A staple to some makeup routines, an untouched product in others, blush is a tricky product to master. If you over-apply blush, then you’ll look more like a tomato instead of a rosy-cheeked goddess, and if you under-apply, then well, you look like you’ve got nothing on. The biggest question is how you should apply blush? Just where is the sweet spot to place your fave pink blush pigment? Usually, the apples of the cheeks are deemed the perfect place for blush, but makeup gurus have recently shaken up this practice with something called “blush contour.” Now, blush contour is the new blush method on the block and for good reason.
Blush contour is a technique where you apply blush in a sweeping motion upward and across the cheekbones, much like you would with contour. It seems like it would be simple, but as blush can get a little fidgety, this contour can be easy to mess up. However, with a little guidance, contouring might just be your new favorite method for applying blush. Here are five tips you need to start blush contouring like a pro.
1. Reference your facial structure
As with typical contouring, you have to take your face structure into account when figuring out where to apply the product. For blush contour, it can depend on your face shape and what kind of look you’re going for. Blush accentuates certain features by adding eye-catching color, so you have to figure out which aspects should get that extra attention. For example, if you have a round face, you usually look best with blush contour that lifts up your cheeks, making your face look slimmer. In that case, you would apply your blush just below the apples of your cheeks and bring it up toward your hairline in a sweeping motion.
Meanwhile, heart-shaped faces look best when their blush lifts up their cheekbones, accentuating them further. So for heart-shaped faces, blush contour should go on the bottom portion of the apples of your cheek, working upward toward the temples, using a circular motion to round the cheeks out. However, maybe you have a heart-shaped face but want to subdue your high cheekbones. If you have high pointed cheekbones, and you’re looking to soften the appearance of them, then you would apply your blush a bit lower than the hollows of your cheeks. This creates the illusion of a fuller cheek, instead of sharpening your cheekbones. It’s really all about which features you’d personally like to highlight. So, study your features, and that will determine your next step to blush contouring.
2. Use a flat powder brush instead of a blush brush
Instead of your usual kabuki (the typical blush brush), go for a contour brush to apply your pigment. Since blush contour requires more intention in the application, a contour brush is the perfect tool. The flat powder brush gives you precision and will help define your cheekbones and cheeks. The flatter shape of the brush also gives you a sharper finish, so when you blend your blush against your cheekbones, the color will be more vibrant, and the shape of your application will be much more defined.
3. Focus on your cheeks and temples
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When blush contouring, it’s important to apply blush toward the hollows of your cheeks, rather than just the apples of your cheeks. Again, intuitively we’d want to apply blush directly on the center of the apples of our cheeks.
However, that method does not always suit your facial structure. This method makes your blush sit flatly on your face, as opposed to having the color follow the natural curves and contours of your face. Natural blush from your face (the kind that appears after a tough workout or a flirt from a crush) can appear this way. So the traditional blush application method doesn’t provide as much depth and dimension to your cheeks, leaving you with a flatter look. Blush contouring, on the other hand, lifts the face up like contouring does.
Apply blush from the sides of your cheeks, just slightly above where you do your normal contour. Be sure to use an upward sweeping motion to bring the product from the sides of your cheeks all the way up to just below your temples. Bringing the excess blush up to your temples will also make your contour look more natural. Always be sure to focus on the sides of your cheeks to get that flushed contoured look.
4. Go for brown, pink or peach shades for a natural look
For blush contouring, neutral and dusty shades are ideal for achieving the classy-yet-natural look. Mauvy and rosy pinks are perfect as they suit every skin tone. The tanner blush shades usually match your skin color a lot better too, so applying browns and beiges actually makes your cheeks look naturally rounder and fuller. At the same time, peach and coral shades are also ideal for blush contour as their color can make your cheeks look more defined.
Blush contour is what it sounds like, a mix between contour and blush to achieve a fuller, more colorful makeup look. So, going for neutral browny pinks and peaches will add that extra flush of color you’re looking for while keeping it muted enough to give a perfectly natural definition. Ramisa Chowdhury, a senior at the University of Central Florida, always goes for a mauvy pink to bring out her cheekbones.
“Whenever I’m stuck on what blush to wear, a brown pink is my go to. The color is subtle enough, so when I apply it just under the apples of my cheeks, it looks like a natural blush color that defines my cheeks more. It’s also great because it’s a very versatile color; I can use it for a party or just for everyday wear,” Ramisa says.
For an even smoother, more pigmented and natural finish, try using cream blushes. Powder blushes can be difficult to blend in for blush contour, but cream blushes blend into your skin perfectly and can be super pigmented. They’re especially ideal for anyone with dry skin who may otherwise hurt their skin with dry blush products. A rosy pink cream blush can bring your face to life, so be sure to take a little and dab it in the area where you want the most color to show. Then, proceed to blend the cream blush out toward the hairline. Voila, you’ve got the most natural, beautiful blush contour you’ve ever seen.
5. Top it off with a pink-toned highlight
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No contour is complete without a highlight to bring it all together. However, a pink highlight can take your blush contour to the next level. Use a highlight with a pink undertone to complement the blush contour. Creamy highlights work best as they are usually the most pigmented and won’t get lost in the powdery blush contour. Apply the highlight directly above the blush contour to complete the look. Arshi Chowdhury, a junior at the University of Florida, loves to incorporate a pink highlight to bring out her blush.
“I notice that when I put on silver or cool toned highlights, they can overpower the blush and distract away from it,” Arshi says. “But a pink highlight brings my look together because the colors overall are so warm. The blush is usually a matte pink and combining that with a shiny pink highlight makes your makeup look really put together.”
Blush contour is the trendiest new way to apply your blush, and with some sound tips, you can experiment with your technique. Feel free to test out different areas of your face to see which blush contour look best suits you.