Blush is one of the most underrated products in your makeup kit. Something about the highly-pigmented product tends to intimidate makeup beginners. But it doesn't have to be complicated. You can literally put on blush with your fingers (so easy). However, there are a few guidelines you should know to avoid looking overly flushed or clownish. So, SELF talked to Jenny Patinkin , a Chicago-based makeup artist, and Fiona Stiles, a celebrity makeup artist and creator of Fiona Stiles Beauty , for their expert tips. Here are seven common mistakes women make with blush, and the tricks you need to avoid them at all costs.
1. You’re trying to put powder blush over a liquid foundation.
When it comes to blush, you want to apply like with like. So if you use a powder blush, make sure to set your makeup with setting powder before putting the color on your cheeks. “If you try to apply a powder blush over liquid foundation, the pigment will streak and be impossible to blend,” says Stiles. The powder can also grip and settle into any oily patches. The same rule applies for cream blush formulas. “If you're using a cream blush, apply it over foundation and before you set the look with powder.”
2. You’re afraid of trying new shades.
Finding the right blush hue to give you that flushed look is a process of trial and error. Here are a few guidelines to help you. Hyper-pigmented blush can look extreme on fair skin. So look for sheer or cream formulas, which are easier to build. “Olive tones can wear pretty much any blush shade (except for very pale blushes), and darker skin tones look great with bronzy colors as well as cool-toned dark pinks,” says Stiles.
And don’t forget about brown. “It’s sort of a bronzer, contour, blush hybrid,” says Patinkin. “In one step, you’re defining your cheeks and adding warmth to your skin tone. And brown blushes usually have a rosiness to them, so you’re getting a subtle color, too.” You also want to be careful with texture. If you have fine lines, avoid shimmer. “Those shimmery particles are heavier than the powder particles, so they sink to the bottom of fine lines and accentuate them,” says Patinkin.
Related: 11 Mascara Mistakes You Need To Stop Making
3. You don’t take your face shape into account.
Just like contouring, you can use blush to balance your facial features. If you have a square or heart-shaped face, concentrate the color on the apples of your cheeks. If your face is longer or oval, you can swipe blush along the tops of cheekbones. And women with a round face shape should focus the blush on the side of cheeks rather than right on the apples.
4. You’re using the wrong tool.
Yes, you can use your fingers to apply blush. However, Stiles prefers a small dual-fiber option. “The dual fiber helps evenly disperse the product for a seamless application,” she says. Patinkin likes to use a dense, domed brush to get the best blend. “It’s very difficult to get a round shape with a flat, square blush,” she says. “If you’re looking to get blush on the apples of your cheeks, you want something rounded, so you can buff it in your face without winding up with any lines.”
5. You apply blush as the very last step in your makeup routine.
Stiles applies blush after contouring but before adding highlight. “I like to do highlighter after blush because maybe you use a blush that has enough sheen or shimmer in it, and you'll decide you don't need highlighter,” she explains. Patinkin also recommends going back and adjusting your blush after applying your lipstick, since the two colors will play off one another.
Related: I Tried Blush In A Can And It Was Awesome
6. You're heavy-handed with the product.
It happens to all of us. You’re dusting it on, and then you’ve got a cheek full of hot pink. Luckily, this is easy to fix without having to pull out the makeup remover. “If you applied your foundation with a sponge, you can blot and pat away any of the excess blush,” says Patinkin. “That’s the easiest way to do it without disturbing the shape or your makeup.”
7. Or you don’t apply enough blush to show up in photos.
If you’re going to be taking a lot of photos (or selfies), you’ll want to add a bit more color to your cheeks. “I tell brides you want to go with 20 percent more blush than you would on a regular day because you want to balance out the lights,” says Patinkin. “If you’re not wearing enough blush, you can lose the dimension of the cheeks.”