What is Blush? Everything You Need To Know

Discover ‘what is blush?’ and find out why everyone, everywhere is completely smitten with radiant, rosy cheeks.

Darlings, blush is the word on everyone’s lips and the makeup product on everyone’s cheeks! Beauty-lovers all over social media and around the world are in love with the rosy glow that blush gives the face and cheeks. But what is blush, darlings? In this guide, I’m breaking down blush to teach you how to get the softly pinched look whether you’re a blush beginner or a blush lover through and through!

Blush Wand still life

What is Blush?

Blush is a makeup step that brings warmth and a kiss of colour to the complexion after applying foundation and concealer. It usually has a pinkish tone that mimics the natural flush that the cheeks can get when you feel too warm, embarrassed or in love; however, peaches, oranges, reds and brown tones can also work beautifully to create a natural-looking blushed effect. Blushes can be pressed powders, baked powders, liquids, serums, or creams. Some blushes contain shimmer and others are smooth satins or magical mattes. There’s a blush for every preference, every look, every mood, and every moment - which will you choose today, darling? Perhaps a dot or two of Pinkgasm Beauty Light Wand or a soft veil of Pillow Talk Cheek to Chic!

Beauty Light Wands still life

What Does Blush Do?

Applying blush helps to lift the look of your complexion by adding colour back into the skin. Your skin naturally has different tones within it, and these can be lost after applying foundation and concealer - especially when using full-coverage formulas. When your entire face becomes one shade, it can lack dimension and look flat. Blush helps to bring life back to the face, giving the cheeks a youthful, rosy warmth that looks fresh and naturally flushed.

Blessing Blush model shot

How Do I Find the Blush Shade for my Skin Tone?

Beach Sticks swatches

Some blush shades will complement your skin tone better than others; for example, peachier tones look gorgeous on skin with a warm undertone, and bolder colours like reds and berries look divine on deep skin. To find your perfect blush match, you will need to identify your skin tone as well as your undertone.

First, decide whether your skin tone is fair, medium, tan or deep. As a guide, discover the four corresponding shades of my Airbrush Flawless Finish pressed powder and decide which is the closest match for your skin.

Tilbury Tip: I recommend using lighter blush colours like pale pinks and peaches for fair-to-medium skin and using more pigmented colours like reds and brighter pinks on tan-to-deep skin.

Pillow Talk Party group model shot

Then, identify your undertone: your skin can have a warm, cool or neutral undertone.

Warm undertones can range from yellow to peach to golden. Warm-toned skin looks naturally sun-kissed with veins that appear green in tone. I suggest reaching for warm-toned blush colours like peaches and oranges that complement the gorgeous warmth that’s already present in warm-toned skin.

MJ Rodriguez Peach Pop model shot

Tilbury Tip: If you have a warm undertone, try my Matte Beauty Blush Wand in Peach Pop for a magical, peachy-pink matte blush look.

Cool undertones lean more pink or red in tone. Cool-toned skin often has a rosier complexion with prominent hints of blue. Fairer skin tones appear pink when they have a cool undertone, and deeper skin tones appear more red. The most flattering blush colours for cool-toned skin include blue-toned pinks, mauves, and cool berry reds.

Meg Pinkgasm model shot

Tilbury Tip: For cool undertones, I suggest my Pinkgasm Beauty Light Wand as the perfect pop of dolly-pink, pearlescent liquid blush.

If you don’t feel that your skin fits into these two categories, you may have a neutral undertone that sits somewhere in between. This includes olive undertones that contain a mixture of warm and cool tones, and beige undertones that are truly neutral and don’t lean towards warm or cool. For a neutral complexion, I recommend wearing neutral pinks and rosy brown blushes that are flattering without swinging too warm or too cool.

Bruna Pillow Talk Model Shot

Tilbury Tip: Pillow Talk is my universally flattering shade that looks fabulous on everyone! For a neutral blush look, choose Cheek to Chic in Pillow Talk for a pretty pink glow, or Pillow Talk Intense for a rosy-brown flush.

Once you’ve determined your skin tone and undertone, discover my full guide to the best blush shades for every skin tone to find your dream blush!

Can I Wear Blush If I Have Skin Redness?

Yes – you can absolutely wear blush when experiencing skin redness. A lot of people steer clear of blush when they have naturally red cheeks because they think applying blush will only amplify their redness. Instead of missing out on the magic of blush, reach for a blush that isn’t pink or red in tone – I recommend a peach, brown or terracotta shade like my Peachgasm Beauty Light Wand or Cheek to Chic powder blush in Ecstasy or The Climax – these blushes won’t emphasise the redness in your skin and provide an alternative, flattering flush for your cheeks.

Tilbury Tip: If you’re experiencing redness on the face, discover Charlotte’s Magic Water Cream - a super-hydrating moisturiser that’s clinically proven to reduce the appearance of redness on the face over time*.

Meg Peach Pop model shot

Cream, Liquid or Powder Blush – Which Is Best?

All forms of blush are created equally, darlings! There are so many benefits to using cream, liquid and powder blushes – one isn’t better than the other, they are simply different. When choosing the best blush for you, consider your makeup preferences and decide on which formula will work best for you. Maybe you prefer a dewy makeup look and want to reach for a cream blush like Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow, or perhaps you adore the satin-smooth finish of a powder blush like Cheek to Chic. Discover my guide on how to choose blush, and unlock your dream blush from my blush wardrobe!

Blush Wardrobe still life

What Type of Blush Is Best for Beginners?

For blush beginners, I recommend choosing a cream blush because they are easy to apply and easy to blend. You can effortlessly apply cream blush with your fingers – you don’t even need a brush – making cream blushes the easiest way to experiment with giving the apples of the cheeks a pretty pop of colour! Discover my Quick & Easy Makeup Kits and Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow - they’re beautiful, beginner-friendly cream blushes!

Quick & Easy Lip & Cheek Wands all shades

Do You Put Blush On Before or After Foundation?

In your makeup routine, blush should be applied after foundation. I suggest applying a hydrating moisturiser and primer to prep the skin for foundation, then smoothing your favourite foundation formula onto the skin to build up your desired coverage. Once you’ve applied cream bronzer and highlighter, eye makeup and lipstick, reach for your favourite blush as the last step in your routine to give the cheeks a gorgeous rosy glow.

Do You Put Blush Under or Over Setting Powder?

If you are applying powder blush, I recommend applying setting powder before your blush to create a silky-smooth canvas for your blush to glide onto. When applying cream or liquid blush, it’s best to apply setting powder after your blush to let your blush mesh with the skin before setting it into place.

What’s the Best Brush for Applying Blush?

The best brush for applying blush is a domed, fluffy brush that effortlessly hugs the contours of the cheeks. This brush shape allows you to pick up the perfect amount of cream, liquid or powder blush and applies it evenly onto the apples of the cheeks. It’s best to use a fluffy brush to apply your blush as this helps to buff and blend products to get a seamless finish. When I’m applying blush, I always reach for my Bronzer & Blusher Brush to get a flawless blush application.

Bronzer Blusher Brush packshot for blog

How To Apply Blush

Darlings, knowing how to apply blush is the secret to creating a beautifully blushed makeup look. There are some key differences in the way you should apply your blush depending on whether you’re reaching for a cream, liquid or powder formula. You should also consider your face shape when applying blush as the most flattering placement can differ from person to person.

Charlotte & MJ model shot

Discover my expert guides on how to blush and become an effortless blushing beauty:

How To Contour with Blush

Did you know that you can contour with blush? It was acceptable in the 80s, darlings! I’ve always loved the bright and bold blush looks of this era; to get the look, take your blush deeper into the hollows of the cheeks where your contour would usually reside, then blend up towards the ears, into the hairline and onto the temples for a dramatic, sculpted look.

Tilbury Tip: Use a poppier shade of blush like a burgundy or fuchsia pink to get the most vivid blush-contour effect. I recommend my Matte Beauty Blush Wand in Dream Pop and Cheek to Chic in Love is the Drug or Walk of No Shame.

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Author Details

Charlotte Tilbury

Founder, President, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty

With over 30 years experience, Charlotte Tilbury MBE is the world's number 1 makeup artist and British beauty entrepreneur. Charlotte established Charlotte Tilbury Beauty in 2013, which is now a record-breaking beauty brand that has won over 400 awards.

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