Monday, March 15, 2010

30 Days to 10 years younger--10 minute tips. Tip 14: Wear blusher

Blush dos and don'ts
Whose idea was it to stop wearing blusher? It's been about 10 years now, and it's making me a little crazy.
Blush dos and don'ts
I read an article once about Evelyn Lauder (maybe Estée herself!) that said she was always trying to talk women into putting on a little more blush. So hey--you might not care that I think you look better with some color in your cheeks, but when the first lady of cosmetics is begging you to wear a little blusher, I hope you pay attention.
Blush dos and don'ts
Think about it. Pink cheeks are youthful and pretty. Where do you think the expression "the first flush of youth" came from in the first place? This is what makeup is for.

Sure, there are all kinds of more sophisticated looks, but when it comes to your cheeks, I hope you will leave sophistication to 14-year-old supermodels with naturally pink cheeks. We need some color.

The thing is, it has to be the right kind of color. And you have to apply it properly. But honestly, it's not that complicated. Here's what to do:

Pick the right color. At the moment, I'm talking about a powder or cream blusher with some opacity, not one of those super-intense gel blushes. For powder and cream blushes, the correct color isn't a crazy shade of fuschia, red, or brown. The perfect shade will be a nice version of my-cheeks-but-better pink.

And you don't want to pick too icy or unnatural a pink. Even if you're very fair-skinned and used to wear pinks that were almost fuschia or lavender in tone, you don't want to do that anymore. As we age, our skin becomes more yellow toned, so a very icy cool pink will look unnatural. You want to use a nice fleshy pink, one with some coral or brown in it to warm it up a bit.

Find the shade your cheeks turn when you've gone for a nice brisk walk. (Not the beet-red you become when you've been doing wind-sprints.) Or give them a pinch. Or use your MLBB shade of lipstick as a guide.

Wear your blusher on the right part of your face. Maybe you've seen this picture of Maggie Gyllenhaal already.


It's a perfect illustration of what not to do. Her blush is too dark; it's too red, and it goes too far down her cheeks.

Your blush should go on the apples of your cheeks (mind you, Maggie's got a bushel of apples there, which might explain it.)

Madonna got it right.

Blush dos and don'ts
The cheeks themselves look a bit off, but the blush is perfect

If you don't know where the apples of your cheeks are, imagine a line running across your face under the tip of your nose. Your blush needs to stay above that line. Then imagine a second line going down from the arch of your eyebrow. The center of the blush should be along that line. Blend it out from there.

Want to see some more pictures of blush done right? Check out these pictures of Winona Ryder. God bless her, she gets it right every single time, whether she's on the red carpet or doing something much more casual.

Blush dos and don'tsBlush dos and don'ts

See how her blush is strongest in the center of her cheek? That's how it's done.

Blush dos and don'ts

Ready for some don'ts? Don't use blush all the way up to the hairline. Do not sweep it up towards your temple. You'll get lamb chop cheeks like the late Pat Buckley.

Blush dos and don'tsBlush dos and don'ts

Also, most celebs apply their blush too far away from their noses and too close to the sides of their faces, creating a pair of pink parentheses (or in this case, orange.)

Blush dos and don'ts

This is probably supposed to highlight the cheekbones, but it looks unnatural, and is probably the reason blush got such a bad name in the first place.

Also, don't even think using blush to contour hollows. Blusher is not contour powder.

I'll go into the specifics of brands, powder or cream, best brushes, etc., at some later date. For now, I just want you to think pink!


  1. dear poppy,
    thats the problem with blusher^^
    I dont use it because either I have the wrong color or I put it on the wrong spot. in the end (after half an hour of trying) I look like a clown and stalk of without it..but I'll try to make it like you wrote it and maybe it'll help?!^^

  2. Every time I pick a blusher, it's wrong. Now I know why the lady gave me the one with coral tones to it.

  3. i've been using that mousse blush and you only need the tiniest bit.

    love your blog and am working on adapting your good advice.

  4. I could go so wrong with blusher--and it seems like so many people do!

  5. Well, I finally found out how to be able to comment again!
    I did!
    You are opening so many windows before my very eyes. Never used anything other than lipcolour, mascara and eye pencil. So imagine my wide open mouth when you give us these detailed advices ... I could be a whole different woman.

  6. Suddenly I feel like Adam Ant. I think I've been doing it wrong for, oh, say, 30 years!

    You can bet I'll be thinking of you when peering into my mirror tomorrow morning.

  7. I'll need help with this one. I haven't worn blush in ten years.

  8. With my rosacea, I think my cheeks are already red enough! I guess that is one of the few good things about it. Good advice though.

  9. I've heard Nars Orgasm looks good on everyone. I wear it daily and love it.

  10. So, where does one get these nice blushes [J.a.n.e & the other one] if not in Chi ?


  11. I love Dandelion by Benefit. Very sheer and natural looking.

  12. Thinking pink is a good thing,Poppy especially now that's it's looking so fresh this season, and pink blush comes in so many textures. It helps combat a tired look, too, at least on people with light to medium deep skintones.
    However, most women with fake looking blush are wearing blush that is too light for them-- blusher is concentrated pigment, and it blends out to a nice glow when you pick a shade that looks a little too deep in the bottle/tray.I'm not saying we should wear darker colors... but some of the advice here really only applies to those of us with pale skintones, and the part about skin getting yellower as we age is just not universal either. Personally, my skin is getting pinker as I move through my forties. I've lost all the golden/yellow/sallow undertones.
    Blush is the best way to play up your eyes without making them look older, ladies. Makes the color pop, makes you look healthier, too, as Poppy noted. Personally, I can use any color but orangey, provided I do the rest of my face properly.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.