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Skin Deep

Skin Deep: You're an eejit if you're not using blush and here's why

You’d probably be better off wearing no makeup instead of skipping blush.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

A while ago, I was doing my makeup on Snapchat, and I mentioned that my sisters never used blush. This, in my view, is a criminal offence, and I said as much. I assumed that everyone would agree with me, and express shock at such a grievous error, but actually, lots of people got in touch to say that they didn’t use blush either. Well, it’s basically taken me this long to recover. To me, blush is an absolute essential. I almost think that you’d be better off not wearing any makeup than wearing a full face without blush, and here’s why.

The job of foundation and concealer is to even the skin tone and to erase any imperfections, so if applied properly, you’ll end up with a blank canvas. This is good for the application of makeup, but the reality is that no one’s face is all one colour for a reason. Coloured cheeks are a sign of good health, and add an extra dimension to the face. If you erase the colour with foundation and then don’t add it back in with blush, you’ll end up looking a little dead. And you don’t want to look dead, do you? (If you’re a goth, you’re obviously excused from this lesson.)

PastedImage-98056 Me without blush: Dead, and not in the good way

If you’re a blush beginner, here are the basics. There are lots of different formulations these days, from cream to gel to powder to liquid to mousse. This variety is helpful when you need your makeup to last, because you can layer a powder on top of a cream, but for day to day, my favourite is a classic powder. It lasts, both in the pot and on the face.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started with blush. In fact, one of my favourites is Natural Collection’s Blushed Cheeks in Pink Cloud, which will set you back a whopping €2.79. You do need a decent brush, however. As I’ve said before, brushes are very much an individual thing. One person’s blush brush is another person’s foundation brush, but I use a tapered brush for powder every day. If you’re using a cream blush, your fingers can do a fine job, but I prefer to use a stippling brush to really buff it into my skin. It’s important to remember that, as in cooking, you can always add but it’s very difficult to take away, so start with a tiny bit of product on your brush. If you’re using powder, swirl the brush on the product, then tap the side of your brush on your wrist to shake off any excess. You may have seen makeup artists doing this in the past and thought they were just doing it to look cool, but it actually is important if you want to avoid looking like a clown.

Before applying the blush, look into your mirror and smile. Then say ‘I am beautiful’ ten times. Ok, you don’t actually have to do the affirmations, but you do need to smile. Identify the circular bits that stick out when you smile, because those are the apples of your cheeks, and that’s where you should apply your blush. Use gentle circular strokes to apply, being sure to buff out the edges. (If you’ve been reading these columns every week, you probably think I’m obsessed with buffing and blending. I am, but that’s because they are the most important parts of makeup application. Without them, we’d look like jokes.) If you’re happy with how you look, you’re done. If you feel like you need more – add more!

PastedImage-78552 Me with blush: ALIVE! In the best way

Ok, you say, but what bloody colour should I be wearing? A simple way of identifying a colour that’ll suit you is to pinch your cheeks and then pick something which isn’t far off the colour your cheeks naturally go. I have fair skin with yellow undertones and I tend to wear bright pinks and corals (Benefit’s Coralista is probably my most worn blush). Peachy shades tend to suit people with medium toned skin, olive skin suits rose shades, and dark skin wears deep berry shades and brick red well. To be honest, though, there’s a lot of fun to be had beyond that, and I think some time spent in a beauty hall trying a few on is time well spent. I don’t believe in hard and fast rules in beauty, it’s meant to be fun, after all!

Before you go, one more thing. If you are someone who hasn’t been wearing blush, you’re probably going to think you look weird the first time you put it on. You don’t. You’re just not used to it. Give it a few days, and you’ll find you like it. In fact, you may even get comments from people on how well you look. Trust me on this one.

New Product


It’s been a long time since I swooned over something as much as I’m swooning over Charlotte Tilbury’s Instant Look in a Pallette. She is the queen of simplifying great makeup, in my opinion, and what could be simpler than coordinated eyeshadow, bronzer, blush and hightlight in one lovely package? The shades should suit most people, although perhaps not dark skin. It’s pricey at €69, but you get a fair bit of bang for your buck.

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