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Beauty Editor’s Masterclass: on blusher

Welcome to the first installment of Beauty Ed’s Masterclass, a series where I’ll share all that I’ve learned from years of working with the world’s top make-up artists. Today, it’s the power of a bit of cheek – I’m talking blusher, natch. Too little and you look washed out. Too much and you look like you’ve come off second best in a slapping match with Kat Slater. It’s all about getting the balance between your eyes and lips right. So, to ensure that come your W-day you glow not glare, let’s go back to basics….


Pretty flushed cheeks are good because…

You’ll look healthy: no need to rush to the church (unless you really are late) you’re only a few flicks of a blusher brush away from looking fresh and fab-u-lous.
It’ll give you cheekbones: even if you weren’t born with Cara Delevingne’s ones, a strategic dose of blusher will make you look like you were.
You’ll feed your face: most blushers come packed with skin-gredients like UV filters, vitamin E and light-diffusing particles.

What’s out there?

Remember that the right blusher should look natural once it’s on (think an ‘in love glow’) but you need to hunt out the best blush for you and your skin type. I always find that copying my foundation finish works best, eg. cream to cream or powder to powder, otherwise you’re chancing an uneven finish which could show up streaky in the wedding snaps. Choose from:
Cream blushers: good for dry skins and give radiant, natural-looking colour. Powder blushers: suit all skin types and create a softer, english rose look.
Gel blushers: perfect for oily skins, the colour literally melts in.
Liquid blushers: good for oily skins too (though put in some practice before the big day.) A good bet for budge-free blush.

Your perfect match

You’re after the colour your cheeks naturally flush when you come face to face with your fiance (or after running for the bus.)
Fair skin? Your most flattering flush will be soft apricot, fresh pink or pale peach. (Brown shades may look dirty.)
Olive skin? Warm pink, tawny or rose shades will flatter your colouring. Don’t be put off by colours that seem strong in the pot – often a light dusting across your cheeks will leave a soft, subtle finish.
Dark skin? You can carry off pretty much every shade – from hot pink to the deepest wine. Just steer clear of pale colours that’ll wash you out.


Cheekbones? What cheekbones?

Not exactly razor-sharp? Then fake them in with some careful contouring. If your face shape is…

Round: Steer clear of putting colour into the apples of your cheeks (the fat bits when you smile.) Softly sculpt in killer cheekbones by blending in a sideways V shape.

Long: Blend it right into the apples to balance out a long face with high cheekbones. Add some highlighter across your brow bones too.

Square: Apply right onto the apples – but go easy as you have a strong bone structure. Add some on your forehead and chin too.

Let’s get it on!

Slapping on your blusher in a dimly-lit bathroom is asking for trouble. Apply it in natural light – gradually – and after you’ve put on the rest of your face. Make-up artist Craig-Ryan French once told me to apply it wearing something white around your shoulders to ensure your most flattering strength of shade. If you’re using…
Powder blush: Tap any excess powder off your blusher brush, then lightly blend it over your foundation. Use downward strokes for a smooth finish. If you find you’ve left your blusher brush back at home, use cotton wool instead.
Cream blush: Apply with your fingertips (making sure you wipe them clean before touching your dress) or a sponge. Lightly press a small blob of colour on then blend until it’s completely absorbed. I’ve found that layering powder blusher on top boosts it’s staying power massively.

Gel or liquid blush: Apply with sponge or fingertips but be warned, a little goes a long way. Press on a tiny dot and blend away.
Bin the brush:Some – and I do mean some – blushers come with good brushes hidden inside the compact. But most are too dinky for such an important job. To find the perfect-sized brush for you, you need to road test a few a pressing them on to your cheeks. When splayed out, the right one will cover those apples nicely. Extensive research on my part concludes that Bobbi Brown Blush Brush, £35 works best for me.

Oh, and blusher isn’t just for your cheeks…

3 other reasons why I love a bit of blusher:
1. It’ll warm up your face. By sweeping some across your eyelids.
2. It’ll brighten tired eyes. By dusting some across your brow bone to make your eyes sparkle.
3. It’ll unleash instant radiance. By pouffing a touch on your temples, forehead and chin.

Emergency! Call the blusher police!

You’ve been too heavy-handed. Dust over any mistakes with translucent powder or blot with a slightly damp sponge
You’ve left it behind! Make do with a few dots of lipstick instead.

Blusher boutique

So, after all that reading, it’s time I shared my faves:

Bobbi Brown Pretty Powderful II Pot Rouge, £19

I love it because it’s buildable, blendable and is in a really flattering cherry pink shade. I wear it when I’m going for a low-key look by day and I top it up with powder when I want staying power by night. Oh, and it doubles up with a lipstick too!

MAC Powder Blush in Dollymix, £18

I’m a sucker for candy pink cheeks. I love, love, love this powder. It ‘pings’ my face awake, especially the morning-after-the-night-before, and blends like a dream.

Bourjois Little Round Pot in Cendre de Roses Brune, £7.99.

My intro into blusher as a teenager and it’s still going strong today. It’s such a pretty colour, the smell is divine and it’ll barely dent your budget!

Bobbi Brown Face & Body Bronzing Duo in Antigua & Golden Light, £34

Scuse the smugness, but some years ago I met Bobbi in New York where she was launching a limited edition blush/bronze duo. I absolutely loved it … but then it was gone. I pleaded and petitioned for it to go back in the range and it has – in an assortment of shades. Start with the bronzer (on apples, forehead, temples and chin) then add a pop of pink just in the centre of your cheeks. Gorge!


  • I’ve worn cendre de roses brune since I was a teenager! Glad to see it still gets an experts stamp of approval x😻😻😻

    6 years ago : Frenchieloves
    • A big ole stamp for sure x

      6 years ago : Sarah Green