Bright Blushes For The Win

Photographed by Tom Corbett.
Bright blush is the simplest way to transition your makeup look to a spring-and-summer-appropriate version of sultry in a flash. But, because it’s easy to be too heavy-handed with it — or worse, look like a time-traveling Dynasty extra as a result of sweeping it all the way up to the ears — we scored the scoop from some of our favorite makeup artists on how to make it breezy-beautiful.

Follow these ravishing rouge tips, and no one will think you just emerged from a microscopic clown car.
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The best part about a bright red blush, like this one from MAKE Beauty, is that you can use it on your eyes, lips, and cheeks. Dust is across your lids for a bright pop of color, then tap onto the apples of your cheeks. Finally, dab a touch into the center of your lips after applying a red pigment to achieve that covetable supermatte lip texture.

Make Beauty Matte Finish Blush in Cinnabar, $25, available at Make Beauty.
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“Use a synthetic brush for cream and a natural one for powder,” advises makeup artist and brand founder Sonia Kashuk. “The more dense the brush, the stronger the application: Denser bristles will deliver more color.” Pair a natural brush with a swipe of ColourPop in More, Please for a long-lasting effect.
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Everyone knows that Britney Spears is the pop princess of the modern age, but it’s indisputable that the pop-of-color princess is one Ms. Bobbi Brown. Her signature statement is bright cheeks, and this pot is a vivid take on the look.
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“I love cream blush when wearing bright shades,” says makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci. “You can achieve that major pop, but still see the skin underneath, which makes it both modern and wearable.” A diaphanous formula to try: Flower Beauty Transforming Touch Powder-To-Creme Blush.
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If you want to look glowy without being mistaken for Krusty the Clown’s kompanion, try an easy-to-wear shocking-pink shade on lips and cheeks.
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Purple blush is unexpected, surprisingly wearable, and flatters all skin tones. When sporting neutral eyes, Urban Decay director of product development Amy Zunzunegui layers Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush in Bittersweet on more heavily, giving a bright pop of color to the cheeks. If she’s going for a smoky look, she wears a softer Bittersweet cheek, giving off a subtler, sexier vibe. “I love our Optical Blurring brush for applying blush,” she says. “The rounded head allows me to really buff it into the skin for a more flushed look.”
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Ciucci says she likes to coordinate her lip hue to her cheeks. “A monochromatic look is fun — with eye, lip, and cheek the same shade — but in a sheer, watercolor finish, so it’s not too opaque,” she says. Another go-to? “Classic, winged eye with contrasting lip (like pink lip with red cheek).” Try this combo: NARS Exhibit A Red Blush and Burberry Lip & Cheek Bloom in Hydrangea.
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“I like to use either my fingers (when my subject has perfect skin) or a duo-fiber brush, like MAC's #187, for skin that needs a little extra help,” says Ciucci. “The bristles are soft with a firm base for perfect control over creams.” Tom Ford Pink Sand is a bright take on peach and looks divine when patted on with fingertips.
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Be cognizant of your foundation formulas. “Layer cream blush onto liquid foundations, powder blush onto powder foundations,” says Kashuk. She says to set the foundation, whether liquid or powder, with a regular pressed powder. “It’s hard to blend a cream blush on top of a powder foundation,” she explains. “Formula-to-formula is important.” If you’re starting out with a cream or liquid base, Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Es Vedra will layer on top flawlessly.
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“Statement blush goes well with soft eyes,” says Kashuk. “With a veil of color on the cheek, I like a neutral eye or no eye makeup whatsoever paired with either a strong or soft lip.” Try this Topshop hue for a sheerer take on a bright.
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Kashuk notes that layering powder blushes on top of creams will yield incredible wear. “Bold color is about soft application,” she says. “Use powder as a setting-and-blending mechanism… Use complementary colors; get [a] bolder [color for] your cream and a softer color for the powder blush you layer on top of it.” She adds that it’s easier to blend creams than powders, so “blend out the brightness and top it with a little powder blush.” This little stick is easy to tote in your purse for touch-ups.
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Kashuk recommends applying blush to the apples of the cheeks for a fresh, healthy effect. “The ‘70s and ‘80s look is in right now, but that can get to be more edgy,” she says. “Applying blush on the apples of the cheeks looks more modern and relevant for today’s world.”
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And, if you leave your blush at home while you’re on your tropical vacation? Simply use that hot-pink lipstick you packed. “Hot-pink lipstick can be used in lieu of bright blush,” says Kashuk. “It will do wonders; be creative.” Lancôme Shine Lover in Effortless Pink is perfect.
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