One of my very favorite makeup items in all of existence is blush. Isn't it funny that we try so hard to cover up our rosy red cheeks when we become embarrassed, but then try to mimic that flush with makeup? I think there's something quite charming and attractive about a beautifully applied blush that can't be replaced by anything else in a makeup routine. Even with no other makeup on, it brings a liveliness to the face that I really adore.
There are plenty of techniques used to give us that effervescent, lit-from-within glow that we all seek but I've found one which is easy to master while helping to slim and contour the face at the same time...
Sigma F40 Angled Contour Brush
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed
Dior Diorskin Shimmer Powder in 002 Amber Diamond
NYX Mosaic Powder in Highlighter
Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush
Shirt is from Forever 21 last year (similar plain/PINK)
Tank top is from J. Crew (similar/similar)
Nail polish is Revlon Whimsical
I'm sure we've all seen the tacky, overdone pink cheeks of plenty 'o club-going collegiates, right? That is something that I personally try to avoid when applying blush. Makeup can be a lot like clothes and hairstyles in that you want the makeup to enhance you, not be the star of the show itself.
Coming from an artist's perspective, the key to a effortless blushed look is to understand the natural highlights and contours of the face and enhancing it. This way, your natural beauty shines through.
Here you can see the gradient of blush application from the highest concentration of color near my ear and softly coming forward to curve under the cheeks. Tarte's Exposed blush (swatch here) is the perfect pinkish touch-of-brown color on my NC30 skin to use as a hybrid blush/bronzer for my contoured blush technique.
Obviously, you can experiment with different blush shades to achieve this natural flush to match your own skintone as well. Paler skinned ladies might want to try pinks and mauves while I find tanned and deeper skinned women to generally look great with peaches and bronzes.
You can also see the sheen at the top of my cheeks from where I used my Diorskin Shimmer Powder which catches the light in a really flattering way. It's golden with very small shimmer particles that I can see being quite flattering on warmer skintones especially. Again, highlighters aren't about people seeing a disco ball on your face but instead giving others the impression that your skin is really radiant and healthy.
Another favorite highlighting product of mine is my NYX Mosaic Powder in Highlighter which is a product I've loved for years. You can see my first swatch of it in an old 2009 post here. There are no shimmers in it but it imparts a lovely iridescent glow without looking frosty or chalky. Obviously, at $8 (currently on sale at Ulta for under $5) it's a great choice for those who are budget-conscious as well.
Since I'm always down for finding a new favorite, let me know in the comments what your favorite blush and highlighter are!