Hearing "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), LancÃ´me (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).
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 â€™fraidy-cat? How do you use your blush brush?