Fear-Free Cheek Colour: Why the Tip of Your Blush Brush Might Not Be the Part You Want to Use

by Janine on 8 January 2013 · 8 comments

YSL Fall 2012_AndreaHearing “I don’t wear blush” makes me do a head snap almost as sharply as “I don’t wear sunscreen.” A touch of soft colour on the cheeks is an instant rewind to a fresher complexion and brighter eyes. So freaking easy. But, it turns out, a lot of women are afraid of blush because they’re scared they’ll look like clowns. If you’re one of the wary, you can banish that worry with a perception and technique adjustment, the right brush, and a helpful powder blush formula.

Perception Adjustment If your first thought at the word “blush” is bright pink circles on the apples of the cheeks, you need to re-educate yourself. Click through to The Kit, or pick up a current copy of Fashion, Flare, Glow, Allure, InStyle, Vogue, Marie Claire — anything with pictures of models and celebrities, and look at their faces. Or you could just look at the photo above: blush is pretty, not scary, and there are lots of ways to wear it — ways clowns everywhere would shun.

Technique Adjustment Watch the video below for a demonstration of how to sweep soft colour onto your cheeks without looking like you’ve developed a fever. Note: YSL makeup pro Dell Ashley uses the side of the brush, not the tips of the bristles.

The Right Blush Brush The best blush brush for this application has a rounded tip and slightly flatter sides. And it’s soft — softness is key for a subtle application. The more compact and stiff the brush is, the more concentrated colour you’ll get — you don’t want that. Check MAC (the 129, $42, maccosmetics.com), Lancôme (The Cheek Brush, $56, lancome.ca), Bobbi Brown (Blush Brush, $58, murale.ca and Holt Renfrew), Joe Fresh (Premium Blush Brush, $22, joefresh.com) or Clinique (Blush Brush, $34, murale.ca and clinique.com).

Lancome the cheek brush

Helpful Blush Formulas The blush Dell uses in the video is from the recent YSL Fall 2012 collection, the YSL Palette Couture Highlighting Powder ($68, Holt Renfrew). But anyone alarmed by bright-looking blush shades needs to try Stila Custom Colour Blush ($26, murale.ca), which comes in Pink and in Coral, or Physicians Formula pH Matchmaker pH Powered Blush ($15.99, drugstores), which comes in Natural and Rose (and in a compact that lights up). All of these might frighten in the pan, but suck up the apprehension: they all adjust to your pH to give you a shade that suits you.

Technique Recap Instead of using the tip of the brush, use the side to pick up colour from the compact and dab it on the back of your hand (or on the mirror) to remove excess. Then, still using the side of the brush, sweep colour softly onto cheeks and blend. If you think you’ve put on too much, dust a little loose face powder on top (bonus: you’ll look like the blush is coming from within your skin). When you’re ready to move on to more techniques, try some of these blush tips for different blush looks.

Now banish forever that worry about looking like a clown — after all, that look takes technique and practice, too. And that’s another story.

Are you a blush ’fraidy-cat? How do you use your blush brush?

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Brush Work: YSL's Lloyd Simmonds Shares His Secret to the Perfect Smoky Eye - BeautyGeeks
1 August 2013 at 4:22 pm

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesa 8 January 2013 at 1:58 pm

I tried to get a woman to buy one at our last beauty sale but she wasn’t into it because of her rosacea. I accepted that. It was the chick who looked at the Revolution Organics one I was pitching hard and was scared it looked too bright that made me all judgey.


Janine 8 January 2013 at 4:01 pm

Fear of bright colours must be stamped out. I get judgey about that too.


lisa 8 January 2013 at 3:55 pm

Blush is one of the first beauty bandwagons I ever jumped on for all the reasons you stated above.

For a soft and super-affordable brush option, I love the Eco Tools blush brush (available at most drugstores for less than $15). Mine still looks pretty good after 4+ years.


Janine 8 January 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thanks for that tip, Lisa! I have some Eco Tools brushes — they’re really good and so well priced. But I don’t have a blush brush, so I couldn’t say for certain that it was a soft enough option. Thanks for that!


Natasha 8 January 2013 at 5:31 pm

Not only does blush make you look that much better it brings everything together! Why bother doing your eyes and lips if you’re going to have nothing on those cheeks to tie all the wonderful together?


Janine 8 January 2013 at 5:36 pm

You’re so asking the right question, Natasha. In a scene from “The Newsroom,” Maggie’s roommate Lisa preps for an on-air appearance — and won’t let the makeup artist put blush on her cheeks. Made me grit my teeth!


YouLookHotToday 9 January 2013 at 7:55 am

I don’t know that I’ve ever used blush. I’m a bronzer girl. I’m pretty sure you’d find my application technique frightening. I have a big brush – I think it’s even a bronzer brush – Quo makes it. I slap some on the brush, jam it up against the inside of the cover of the bronzer compact, and then swipe it all over my face in all the places I think the sun would hit – forehead, nose, cheek bones, end of chin, and collar bone-ish area. Takes me about 20 seconds and I’m out the door looking more awake than I did 20 seconds before.


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