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How To Apply Blush and Flatter Your Face Shape

26 Apr 2022

If you ask us, blush is an essential part of any makeup routine. It adds color back into your cheeks after applying your base makeup, of course, but the benefits of blush extend far beyond that. With the right color and application technique, a pop of pink on the cheeks can be totally transformative—especially if you tailor it to your unique facial features.

That may sound like a tall order, but don’t worry: We’ve got your back (well, cheeks). In our blush tutorial, we’ll guide you through all things rouge, including where to apply blush to flatter your face shape. You’ll also discover our top tips for choosing the best blush for your skin type and how to find the right shade for a natural-looking flush. Read on to learn how to apply blush like a seasoned pro.

What Is My Face Shape?

First things first: If you want to figure out the best way to apply blush according to your face shape, you need to figure out what your face shape is. Everyone’s bone structure is different, but for the most part, face shapes fall into one of six categories: oval, heart, square, round, rectangular, and diamond. Our makeup AI service, MYAIA, offers a free consultation that includes identifying which category you fall into. Try the mobile experience to discover your face shape! Ahead, we’re also explaining the key features of each shape.

Oval Face Shape

If your face is slightly wider than it is long and has rounded (rather than angular) edges, you probably have an oval face shape. For those with oval faces, the cheekbones tend to be the widest part of the face.

Heart Face Shape

Those with heart-shaped faces have wide, high cheekbones, a slightly more narrow forehead, and a somewhat angular jawline. Your chin may also be pointed, especially when you smile.

Square Face Shape

No, having a square face shape doesn’t mean your face is actually square—it just means your face is about as wide as it is long, with the forehead and jawline being more or less equal in width.

Rectangular Face Shape

Rectangular faces are very similar to square faces, with one distinction: They’re generally a bit longer than they are wide. Otherwise, the underlying bone structure and shape are pretty similar to that of a square face.

Round Face Shape

This one is pretty self-explanatory: Round faces tend to be less angular, with softer edges. On this face shape, the cheekbones are the widest part of the face, with the forehead and chin both being slightly more narrow.

Diamond Face Shape

High, defined cheekbones? You probably have a diamond-shaped face. This face type is characterized by a narrower chin and forehead and prominent cheekbones (lucky you!)

How To Apply Blush On Different Face Shapes

As we mentioned above, blush can help define your features. The right placement can highlight high cheekbones, make your face appear more sculpted, or add softness to angular features. It’s all about how you apply it. This is one of the reasons makeup artists can make you look so good—they take your face shape into consideration. Here, learn how to shape your face with blush, just like a pro.

Blush For Oval Faces

When it comes to blush application, oval faces are pretty easy. First, locate your cheekbones. Then, sweep your chosen blush along the uppermost part of your cheekbones to help add height and definition. Avoid placing the blush below your cheekbones—that’s where you’ll want to put your contour, if you use it.

Blush For Heart Faces

Heart-shaped faces can be a bit pointy, so the goal with blush is to help soften those sharp cheekbones (just a bit). Aim to apply your blush in a sweeping motion, starting at the tops of your cheekbones and blending upward in a “C” shape toward the tail end of your brows. You can also bring your blush up toward your temples to help balance your face.

Blush For Square Faces

To soften and add a healthy flush to square faces, we recommend applying your blush just under your cheekbones to help define them. This will help flatter your features and emphasize your cheekbones in a gorgeous but totally natural-looking way.

Blush For Rectangular Faces

For rectangular faces, sweep your chosen blush along the center of your cheekbones, working from the apples of your cheeks out toward your ears. You can add softness to your features (if you want) by applying the blush in a semi-circle shape, hugging the curve of your cheeks

Blush For Round Faces

If your face is round, try adding definition by applying blush in a straight line from your ear down toward the outer corners of your mouth—just above where you’d apply your contour. Make sure you stop short of dragging the color all the way to your mouth though; we recommend not going past the center of your cheeks. If you want to help amplify your cheekbones, avoid pearlescent or shimmery blushes, as they reflect light and can actually make cheeks appear rounder.

Blush For Diamond Faces

With diamond faces, proper blush placement can help highlight those naturally high cheekbones without over-emphasizing them. Aim to sweep your blush onto the tops of your cheekbones and buff it out toward your ears for a healthy-looking, sun-kissed glow.

How To Use Different Types of Blush

Figuring out where to place blush isn’t the end of your work—you also need to determine which type of blush best suits your skin. There are powder, cream, and liquid blushes, each with its own set of benefits (how to put on blush also varies for each). Here, learn more about the different types of blush.

Powder Blush

For people with oily skin, powder blush is often ideal. It's also quite adaptable, meaning it can be used for a wide variety of looks and makeup styles because there are numerous finishes available. Shimmer blushes are perfect for glowy makeup looks, while we love matte formulas for a no-makeup look. To use powder blush, prep your skin with a hydrating primer, like The Marshmellow Smoothing Primer, and apply your base as usual. Then, use a fluffy blush brush to blend your chosen shade onto your cheeks, building color until you get your desired effect.

Our Picks: If you’re looking for a powder blush that provides a natural-looking finish, try Sweet Cheeks Creamy Powder Blush Matte. It’s vegan and available in an array of versatile shades, from traditional blush colors (like pinks, colors, and berries) to more vibrant tones, including deep purple and bright gold. Use a fluffy blush brush to apply it to your cheeks and blend it out for a soft, diffused finish. For a bit of shimmer with your blush, we also have Sweet Cheeks Creamy Powder Blush Glowy, which comes in 12 flattering, radiance-boosting shades.

Cream Blush

Generally speaking, cream blushes work with virtually every skin type. They’re buildable, easy to blend, and provide a super natural-looking flush; they’re a great pick for those who prefer a natural makeup finish. Use a hydrating primer, like Hydra-Touch Primer, before applying your cream blush for a smooth application. Then, use your fingers or a makeup sponge to pat the color onto your cheeks and blend it out.

Our Picks: For a classic cream blush, there’s no beating Wonder Stick Blush. The creamy, double-sided stick formula colors, shapes, and blends like a wonder (bonus: the portable blush stick is great for on-the-go touch-ups).

Another great cream blush worth checking out is Sweet Cheeks Soft Cheek Tint. The airy, whipped formula applies like a dream, suffusing your skin with a wash of gorgeous color. It comes with a doe-foot applicator for easy application, but we recommend also buffing out the color with your fingertips for a soft-focus effect.

Liquid Blush

Liquid blushes, like cheek tints, are great for those with dry skin—and for people looking to keep their makeup light and fresh. They’re super lightweight and typically relatively sheer, which makes it easy to build and customize color to your liking. Like cream blushes, they can be applied with either your fingers or a damp makeup sponge; choose whichever method feels best for you. Either way, start with a small dot of liquid blush and blend it out. You can always add more, but liquid blush will work best when applied in thin layers.

Our Pick: For a pop of sun-kissed color during the warmer months, add Bare With Me Luminous Cheek Serum to your makeup bag. The lightly-tinted formula comes in three skin-flattering shades and leaves the skin soft, glowy, and radiant. It’s long-wear on its own, but to extend your cheek tint, prep your face with a gripping primer, like Plump Right Back Primer + Serum, for moisturized skin.

How To Choose a Blush Color

The best part about makeup is there’s no right or wrong way to do things: It’s all about creating a look that shows off your personal style. And this is certainly true when it comes to picking a blush color.

That said, if you’re searching for a natural blush, you’ll want to stick with a shade that has similar undertones to your skin. Those with cooler undertones may benefit most from cool pink and red blushes, for example, while those with warmer skin tones (like olive) may find that peachy shades and corals are the most natural-looking. If you have neutral undertones, you’ll find that both warm and cool blush colors suit your skin.

You can also always experiment with different shades until you find something you love. After all, experimentation is what makeup is made for.

Next: Prime Time: How To Pick The Right Makeup Primer

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