Blush is meant to light up your face, to give it structure and accentuate your assets. Sounds simple, right? And yet it’s easily one of the most misplaced and misused cosmetics. It seems so easy – smile, dust on a bit of colour with a fluffy brush and voila! Now you have perfect cheeks, right? Not quite. I turned to Melissa Street, a professional makeup artist based in Los Angeles, California, for the skinny on how to achieve a perfectly natural, sculpted cheek.
For years, magazines have preached the placing of blush on the apples of your cheeks. When you smile, the apples of your cheeks are the prominent, fleshy bits that stand out. But there is one major flaw with this theory. As soon as you stop smiling, the apples deflate and the blush you’ve added to lift your face falls towards the floor.
Instead of the old fashioned apple application, Street insists you should be using blush to lift and frame your face, especially the eyes. To find the correct spot for blush, rather than smiling into a mirror, use your fingers and feel for your cheek bones. Place blush high on the cheek bone itself, curving upwards, toward the brow, not back towards the hairline.
One of the biggest mistakes women make when applying cheek colour is putting it too close to the centre of your face. To determine where you should avoid putting blush, simply take the palm of your hand, with fingers naturally together, and place your hand over your nose, with your chin resting in your palm. Your blush should not extend into the area covered by your fingers.
According to Street, her favourite way to achieve the perfect cheek is to layer, build and use the correct tools:
“Start by using a cream blush under your foundation. Use a brighter colour than you may normally reach for and apply it with a slightly heavier hand than you would typically use. Then, stipple your foundation over the cream blush. This allows your cheek colour to automatically look as if you are being lit from within. After you’ve applied your foundation, add a little more colour using a fan brush, not your typical fluffy brush.”
Street also suggests that you “try mixing two or three colours – like pink, peach and bronze – to get a really natural look. The fan brush gives you a light, diffused touch of colour, instead of a harsh streak.” Picking the right colour isn’t as difficult as you think. Focus on the intensity of the color, not the actual color itself. Fair-skinned women can easily handle a sheer wash of a bright color or just a touch of a color like a dusty rose. Women with medium or olive-toned skin should use a slightly more intense shade; think more tawny than electric. Women with darker skin can lean toward using a brighter, more intense shade to help define their cheeks. Pick a few shades you like and put them together for look that is uniquely you!
Finally, be sure to use a shimmery champagne highlighter on the very tops of the cheek bones, curving upwards above the centre of the brow bone. This last step really frames your eyes and lifts your entire face.
Blending multiple colours and textures, finding the correct placement for your bone structure and using a well placed highlighter will help you achieve a fresh, modern and perfect cheek.