Technique-applying cream blush or highlighter

For the longest time, I was intimidated by cream blush.  It can look SO much more pigmented,and difficult to apply naturally, if you  let it.  But the results are SO worth learning it!  On all  but the most dry, or most oily of skins, it will wear decently, and look unbelievably natural.  For drier skin types, it can help you avoid the powdery cake that calls attention to rough patches.  For oilier skin, make sure to set it well with powder, to avoid letting it melt off your face.

There’s a basic diagram for all of my blush placement—the bulk of this will be about how to blend pigmented cream blushes in for a natural effect.  You can tweak the placement to suit your own face shape—but make a mental note of where your contours are, because we want to apply our cream blush there first, and then blend it outward to soften it.

I’m separating this into a few parts, since not every cream blush has the same texture and density of pigment.  I prefer applying more liquid blushes(like the MUFE cream blushes) with a liquid foundation brush, because it applies more evenly.  Thicker blushes like MAC’s cream blushes do just as well on your normal blush brush, because the brush picks up less pigment with just a simple tap.

If you use a liquid foundation, apply the blush before using a setting powder—-it will blend better with the foundation for a more natural effect.  Translucent powder over top will set the whole thing quite nicely.

You CAN use it with a powder foundation, but I REALLY recommend only using the powder lightly-the more opaque a coating there is on your cheeks, the more difficult it will be to blend blush over top, and the more likely you’ll see the powders texture in your finished blush.

Noww.  For more fluid blushes, like the MUFE cream blush line, I like to use a rounded foundation brush like the MAC 109.  Tap a TEENY amount of product onto it, and if you have a clear surface(like the inside of the products lid, or even a piece of plastic or ceramic)you’ll want to lightly brush over that bare space back and forth a few times, to evenly distribute the cream a bit more.  We don’t want to apply a solid splotch that will be difficult to blend later.   I paint ceramic tiles as another hobby, and then use them to even out makeup like eyeliner or blush, because it’s easy to wash and sanitize them after I’m done.   Once you have an even amount of product on the brush bristles, start by lightly blending in circles around your cheekbone contour.  That will place the majority of the color, and by widening your circles over the apples of the cheeks you can get a subtler flush of color, and leave the darkest deposits of color where your eye expects there to be shadows anyways.  If it’s still too dark, or uneven looking, take a Kabuki or bronzer brush(like the Sephora 43) and blend it in light circles until the blush has melted further into the skin. You’ll want to work fast, to fully blend it before the blush sets.  I recommend doing one cheek, and THEN the other.

Work in thin coats, so that you have opportunity to darken it where you wish, and even contours.  It’s easier to build up coverage, rather than blending it down, which might displace more of your foundation.  But ALWAYS start applying your layer, in the contour, where the deeper color will be less visibly jarring.

For a creamy highlight color such as YSL’s Touche Eclat, or Temptu’s highlighter, you can use the supplied brush-just apply a light “s”curve from your outer temple, across the top of your cheekbone, to your inner eye, and lightly down into the inner corner of the apple of the cheeks, along the nose. I do this because I have a rounder face shape, and that can help elongate it and prevent my cheeks from overwhelming the rest of my face.  To avoid using too much product, I just do one quick swipe of the curve, then the other side, with one “click” of product.  I usually use my fingers, or a slightly wet sponge(If the sponge is slightly wet, it won’t absorb as much product) to blend it in small circles and diffuse it.  Use a VERY light touch, so you won’t disturb any under-eye concealer, or foundation.  For sanitary purposes, you can also blend it further with the products brush, and then do the finer blendings with a smaller kabuki  brush, or pointed blush  brush.  Honestly, these types or products aren’t the most sanitary anyways, since you’re reusing the same applicator brush, so I don’t worry about using the fingers, and I find it a bit easier.  These WILL set on their own, to an extent, but I still prefer to blend a light coat of translucent powder over top, for longer wear, and to blend it further.  If you wear a powder with some shimmer (like MAC’s mineralize skinfinishes) over the highlight, it can prevent the shimmer from being totally masked the way a matte powder does.

To use a thicker cream, or gel, product, like MAC’s cream blushes, you can use your normal angled blush brush.  Just tap it into the product a few times to avoid picking as much product as an even swipe.  It will only pick up a small amount of product, and the brush is fluffy, so we don’t need to worry as much about the distribution.  Alternately sweep, and tap the brush along your cheekbones contour to deposit most of the color.  Use larger circles to blend it up over the apples of the cheeks.

If you are using a highlight with that texture(Like MAC’s Cream Color in Pearl), a fluffy brush won’t pick up enough product for a visible highlight.  Use a smaller concealer brush, or a liquid foundation brush to apply the highlight, and work it into the skin.

Further note on MAC’s cream blushes.  If you want to depot them, DON”T USE HEAT!  Seriously.  You’ll waste product and make a huge mess.  I’ll smile and insist that the warning is totally theoretical, and I have NOT done that myself, on depotting-autopilot..  Open the lid, and remove the shelf with the product from the actual package, using a knife(DULL!).   Push the blade down through that little lip by the rim, , and angle the blade inwards to pop it up.  Using wirecutters, cut two indents about 3/4 inch apart, and bend that lip down.  That should expose the separation between the plastic tray and the metal pan.  Drip rubbing alcohol between them to kill the glue.  Slowly, use the blade to pry the metal pan up, dripping more glue into the space.  Then, you can label it, stick a magnet on, and toss it in your palette with absolutely NO waste or mess.

I love cream blush, and I hope you will as well!  It really can give such gorgeous, natural effects, and allow you a tremendous amount of control over the pigmentation of the finished product. It may take a bit of practice to get the blending done quickly, and evenly, but it is worth it!



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shaimaa
    Dec 21, 2010 @ 06:57:19

    What a great post ,
    Thanks for the info


  2. Sacha
    Jun 03, 2012 @ 04:37:48

    Thank you thank you thank you for a proper image of where to put the stuff!!


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