How to Achieve the Perfect Summer Blush

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How to Achieve the Perfect Summer Blush
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Photo: ImaxTree/Allison Kahler

Blush is the one thing we constantly debate wearing this time of year. When the heat has gifted us with a rosy but uncomfortably sweaty tint, we have a hard time believing that additional color will hide whatever the weather just slapped across our face. Of course, we have face mists, lightweight moisturizers, and other cooling products to take care of the perspiration and redness part, but what about evening out or at least complementing our skin’s natural hue?

As with most products, making the most of your blush truly lies in the type of formula you choose, how it’s applied, and whether it’s the best option, given your skin type and the impending heat. That’s a lot to take in and consider, so we asked Ashlee Glazer, celebrity makeup artist and Laura Geller global artistic director, to break it all down for us.

MORE:The Best Blushes According to Your Skin’s Undertones

Powder vs. Cream

The first obvious difference between powder and cream blushes is the texture. Whereas the former is lighter and softer to the touch, creams are generally heavier, thicker, and easier to build upon. And because their formulas are so different, deciding what works best for you depends partly on your skin’s most prominent traits (or “skin type”).

Glazer says that for those with normal/combination skin (i.e., skin that experiences the occasional breakout or seasonal excess oil), it doesn’t matter whether you wear cream or powder.

STYLECASTER | Summer Blush Application Tips

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However, “if you have acne, textured, or super oily skin, use powder formulas, so the shine from the cream doesn’t pick up more texture, and the oil in your skin won’t mix with the cream, making you greasy. Use a powder blush with an illuminating finish for that soft glow,” she says.

If you want to avoid looking too muddy or cakey, try layering both textures. But be sure to add a sheer layer of translucent powder to the skin beforehand, so your coverage has lasting power. As for drier skin, a liquid blush is best since it provides the same soft texture as a heavier cream, while still feeling lightweight.

MORE: The Newest Beauty Products for Your Summer Routine

Application

According to Glazer, the “two-finger rule” applies to both powders and creams. “Place two fingers on the side of the nose, and begin the application against your pointer finger,” she says. This will keep you from going overboard and placing blush all over the face, instead of the places where color or highlight is needed.

From there, the process changes, depending on your formula. It’s best to apply powder blushes with a small, soft, dome-shaped brush, swiping away from the face in soft wisps, as opposed to a harsh back and forth. For creams, you can ditch the tools and use your fingers (throw a stippling brush into the mix, if you’ve got anxiety about germs).

“After your foundation and concealer is on, dab a bit of cream either with your fingers or a small stippling brush. Work in small baby circles from the same starting place as the powder,” she says.

STYLECASTER | Summer Blush Application Tips

ImaxTree

From the starting point—your pointer finger—swipe the powder or cream in a direction that best suits your face shape:

Oval: “You want to add width, so keep blush within range of the tops of your ears, and dust on the chin and hairline to contour.”

Round: ” Brush in an upward angle to and from the temples. This will chisel your features instead of looking too full in the face.”

Square: “High cheekbones to soften the angles of your face, hairline, and slightly under the nose.”

Heart: “Apply to apples of cheeks. This will balance out your bone structure, and hairline—leave out the chin.”

MORE: The Best Blush for Different Skin Tones

Blush for the Season

So, you know the difference between powders and creams, as well as how to apply each one according to your face shape, but is one better suited for the summer season? According to Glazer, there is no clear winner because both carry an equal set of pros and cons.

“Cream could be too heavy in real humid weather, but it’s super hydrating and gives a glow. Powder is great in the summertime, but can look heavy in the sun.”

But don’t take this too literally; like all makeup, finding what works for you will require a test run or two, so you can really live in a product and decide whether it’s both weatherproof and flattering to your face. Also, remember that blush makes for a great multitasker when you want to save time and money. Just be sure that whatever brand you’re using is safe enough to use beyond the cheeks.

STYLECASTER | Summer Blush Application Tips

ImaxTree

“Laura and I love using blush as an eyeshadow!,” says Glazer, whose go-to is the Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten. “Because the baked formulas are paraben- and mineral-oil-free, they are safe for the eye area. This saves you time and gives a supermodel glow all over.”

Also, remember that pinks and peaches aren’t one-color-fits-all. Once you’ve determined the best blush color according to your skin’s undertones, peruse some of the top-selling cream and powder options ahead.

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STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | NARS Limited Edition Orgasm Blush
Powder: NARS Limited Edition Orgasm Blush

A prettily packaged updated version of the brand's iconic coral peach powder formula.

$39 at NARS Cosmetics

Photo: NARS Cosmetics
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Glossier Cloud Paint
Cream: Glossier Cloud Paint

Finger paint this gel cream onto your cheeks for a flushed-from-within glow.

$18 at Glossier

Photo: Glossier
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | L'Oreal Paradise Enchanted Fruit-Scented Blush Makeup
Powder: L'Oreal Paradise Enchanted Fruit-Scented Blush Makeup

Four shades (peach, apricot, and more), available in both matte and shimmering pearl finishes, suit a wide range of skin tones.

$12.99 at L'Oreal

Photo: L'Oreal Paris
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Stila Convertible Color
Cream: Stila Convertible Color

A creamy two-in-one lipstick and blush delivers glowy pops of color when you're low on time.

$25 at Stila Cosmetics

Photo: Stila
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Blush
Powder: Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Blush

A trifecta of shades, available in four different color combos, can be used to contour or simply add color to the cheeks.

$38 at Kevyn Aucoin

Photo: Kevyn Aucoin
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Make Up For Ever HD Blush
Cream: Make Up For Ever HD Blush

A creamy, buildable flush of color that feels like a second skin.

$26 at Make Up For Ever

Photo: Make Up For Ever
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush
Powder: Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush

This sheer cheek color includes a dose of the amino acid L-lysine, which confers water-resistant capabilities.

$26 at Cargo Cosmetics

Photo: Cargo Cosmetics
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator
Cream: Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator

After you've applied the cream-to-powder rose-colored formula onto your cheeks, layer it with the illuminator end for a nude glow.

$42 at Wander Beauty

Photo: Wander Beauty
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
Cream: Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek

Swipe any of the five available shades across your cheek for a sheer wash of color and on the lips as a tinted balm.

$24 at Milk Makeup

Photo: Milk Makeup
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Becca Beach Tint
Cream: Becca Beach Tint

A water-resistant cream tint that delivers a natural wash of color to both the cheeks and lips.

$25 at Becca Cosmetics

Photo: Becca Cosmetics
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Sisley Paris Phyto-Blush Twist
Cream: Sisley Paris Phyto-Blush Twist

The cream-to-powder formula is enriched with camellia oil and shea oil to moisturize and make your cheeks rosy.

$68 at Sisley Paris

Photo: Sisley Paris
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Bite Beauty Multistick
Cream: Bite Beauty Multistick

The ultimate multitasker, it's available in a wide range of colors and is able to be used just about anywhere on the face, including the cheeks.

$24 at Bite Beauty

Photo: Bite Beauty
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Beauty Bakerie Scoops Elysee Blush Palette
Powder: Beauty Bakerie Scoops Élysées Blush Palette

Four highly pigmented peach and coral shades for when you want to really highlight your cheekbones.

$38 at Beauty Bakerie

Photo: Beauty Bakerie
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Laura Geller Baked Gelato Vivid Swirl Blush
Cream: Laura Geller Baked Gelato Vivid Swirl Blush

Although this applies like a powder, it actually settles into a silky cream texture that delivers vibrant color.

$26 at Laura Geller

Photo: Laura Geller
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Iman Cosmetics Luxury Blushing Powder
Powder: Iman Cosmetics Luxury Blushing Powder

A silky powder blush available in five brown-girl-friendly shades.

$11 at Iman Cosmetics

Photo: Iman Cosmetics
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick
Cream: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

The light-as-air makeup stick available in 10 different shades can be used to blush, bronze, and/or highlight.

$25 at Fenty Beauty

Photo: Fenty Beauty
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Burt's Bees Blush Makeup
Powder: Burt's Bees Blush Makeup

Bamboo, honey, and vitamin E combine within this mineral powder blush to nourish the skin as it delivers color.

$10 at Burt's Bees

Photo: Burt's Bees
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Milani Baked Blush
Powder: Milani Baked Blush

Available in both matte and shimmery finishes, this baked powder is for when you want to fake a vacation tan.

$8 at Milani Cosmetics

Photo: Milani Cosmetics
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | MAC Powder Blush
Powder: MAC Powder Blush

A powder blush that doesn't disappoint with its wide range of skin-tone-friendly options.

$24 at MAC Cosmetics

Photo: MAC Cosmetics
STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Flower Beauty Flower Pots Powder Blush
Powder: Flower Beauty Flower Pots Powder Blush

This affordable powder blush delivers a soft, satin finish that may trick you into thinking it's a cream formula.

$10 at Flower Beauty

Photo: Flower Beauty

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  • STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | NARS Limited Edition Orgasm Blush
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  • STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Stila Convertible Color
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  • STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator
  • STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
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  • STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Beauty Bakerie Scoops Elysee Blush Palette
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  • STYLECASTER | Best Powder and Cream Blushes | Milani Baked Blush
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