Recently, I got excited about blush again. For the most part, I paid little attention to the beauty staple, even though I’ve always loved makeup. I couldn’t get past thinking that there was no way I wouldn’t look like a clown, no matter how delicately applied. But now, I have a different outlook on the Egyptian beauty ritual.
A multi-functional product that could help you bring together your entire look or help you serve a natural, everyday glow without the fuss? Yes, please.
For me, blush has now become a varied necessity in my beauty bag. Sometimes blush is the look, using my cheekbones to give a little va va voom.
As I grew in my beauty career, I learned that many of us paid little to no attention to blush because we either didn’t know how to apply it or felt the colors would look bad or awkward on our complexions. And that’s fair. It took me a while to play outside the lines of the typical mauves, moving onto intense shades, like NARS’ Exhibit A firey red-orange shade. It’s also not the most popular makeup product. We get hype over a new eyeshadow palette launch. A new blush shade? Not so much.
But behold, the underrated staple is never going anywhere. So why not brush up on your blush beauty catalog?
Product POV: The easiest to apply and the most versatile. While powder blushes aren’t actually the OG of the cosmetic product (see: gel blush below), it sure is the most popular. With high and low price points and easy manufacturing, powder blushes usually are the go-to of the group. Fit for most skin types (yes even women with larger pores can make very high-quality, fine powder blushes work), you can’t really miss with the formula. You can, however, over do it with the application.
Best Attribute: Affordable and fit for all skin types.
MAC’s Extra Dimension Blush in Hard to Get is a gorgeous $30 copper/burgundy shade that looks elegant without being overdone.
NARS’ Exhibit A may look like a scary, intense bright orange shade, but it literally glows when on brown skin. You’ll find it for $30.
e.l.f.’s Luminous Blush in Brilliant Mauve is an affordable $6 classic color for all of our shades.
Liquid blush, the newcomer that isn’t so new.
Product POV: If you get bored and research the history of blush, you’ll find that Egyptians actually were the first to incorporate the beauty trend. While ancient Egypt began with what we now today call gel/tints, liquid blushes aren’t that far removed. With a small variety of options on the market, liquid blush is a summer go-to of mine when I want my skin to look like the vibrant color blends seamlessly during the hot sticky days. Fit for normal, dry and combo skin, a little goes a long way with formulas usually high in pigmentation. Don’t expect to find a wide range of colors, though.
Best Attribute: The natural glow and seamless blend with your skin are unbeatable.
NARS’ Liquid Blush in Dolce Vita gives dark skin a rich, mauve-rose tone that will look gorgeous during a candlelight dinner. It’s $30.
Benefit’s Benetint Liquid Blush is a cult-favorite and is honestly worth the $30.
Product POV: I hated bronzer for the longest time. Mostly because I felt like I never applied it correctly. But the highlighter-baked-into-blush product definitely had a moment and they even evolved into liquid bronzers (I mean, tanners but okay…). Highlighters have come to replace the obsession, but around circa 2014-2016 bronzer was everything. Celebs of all races were bathing in it. Even Beyonce. It’s been rare that I pick mine up, but let me say this: every Black and Brown woman needs to find her best bronzer. It will come in handy.
Best Attribute: You can instantly warm up your skin and dodge looking pale or dull in the winter months.
MAC’s $36 Gold Deposit has the warm undertone that I need without making me looking absolutely crazy.
Milani Baked Bronzer is legit. Period. I don’t know a woman who has used it and not loved it. It’s also an affordable $8.99.
e.l.f’s Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder is a $4 cheeky, fun cool-toned peachy bronzer, perfect for the spring season.
Fenty Beauty’s Sun Stalk’r Warming Bronzer is so natural-looking, with a little going a long way. The $30 product also has a very silky texture that feels smooth on your skin.
Product POV: A multi-functional dewy finish, that can sometimes have a tricky formula if not created correctly. Stick blushes are compact and can help you out in a moment of just needing something on your face at the last minute (for your lips, cheeks, and eyes, too). But, I’ve dealt with my fair share of stick and cream blushes that cake, dry up fast and even peel after hours of wear. If you can find your best stick or cream blush, though, keep it in your makeup bag or at your desk. Luckily, they’re usually rich in pigment with a variety of shades and colors.
Best Attribute: The dewy, natural finish the cream and stick blushes offer.
Glossier’s $18 Cloud Paint Cream Blush is a cult favorite and understandably so. I also find it doesn’t enhance large pores like other rivals.
Natasha Denona’s intense Face Glow Cream Shimmer is the one product I know I can rely on for a high-end ($42) nighttime glow on my cheeks that will last. (This one doesn’t always work well with problem skin, however.)
The e.l.f. Monochromatic Multi-stick is a $4 cream-to-powder stick that has a surprising amount of pigmentation.
Gels and tints and stains…the OGs.
Product POV: Perfect for the summer, the OG of blushes act as colorful, juicy glosses for the face. Ancient Egyptians began making gel and stain blushes, by mixing fat and ground red ochre. So yes, they can feel a little sticky, depending on the formula. There are some gels and tints that dry matte and others that lay lightly on your face, serving as more of a subtle face gloss. Overall, they’re fun for the warmer months and can add sex appeal or a natural glow, depending on the mood you’re in.
Those of us with darker skin, be warned to not expect a high pigment transfer from product to face. The slippery consistency of the product usually won’t allow the color to be as pronounced, but the playful glow is still worth it.
The Maybelline Cheek Heat blush is only $5.99 and has great lasting power. I find the color Berry Flame to be pretty on darker skin.
Pixi’s Sheer Cheek Gel is light and fresh and gives that flushed I just finished making love glow and has some of the best reviews for a $14 product.