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How to Choose and Use the Right Shade of Blush

Rosy cheeks make everyone look glowy and feel alive -- not a hard sell right about now. Here’s our guide to choosing (and using) your most flattering blush.

woman blush color therapy
Photography by: The Morrisons

Find your best shade

Everyone needs a fail-safe neutral. Identify yours by matching your blush to the inside of your lower lip, suggests Sarah Lucero, Stila’s creative director. For punchier colors, take a cue from your complexion.


Fair: Soft, peachy, or baby pinks brighten pale skin without over-whelming it.


Medium: Apricot colors suit golden skin tones; watermelons enhance cooler ones.


Olive: For a sun-kissed look, try a tawny bronze or subtle coral; for more of a flush, think cranberry.


Dark: Purples, terra-cottas, and fuchsias may be intimidating in the package, but the intense pigments appear velvety on skin.

blush powder gel stain cream
Photography by: Peter Ardito

Choose a texture

Blot your cheeks with a makeup sponge or a tissue to take color down a notch if needed.


Clockwise from top left:


Powder: Ideal for oily skin, it layers well for added intensity. Use a brush to sweep it on in a small “X” motion, then blend, suggests Lucero. L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Color Lift Blush, $13,


Gel: Sheer gel and liquid tints are like athleisurewear: comfortable and casual. Simply apply with fingers. Glossier Cloud Paint, $18,


Stain: They’re long-lasting but set almost instantly. Moisturize skin, dot on sparingly, and blend (quickly!) with fingers or a sponge. Benefit Cosmetics Lollitint, $30,


Cream: Rich and emollient, these look more opaque yet luminous on cheeks. Use your fingertips to smooth them on. Stila Convertible Color, $25,


Put it on like a pro

Once you’ve nailed your formula, location is everything. Consider these three striking effects.

blush natural glow illustration
Photography by: Brown Bird Design

For a natural glow

The apples of the cheeks are where you flush after a workout. Smile wide to bring them out, and swirl color on top.

blush defined cheekbones illustration
Photography by: Brown Bird Design

For defined cheekbones

To bring out your bone structure, sweep color diagonally from your upper cheekbones toward your mouth.

blush youthful lift illustration
Photography by: Brown Bird Design

For a youthful lift

Start blush a few millimeters above the apples, and blend it toward the outer cheekbones. Witness the instant boost.

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