We Tried Fall's Orange Blush Trend On 7 Different Skin Tones

Photo: Georgia Murray.
It's officially the season of orange, and we've decided to go all in. We know what you're thinking: Coral tones are doable, especially when you've got a bit of color... but orange? Won't that make you look like, well, an Oompa Loompa? According to Pinterest, searches and saves for orange blush are up an enormous 250% year on year, especially in Japan, where the trend is reigning supreme at the moment. And while the move from failsafe pink to tangerine is a bold one, it works.
"It’s a trend-based choice," says Pablo Rodriguez, backstage makeup artist and director of artistry for Illamasqua. "Pink blush will always be there, but lips and cheeks with a lot more yellow tones in the mix are stronger than ever this year, even for winter. Think tonic oranges and terracottas."
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But, Rodriguez adds, it does depend on your skin tone. "If you want your makeup to look more natural, pink blushes work better, especially on warmer complexions, but orange can look incredible on olive skin tones," he says. "If you like contrast, you can definitely switch this up. Overall, though, peaches and corals always give a healthy glow. Don't be scared — think of it as blush and bronzer mixed together in one product."
Sold. Ahead, we show you the best orange blushes of the season on seven Refinery29 UK staffers...
1 of 7
Lydia Raghavan, Creative, Refinery29 UK

"To be honest, blush is not my thing. I've got acne-prone skin and residual scarring on my cheeks, so I try to avoid highlighting the area with any color, let alone bright orange. But I sacrificed my complexion and honed in on this pinky-orange shade, which looked cute in the palette. I have to say it doesn't look that bad in the photos (my Google Pixel camera has my back) but IRL it was a bit too '80s for me. My verdict: Swerving orange blush for the foreseeable future."
2 of 7
Georgia Murray, Fashion & Beauty Writer, Refinery29 UK

"I usually use Julep's Skip the Brush blush stick in Golden Guava, which is a bright poppy pink, so I’m not averse to a shocking flash of color. I love orange and regularly wear it on my eyes, so I was thrilled to discover Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Stick in Es Vedra, a vibrant tangerine hue. I realized soon after applying that a little goes a long way, so I just dabbed a smidge on each cheek before blending with my fingers. I love it on my skin tone — it's subtle, but definitely looks different from my usual pink. Tragically, Es Vedra has since been discontinued, but Moon Beach is a reliable, if slightly less bold, alternative."
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3 of 7
Jazmin Kopotsha, Entertainment Editor, Refinery29 UK

"I’m not normally very adventurous in the blush department; most of my (beauty) action is all in the lips. So when faced with Illamasqua’s unwaveringly orange blush, I was apprehensive. Thankfully, the luminous glow you see on the product in hand doesn’t translate when applied to the face. It suited my skin tone much more than I expected it to and looks a little more pinky-gold than orange, but I had to apply quite carefully to avoid Oompa Loompa overkill."
4 of 7
Jacqueline Kilikita, Beauty Editor, Refinery29 UK

"Oh, dear. My light olive skin has a tendency to look dull and washed out, but somehow this bright orange shade makes me look like a beet — I'm so red! I usually use a mauve-toned powder blush because it complements my undertones, but the only positive is that I'm now no longer afraid of cream blush; this blended easily and didn't make a crater in my foundation base. I'm not a big fan of the shimmer, though."
5 of 7
Kara Kia, Editorial Intern, Refinery29 UK

"The very first blush I owned was actually NARS Luster (gifted to me by my first boyfriend, thanks!), so when I saw the beautiful terra cotta of Taj Mahal, I was instantly excited — and felt super nostalgic. I have strong yellow-gold undertones in my skin, so I usually stay away from orange or yellow-toned makeup, but this rich, shimmering shade looked so good, not glittery or gaudy at all. It was like a hybrid of my favorite bronzer and a pretty peach blush. Some of the girls even asked if I was wearing fake tan because I looked much more glowy than usual.

If you have tanned, olive skin of the sand or honey variety and strong yellow undertones like me, then you will love this blush. It gave me a beautiful glow that stayed put all day, without using a setting spray or primer."
6 of 7
Rose Lander, International Co-Ordinator, Refinery29 UK

"Honestly, I’m slightly terrified of blush. I was never taught how to put it on and have definitely had a few failed attempts which left me looking like Pennywise the clown. Orange blush felt like even more of a stretch, but actually, I really liked it. This is a cream, so I didn’t even have to worry about brushes. When I put a little too much on, it was easy to blend in but still left me with a nice glow. I wear a lot of pink (as you can see), so not having pink on my face was actually a lovely contrast. I would definitely wear this again."
7 of 7
Samantha Yu, Senior Director, Strategy and Client Services, Refinery29 UK

"After testing Glossier's Cloud Paint this summer, I was very open to the idea of non-pink, non-powder blush. That said, I didn’t make any changes to my beauty bag, and remained loyal to my usual Benefit Dandelion. This luxe cream has changed that. It has an amazing floral smell, which means it's a pleasure to open up and apply every morning. The shade is a strong orange when you look at it in the stick, but it goes on light and is definitely buildable. I tap it right onto my skin — once up the cheekbone, once down the cheekbone — and blend with my fingers. It's super simple (which is important to me) and the resulting shade works so well for my skin tone. I’ve worn it every day for a week and have no plans to stop any time soon."
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