As you can tell by my blush collection picture above (which I’ve since added about 5 more to), I’m a little bit of a blush junkie. Daphne, one of our college interns from last summer, emailed me a few months ago to ask me about what NARS blush she should get as she’s a newbie to the whole blush scene. This got me thinking back to when I was just starting to build my blush arsenal. I use the word arsenal purposefully – ideally, the average girl wouldn’t want to own a ton of blush – just a few blushes that can complement essentially any look (a few select weapons for any occasion, if you will). I think there are a few key colors and finishes that will go with just about any look, any time of the year.
We’ll keep this just to powder blush today, and I should mention, the tone of each of these color categories may differ depending on your skin tone – my skin tone is LIGHT MEDIUM (around MAC NC25, Chanel B30), so the product recommendations will likely work well for those around my skin tone. Where applicable, I’ll give suggestions for brighter colors that can work for those with darker skin tones.
On to building a blush arsenal, in order of recommendation:
1. A dusty muted pink color / the “neutral” blush – this is typically the muted pink brown color that looks boring in the pan but AMAZING on your face. This is considered a neutral blush, because it seems to go with almost anything, all year round, and it can really help give definition to the face. The finish I would recommend is matte or satin (not shimmery), so it’s one of those throw-on-and-go products that will give your face some life and still look natural.
The reason I recommend this as a first blush is because you can wear it everyday – to work, to class, on a date – and it will complement your look without being the center of attention.
- Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed [left]
- Chanel Joues Contraste in 15 Orchid Rose [middle]
- MAC Powder Blush in Blushbaby [right]
- NARS Blush in Douceur [missing in action – not pictured]
2. A light shimmery peachy pink – this is another universally flattering shade that everyone should have, so I almost put it as #1. I find that blush lovers like myself are typically drawn to shimmery peachy pinks like moths to a flame. This color category makes up the bulk of my collection, because it is just so easy to wear and somehow exudes sexiness.. which is also the reason I did NOT have it as #1. For those occasions when you want to be super professional or conservative, I wouldn’t pick this one.
It’s the perfect 2nd blush, because it’s offers more brightness to the face, and it can be your go-to shade when you want to draw more attention to your cheeks.
- NARS Blush in Deep Throat [left]
- Chanel Joues Contraste in 72 Rose Initiale
- MAC Mineralize Blush in Dainty
These are slightly darker in color, so I wear them more in the summer when I have a tan:
- Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Blissful – the picture above makes it look more like coral than it is in real life (and looking more like Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Tipsy). It’s more peachy in real life.
- Benefit Coralista [not pictured – gifted to my sister]
While the color of the ever-popular NARS Blush in Orgasm would be here, I’m not including it because I personally find that the glitter in it is too conspicuous and not something I would personally feel comfortable wearing out in broad daylight to work/class.
3. The baby pink – the ever-cute light pink gives a youthful look to the face, and looks equally amazing with no other makeup on or a full-blown smokey eye. I have it here as #3, because it’s not a color I would personally feel comfortable wearing to a professional work environment on my warm skin tone, but it’s a fantastic blush when you want a very girly look.
- Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush in 001 Petal [left] – this is supposedly one of those self-adjusting blushes that adapt to your skin color. I can’t vouch for that, but this looks beautiful on almost anyone.
- MAC Powder Blush in Pink Swoon [right] – Pink Swoon is not this red looking in real life; it’s a bright pink that, again, looks great on almost anyone.
Honorable mention: the shimmery peach/light bronze – I LOOOOVE wearing these colors, because they are SO flattering on warm skin tones. It makes your face glow and looks very healthy. They’re not necessarily must-haves, but I love wearing them in warmer weather. These blushes can give you a very Victoria’s Secret bronzed goddess-esque look (and who doesn’t want that?).
- NARS Blush in Luster [left]
- NARS Blush in Madly [middle] is bronzier and more shimmery in real life
- MAC Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul [right]
And of course, we can’t really talk about building a blush arsenal without blush brushes. Below are 3 of my most reached-for brushes to use with any of the blushes I mentioned.
- Real Techniques Blush Brush [top]
- Bobbi Brown Blush Brush [middle] the new blush brush has been updated with a rounder head
- Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 [bottom] Sephora redesigned this brush with a black handle, but it has the same brush head
What are YOUR blush must haves?
We love all the blog posts and videos on beauty products other people have used up, also called “empties”. It’s a testament to what they think of the product – whether they are willing to use it up puts them in a better position to review the effectiveness of it. Here are products that our co-founder Judy has used up in the past couple of months and her thoughts on them.
Kate Somerville Purify Exfoliating Cleanser – My favorite face wash of all time (reviewed here). Highly recommend this to anyone looking for a clarifying facial wash.
tarte emphasEYES aqua gel eyeliner in dark brown – LOVE this gel eyeliner (reviewed briefly here). It has a cooling effect and goes on incredibly smoothly. Set with an eyeshadow, it will last all day. Definitely will repurchase this.
Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes – I’m on my 4th pack of these – so refreshing and easy to use. It’s not very effective at removing waterproof eye makeup, but it’s very cooling to use and just feels like a rejuvenating experience at the end of the day. Favorite face wipes and will continue to repurchase.
Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo – A really good sulfate-free, paraben-free shampoo with a lovely coconut scent. It’s too heavy for my fine, oily hair, but for those with thicker, dryer hair types, it will be amazing. I got mine at Whole Foods.
tarte Amazonian Clay tinted moisturizer in shade agent 14 – I LOVE this tinted moisturizer (reviewed briefly here). I would definitely repurchase this once I’m done with the two other tinted moisturizers I have.
Shiseido Multi-Defense UV Protector SPF 50 PA+++ – An impulse purchase duty-free in the Taipei airport. Works well under makeup. Very silicone-y feeling, heavily fragranced. If that’s your thing, then you might like it. Because I’m trying to use more natural products, I don’t recommend this.
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve – This is a GREAT hand moisturizer (this was my 4th or 5th tube) – it’s not greasy and it is extremely effective at moisturizing. It also smells faintly of peppermint, which is nice. However, it has parabens, and for that I won’t be repurchasing.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar K – I really liked this as an effective daily acne preventative (reviewed briefly here). I’m not sure I would repurchase, because I am trying to look for more natural alternatives (currently using Boscia Willow Bark Breakout Treatment – current opinion is “meh”).
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 – This was part of the Sephora birthday gift this year, so it was a smaller deluxe sample size. I’ve purchased the full-size before in various shades (Rose and Honey), and I like it. It’s definitely a pricey lip balm at $20+. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you find it in your budget.
Natura Bisse NB Ceutical Tolerance Booster – This was a deluxe sample size from BeautyBar.com, and I LOVED IT. It was the perfect lightweight serum, and it seemed to provide a glow. No irritation whatsoever, mild scent. Spending $225 on the full-size is a bit egregious for a startup budget, but if it’s within your price range, then I HIGHLY recommend it.
Any questions about these products or stories about your empties? Shoot us a comment!