A freshly flushed cheek is like an instant shot of positive energy. “When I apply blush, I always look happier—and I feel happier—because it brightens me up,” says Jenny Smith, global makeup artist at Nars. Kate Synott, beauty creative director at Róen, concurs: “In day-to-day photo shoots and just in my life as a girl on the go, I put on my cream blush with moisturizer underneath, and I feel healthy.” The trick is emulating a rosy bloom, as opposed to a full-on fever. If you accidentally go overboard, “take a small amount of loose powder and dust it over your blush,” Smith says. “This will soften the color and defuse the effect.”
Go in order. “I love cream blushes because they melt into foundation really easily and look very natural, radiant and glowy,” says Nick Lujan, director of education and artistry at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. But you need to know your formulations. “You can’t just do your full face, set it with powder, then go back in with a cream blush,” he says. “That’s going to be a big issue when it comes to blending.” You should always start with liquids and creams (such as foundation and blush), then set with powder. But if you’re using a powder blush, dust that on after you’ve set your foundation with translucent powder.
Space yourself out. For the most natural, “this is what it really looks like when you blush” effect, keep your blush two finger-widths away from your nose and one finger-width away from your undereye.
Work your way up. “I like blush on the apples of the cheeks, then softly blended in an upward motion toward the cheekbones,” Synott says. “Don’t go the other way because that would bring the face down.”
Don’t be afraid to break the rules. “I prefer using smaller brush for a cream blush,” Smith says. “Surprisingly, I love our #11 Soft Matte Complete Concealer Brush, which has a small, rounded head, which makes it easier to apply blush smoothly and precisely than a larger version.”