How to nail the bold blusher trend (without looking ridiculous)

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Ava Welsing-Kitcher
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Now is the time to revise everything you thought you knew about blusher – and that means going bolder than ever before.

You might have noticed that blusher has taken a bit of a backseat over the past few years. Instead, all eyes have been on the extreme contouring and see-it-from-space highlighting that have been dominating red carpets, catwalks and Instagram feeds alike. Meanwhile, blush just slinked away into the background like a forlorn entity – that is, pretty much, until now. 

Now, it is resolutely back. Terry Barber, blusher enthusiast and director of make-up artistry at Mac agrees and says it’s a big beauty shift: “We’re getting tired of the structured, almost scientific mask of contour and we’re rediscovering our real faces, becoming more fascinated by our natural skin,” he explains. “Blusher is the easiest visual route to an instant hit of health; it’s liberated, fresh and optimistic – and that’s why it’s back.”

But finding the right shades goes far beyond pinching your cheeks and searching for the exact match to your natural flush (especially because that doesn’t work if you have darker skin). It’s more about experimenting with the colours we’re drawn to, such as vibrant purples and sunset oranges, regardless of whether they ‘suit’ us. 

And there are technique updates too: blush is being brushed over eyelids as seen at Clio Peppiatt s/s 2018 and is taken up to the eyes, as it was at Valentino’s show, for a seriously statement look. So it makes sense to pick our blusher just as we would our eyeshadow – with the desired statement in mind – whether that’s Solange-esque (meaning bold) or more subtle LA girl, kissed by the sun (we wish).

Those little pots of rouge are now so popular that the amount of ‘blush’ pins being saved on Pinterest has increased by 52% since last year. And because our blusher obsession is on the rise, brands are finding new and more exciting ways to make blush work harder than it’s ever worked before. 

With new gel formulations that allow your skin to show through, fluffy mousse textures that blend over your foundation with ease, richly pigmented liquids that pretty much last forever, or shades that literally suit everyone, it’s evident blush has come a long, long way.

Here, Stylist cherry-picks from the hundreds of new blushers on the market currently demanding your attention. You’ll rethink everything you’ve ever known about blush – we guarantee it.

The textures

Three new formulas to cater to your skin’s needs


Lancôme Cushion Blush Subtil in 032

Airy, fluffy textures give you more control than liquids or gels without feeling greasy. Pat the pad of your middle finger into the cushion and blend outwards until it almost disappears. Easy.



Nars Liquid Blush in Luster

This packs a pigmented punch, so one drop will go a long way. Its water-like formula won’t budge, so oily and dry skin types can both enjoy the long-lasting colour. The dream.



Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze

Ideal for dry skin, this creamy gel-hybrid adds luminosity without a single drop of glitter. Don’t underestimate the colour payoff – a Smint-sized dab is enough for both cheeks.


The colour wheel

We dare you to try one of these rich new shades for spring, summer and beyond – no matter what your skintone.

Clockwise from top

1) Too Faced Peach My Cheeks Blush in Peach Berry

Dare to go deeper with this berry. You’ll be surprised at how close it is to your natural flush.


2) Perricone MD No Blush Blush

If you’ve yet to try blusher all over, now’s the time. This salmon-shaded liquid adds glow to cheeks, lips and eyelids.


3) Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Kiss & Blush in 6

Dab this poppy hue onto lips and cheeks for a Snow White hit of health.


4) Mac Powder Blush in Burnt Pepper

Jump on the new trend for using blush in place of bronzer with this suits-all terracotta shade.


5) CYO Crush On Blush Powder Blush in Unfiltered

Fluoro pink doesn’t need to be doll-like. Diffuse it along the sides of the face and temples for a nod to Eighties glamour.


6) LA Girl Just Blushing in Just Dance

A shock of purple gives blusher a modern twist and counteracts sallowness.


7) Sleek Blush By 3 Palette in Pumpkin

Sunset orange brings yellow based complexions to life. Swipe across eyelids for added warmth.


8) Stila Convertible Colour Dual Lip & Cheek Cream in Gerbera

This posy pink mimics the natural flush of paler skintones and the creamy texture is a cinch to blend.


The placement

Mac’s Terry Barber talks us through three ways to upgrade your blush application to make a statement.

Big apples

“A large, transparent wash on the apples is an instant brightener. Don’t keep it perfectly circular – the more blown-out it is, the more naturally flushed you’ll appear.”


“Use blusher as you would bronzer or contour powder, carving a steep sculpted cheek high up on the face. Softly diffuse onto the temples and across the eyelids for grown-up glamour.”

Full face

“Starting just below the eye, sweep blusher vertically towards your jawline and across the bridge of the nose for a wind-chapped, rugged flush.”

Images: Getty / Dennis Pedersen / Instagram