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.
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, lorealparisusa.com.
Gel: Sheer gel and liquid tints are like athleisurewear: comfortable and casual. Simply apply with fingers. Glossier Cloud Paint, $18, glossier.com.
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, benefitcosmetics.com.
Cream: Rich and emollient, these look more opaque yet luminous on cheeks. Use your fingertips to smooth them on. Stila Convertible Color, $25, stilacosmetics.com.
Put it on like a pro
Once you’ve nailed your formula, location is everything. Consider these three striking effects.
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.
For defined cheekbones
To bring out your bone structure, sweep color diagonally from your upper cheekbones toward your mouth.
For a youthful lift
Start blush a few millimeters above the apples, and blend it toward the outer cheekbones. Witness the instant boost.