Makeup 101: Cheeks and a Healthy Glow


Sonja is back with the third installment of her Makeup 101 series! (She’s also given a fabulous lesson on How to Apply Foundation, Concealer, and Powder and tips on How to Apply Eye Makeup.) I’m very excited to have Sonja walk us through the basics of cheeks … and as always, check her blog, Hello Beauty! for daily tips, reviews, and tutorials.

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Makeup 101: Cheeks and a Healthy Glow
Hello, beauties! Today let’s talk cheeks and how to give yourself a healthy glow with blush and bronzer. Many women focus on their eyes and/or lips and don’t give much thought to blush and bronzer, especially after you’ve seen these products abused (think little old ladies and Tammy Faye) and because these products don’t really call attention to themselves when applied properly. But it only takes a couple minutes for them to add a gorgeous radiance to your skin.

If you have any doubts about the importance of bronzer and blush, compare how you look with and without them. I saw someone just the other day wearing foundation and lipstick but no blush or bronzer. It didn’t look natural. She just looked like she was wearing a mask of makeup – and no one wants that.

I apply both a bronzer and blush anytime of year. Generally, bronzer is applied first so I’ll start with that.

Bronzer
Bronzers get a bad rap. When overdone, they look awful. But when done right – which really isn’t hard – they can give a lovely warmth to the skin that makes you look healthy and a tad sun-kissed. They can also even out redness in the skin. The key is choosing the right shade and using a light touch.

Choosing a shade. Choose something that’s one or two shades darker than your complexion. If you go too dark, skin can look dirty. If your skin is on the lighter side, avoid bronzers with a lot of shimmer – it tends to look fake. A little shimmer works well on any skin tone.

Application. Powder bronzers are pretty goof-proof. Apply with a large powder brush for the most natural look. Dust bronzer lightly onto the cheeks and a little along the hairline, nose and chin. You’re applying in the same places where you would naturally get a bit of color from the sun.

To make your face look more slender, apply a little along the jaw line. The neck is usually lighter than the face and chest, so apply a little there, too.

Remember to use a light hand and that you can always add more. It’s harder to de-bronze yourself. If you do go too far, try soften it up with a fluffy powder puff.

Formula. I prefer to use a powder bronzer in the morning and then touch up later in the day with a powdery cream bronzer, because I don’t like to apply more and more powder throughout the day, which can begin to look cakey.

Favorites. Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder, Guerlain Terracotta, Givenchy Le Prisme Sun Visage and Le Prismissime Sun Visage, Armani Blending Blush Duo (this is a cream bronzer/blush duo I keep in my purse for touch-ups).

Blush
With blush, you’re trying to mimic that healthy flush you get after you’ve gone for a brisk walk.

Choosing a shade. Bobbi Brown recommends holding blush shades next to your cheek and says the right shade will make your skin look prettier and brighter. She also recommends using two shades – a natural shade and a brighter pop color on top or simply using a pop color on top of bronzer – for the most natural look. You can definitely get away with using just one shade; but using two will look more vibrant, because the natural shade tends to fade.

Application. Make a nice, cheesy smile and apply blush on the apples of the cheeks and then up and back towards the hairline. Bobbi Brown education executive Katrina Rau says concentrating the color high on the cheekbone lifts the face, draws attention away from under eye circles, and makes you look younger. Dab the pop color just on the apples of the cheeks. Blend away tell-tale lines. To soften the look, lightly buff with a powder puff.

Formula. As I do with bronzer, I apply a powder blush when I start the day and touch up later in the day with a powdery cream blush. Powder is the easiest to apply and works well for all skin types. Creams tend to work better for normal and dry skin. Stains are good for all skin types but especially oily.

If I know I have a long day ahead of me, I apply a stain before the powder to give myself a base color. It makes the powder blush more vibrant and lasts well so I continue to have a little color in my cheeks even after the powder fades away during the day.

Favorites. Bobbi Brown Powder Blush, Guerlain Blush 4 Éclats Sculpting Blush (this includes four shades, including natural and pop colors), Givenchy Le Prisme Powder Blush, Benefit Benetint, and Armani Blending Blush Duo (I keep this cream bronzer/blush duo in my purse for touch-ups).

For a video tutorial, watch this makeup lesson I shot with Katrina Rau. The lighting’s not great on this one. But I think it’s still helpful to see how and where she applies the bronzer and blush:

To see more Bobbi Brown makeup lesson videos and reviews of her latest collections, visit my blog Hello Beauty!

XO, Sonja

  • futurelint

    I have to admit, I'm a teensy bit intimidated by blush, but bronzer saves me all winter when my cheek freckles have faded – they give the illusion that they are still there!

  • Lemondrop Marie

    Fabulous tutorial, I am always intidated by blush- I think I look too rosy with it half the time.

    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  • rb

    Great post. I am pale pale pale and always thought bronzer would look ridiculous on me, but I finally got talked into a bronzer quad from Trish McEvoy, which I now use as both bronzer and blush. To my surprise, I think it looks far more natural than my old blush-only application. You're right, a light hand and a big brush are key.

  • Anonymous

    NYC Sunny Bronzer is a good matte drugstore bronzer, for the budget-conscious.

    NYX makes some great less-expensive powder blushes: natural, desert rose, terracotta, mauve. i'm pretty fair and am a big fan of blush and bronzer – like Sonja says, they perk you up and give you a glow. Give it a try!!

  • lisa

    Yay! I always love Sonja's beauty posts.

    I'm not much for bronzer, but blush is one of my daily staples. I love NARS Orgasm blush.

  • Sonja

    @futurelint, yes, bronzer is especially great in winter to avoid looking pale and pasty!

    @Lemondrop Marie, so glad you found the info helpful!

    @rb, I haven't tried that quad. But you can't go wrong with Trish.

    @lisa, thank you! Oddly, I've never tried Nars Orgasm. I'm going to have to one of these days, considering it's probably the best selling blush ever! :)

  • V

    some of us really do have more than enough roses in our cheeks! it's a pity, because I would like to do a little discreet contouring.

  • Courtney Erin

    Great tutorial and tips! I've always been wary of blush but I've recently decided to give it a whirl and these tips are making it a bit easier.

    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

  • Little Miss Makeup

    Another great post, Sonja! Some of your favorites I have never tried so thanks for the recommendations. Benefit Benetint is certainly a staple in my kit.

    LMM x