How to wear blusher

“W” blusher is the natural-looking make-up alternative to glowing holiday skin

Here’s how to do the popular TikTok technique with cream and powder blusher.

Much like low-rise jeans and stick-straight hair, blusher is making a fêted return in 2022. After what feels like aeons of bronzer, taupe, nudes and neutrals, a pigmented flush is back. Over on TikTok, people are showing the myriad ways to wear blush – many gravitating towards a technique that mimics the natural shape the sun would make. 

Known as “W blush” or “fake sunburn”, the trend is characterised by placing blusher in three disconnected spots across the bridge of the nose and cheeks. Connecting these areas creates a gently diffused “W” shape – hence the name.

Now, to clarify, no sunburn is healthy. In fact, sunburn is an inflammatory reaction to ultraviolet radiation damage from the sun – what’s known as a “superficial burn” in medical terms. Not only does it massively accelerate how quickly our skin ages, but it can also lead to skin cancer, which can be deadly. If we can create the same youthful effect from the safety of our bathroom mirrors while also wearing suncream? Well, that’s just grand. Here’s how to do it.

If you’re using a powder blusher

Start lightly at the outer apex of your cheekbone, bringing more colour into the centre of your cheekbone, and lightening up again as it moves over the bridge of your nose and across.

If you’re using a cream blusher

Apply blush in three short horizontal stripes across the apples of the cheek and upper apex of the nose. Then, use a brush or your fingers to melt each into each other, creating the soft “W” shape. 

“I tried the fake sunburn blusher trend and this is what I thought”

Many “hacks” and time-saving tricks leave me dumbfounded. How, after careful application, can they look like that, while I look like this? Fortunately, this blusher technique wasn’t one of them.

As easy to do as any other blush placement (instead of applying solely on my cheeks and the lower bridge of my nose, I pulled the colour up higher and swept it into one stripe) the real issue came with feeling bold enough to do it. Initially, a stripe of flush across the centre of the face looked very different from my normal upper cheekbone effect and I patted my foundation beauty blender across it to soften the colour.

As I tried it a few more times, though, I became bolder and more enamoured with the youthful, enlivened flush it gave me, graduating from terracotta blushers to coral tones. Simple and effective, it’s the method I’ll be using for the foreseeable future – not least to pretend I’ve just been on holiday somewhere in the Med.

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Main image: Getty