There’s no contesting the popularity of blush in the beauty realm, but what if there was a blush look made just for you? A flush that is uniquely yours to master? No, we’re not talking about sun-kissed variants such as Hailey Bieber’s strawberry girl make-up, which dominated TikTok last year. Nor Pat McGrath’s porcelain dolls who broke the internet two weeks ago with their avant-garde array of airbrushed cheek colours on the Maison Margiela runway. Introducing: the layered blush.
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Also coined the Single’s Inferno blush, this layered blush technique is known to #beautytok as the application of light pink blush over a pale lilac blush base, culminating in a bright pink hue as seen on Si-eun from the reality program’s third season. While this is an undoubtedly alluring look, some may find this combo hard to master. Good news is, that it doesn’t have to be. The art of layered blush lies in its endless possibilities, made achievable through the versatility of its tools. A single shade of blush could be a highlighting or contouring hue for different individuals. And much like how blush was brought into being as ground ochre or crushed mulberry juice in ancient days, the modern woman has access to it in liquid, cream and powder form. What this means for the beauty enthusiast, is that various permutations of blushes can be canvassed onto your countenance to reveal a look best suited for you.
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Below, professional make-up artists Airin Lee and Sahur Saleim give us the lowdown on how to layer blush the right way.
What effect do we want to achieve when layering blush?
“Dynamics. Layering blush should make your features pop out, as if it’s in 3D,” Lee states. “The overarching principle is simple. Instead of using only one shade, switch things up by using a mix of lighter and darker shades to accentuate your features naturally.
How can someone attempt the layered blush look with highlighting, contouring and colouring blushes?
Each of these types work together with unique purposes in layering. If you find yourself at a loss, here’s what you have to look out for, according to Saleim. “Use a shimmery shade as a highlighting blush as it’s meant to look effortlessly glowy, lifting the temples and eye area. When choosing a contouring blush, be very sure that the shade or undertone is not too orange, and apply it to chisel and carve cheekbones. Colouring blush makes the cheeks appear fuller and is commonly used by make-up professionals to make mature clients look more youthful.”
Lee shares a similar view, adding that contouring blush should carry more nude tones for a shading effect while colouring blushes should be a straightforward rose tone without shimmers or browns. “Generally, a cream blush is recommended for contouring, liquid for highlighting and powder to colour.”
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Is there an ideal layered blush combination for different skin tones?
“Light lilacs and pinks work harmoniously with cooler undertones. Those with warmer undertones can use similar shades but with slightly deeper, berry-like hues for the flush to show up on tanner skin.” Saleim reports. Her recommendations are Sahur’s Art Bestie Blush Balm in Aimee and in Preeti for each skin tone respectively. Lee believes there are endless possibilities. “Individuals with a warm skin tone can use Patrick Ta’s Double Take Creme and Powder blush in She’s Blushing, or the Afterglow liquid blush in Behave from NARS. MAC’s Glow Play blush is good as a contour, and Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting blush in Diffused Heat is a great highlight.”
In our local humidity, which order should cream, liquid or powder blushes be layered to maximise longevity of the look?
For best results, Lee would use a cream or liquid blush first, leaving powder last. “The foolproof hack is to use a sponge to dab on the cream or liquid product instead of a brush. That way, it’ll be less cakey,” she reveals. Heat and humidity are the main antagonists here as they destabilise products and cause dreaded make-up meltdowns. Saleim firmly instructs us to work in as few layers as possible. “All your wet products—think foundation, concealer, liquid blush, for example—should be one thin layer. Followed by a thin dry layer of setting powder, bronzer, and more.”
Are there any general guidelines to keep in mind when layering blush?
“Less is more. The key to layering blush is to apply product slowly instead of overdoing it,” Lee emphasises, in order to prevent caking. Saleim agrees, further elaborating on each type of blush. “Powder blushes can look chalky if not used in moderation. For liquid or cream blushes, try blending it onto your skin in small amounts first, to ensure it doesn’t appear too harsh!”