The Do-It-All Blush That's Replaced My Highlight and Contour Kit

I’ve never been a blush aficionado. I blame the fact that during my formative teen years, my cheeks were already ruddy (thanks, acne!), and thus wearing blush didn’t make sense. Why draw attention to a part of my face I was already self-conscious about?

Even after my skin cleared up, I never felt as excited about blush as I did about, say, a brand new lipstick or pore-clearing mask. I used a cream blush when I needed a touch of color, but that was it. The way I felt about that blush was like the way I’ve always felt about mint chocolate chip ice cream: I didn’t mind it, but I knew there were better options out there. Alas, work and life got in the way, and I continued using the lackluster option for months on end out of sheer laziness.

Then, one fateful day during New York Fashion Week last fall, I laid eyes on Stila’s Baked Cheek Duo ($24) in Pink Glow. This was something daring, something new, something that would make me rethink everything I’d ever known or felt about blush.

That first time I saw it being used, makeup artist Sarah Lucero was demonstrating the blush’s versatility backstage at Alice + Olivia, using a fan brush to lightly swipe a model’s cheeks. (Turns out, Lucero used this blush for about every show she created the makeup looks for.) In that moment, gazing at the models’ face post-blush, I was overcome with severe cheekbone envy and vowed to never again settle for a blush that didn't give me a a model-esque glow.

Once the Stila product landed in my eager hands, I swept and sculpted with abandon. The silky, baked formula went on like a dream and left the most ethereal sheen. I used a flat, soft blush brush to sweep the light pink side slightly above my cheekbones. Then I used the darker pink shade as a makeshift contour powder, blending it right below my cheekbones.

Today, I can confidently say that this product is one that I plan on using every single day. Strong words for a beauty editor, but you know what they say—good things happen when you don’t settle.

What’s your all-time favorite blush? Tell me below!