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The 8 best blush types and how to apply them


The 8 best blush types and how to apply them

While we may be happy to regularly seek out a new foundation or mascara, when was the last time you bought a new blush?

It may not be high on the list of priorities but you might wish to reconsider, as blush is having a serious renaissance.

Easy and quick, its return to popularity is thanks to increased variety and the way a dab or sweep of colour on the cheeks and up towards the outer corners makes you look fresh-faced and youthful without looking overly contrived. What’s more? It can help vanish signs of fatigue in seconds. 

If you’ve been wary of using it, perhaps scarred by its stripy-look and freewheeling application of previous decades or nervous about how to best apply, now is the time to try it out as its popularity only grows with people of all ages. Here we look at the benefits of each type of blush and how they are best used. 

Try: CREAM: Morphe Blush Balm Soft-Focus Cream Blush in Wild Wine; POWDER: Max Factor Facefinity Blush in Delicate Apricot; STICK: Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Dou Dou


What is it:

Cream blush has an emollient texture with concentrated pigment, usually pressed into a small pan or pot. If you’re not confident about where to place it it can be considered more tricky to apply than other forms. 

Why it works: Longer lasting and with more intense pigment, cream blush gives a natural-looking, youthful, slightly dewy glow of colour and is great for most skin types but particularly dry skin which can be sometimes be emphasised with powder. 

How to apply: The easiest way is to dab a finger onto the surface of the bush. Smile, and then tap into the apples of cheeks and up the cheekbone before blending quickly in a circular motion. Some people also like to warm the product on the back of a hand and then apply, or dab and then blend on with a dense bristle or duo-fibre bristle brush.


What it is: The most common form of blush, it usually comes pressed into a compact and is usually applied with a fluffy, dome-shape makeup brush. 

Why it works: Arguably the easiest form of blush, matte or slightly pearlescent powder blush works on a wide range of skin types and providing you use a quality product, gives good colour payoff on all skin tones. It’s also easy to start tentatively with a sheer and subtle flush, particularly on very pale skin, which can then be built up to a more dramatic draping of colour. The downside of powder is that it’s not the longest lasting. The warmth in your skin has a tendency to to minimise its intensity so touch ups may be required. 

How to apply:

Swirl a blush brush gently over the surface of the pan. Some people like to lightly tap off the excess before applying by buffing onto cheeks in a circular motion, starting on the apples and moving slightly outwards towards your ears. Start with minimal colour – it’s far easier to add more than minimise a heavy handed application. 


What is it: With much the same finish as cream blush above, stick blush is slightly more dense and set into a tube that can be wound up. 

Why it works: Stick blush cuts out an application step so it’s very quick to apply. It also comes in cheap-as-chips or more luxury versions with great colour payoff that shows up well on deeper complexions.

How to apply: Just swipe on and blend with fingers. If you’re tentative, using a pinky toned lipstick and dabbing it on to cheeks before blending gives much the same effect and is a good way to see if you like the look before buying a dedicated blush. 

Try: LIQUID: NARS Liquid Blush in Dolce Vita; TINT: Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain; ILLUMINATING: Clinique Cheek Pop Pearl Hybrid Blush-Highlighter in Topaz Pop


What is it: An opaque liquid that often has pearlised particles and a runny texture. They often come with skin-perfecting and hydrating ingredients and are great for dry/dull skin that needs a pick me up.

Why we love it: These have a unique texture that when applied looks like liquid powder and gives luminous, buildable application. If you love makeup – you’ll love this product! With the right shade selection it works well on any skin tone. 

How to apply: Shake well to mix the formula. Apply a couple of dots of colour to cheeks and bend with a dense brush. Alternatively apply to the back of your hand then dab with a dense face brush before blending into cheeks. 


What is it: Like just-eaten-an-ice-block lips, tints provide intense but sheer see-through colour that stains skin, so it has great lasting-power. This makes it ideal for hotter climates or oily skin types. 

Why it works:  A pinch-your cheeks flush that looks youthful and natural – it will not transfer or rub off quickly and is particularly useful in very hot humid climates or during summer as it’s usually water resistant. It also works well on lips. 

How to apply:  In order to avoid overdoing it, apply a little to the back of your hand, rubbing slightly so it’s not too concentrated, then tap lightly into cheeks with a finger. Use a clean finger to blend sideways and upwards towards the highest point of your cheeks. There should be no visible edges when fully blended. Dry patches will catch colour so exfoliating and moisturising first is useful. A little goes a long way with this and will likely stain your fingertips too, so work quickly and wash your hands!


What is it: A powder or cream formula shot through with shimmer, either obvious or almost imperceptible that creates lit-from-within skin.

Why we love it:  Love highlighters but short on time? Skin looking a little tired and dull? These will up your glow in no time. Shimmer blush can make skin look luminous but it also shines a spotlight on texture like large pores, blemishes and fine lines.  

How to apply: Focus a little higher than the apples of cheeks. If necessary layer with a matte blush first and just a touch of shimmer on top. 

Try: Makeup Revolution Blush Palette in Sugar & Spice


What is it: A selection of shades to suit every occasion, outfit and season.

Why we love it: Just like we change up our lipstick, it’s handy to switch up cheek colour to complement everything else you’re wearing. Peach tones and pink tones are go-to’s but stronger colours are also useful, even if you don’t reach for them every day. 

How to apply: With a good quality blush brush. You can even customise with a bit from each pan if you’re feeling it! Don’t forget to clean the brush between uses.  



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