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Blusher techniques: 7 ways to banish blush mishaps

A woman with a makeup brush wondering what blusher techniques are right for her

Blusher, the fashion throwback from the '80s that is back in vogue, can lift the face in one swipe. It enhances the cheekbones and adds a touch of youthful vibrancy to any look. Yet, for many, this radiance-boosting makeup icon also signals frustration. Patchy application, unwanted streaks and even ‘full-blown rouge’ disasters can turn blush from a must-have cosmetic to a confidence-sapping mess. Sound familiar? Get ready to improve your blusher technieques.

I’ve lost count of the number of times blusher has been to blame for ‘Oh, no!’ moments. Usually 10 minutes before I’m due to go out. And, because it is one of the last products to be applied to the face, it can take time and patience to remedy. In worst-case scenarios, it can call for a complete restart. Cleansing balm at the ready! Yes, I learned the hard way how to get blush right.

With a few clever tricks and a shift in perspective, however, you can flip blusher from foe to fabulous. My 7 technique hacks will show you how.

Understanding blusher techniques to avoid harsh lines

Let’s talk about the common culprits of blusher woes. Patchiness is one and it often arises from uneven skin texture or dry areas that grab onto the pigment more readily. Streaks, meanwhile, are usually the result of heavy-handed application or an unsuitable brush. Knowing which one is holding you back is half the battle, so let's tackle them one by one:

1 - Combatting patchiness. Exfoliating regularly is key to creating a smooth canvas for blush. A gentle scrub two to three times a week removes dead skin cells, allowing for a more even skin surface. Moisturising also plays a crucial role. A well-hydrated base ensures the blush blends seamlessly, preventing it from clinging to dry patches. Always use a hydrating primer before you apply your makeup.

It is worth remembering that powder blush is often harder to blend than cream or liquid blushers. Knowing how much powdered product to load onto your brush and getting the application pressure right is key to masting blusher techniques. Be light-handed. It is easier to build a product than to apply too much to start with. 

If you really struggle with powdered products, I’ve had success with cream products from P.Louise (Go With The Flow palette). I’ve also found applying blush easier with liquid blushers purchased from both Temu and Beauty Bay. These blushes are ideal for using over dewy foundations.

Powdered blush products with a beauty blender and makeup brush
Powdered blush products from Laura Geller and Makeup Revolution

2 - Banishing streaks. The right brush can honestly make all the difference. There is nothing worse than seeing a deep, rectangular block of colour stamped on your face. Removing those harsh lines can be impossible, although sometimes a burst of setting spray and a damp beauty blender can help. It’s a trick that’s got me out of trouble more than once or twice.

When applying, opt for a good quality fluffy brush with soft bristles for diffused application. Buff in circular motions to blend the blush seamlessly into your skin, avoiding blocky streaks. You can also employ a damp beauty sponge from the beginning instead for sheer, buildable coverage. Finally, STOP before you hit streak-ville.

Overdoing it is just too easy - especially now that double-ended blush products are on trend. Why apply a cream and then a powder, or vice versa? Know your boundaries and stick to just one until you have honed your technique. I have written more about ‘double blushing’ further on in this guide.

3 - Lighting. Making sure you have lighting that is bright enough to replicate daylight is important. It's easy to apply too much blush when you are in a hurry at the crack of dawn. Poor light can camouflage the amount of product you've used or minimise harsh lines. I honestly never learn with this one.

Nlusher pigments on a white background
Blusher pigments can vary wildly - from subtle to the deep end of extreme

Beyond basics - techniques and tips for blush confidence

Now that we've dealt with the obvious pitfalls, let's explore some advanced strategies to elevate your blusher game:

4 - Find your shade. Not all pinks and peach blushes are created equal. Choosing the right shade for your skin tone is crucial. Don’t go with a shade just because Peach Fuzz is trending or because a vibrant pink looks good on someone else. Understand that different complexions have different requirements to achieve the same result.

Fairer complexions look radiant with cooler tones. Think of shades like rose or mauve. On the other hand, olive and deeper skin tones are flattered with warmer hues. Try coral or terracotta colours, for example. Experiment with different shades to discover which is your perfect match.

Purple blush was hot last year but requires a light application for a natural finish. 

If you aren’t 100 per cent sure which tone of a particular shade is best for your skin, a blush palette is a good investment. As well as letting you try a variety of pigments, you can mix and match to create a shade that is unique to you and your complexion.

5 - Placement precision. The location of the blusher on your face can dramatically impact your look. For a youthful lift, apply it to the apples of your cheeks, blending upwards towards your temples. If you want to define your cheekbones, sweep the blusher along the hollows beneath them, starting near the hairline and blending towards your nose.

A current trend I really like is to use blush across the nose. Jeffree Star applies his up to the corner of the outer eye, and it looks stunning. 

6 - Layering like a pro. Blusher doesn't have to be a one-step wonder. Layer different textures and finishes for added dimension, but be careful not to overdo it. You can start with a cream blush for a natural flush, then top it off with a powder blush for a longer-lasting effect. You can even play with shimmery highlighters to add a touch of dewy glow. If you aren’t confident with blusher, experiment with this technique when you have some spare time. It’s not for everyone.

7 - Blusher beyond the cheeks. Remember that blusher is a versatile product. Dab a touch on your eyelids or nose for a coordinated look. You can even use it as a lip stain for a soft, bitten-lip effect. Add a gloss as a topper for a bit of sparkle.

Tip: If you like having precision control over highlighting products, make sure you use a matte finish blush with no illuminating properties.

Cream and liquid blush products
Cream blush palette from P.Louise and liquid blushers from Temu and Beauty Bay

Embracing blusher: make it a mindset

Finally, let's talk discuss the emotional signals some people equate with blush. For many, blushing is a source of anxiety and self-consciousness. Embarrassment even. Why create redness with makeup when we put so much effort into concealing it? Put simply, it is a cornerstone of radiant skin. 

A change in perspective can be transformative. Here are some ways to reframe your relationship with blusher techniques:

  • Normalise the flush - blushing is a natural, human response. It's a sign of vulnerability and authenticity, not something to be ashamed of. Remember, everyone blushes sometimes, even celebrities!

  • Focus on the positive - blusher can instantly enhance your natural beauty and add a new dimension to your complexion. Appreciate its power to brighten your face and lift your mood.

  • Own your blush - confidence is the ultimate beauty secret. So, master your technique to ensure you can wear blush with pride.

Remember, mastering blusher isn't about achieving perfection; it's about having fun and expressing yourself. So experiment, embrace the mistakes and, importantly, enjoy the process. 

With a little practice and a shift in perspective, you'll be banishing blusher blunders and conquering the crimson in no time.


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