Every makeup junkie has their favorite fix, right? Some people are foundation obsessed, eternally searching for the perfect one to finally end the hunt. Some are lipstick hoarders with tubes spilling over every purse (mostly within same shade range and hardly used, am I right?) Me, I'm a blush girl. I just adore a face with a well blended cheek and find blush to be a top tier factor in the hierarchy of what constitutes a good makeup look. It's summertime now, and too often our magical little compacts of color go to the back of the drawer, as bronzer returns as our seasonal go to. Bring those beauties back out! Let's enjoy makeup looks this summer that are as colorful as the blooms in your garden!
It's a peculiar thing, blushing, and we are the only animals who do this. I have always dreaded public speaking. Before I even open my mouth I can feel the heat rising to my face from my feet like a steam valve. No question that I'm in full on, tomato-red blush mode. Friends and family always know when I'm guilty of something. My stupid blush always gives me away, and there's no controlling it. Aside from those fleeting moments of guilt, shame, embarrassment or accusation, I literally have zero color in my face. I'm fair complected, and my skin is practically bloodless. While the lucky folks with a natural rosy cheek use color correctors and concealers to eradicate their flush, I'm over here reaching for the synthetics. Guess that old adage of always wanting what you don't have rings true even for cheek coloration.
As with all beauty components, blush has seen it's fair share of trends from as far back as the Egyptians. It's placement, intensity and purpose has varied greatly from one decade to the next. Middle Age aristocrats shunned it as prostitutes flaunted it. Women of the 80s wore blush like warpaint, bold and powerful streaks of fuchsia , while the 90s saw very little in the way of color, but a shit ton in the way of glitter. One thing has remained consistent for the better part of the past century. Blush gives us a youthful vibrancy and a healthy pop of vitality to our complexions. It gives us attitude and confidence. For the colorless pale faces like myself, it gives our face some dimension and a bright, lively appearance.
My love for blush started with a simple gel stain when I worked for Origins in the early 2000s. That lovely raspberry stain was a staple in my collection for many years, and the color I've tried to recreate many times over. I went through a hard-core cream blush phase not too long after (that I'm not quite out of yet). Those creamy swirls of soft color melt into skin like butter. They are effortless, gorgeous, and wildly complimentary for dry and mature skin. The onset of Autumn is when I giddily break out the cream blushes. Autumn makeup is my favorite, and cream blush solidifies the transition to smokey chocolate eyes and crisp fall evenings. I personally love the slight glow they give due to their emollient nature. That incredible juicy, dewy finish is enough to make one cry.
For Spring, Summer, and makeup applications involving professional photography, however, matte powder blush reigns supreme. Like most makeup artists, of course I could never be content with the color in the compact on it's own. I would crush them up and mix them together, sometimes up to 3 or 4 different shades to create the perfect custom blend. To this day my makeup area is littered with small containers full of experimental blends, each one created with a certain intention.
For example, there are some days I want to illicit my favorite, "I've just been out for a brisk walk on a chilly day" look. This is my choice on days I want to feel feel fresh, inspired and maybe a little naughty. This is the perfect flush, the kind of color that naturally appears when one actually blushes. There's a sweetness and an innocence to this look. It's a baby doll pink, young and beautiful on everyone because it's complimentary to each individual's tone. Everyone can attain the "I've just been out for a brisk walk on a chilly day" color. It's typically in the pink family, cooler bluer hues for fair skin and deep raspberry reds for richer tones.
On days when my skin is clear and looking it's best, the "I've just awoken from a most delightful slumber fresh as a peach" look is the obvious choice. This look is subtle and soft allowing the complexion to take center stage. A yummy apricot cheek looks amazing with little to no eye makeup, on those more natural days. Apricots are just as varied as pinks in shades, and every single skin tone can find their perfect peach. A soft sweep of a cool apricot looks super natural and flawlessly unassuming, while warming it up over bronzer gives a sultry sweetness, my absolute fav with a red lippie.
Of course there is nothing wrong with bronzer as blush, and though I prefer to always pop a little color over top of it, it has it's intended mood to be sure. Bronzed skin is Summer fun, cool creamy Pina Coladas and the absence of time. When I'm hoping to deceitfully present the "I'm fabulously bronzed from frolicking in the sun's life giving rays of vitality" look, I just bronze the hell outta my cheeks, and entire face for that matter. I say deceitfully because between my daily SPF 50, floppy hat, and Jackie O sunglasses, let's be honest, my face hasn't caught a semblance of a sun ray in about 10 years. C'mon people, I'm an esthetician, what do you expect?
I guess that's what I love about blush. The makeup junkies get it. Blush, just as foundation or lipstick, enable you to be whoever you want to be! Sometimes I choose colors to summon the way I want to be feeling. If my emotional state is really heavy, I find a bright pop of my favorite cheek color can make my bummer day just a touch lighter. Other days I recognize the melancholy to be how I am feeling. So, I choose an unbecoming muddy mauve, accepting my mood and my poor blush choice while The Smiths play on repeat. For me, blush has a power similar to fragrance or shoes. Once on, sometimes the intention behind the choice to wear it becomes the end result. Maybe it's psychology, maybe it's just cheap thrills. Either way, there is great emotional power in color. Re(discover) yours today!