No Matter What Blush Formula You Use, It’s All In the Placement

Rachel Krause
Where to apply blush

Graphic Design by Candace Napier

There are some things in our makeup arsenal that we acknowledge are an absolute must, and blush ranks high on that list. It’s a key component for looking youthful, vibrant, and generally better, which is essentially why we wear makeup in the first place. Nothing takes you from “I should still be in bed” to “I’m ready for everything—even work” quite like a rosy flush. That said, we’ll be the first to admit that applying blush in a way that makes it effective isn’t always intuitive.

We asked celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli to dispense his best tips on how to approach both powder and cream blush for the best, most seamless results possible, and how blush can flatter a variety of face shapes.

Powder blush
With powder, Scibelli recommends first finding your unique focal point, which is what you’ll want to emphasize, by smiling in the mirror to see where the apples of your cheeks “pop.” Dip a soft, fluffy blush brush into your powder formula of choice—try Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush ($28) or Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour ($26), two of Scibelli’s favorites—dust off the excess and sweep the color over the apple. Be sure to blend, blend, blend by sweeping out and back toward the center of the ear in a subtle swoosh.

MORE: The Best Blush for Different Skin Tones

Cream blush
Scibelli likes to use cream blush the same way—first to the apples of the cheeks, then blending outward—with either a synthetic foundation brush or fingers. “I like to warm [the blush] up on the top of my hand first to make sure too much product isn’t being applied to the cheek at once,” he said. His picks? Jouer Cheek Tint ($22) comes in a wide range of 11 equally gorgeous shades, and Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee ($22) has a unique gel-like consistency that imparts just the right amount of long-lasting color.

If you’re having a tough time choosing between cream or powder formulas, take Scibelli’s easy advice, and simply consider what you’re looking for: if you want dewiness, cream is ideal, and if you want matte, go for powder.

“So many of my clients think cream blush is harder, but they’re both applied in pretty similar ways, and I don’t think one is harder than the other,” Scibelli says. “So many women are used to applying powder blushes that I would actually suggest stepping out of the box and trying a cream blush. You may love the finish on your skin.”