My Favourite Blusher Hacks for an Instant Glow
This post may contain affiliate links, which are marked with a '*'. Any PR sample is marked with a '**'. You can read my full disclosure policy here
Ah blusher; the secret weapon in my quest for eternally glowing skin… While others may opt for bronzer or highlighter for their dewy kicks, I’ve always been a blusher girl first and foremost for its abilities to lift the face and perk up the complexion (even after less than 5 hours sleep).
And while pretty much most blushers can mimic the effects of a full eight hours, there are a couple of particular ways I like to use mine to get the most bang for my glowing skin buck. All help give skin a natural, dewy look; and all take less than approximately three seconds (more of less…).
1. Use Cream Blusher
By far my favourite type of blusher, cream products tend to be naturally glowing thanks to their emollient formulas. Some are dewier than others though, so for maximum glow my favourites are Milk Makeup’s Lip + Cheek, Ilia’s Color Haze Multi-Matte Pigment.
As an added bonus, because they tend to come in a stick of liquid form they’re ridiculously quick and easy to apply and pretty much cut out the need for fiddly brushes entirely.
Meanwhile slightly more matte fans might prefer Wander Beauty’s On-the-Glow Blush & Illuminator* or Glossier’s Cloud Paint. For a rundown of all my favourites cream blushers, as well as which ones work best for each skin type, take a look at my Cream Blusher Guide here.
2. Use Tinted Lip Balm
For maximum glow (as well as a formula that’s perfect for lazy finger application), my everyday blusher trick is to use a tinted lip balm in place of a normal blusher. While most balms will do, my very favourite both for its mega-watt glow and for its immediately complexion-boosting shade is RMS Beauty’s Lip Shine in Sublime.
Best for those who like their cheek look more on the dewy, slightly wet-look side, the side benefit of using a balm is that because the texture is quite heavy they tend to stick around all day, even on the cheeks.
3. Use a Damp Sponge
While I mostly just use fingers to apply blush, if I’m using a product slightly more on the matte side- or I just really want to ramp up the glow- I use a damp Beautyblender to apply.
I find the extra hit of hydration gives the effect a subtle dewiness that nicely replicates the effects of half an hour’s yoga (or something equally virtuous).
4. Blend Up and Out
In my experience, the position of blusher on cheeks can make as much difference as finding the right shade to flatter your skin tone… Too high up on the cheeks and the effect looks unnatural, and too low and it can pull down the face or make my already slightly hamster-esque cheeks seem fuller.
Instead of doing the whole ‘smile and apply onto the apple of cheeks’ thing, I actually find the mid-high point on the apple of cheeks when my face is at rest before patting blusher in a small circle, blending out above and below. I finish by blending any slight excess upwards and outwards towards temples.
I find this mimics how my face when I’m actually blushing- just a tiny bit higher- and has the effect of subtly lifting my features (and drawing focus onto the cheekbones instead of the centre of my face).
5. Choose the Right Shade
The right shade for each individual skin tone- whether cool, warm or neutral- can make all the difference between looking bright eyed and bushy tailed or, well, slightly peaky.
And there are two schools of thought here: the makeup artists who say you should choose a blusher shade that deliberately picks out the warm or cool undertones that naturally exist in your skin, and those who say you should go opposite (almost like using blusher as a colour corrector to counteract cool or warm tones).
I personally have some undertones which can make me look slightly sickly if I’m not careful- especially in the winter months. And while I’m naturally drawn to warm colours like terracotta or warm peach shades, over the past few years I’d started to notice that the overall effect on me (however great the product looked in the pan) was less bronzed goddess and more walking dead. So now I tend to use cool toned blushers to counteract some of my natural warmth and add a bright pop of colour (making me look slightly more awake).
So to pick your perfect shade(s), first up you need to work out whether you want to bring out your own cool/warm undertones, or counteract them…
How to Pick Your Blusher Shade
Cool skin tones: Will find shades that incorporate some amount of orange or brown (think the warmest peaches, terracottas, roses and corals) add an overall feeling of warmth to the skin, creating a gorgeous just-back-from-two-weeks-in-St-Tropez look. Meanwhile, blushers with slightly more purple or blue tones (like cool roses, mauves and bright pinks) offer a wide-awake, vibrant look and an overall icy cool effect.
Neutral tones: Are pretty lucky in that since their skin pulls neither particularly warm nor cool, the shade they choose will stay pretty true to how it looks in the pan/on the stick. That means they’re able to create a ton of different looks quite easily- from beach-fresh and glowing, or cool and minimalist- without worrying too much about whether a particular shade will suite them.
Warm tones: Will find bright shades their biggest ally in creating a vibrant, wide awake look (especially in winter, when skin can naturally become slightly dull). Think raspberries, bright corals, fuchsias, and even shades on the lilac spectrum (and don’t worry, while the colours might look slightly alarming in the packaging, on a warm undertone they tend to dial down to a flattering light pop of brightness).
To embrace natural warm undertones though, and go full bronzed-goddess (another of my favourite looks), warm tones tend to naturally suit shades that are on the pinker side of golden, like copper and rose gold (which keep the overall look bright yet still bronzed).
Oh, and in case you’re unsure what sort of undertones you have, one simple test is to take a look at your visible veins. If they appear green, you most likely have warm tones, while if they look blue or purple you’re most likely cool toned. Meanwhile neutral tones may find their veins are almost un-noticeable.
So there you have it; my favourite ways to use blusher for a glowy, dewy complexion as well as a pop of colour that makes me look like I’ve spent my life doing all sorts of good things like eating my five a day, every day without fail (which I absolutely can’t promise I have done).