How to Find the Perfect Blush Colour for Your Complexion
Blush might have been outshone by bold lips and cat eyes over the past few seasons, but that’s all changing thanks to new drugstore and prestige formulas, from creams to stains, and plenty of bright-cheek inspiration from both the runways and editorial shoots. But how do you pick the best blush colour for your complexion? We chatted with makeup artist Katey Denno—who works with Amanda Seyfried, Isla Fisher, Mindy Kaling, and more—for guidance.
“Blush is all about making the rest of the face brighter and fresher,” Denno says. “The goal is to pick a shade that matches the colour of your cheeks when you have a natural flush.” Copy your post-workout glow, or just click through our gallery for Denno’s expert recommendations.
Once you determine the best blush colour for your complexion, picking a formula is easy: If you’re prone to breakouts or have oily skin, go for a powder formula. A cream or stain is good for clear skin and darker complexions but needs to be reapplied after a few hours. If you want a bold, colourful cheek, try layering a powder formula over a stain or cream—it’ll last the longest.
Take a look at Denno’s recommendations for nearly every skin tone below.
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“If you’re extremely pale with red undertones (like Seyfried), you’ll want to choose a cool pink colour,” Denno says. “Anything warm could make your skin look ruddy.” Denno’s top pick is Ilia Multistick in Tenderly ($49) as the best blush for fair skin like Seyfried's.
“If you have pale skin with dark eyes and hair, you’re going to want something lively on your cheeks,” Denno says. She suggests a peachy-pink shade like Nars Blush in Orgasm ($44) as the best blush for fair skin and dark hair to flatter and brighten your complexion.
Denno knows a thing or two about red hair—she created this look on Fisher and has red hair herself. Redheads can wear a range of pinks and peaches, “but avoid anything coral!” she warns. Her selection is Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Glisten ($38).
If you have fair to medium skin and brown hair like Chung’s, consider yourself very lucky, says Denno. “You can wear so many different tones!” she says. For a for a rosy flush, try Too Faced Love Flush Blush in Justify My Love ($37).
Purplish pinks and peachy-pink hues work best on golden blondes like Lively because of the undertones in their hair. Denno’s pick is Nars Blush in Outlaw ($44).
If your complexion is similar to Mendes’s, the best blush for olive skin requires not one but two formulas. Start with a cream bronzer to define your cheeks, and then top it with a peachy blush with red undertones, Denno says. She suggests Ilia Illuminator in Sway ($49) followed by Mecca Max Chic Cheek Blush Powder in Candy Coral ($22).
Liu’s beige undertones look best with a touch of pale pink, Denno says. Her pick is Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Color in Lotus Pink ($31).
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Just like Chung, women with complexions like Kaling’s can wear a variety of colours. Denno's suggestions for the best blush for dark skin include hot coral, warm reds with rich brown undertones, and purple hues. “Indian women need a lot of colour, so I always start with a stain and then layer a powder on top,” Denno says. Tarte Blush in Flush is great ($38).”
“Darker complexions look best with a super-pigmented cream blush,” Denno says. Urban Decay's Afterglow Powder Blush in Crush ($42) has lots of pigment that will look amazing on deep skintones.