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How to apply blush, according to the pros

Get glowing, girl!
How to apply blush
Want glowing, rosy cheeks? There are three main types of blush to choose from: powder, cream or gel.Leon Bennett / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Adding a touch of color to your cheeks can give that rosy, lit-from-within glow, but learning how to apply blush doesn't always come easily.

If your previous attempts at applying blush have turned out more scary than sexy, you've come to the right place. TODAY Style tapped four top makeup pros to break down the basics of blush and share some insider application tips. With their guidance, you'll be saying "So long!" to the blush blunders of your beauty past.

What are the different types of blush?

Much like foundation and eye shadow, there are several types of blush from which to choose. And your go-to formula will likely depend on personal preference and the type of finish you're hoping to create.

  • Powder blush: This popular blush formula works well for those with oily skin and goes on easily with a blush brush. "For powders, natural hair brushes allow for a smooth, seamless application," said celebrity makeup artist Gilbert Soliz.
  • Cream blush: Known for their dewy finish, cream blushes don't really require any tools to apply. "Creams work best when applied with your fingertips and then blended in. The warmth from your hands will blend the product out smoothly," said celebrity makeup artist Anton Khachaturian.
  • Gel blush: Looking for a water-resistant look? William Edward, artistry director for Priv, suggests applying a gel blush with a damp makeup sponge.
Some blush is best applied with a brush, but others can be put on with your fingers.
Some blush is best applied with a brush, but others can be put on with your fingers.Getty Images

Blush brushes 101

If rosy cheeks are at the top of your makeup wish list, you might as well start by investing in a few top-notch tools. A basic blush brush can work well with any powder product, but it's not the only tool you can use to create a lit-from-within glow.

"Everyone has their own technique. I prefer to use a small fan brush to gently sweep the color onto the cheeks and up toward the middle of the ear. This will allow you to control how much of the blush you see. You can keep it light for a natural, airbrushed look or keep building the color for added drama. A damp Beauty Blender (or sponge) can also help smooth out any harsh lines," Edward said.

Some blush formulas, like cream varieties, are best applied with your fingertips and then blended in. If you're using blush to contour, Soliz suggests an angled blush brush since it hugs the contours of your cheeks and helps with product placement.

Save blush for the end of your beauty routine.
Save blush for the end of your beauty routine.Getty Images

When to apply blush

Can't wait to give your skin that flushed glow? We don't blame you! But you'll want to save blush for later on in your beauty routine.

"If you're using a traditional powder blush, it should be applied after setting your foundation. The idea is that blush is applied over face powder to avoid it absorbing into the skin and looking patchy. It’s generally applied after contouring/bronzing the skin," Soliz said.

Then again, every rule has an exception. "If you’re using a cream, apply it before powder," Khachaturian recommended.

Saving blush for one of the last steps in your routine can also make it last longer. "Blush is one of the products that will fade throughout the day, so it’s best to apply it at the end of your routine before using setting spray," Edward said.

How to put on blush

Blush is often one of those undervalued beauty products that can often become an afterthought, but all of us stand to benefit from a touch of color on the cheeks.

"When applied correctly, blush helps make your skin look more alive and healthy, which, subsequently, gives the illusion of a more youthful appearance. In addition, it serves as a great transitional color between your highlight and contour to add more dimension to your overall look," Edward said.

There are plenty of ways to create a rosy glow, and we asked the pros to provide two different tutorials: one with just blush, and one with a touch of bronzer.

Basic blush application:

  1. Envision your look: Soliz suggests starting by deciding what style or finish you're trying to create. Then, choose the appropriate formula (powder, cream, liquid) and tool (brush, sponge, fingertips).
  2. Work some makeup magic: "Applying blush is simple: Just smile and apply onto the apples of the cheeks in a gentle, sweeping motion up toward the center of the ears," Edward suggests.
  3. Make it last: "A setting spray can work really well, but generally blush is pretty resilient, especially if it goes on over powder. You could always use a little setting powder over it to make it last a little longer," Khachaturian said.

Blush application with bronzer:

Celebrity makeup artist Ashlee Glazer share this simple trick for a gorgeous glow.

  1. Start by giving the skin a warm contour with a matte bronzer. Create a backwards "3" shape starting at the forehead and then go underneath the cheekbones and around the jawline.
  2. Stick to the outside edges so that it looks fresh and natural. "This sculpts out the shape of the face," Glazer said.
  3. Now, here's where it gets interesting: Place two fingers next to your nose as a guideline and apply blush starting from the outside of your outer finger. This will make sure it ends up on the top of your cheekbones, giving you a nice highlight that looks subtle and sweet.
  4. Glazer recommends whisking the brush out, so that it blends easily without a harsh stop at the end of the brushstroke.
  5. Voila! You're ready to take on the world.

This story was originally published May 23, 2016.