looking for colors naturally found in your skin and then picking a blush color to complement them. So, if you have naturally dark skin, you likely have plum or blue undertones. If you are olive-skinned or tan easily in the sun, you probably have gold or yellow undertones to your skin. And if you’re fair-skinned or blush easily, most likely you have pink or red undertones.
Once you determine your undertones, here are the colors that makeup experts recommend for you:
Plum or blue undertones: pick bright shades of pink and orange that will stand out against your dark complexion.
Gold or yellow undertones: you will want to choose warmer colors, like a reddish pink or orange, to counteract your tendency towards sallowness.
Red or pink undertones: to keep it looking natural, opt for light pink blushes. If you have very ruddy coloring, you may want to try peach or mocha colors to help minimize your redness.
Which Blush Type is Right for Me?
When it comes to adding color to your cheeks, there’s more than one type of blush medium to choose from - there are powders, creams, gels and stains. How to choose?
Well, most women’s “go-to” is powder blush, and powder is easy to apply and great for oily skin. But if your skin tends to be dry, you may be better off with a hydrating cream blush. If you’re an “on the go” gal who is nonstop from work all day to going out at night, you may want to use a blush with more staying power: gels and stains are longer-lasting blush options. Their color is so persistent, they can even work as lip stains. But they must be carefully applied and blended quickly before they “stain” the skin in a concentrated area.
Applying Blush for Each Face Shape
Blush is a great tool to customize based on your face shape - it can help elongate a round or wide face, and can help broaden a narrow face. Let’s take a look at how to change your blush application based on whether you have an angular/square, round/wide face, or narrow/long face, and the shapes of the best blush brushes to use for each.
Angular Face: If you have a squarish or rectangular face, you’ll want to use an angled blush brush and apply the blush to the rounded base of the brushes’ bristles then onto the apples of your cheeks (directly below your pupils and to the side of your nose). Next, use the angled bristles to sweep the blush up in a slight arc towards the top of your ear.
Round/wide Face: This technique will help you create a thinner effect by using 3 products on the cheeks: highlighter, blush, and contour. The highlighter goes highest, above the cheekbones, in a blended stripe, followed by the blush below it, and contouring product below that. Apply your blush with a tapered brush, and start half an inch further back than the apple of your cheek. Then blend it up towards your hairline/temple.
Narrow/long Face: This blush application will help broaden the look of your face to help create more balance with your natural narrow shape. Start by applying your blush to the apples of your cheeks in a circular motion with a round brush, then gently sweep the color straight back, a bit lower this time, towards the center of your ear.
Best Professional Makeup Brushes for Perfect Cheeks
So, we’ve looked at blush color and type, as well as face shape (and even brush shape!). Now, it’s time to look at the best professional makeup brushes to apply your blush products.
To start with, for cream blushes, you’re probably best off applying them with your fingers. And for stains and gels, a makeup blending sponge or wedge is the best tool. But for powder blushes, here are the best blush brushes on the market.
For a small rounded brush with a flattened head (for concentrating color on the apples of the cheeks, as we discussed for narrow faces), our favorite is the Sonia Kashuk Dense Blush/Powder Brush No. 24.
For an angled brush (for creating contours and a chiseled look), our pick is IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe French Boutique Blush Brush #4. This award-winning brush features super-soft bristles at a 45-degree angle.
If you’re in the market for a tapered brush, one of the best is the Surratt Artistique Highlight Brush. It’s pretty expensive, but its sleek softness allows for very even application of product, and it works perfectly for highlighter and contour, too.
One of the best value blush brushes you can buy is in Beautiac’s brush Starter Kit. When you sign up for a monthly subscription for replacement brushes, you’ll first be sent a starter kit containing a tapered Blush Habit brush head, plus a powder brush head, foundation brush head, 3 brush handles as well as other goodies! The brush heads easily snap on and off the handles, are fully recyclable, and get replaced once a month with your subscription shipment. Beautiac’s brushes save you time (eliminating the need for weekly brush washings) and money, and provide flawless application every time.