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Applying blush seems like it should be pretty simple. All you have to do is dab some blush onto your cheeks, blend it out, and you’re good to go, right? Wrong. We all know applying too much blush can make us look more like a clown and less like a supermodel. But what you may not realize is that there are different makeup application techniques in regards to how to apply blush, depending on the shape of your face—and they can make a world of difference. And as it turns out, blush can do more than give your cheeks a nice, rosy glow. (Speaking of rosy glows, here's How to Help Restore Radiance to Mature, Dull Skin Tone.) Dusting on some color to certain parts of your face can soften harsh angles and complement your features as a whole. So, it’s high time you stop thinking of blush as just a pop of color that can be added to your cheeks and start thinking of it as a tool to accentuate your best features. Here’s how to upgrade your face makeup routine by applying blush based on your face shape.
First things first, figure out what your face shape actually is by getting your measurements before applying blush. These measurements will help determine your face shape so that you can use the right blush technique. Here’s how to do it.
Grab a measuring tape, a pen, and a notebook.
Using the measuring tape, measure horizontally across your forehead, jaw, and cheeks at their widest points. Write down the measurements.
Then, measure the length of your face from your forehead to chin, right down the center. Once again, keep track of the measurements in your notebook.
Now that you’ve done that, it’s easy to figure out what type of face shape you have.
If you have a square-shaped face, the width of your forehead, cheekbones, and jaw will all nearly be the same.
If you have a round-shaped face, all your measurements are equal like those with a square-shaped face but you have rounded gentle corners.
If you have an oval-shaped face, your forehead is larger than your jawline and your face length is larger than the width of your cheekbones. Also, the angle of your jaw is rounded.
If you have a long or oblong-shaped face, your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline are similar in size but your face length is the largest.
If you have a heart-shaped face, your forehead is the widest part of your face. Your chin will also be pointed and you may have a widow’s peak at your hairline.
If you have a diamond-shaped face, you have a pointed chin and high cheekbones, with a narrower hairline than that of a heart-shaped face.
Those with a square face shape should stick to the basics. That means going for a classic blush application and putting some color on the apples of your cheeks. This can help to soften angular face shapes. Focus on the apples of your cheeks and then blend outwards for a soft look. Make sure not to blend too far out horizontally because this may cause the opposite effect and give the illusion of a wider-looking face.
Your goal, when you have a round face, should be to make your cheekbones pop. Applying blush in circles to the apples of your cheeks can make your face look even rounder. Instead, make your face look more angular by applying blush slightly lower down and towards the outside of your cheeks (a.k.a. almost, but not quite, under your cheekbones). Just remember to avoid blending towards your nose since that can make your face look rounder.
Editor’s tip: For round faces, it’s best to avoid shimmer-packed blush formulas. The reflective quality can make your cheeks look rounder! Instead of reaching for a shimmery option, use a matte blush.
If you have an oval face, you’re in luck. You can pretty much get away with anything when it comes to blush. One thing you should definitely avoid though, is applying blush under your cheekbones—that’s actually where you should contour. When you apply blush under your cheekbones, you can end up looking like you have windburn instead of a rosy glow. Yikes!
Having a long face means you have more room for blush. Start under the pupils and blend to the middle of your cheeks. Apply it in a slight semicircle or a straight line to make your face appear shorter.
Since heart-shaped faces can appear pointy, you’ll want to use your blush application to soften your features. To do so, apply blush in ‘C’ shapes from the top of your cheeks to above the end of your eyebrows. You may also want to add a bit of blush to the center of your forehead to create balance between your forehead and chin.
Applying blush—the correct way—to a diamond-shaped face can help draw attention to lower portion of your face. All you need to do is apply blush to the tops of your cheekbones and blend outwards towards the bottoms of your ears.
Now that you know how to apply blush to your face shape, you’ll no doubt want to actually, you know, use it. Here are our best blushes to have in your makeup bag.
L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blush: This illuminating blush is available in six shades that each give off a radiant-looking finish and can be used to contour cheekbones.
L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Blush: This blush comes in 12 skin-flattering shades ranging from cool to neutral to warm tones.
L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Radiance Cheek Duo: Available in four shades, this cheek duo offers both a blush shade and a highlighter.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Longwear Blush Shaping Sticks: These long-lasting cream blushes are buildable to achieve your perfect level of intensity.
L’Oréal Paris Paradise Enchanted Fruit-Scented Blush Makeup: This blush makes application oh-so-enjoyable with it’s fun, fruity scent.
Beyond applying your blush based on face shape, there are certain tips and tricks you can use to ensure your blush looks its best.
While certain makeup products can be applied with your fingers, blush isn’t one we recommend smudging on with your hands—especially if you’re partial to powders. For powder blushes, use a fluffy brush to sweep the product on. As for creams, use a makeup blender to apply the product and blend out any harsh lines.
If you have trouble pinpointing where to apply blush, faking a big smile can be helpful. The smile will make the apples of your cheeks more pronounced, giving you a better idea of where to apply.
For your best blush application ever, you’ll need to determine your skin type and tone in addition to your face shape. In terms of tone, you should look for blushes that mimic your skin’s undertones. If you have a warm tone, pick warm-toned blushes. If you have a cool tone, pick cool-toned blushes. Additionally, if you have skin redness, you’ll always want to opt for a cool-toned blush to avoid drawing attention to your already-rosy hue.
As for your skin type, it should help determine the formula you use. Powder blushes are likely to last longer on oily skin, while creamy formulas will look better on dry and mature skin types.
Speaking of lasting power, you’ll want to lock your blush in place. After all, you don’t want it to fade away, leaving you with a less than lively complexion. To set your blush—and the rest of your makeup, while you’re at it—spritz your face with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray.
Your blush doesn’t need to match your lip color exactly—that can be too matchy-matchy—but they should coordinate. Pick a lipstick or lip gloss that’s in the same color family as your blush.
Guess what? Blush isn’t the only makeup product where application should be dependent on your face shape. To be sure you’re really in the know when it comes to face-flattering makeup, read our articles, How to Find the Perfect Eyebrow Shape for Your Face and The Right Way to Contour for Every Face Shape.