Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Let's Talk About Blushes

Gone are the days where blush comes in a simple powder compact, it seems like everyone and their mothers are trying to come up with the freshest new approach to old classics. Another common problem that people struggle with are colors, where to apply, and the never-ending battle between matte and shimmer in products. Today I am here to declassify blushes, a seemingly innocent item that is the cause for many headaches. When applied properly it gives your cheeks a beautiful healthy flush, if you're too heavy handed you could be mistaken for a runaway clown.


Where to apply it?
Often you will hear people say to smile and then apply the blush to the apples of your cheek (those lumps that rise up as you smile and push the skin into those rounds). However if you experiment with me right now: smile at a mirror and place one finger on the center of one of those apples, and then stop smiling, you will feel and see where your finger is drops to a place that is actually under your cheek bone. So unless you plan on wearing a big grin for the entire day you will end up looking quite strange. A better tactic of applying blush is to make a fish face and suck in your cheeks and then apply blush to where you still see the protruding rounds of your cheeks. Also remember to pull the blush upwards and back towards your hair to trace the line of where your skin would flush for a more natural look.

Types of blush and how to apply them.
Powder. This is the stuff everyone is familiar with and probably the most versatile to apply. Traditionally you take a brush (personally I like one of those angled blushed brushes, it's a more natural sweeping motion for me) and then dust and sweep it on. Additional strokes may be added for a more intense blush. I also find that when I want a more sheer and subtle flush I like to pat on and blend with my fingers, I get more control over the amount of product I use and it ends up very natural and pretty. Like any powder product be wary of it clinging to dry spots on your skin.

Stains. So stains are any of those liquid or gel based products that usually come with some type of doefoot (those spongey lip gloss things) applicators. These are dotted straight onto your cheeks and then blended out using a dabbing sponge motion, a really soft brush, or (my favorite method) your fingers. These can be tricky sometimes, especially the gels, because the pigment won't disperse evenly so you definitely need some patience and adding just a little at a time to build up to your desired look.

Cream. Much like gels, cream blushes need patience to slowly build up the color otherwise you will achieve a very comedic bright flush. I definitely struggled with this one and feel like I still haven't mastered the technique but feel like I've made enough mistakes for a solid list of don't's when it comes to cream blushes. First of all do not try to apply this with anything but your fingers! A brush or sponge will not apply this easily and it will also turn your blush into a mess in the packaging. My most success has been patting a line along where I want my blush and then going back and carefully blending it out. Often I need to go back with a powder blush over it because with creams it always looks uneven to me.

Stick. I have a love-hate with these stick blushes. On one hand they are convenient and mess free, on the other hand I find they are usually ultra pigmented so when I'm in a hurry I don't reach for these because I need to conscious of how much pressure I'm applying, and the stick really only appeals to me because it is easy to apply, therefore there's no point of these. These are similar to cream blushes except in stick form, so employ similar tactics, use the fingers and carefully build up the color to avoid mistaken identity with a clown.

Choosing the right color. While you are allowed the liberty of picking any color blush to wear, I thought it would be informative to insert in some color suggestions for skin tones as the blush that will appear the most natural and compliment your skin:
Fair skin with warm (pink) undertones -- Apricots, light is better
Fair skin with cool (blue) undertones -- Pale cooler (think blue) toned pinks
Medium skin with yellow or olive undertones -- Amber, those warmer peachy tones are great
Medium to dark skin with cool (blue) undertones -- Rose
Dark skin with warm (yellow or pink) undertones -- Fuchsia, a cool bright pink
Dark skin with cool (blue) undertones -- Tangerines, a warm bright colored blush really pops


Shimmer vs. Matte. Everyone has their preference, and clearly I have an affinity towards shimmery blushes but I have some quick thoughts when it comes to the shimmery vs. matte debate. Shimmer is lovely...as long as the rest of your face is matte. You also need to be careful not to over do it with shimmery blushes because too much could end up highlighting some imperfections or giving your face an overall sweaty look. While it is safer to stick with matte blushes, I believe when shimmer blushes are applied correctly (and carefully) it can give the face a very lovely all over glow.

How are you feeling on your blush education now?

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