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How Makeup Artists Use Blush for a Flattering Finish

There's one universal truth when it comes to makeup: Everyone looks great with a bit of blush on their cheeks. It adds life, color and glow to skin in a way no other makeup product can. However, there’s more to learning how to use it correctly than it seems. There's proper blush placement, finding the right tools, deciding on the best shade and formula for your skin — and that's just the blush basics. There are also more advanced techniques to ensure a smooth, even finish. To help with all things blush, we speed-dialed Karina Milan, an NYC-based makeup artist, and makeup artist Manuel Espinoza.

Below, learn how to use blush like a makeup artist — basics, advanced tricks and all.

Pat the blush into the skin

For a natural blush look, Milan likes to use her middle and ring finger for application. The key, she says, is to pat blush into the skin, not sweep. Sweeping can take too much off and move foundation coverage underneath. The same goes if you're applying blush with a brush, she says. Use a stippling technique.

The good news is that blush application is forgiving if you start off slow. "If you're new to blush or you're still kind of on the fence on blush, start off with a really, really small amount of product and build your way up," Espinoza says.
If you’re also wearing bronzer and highlight, blush will essentially go in between the two. Espinoza says highlight goes on the high plane of your cheek to add a spotlight to the top of the cheekbone and enhance that area. On the other hand, Milan says, bronzer goes just below the cheekbone area to help sculpt the face. Making a kissy face will make it easier to find the hollow area below the cheekbone.

“...blush application is forgiving if you start off slow.”

Apply blush between highlight and bronzer

To help make blush application easier, Milan suggests thinking of cheek makeup as Neapolitan ice cream, which includes stacked layers ofvanilla, strawberry and chocolate. The highlight goes at the top of the cheekbone (vanilla). Blush goes in the middle on the apples of the cheeks (strawberry), and bronzer (chocolate) is placed below the cheekbone to contour. As for the order in which to apply them, Espinoza likes working from light to dark. Apply your highlight first, then blush and finallybronzer to contour and sculpt the face.

Don't be afraid to mix blushes

Ready to step your blush game up a notch? Espinoza recommends experimenting with different layers of blush colors and finishes to change up your look. "That is where I say the fun begins because that is where you become your own makeup artist, and you get to decide," he says. For instance, you can rock a cream blush during the day and then layer a liquid blush with some sparkle for a night out.

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