The first thing I did before starting this story was Google “shades of purple," because I’m about to use every descriptive term for the blend of blue and red as possible. Blush has been on the ultra rise in the past few years, and showing literally no signs of slowing down. And that’s a good thing! We all look good with a little flush, whether it’s red, pink, coral, whatever. So when purple blush first went viral on TikTok a few months ago, my only response was, “Wait — people haven’t been wearing purple blush this entire time?”
You see, I looked at my abundant blush collection and realized that at least 40 percent of my blushes are a shade of purple. Mulberry? Check. Aubergine? Yup. Blackberry? It’s not just in the kitchen, my friends! I have never feared a purple shade on my cheeks, and neither should you. I can see why people might be afraid of wearing purple as a blush shade — who wants to walk around giving full Barney all of the time?
There’s actually no firm definition of what purple is to native English speakers. You know how there was that stoner kid in high school who would always be like, “What if what I think is red, you think is blue?” Welp, that’s basically what happened to purple.
According to the “shades of purple” Wikipedia page, “Many native speakers of English in the United States refer to the blue-dominated spectral color beyond blue as purple, but the same color is referred to as violet by many native English speakers in the United Kingdom.” What I’m talking about is a red-based purple, not a blue-based purple (or, to me, what I consider to be violet.) What you have to remember is that for a lot of purple blush shades, the pink tone is doing the primary work, and that’s what is bringing out the “flush” in your skin tone, while the blue is actually counteracting the color of your eyes. That’s why it works, and that’s why it looks so good. A little color theory never hurt anyone.
Purple highlighters had a big moment for a while there, with highlights in shades of wisteria and amethyst — lighter purples and lilacs that lean white-heavy — and that’s a cute look, but not practical for daytime. The boon of a purple blush is that it can be endlessly wearable, because it’s more of a deep berry, or even clay-mauve hybrid at times. You’re not going to look like Marie from Breaking Bad’s house or Grimace from McDonalds (I also Googled “purple characters.”)
The purple blush that convinced me purple blush was it was the Freck CHEEKSLIME Lip + Cheek Tint in Jam Sesh, a plummy sangria shade that applies beautifully to my neutral undertone. Sometimes, blushes either give me full Pennywise the Clown, or don’t even show up because my undertone is so neutral, which is why purple blush works for me. It gives my skin shades of red and blue that it normally doesn’t have. That’s an important tip: Try to match your shade of purple to your skin tones. Fair skin will be able to wear lighter purples, the lilacs and lavenders, like Donni Davy's lavender blush shade from Half Magic Beauty. Medium skin tones will be blessed with a true purple, like Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and my dark-skin friends, we’ve been blessed with melanin that can handle a boysenberry, black raspberry, raisin-y shades of the world.
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My colleague over across the pond, Jackie, wrote about the TikTok purple blush trend, too. Of course, there are still those who are skeptical, or not into it on a day-to-day basis. "I have fair skin and purples always feel too dark for me," explains my coworker Beauty Editor Megan Decker. "However, when I tried the Half Magic one, that light periwinkle, a cool, color-shift happened: The purple actually melted into a believable flush on my cheeks, the post jog kind. I'm glad I know about it, but for everyday, I'm sticking to my baby pink comfort zone."
Regardless, I’m thrilled purple blush has been on the world’s radars, as a card holding member of the National Purple Blush Fan Association Of America. When Doja Cat said “Get into it, yuh,” I’m pretty sure she was talking about getting into purple blush shades.