6 Ways You Might Be Doing Blush Wrong

AAPI Woman with Neutral Blush and Pale Green Eyeshadow on Designed Background
Stocksy | Design by Zackary Angeline .

Learning how to apply blush correctly is trickier than it might seem. "Smile, and dust it onto the apples of your cheeks," is the common advice. Even with this seemingly simple direction, it's easy to go overboard and find yourself looking a little clownish. But there's at least one good reason you should be wearing blush: It brightens up dull skin and gives you an instant glow.

To make things easier, keep scrolling for the six mistakes almost everyone makes when applying blush.

#1: Thinking It's Just For Cheeks

person applying blush

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When you spend a lot of time in the beauty industry, you pick up tips from makeup artists. One of the best blush tricks we've learned is from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's go-to makeup artist Florrie White, who suggests that blush isn't just for your cheeks. As well as subtly applying the color to the apples of your cheeks, you should also add some to your temples to create a natural highlight, according to White. Not only will this pull your whole face together (kind of like matching the color of your accessories), it'll create an all-over glow. You can even dust a little across the bridge of your nose for that just-been-on-holiday look.

#2: Choosing the Wrong Color for Your Skin Tone

Makeup artist Katey Denno, who works with Amanda Seyfried, Isla Fisher, Mindy Kaling, and more, says that when finding the right shade of blush for your skin tone, "The goal is to pick a shade that matches the color of your cheeks when you have a natural flush." So how do you pick correctly? If you're really pale, you want a cool pink; olive complexions want an apricot shade; and for darker skin, a super-pigmented blush is the way to go. You can see more of how to find the right shade for you with our guide to the perfect blush color for your complexion.

#3: Using the Wrong Formula for Your Skin Type

blended blush and full beat

Nicklaus Walter / Stocksy

Much like when you're trying to decide on the right formula of foundation, there are many different types of blush that will suit different types of skin—from powder to creams to sheer tints.

So, which one is right for you? For oily skin, makeup artist Sonia Kashuk recommends first using a cream blush and then following up "with a light dusting of powder blush in a corresponding color to set the product in place and add longevity to wear."

However, if you have drier skin, just a subtle dab of cream blush or even a tint will give you the dewy glow you're after. Also, if you're layering your blush over your foundation you'll want it to blend with ease; creams and liquids work best together, whereas powder foundation can be layered with a powder blush.

Keep in mind that stains and gels should always be applied to moisturized skin. They tend to dry very quickly, so blend well and fast.

#4: Putting Too Much On

Yes, we know this is obvious, but you should always use less than you need. If in doubt, take half off what you want to apply. You can always build it up, but it's much harder to undo what's overdone. If you've gone a bit too heavy on the powder blush, a bit of translucent powder over it will calm it down. Another trick: Apply blush before foundation for a more natural look.

#5: Not Blending

fresh face portrait

ohlamour studio / Stocksy

Blush is meant to mimic where you would naturally blush, so when you don't blend you end up with a stripey-looking face. The solution? Great makeup brushes. Read through our guide to the seven makeup brushes every woman should own for help on deciding which one is right for you.

#6: Not Considering Your Face Shape

When applying blush, your face shape matters. People with long faces benefit the most from applying blush to the apples of the cheeks and then blending toward the hairline. C-shape shading is the makeup artist secret for applying blush to round or square shaped faces: Apply blush in a curve from your temples to your cheekbones.

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