When it comes to makeup must-haves, blusher is your best friend. Keep in mind, however, that we’re not talking “kontouring” of the kind favoured by the Kardashians and Jenners; instead, all you need is the subtlest of shading on the cheekbones or apples of your cheeks.
A nude is also never just a nude; subtle gradations in shade and saturation complement different complexions:
FAIR SKIN: Pinkish powders play off the blue undertones of pale skin, so if you’re a porcelain princess, makeup artist Low Jyue Huey suggests selecting sheer salmon shades. Oh, and matte has its merits when you’re gunning for the “natural” look; glittery grains in your blush can come off as garish, especially if you’re on the greasy side.
MEDIUM-TO-TAN SKIN: You’ll find a happy medium, so to speak, in shades that skew towards the plummy end of the spectrum. If your skin has blotchy bits, tawny taupes can help to counteract the greenish cast of warmer skin without ramping up unflattering ruddiness in your complexion.
TAN-TO-DARK SKIN: Creamy corals make for an incredibly pleasing pop against dark skin. (Or go really deep with a honey toffee if you’re looking for a nude-nude.) Jyue Huey says shimmery shades are also superb for maximum impact on tan skin; the iridescence will imbue your mien with a lovely, lit-from-within luminescence.
HOW TO APPLY: Shade selection aside, you should also consider your individual facial configurations, especially when it comes to deciding if you should deposit colour on the apples of your cheeks or the hollows under your cheekbones. (Quick aside for beauty beginners: The “apples” refer to the roundest and plumpest points that “pop” when you smile; you ought to be able to locate the beaming bulges just under the centre of each eye.)
As the inimitable makeup artist Larry Yeo puts it so piquantly: “If you have a fat face, blusher on the apples of your cheeks will make you look like a mooncake; on the other hand, if you’re gaunt to begin with, shading in your cheekbones will make you look skeletal, and not in a good way, too.” Ouch.
Translation: The apple application is fine and dandy if you’re a dewy-faced damsel with cutie-pie cheeks … but not so great if your formerly firm face is starting to slacken, because colour on the apples of the cheeks actually draws attention to signs of sagging and bagging. The solution? Keep reading:
SQUARE. HEART AND DIAMOND FACES: If you’re angular like Angelina Jolie, swirling on a little blusher on the apples will soften any sharp edges; this method is also perfect for playing up your youth if you’re pert and pubescent.
Here’s how: Looking straight ahead in a mirror, smile slightly so said apples pop out, then hold the smile while buffing in your blush along the upper half of the apples. Steer clear of your nose – we want to avoid a Rudolph the ruddy reindeer situation – and keep the hue high up on the cheeks.
ROUND AND OVAL FACES: If you’re chubby, cheekbone contouring can reduce the rotundness. To simulate a smaller mien via makeup magic, suck in your cheeks, then use tapping motions to apply a creamy blush. Start from under the centre of your pupils and swirl up and outwards into your temples. This V-shaped wedge of colour along the top of your cheekbones will lend a subtly lifted, superbly slenderising effect.
Top tip applicable to both methods: To make your blush nigh undetectable, brush it on under your go-to BB cushion or dewy-finish foundie, so the rosiness peeks through your skin like a bona fide flush. Makes sense, yes? Good luck getting your blush face on!
Want more”‘nude” makeup hacks? Try your hand at negative space nail art, which is both incredibly cool and unbelievably easy to execute at home.