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‘Circle Blush’ Made Me Look More Awake, But There’s A Problem

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
TikTok's obsession with blush knows no bounds and I'm not exaggerating when I say I've tried pretty much every hack there is. From covering my face in red lipstick (underneath foundation it's meant to look as though you're blushing from within) to applying blush in between my fingers for the perfect placement, some are hit and plenty are miss. But I don't think any of those tricks has gone viral quite like the 'circle blush' hack in the last month.
TikToker and makeup artist @makeupandmeg is just one of a number of influencers who are into it. "When I'm in a rush," says Meg, "I'll take blush and I will swirl it in outward motions like this all over my eyes, cheeks and temples at the same time. It basically just allows you to get colour into your eye sockets, temples, cheeks and gives you overall colour and wakes you up." The final look on Meg is so pretty, it's no wonder the video has earned an impressive 4.8 million views and counting.
In another viral video, Meg doesn't claim to have made up the hack and attributes it to a technique called 'draping', which they say was widely favoured by makeup artists in the '70s and '80s when bold makeup was a huge trend. It's essentially contouring with blush rather than bronzer. TikTokers also pointed out that beauty content creator @avonnasunshine was one of the first people to give the hack airtime. "This is what I do when I need fast makeup," added Meg. Sure enough, the blush hack takes a matter of seconds to pull Meg's and Avonna's entire look together and it imparts a beautiful, skin-awakening flush.
The comments underneath both videos are a mixed bag. Some have called the tip a "game-changer" and love how it looks so natural. Others aren't so sold: "Oh babe, it's giving panda on vacay." But this is Beauty In A Tik, and as you know, I'm up for trying anything.
I'm a big fan of blush, namely Jones Road The Best Blush, £26, which is velvety and so pigmented that you only need a dab. I flit between shades Berry (a deep pink) and Peachy (a baby pink) but I thought I'd opt for the latter so as not to go overboard. The key is to apply your base makeup first but avoid mascara, eyeshadow or eyeliner so as not to smudge anything. Meg and Avonna use a large, fluffy powder brush but this is where I encountered my first issue. I found that this wasn't precise enough and I ended up catching the sides of my nose with product.
I went back to my usual blusher brush, the Spectrum C07 Multi Complexion Brush, £9.99. I loaded up the brush, making sure to coat all sides and all bristles, then got to work blending in circular motions. I quickly learned that you've got to trust the process with this hack as initially I looked sunburned. When you think you can stop blending, blend some more. And then some more.
The result was a lot more experimental than I'm used to, like something I'd typically spot backstage at Fashion Week, obsess over, then never, ever try IRL. But that was before I added lashings of mascara. Somehow, the lashes pulled everything together and suddenly it was the cutest. The blush on my eyelids looked like carefully placed eyeshadow and the pink blanket of colour that had caught my temples made my face look snatched. All in moments! Just like Meg said, I did end up looking more awake. This is how to do blush like a pro, I thought. I could feel a cold coming on, too, so I needed all the help I could get to look lively.
My partner is the perfect sounding board for alternative makeup trends like this one. I asked him if I looked weird. "No, not weird," he responded. "But it's different." I took that as a compliment. As the day went on, though, my seasonal sniffle developed, which means so did a red nose and bloodshot eyes. What began as a makeup trend that made me look fresher and brighter suddenly made me appear even more sick, as though I'd been rubbing my eyes. Not exactly the vibe I was after.
On days when I don't have tissue burn on my nose and I want to look pulled together or more awake, I would definitely try this hack again, but I'd tone the blush shade right down. I'd also recommend applying your makeup in natural light. This might sound obvious but I've found that it's so easy to go wild with a product like blush when doing makeup in the bathroom. My brutal friends are not afraid to tell me so.
If you're more of a bronzer person, you'll be pleased to know that the circle hack works just as nicely here too. I love Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk'r Instant Warmth Bronzer, £29, which is so silky that it takes the chore out of blending. It's also available in a handful of different shades to suit a wide range of skin tones. If you're on a budget, try Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer, £14.99, which is just as pigmented, or Rimmel London Natural Bronzer, £6.99.
Lastly, Saffron Hughes, resident makeup artist at, told me recently that it always pays to start by using a minimal amount of powder and build it up on your skin, rather than going in with too much at the start. Otherwise, you might have to start from scratch and that's a waste of both time and product. When it comes to blush and bronzer in particular, Saffron suggests working in very light layers until you reach your desired look.
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