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F is for Fake It: Glowing Sun-Flushed Cheeks

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One of my all-time favourite makeup things is DuWop Bronzerush, a simple yet genius compact combo with a sheer, golden bronze powder on one side and a gel blush in sheer red on the other. I confess, at first I frowned at the idea of sweeping the powder bronzer over cheekbones before dabbing on the blush -- shouldn't gel blush go on bare skin?

But Cristina Bartolucci, an L.A.-based pro artist and founder of DuWop, now celebrating its 10th year, is skilled at developing innovative beauty items. Her Lip Venom was the first lip plumper ever; Revolution moisturizing lotion with sheer bronzing body makeup hit the market years before gradual self-tanner; and Toe Polish is a unique nail polish formula with anti-fungal properties.

Bronzerush ($39), with its puzzling instructions to tap an emollient blush on over the powder, is how you fake that undeniably pretty slightly sunburned look you got as a kid before you embraced good sun protection. No puzzle: the super-sheer red blush colour mimics the rosy, sunburn look and the formula's texture gives the apples of the cheeks a subtle, youthful glowy sheen. Love.

Thing is that June, the shade I wear (August is for darker complexions), has a different, creamy pink blush now. I confess I haven't tried it because I'm stuck on that sun-flushed look -- so stuck on it that I found another way to get it: Cargo Matte Bronzer in Medium ($26)+ Joe Fresh Cheek Tint ($4) in Cherry.

So here's the how-to:

1) On clean, moisturized skin, apply tinted moisturizer/liquid foundation if you use either of those. Tap liquid or cream concealer on dark areas at inner corners of upper lids (at bridge of nose), under eyes, over any redness around the base of your nose, and over any annoying blemishes.

2) Dust face lightly with loose powder to set concealer and create a smooth base for bronzing powder. Around the eyes, I actually like to use a tiny bit of mineral foundation powder to set concealer; it has a softer consistency than traditional translucent or setting powder.

3) Curl lashes. Apply waterproof liner in dark brown to waterline of upper lashes -- that's the inner rim of your upper lash lines. With the same liner, trace along the flip side of the base of top lashes. Or switch to black, blue, green or purple, either in pencil or liquid. Dab a sheer white or champagne shadow in the inner corner of each eye. Define lashes with mascara.

4) Lightly fill in brows with an angled brush and brow powder or eyeshadow that matches the highlights in your hair (or a shade lighter than the darkest colour in your hair).

5) Sweep Cargo Matte Bronzer across forehead, cheekbones, across bridge of nose and, with what's left on your brush, on your chin. I love this one especially for oily skin because it has no shimmer to exaggerate shine. It looks natural.

6) Swirl index fingertip over the surface of the Joe Fresh cheek tint, smile, then lightly tap colour on the apple of your cheek (don't rub). Repeat with other cheek.

7) Finish with a slick of tinted balm on lips.

DuWop is available at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada, at Sephora, and Canadian brand Cargo is available at Sephora in Canada and in the US. Joe Fresh Beauty is available only in Canada, at Loblaws, SuperStores, Zehrs; for details.