Make Up 101: Blush

A new series, Make up 101 will focus on all aspects of make up and break them down into a dummy-proof process. Not that you are dummies, but those of you who are new to make up might find it useful.

Third base: Blush

What: A blush is a make-up product used to mimic the rosiness of young, healthy skin.

Why: Foundation tends to color the entire face in an even tone which can make it seem pale. A blush is the quickest way to look like you have just fed on juicy apples while walking in an orchid.

A lot of women skip blush in their daily routine, simply because it is so easy to go wrong with this simple product. However, skillful application of a blush is a the simplist way to look happy & youthful.

Where: Blush is applied on the apples of your cheek, which it’s the puffy part of the cheek directly beneath the irises of your eyes when you smile. 

Types of Blush: Colors, Shades & Formulations
Before you apply any color, you need to get the right shade and formulation for your skin tone and type.

If you have a fair complexion, go for a bright pink which brings a youthful blush to pallid skin.

If you have a medium fair complexion with a yellow undertone, try a color such as Raspberry, a shade that brings the golden tones out of yellow-based skin (most Indian women have a lot of yellow in their skin).

However since most of us are dusky, below is a quick guide to colors

If your skin is:
Light Olive to Olive
If you're naturally rosy, adding a true pink blush is a no-no. Instead, warm up your complexion with pale apricots and peaches or sheer coral. 

Deep Tan
If you're medium- or olive-skinned, you probably have a tendency to look sallow. Balance out your complexion with deep pinks, tawny roses and sheer cherry stains. 

Add a deep flush to your skin with shimmery cinnamons, bronzes, or even true Crayola orange. Believe it or not, it's so beautiful - when applied to the apples of the cheeks, it gives a gorgeous flush. 

Very Dark
Many women with deep coloring think it's impossible to get a natural-looking flush. Not true! Deep berries, velvety crimsons and gold-infused plums look absolutely stunning.

And if all that is too complicated just find the shade your cheeks turn when you blush. 

Blushes are available in various forms such as powder, cream, liquid or gels. Different forms have specific purposes and suitability to different situations. But one must pick only that type which one finds the best suitable for her skin keeping her skin type (which could be oily, normal or dry) in mind.

1. Powder Blush 
Powder blush is usually good for all types of skin. But it is considered the best for the oily skin and for those who are looking for long-lasting color. Powder blusher is best applied after the foundation. It will lie on top of your skin and add a translucent glow to it. The powder blush is considered the densest of the blushers. Use a brush to apply. 

Pros: Easiest to use of all formulations, this clings to the skin & lasts long 

Cons: Very easy to go overboard & look like a clown. Does not suit dry skin. Tends to look a little fake & made-up at times. 

Product: Both Lakme & VOV have good powder blush palettes. 

Edit (17th February 2010): As of right now Colorbar and Jordana are both offering a huge range of blushes in a number of shades. My personal favourite is Plum Berry in Colorbar and Sandalwood in Jordana

2. Cream Blush
The cream blush offers more intense shade than the powder blush. Therefore you should use it sparingly and blend well. Start at the apples of the cheek and blend upward. The cream blush is best applied with the help of your fingers. Although it is dense in nature, it lets your skin show through. Cream blush contains rich moisturizing or oil ingredients therefore it is considered particularly suitable for the dry skin. It should be applied over foundation, but before powder. The cream blush is especially nice for the evening makeup. 

Pros: Very natural looking, this is extremely easy to blend into skin

Cons: May melt off oily skin.  Very Intense, hence therefore even easier to end up with excess as compared to powder. Also it is extremely tough to find this in our Indian brands. Hardly anyone makes this. 

Product: NYX Cream Blush (Cost Rs. 500)

Tip: substitute with a matt creamy lipstick. There is little difference in the formulas. Lipsticks just tend to be a little more emollient, so use sparingly.

3. Gel or Liquid Blush
The Gel blush adds a sheer glow to your face. The gel blush is usually considered to work best on oily to normal skin because these blushers last longer and many are oil-free. Some are water-resistant, too. The gel blush is of fast-drying nature therefore it is hard to spread onto dry skin. The gel blush should be applied over foundation or to bare skin. It will give a soft, fresh-scrubbed look to your face. 

Pros: Very, very natural looking. Water resistant.

Cons: Very difficult to apply. You need to use your fingers and work fast, very fast as this sets quick. Another problem is that it accentuates acne scars.

Product: Lakme Cheek & Lip Tint (Rs. 240/-)

Edit (17th February 2010):Since the lats time I wrote this I have found a lot many gel blushes - The Body Shop Makes an excellent one, and so does Bourjois - they have 4 shades!

4. Tint Blush
When you are planning to use the tint blush you should blend it fast and well. Tint blush can look streaky over foundation, so use it over bare skin. But once it is set it would not budge until you wash your face. Just like the gel blushes, tint blushes are also fast drying.  Unfortunately these are not available in India.

5. Cheek Pencils
The cheek pencils are considered best for the beginners. But those who have oily skin should not use cheek pencils as they are often formulated with extra moisturizers and emollients to keep them soft and bendable.  These too are unavailable in India. But you can substitute with a lip liner. Just take care to blend in well so that there are no streaks left behind.

6. Shimmers
The shimmers are considered just great for adding a light gleam to your face. They are the best choice for the night time. You can dab the shimmers on your forehead, in the bow of your upper lip or in the inner corners of your eyes. 

Product: Lakme Face Sheer Powder in Desert Rose

7. Bronzers
Bronzer is available in light, medium or dark tones. It is considered ideal for faking or enhancing the tanned look of your skin. Bronzer is especially flattering to medium and deep-toned complexions. The fair skinned types should pick only the lightest shades. Bronzers are especially great for the darker skins as they give a natural-looking blush. 

Not very popular in India as women here are obsessed with fairness & unable to understand the concept of a product that “enhances the tanned look of the skin”.  Personally I feel that most of us will look much better with a bronzer rather than a blush. Maybelline offers a nice bronzer with a shimmer thrown in for glamour.

8. Air Whipped Mousse.  
Some cream blushes are air-whipped to provide them with an airy. Light, mousse like texture. Applied with fingers this melts into the skin and is versatile to work with. Excellent for people who are new to blush.

Pros: Very natural looking, highly blendable & buildable. Very suitable for beginners. Those with oily skin will love it
Cons: Those with dry skin will hate it. 

Product: Maybelline Dream Mousee Blush (has shimmer in it)

Which Formulation should you Choose?
Whether you choose a cream, a powder or a gel stain depends on your skin and the look you're going for.

  • If you're in a looking to create a fresh I-have-just-taken-a-walk-in-the-meadow look, then go with a stain.
  • Working a dewy, hot, intense look for a date or a night party? Dab on a cream blush.
  • Look that says I just spent my entire week vacationing/or a very sultry, mysterious face? Bronzer is your best friend
  • Attending a wedding during the day? Use the classic powder formula for a clean matt finish
  • Headed for office? Mousse / cream blush is your best option on rushed, early mornings
That said, here's what's ideal for your skin type: 

Stick with oil-free, water-based stains or mousse. Avoid powder blush; it'll go on uneven and look streaky, and creams will appear greasy.

Dry and Flaky
You're probably using a heavy moisturizer, so a cream formula would blend in most naturally as it contains emollients and moisturizers to help prevent any pigment gathering and flaking on the skin.  Avoid mousse and powder formulations. 


You can use anything - so get your blush on.


  • Look at yourself in the mirror and smile.
  • Apply a pea-sized smudge of creamy blush, to the apples of your cheek.
  • If you’re using a gel/tint/stain, gently blend it into the skin with your fingertips – the warmth of your fingers will melt it so that it glides over the skin and can be easily manipulated. But work fast!
  • If you’re using a powder, opt for a medium-sized brush and collect just a light dusting of powder from the compact (try not to overload the brush with powder, as it is harder to remove powder pigment than it is to apply more).

Or else if you are the lazy type: A light workout will give you the healthy, flushed look that your makeup should mirror. 


  • Apply your blush with the right kind of brush. When you bring home a new blush, throw away that little sponge brush that came with it (or else if you are frugal types, keep it to apply eye-shadow. Apply, not blend). They're skinny and leave a stripe, instead, go with a soft, fluffy brush that spreads the makeup over your skin.
  • If in doubt, go with the powder: the blush formulations types of liquids, gels, creams, cream-to-powders and sticks  tend to streak on all but the most flawless of skin types if you are not a expert at this. Use these with a foundation in place. Or else get powder.
  • Fool-Proof color: One color is "foolproof," that color is a gently golden, tannish-type brown/bronze. And for darker skin tones, go with a deeper golden brown. Be sure, too, to choose a common color family for your lipstick and your blush — and carefully avoid colors that could clash. Lipstick that matches ypur blush will give you a natural and sophisticated look.
  • To take your blush from everyday to elegant. To dress up your healthy glow for evening, add a blush that is a little on the brighter side, and wear it higher on your cheekbone.
  • Shimmer is your friend: Any blush with a bit of shimmer looks fabulous on you. It instantly brightens your face and makes you look like you've just returned from Goa.

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  1. wow..MakeUp 101? thats a lovely idea.. :)
    i must bookmark this post..its got the required information.. :P


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