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You might think the resurgence of blush feels like it comes from the 1980s and in some ways, it definitely does. We went from ultra-bronzed in the early aughts to a more blush-focused look in 2021 with rosy faces that feel like they came out of an ’80s movie. But specifically, the blush contour trend is actually from the ’70s. Also known as blush draping, the technique became popular thanks to Cher’s makeup artist Way Bandy.
These bright cheeks, called “color glow” by Bandy, took off in the late 1970s and really blew up in the ’80s. Just think of that iconic Debby Harry photo where she’s wearing blush all the way up to her temples. But then in the 2000s, the Instagram Face was born with hollowed-out cheeks, snatched noses and contoured chins with cream contour products or bronzer. Did we even use blush? Maybe a dot of it.
Now, the blush contour trend is back and blowing up on TikTok. It sounds kind of crazy but it’s actually a really simple technique that yields gorgeous results. I decided to try it using one of my favorite products, the Lawless Beauty Make Me Blush Talc-Free Velvet Blush ($29 at QVC). With an angled brush, I applied the formula right where I normally would contour, to carve out my cheeks heading all the way up to my forehead. I added a little to my nose too for that sun-kissed look.
I started with a light hand and added more where needed so the finished product was more subtle than ’80s rockstar. It’s best to choose a blush formula that is buildable and not overly pigmented so you have more room to play with the intensity. Something about blush contouring feels fresh and modern—the opposite of cheugy. Will I be retiring bronzer for good? Of course not but I’m really enjoying this new way of adding brightness to my face.
If you want to try blush contouring for yourself, there are some stellar formula choices to choose from. I got you started with a few favorites, below.
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Bobbi Brown Blush
There are eight gorgeous shades of this silky powder blush that really does last all day.
IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Anti-Aging Silk Pressed Blush w/ Brush
This sheer-to-buildable formula contains hydrolyzed collagen, silk, antioxidants and peptides to help diffuse imperfections on the skin. Choose from five natural-looking shades and nab a free Heavenly Luxe French Boutique Brush.
Laura Geller Tropic Hues Blush N Brighten with Brush
Laura Geller knows blush and this baked powder blush is a best-seller for a reason. The mid-pink color has a hint of highlight so it’s the more glowy option. It also comes with a retractable brush.
Tarte Breezy Cream Blush
Those who prefer a cream blush will love this silky, lightweight formula that feels hydrating on the skin. We love blending this type of blush with our fingers.
Mented was created by women of color to provide deeper complexions with better shade options. This buildable blush, available in four shades, flatters a variety of skin tones and blends like a dream.