Have We Reached Peak Blush?

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I probably don't have to tell you that blush is trending in a big way right now. Perhaps it's because we're seeing celebrities like Sabrina Carpenter co-signing our love of the makeup product all over our FYPs, or maybe it's because brands are finally expanding their blush shade ranges so everyone can enjoy a flushed cheek. Regardless of the reason, it appears none of us can get enough of the youthful injection of colour that only a pigmented wash of blush can deliver.
Of course, wearing blush isn’t new; some of my most vivid childhood memories are of sitting cross-legged on my mum’s bed as I watched her apply her makeup each morning, always finishing with a mauve-pink powder blush (probably by Clinique). And it goes without saying that blush has been around for much longer than just my lifetime.
Going back a casual couple thousand years, it is believed that blush was first used in ancient civilisations like Egypt and Greece to exude wealth and vitality. In the case of the former, natural mineral and vegetable dyes were used to add colour to the cheeks and lips, along with the customary kohl-lined lids.

It appears that in 2024, some of us are unable to choose a single trend, and are just applying everything, everywhere, all at once.

Flushed cheeks fell in and out of favour in the eras following, depending on the preferences of the rulers of the time. But by the time the 19th century rolled around, heavily applied blush was often associated with sex workers and a post-orgasm glow, though of course, many women were applying blush and lipstick, or pinching their cheeks and biting their lips in private to appeal to their lovers. But blush products didn't fully enter the mainstream until the 1920s following World War I, when blush started trending upwards once again as a sign of vitality and youthfulness.
It may sound overly simplistic after such a chequered history, but the popularity of blush hasn't ever really receded ever since. In more recent times, blush has been a popular makeup product worn by everyone from your nan to your 13-year-old niece — but now, we're all wearing a lot of it. Whether many of us realise it as we layer blush over our foundation in the morning, a flush makes you look that bit more lively — and who doesn't want to look like a healthy little cherub every day?
Though the effect is more or less the same, the past decade or so of social media has seen many blush trends come and go, with placement varying from the apples of the cheeks to blown-out applications that span much of the cheek and temple. Everything from dewy dumpling cheeks to sun-kissed makeup hacks, the 'aura' blush technique and even under-eye blush have swept TikTok. Meanwhile, product trends have oscillated between matte powder formulations to dewy cream blushes and balms and blush-highlighter hybrids. But it appears that in 2024, some of us are unable to choose a single trend, and are just applying everything, everywhere, all at once.
At least, I am. My blush routine is, hands-down, my favourite part of my makeup regimen. And though I mix it up, most days when I'm leaving the house, it usually looks a little something like this: First, I dab on a layer of cream blush (currently, I'm reaching for the Violette_fr Bisou Blush in Inès, $58), then I lightly powder my face all over with the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Brightening Flawless Finish Powder, $73, following it up with another layer of cream blush (or, sometimes, one with a balmier texture like the Chanel N°1 De Chanel Lip and Cheek Balm, $75 for some extra glow). Then, I top that with a whisper of matte powder blush (often the Too Faced Cloud Crush Blurring Blush, $48) if I really want it to last all day. 
I know. It sounds like a lot — but I just can’t get enough. And it seems that I’m not the only one. On TikTok, jokes about excessive blush application abound and just this past week, the term “blush blindness” has reached new heights on TikTok. The concept refers to people who are unable (or unwilling) to notice how much blush they are applying, so they keeping adding more until the effect is stark to everyone but the wearer. To date, it’s been mentioned in 49.6 million videos on the platform, with the prevailing point of view being, "if being blush blind is wrong, then I don't want to be right".
Searches for "blush placement" and "how to apply blush" are up by 112% and 199% on TikTok respectively, and over on Google, searches for Sabrina Carpenter's blush specifically spiked following her appearance on Saturday Night Live on May 18. (In case you're curious, her makeup artist Carolina Gonzalez revealed on Instagram that her flush came courtesy of two shades of the Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Cheek Tints, which unfortunately aren't yet available in Australia.)
Though millions of makeup wearers seemingly know that they're wearing objectively too much blush, seeing fellow blush lovers like Carpenter all over our FYPs has made us all comfortable enough to admit that we love it too.
Like all beauty trends, I'm sure we will eventually see the decline of the blown-out blush look, and I'm aware of the fact that I'll probably look back at my blush one day and cringe. But the process of applying my excessive layers of blush every morning provides a little bit of joy in my day that I'm unwilling to give up. And if that’s you too, well, just know that you’re not alone.
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