|Top Row (L-R): Nars Deep Throat, Nars Madly. Bottom row: Stila Convertible Color in Peony, Smashbox Chiffon|
In case you weren't already aware, blush is my favorite beauty product (with lipstick coming in at a close second). I still remember my very first blush. It was a Covergirl Cheekers in some shade of peachy-pink. I was inspired to purchase blush by reading YM magazine (may it rest in peace), where I found a full-page feature on achieving Kate Bosworth's red carpet makeup look. Kate had a gorgeous peachy flush across the cheeks, and according to the magazine, a Stila blush was used for the look. With limited funds and limited resources, the best alternative I could find was a Covergirl blush from Walmart that looked very similar in color. Of course I used the small plastic brush that came in the package and could not understand why I could not recreate Kate Bosworth's lovely flush. I never bought another blush after that for years, assuming that blush was not for me. Looking back, the blush itself was likely not very pigmented, and the rubbish brush did not help it's case.
Fast forward to 9 years later and I now possess 9 beautiful blushes that I could not live without (and the collection continues to grow). I believe that my experience is similar to so many others. Trying a dud and giving up on it forever. For whatever reason, I feel like the girls of my generation do not place great importance on blush. In fact I felt like a bit of a granny when I first started wearing blush, as I was probably the first of my friends to try it. The moral of this drawn out story is this- GIVE BLUSH A CHANCE! If you feel like you are afraid of blush/ think it is dumb/ think it's for grannies- I beg of you to pick up the blush brush and try once more. It's really not that scary and it looks so beautiful when it's done right. I will have more posts to follow on application secrets, but here are some basic points on buying a blush and picking a color: Let's get cheeky!
1. The Brush:You know that convenient little brush that sits ever so cutely next to the blush? Throw it out! They are junk, and even if they aren't, it's not worth the risk. Go out and buy yourself a proper brush and I promise you it will make all the difference. A nice blusher brush can make a cheaper blush look fantastic. Of course there are lots of expensive brushes that are beautiful quality (MAC, Lancome, etc) but I personally use a more affordable brush (see picture above). Make sure the brush is domed and soft for evenly blended color. Some suggestions for brands that make lovely brushes at a good price point are Sonia Kashuk (what I use, available at Target), Real Techniques (Multitask brush is really good), Ecotools, and The Body Shop.
2. Amount: Start low and go slow (I believe this is a rule for medicating the elderly? Oops! Sorry for the medical talk). By this, I mean start with really small amounts of blush and work from there. Do not load up your brush with oodles of powder and then wonder why you look like a member of Cirque de Soleil. Sweep your brush lightly across the pan, then tap the brush/dab on back of hand/blot on tissue to remove the excess pigment and sweep lightly onto the cheeks. For highly pigmented blushes, this may be enough. For more sheer brushes, you may want to repeat this a few times. From my experience, you can always add more, but you cannot take away. It's easier to add a small amount of color and reapply rather than washing off a full face of makeup (learned from experience!).
3. Color selection: There is no "one size fits all" color for blush. There are some colors that are flattering on MOST skin tones, but this does not necessarily mean it is for you. If you have no idea what blush color you want, I would recommend buying some drugstore blushes and see what colors look the most flattering before slapping down some cash on a high end pick (there is truly nothing like a Nars blush). I have heard so many rules about choosing blush, but I'm not sure if I feel like endorsing them, as I don't tend to follow many makeup rules myself. I have heard people say to get a blush similar to the color your cheeks turn in the cold/after exercise, but this doesn't work for me. I took that advice and I did not like the end result. So what I'm saying is, buy a few colors if you are really unsure (a peach, a light pink, bright pink, warm pink, coral, plum, rose and/or a neutral browny- pink) and see which one looks right. Just one more thing about picking out a color; I've never met a person who disliked a coral blush (but don't hold me to that). Another very general suggestion is that if you have a warm skin tone, warm colors will compliment your complexion, and ditto for cool skin tones. But again, I do not follow this rule myself but it may be a good place to start if you are looking for a blush that compliments your skin tone rather than appearing too stark. It shouldn't LOOK like you are wearing blush, but it should look blended and natural. My recommendations for budget blushes are Wet n Wild Color Icon blushes, Gosh Cosmetics blushes, Physicians Formula Happy Booster blushes, Rimmel London blushes and NYX blushes.
Blush is such a beautiful product and I really hope that more people take interest in the most elegant, feminine beauty product known to humankind (that's right, I said it). Do you remember your first blush? What are your favorite budget blushes for blush-noobs?
Thanks for reading :)