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How To Apply Liquid Blush for a Natural-Looking Flush

It’s all in the technique.
  • Emily Orofino
June 24, 2024

If you’re someone who favors fresh, natural makeup looks, learning how to apply liquid blush is a skill worth mastering. While all blushes are designed to help give your skin a flush of color, “liquid blush gives much more of a second-skin finish,” according to Erica Taylor, L’Oréal Paris League of Experts Makeup Artist. This makes these fluid, tinted formulas well-suited for dewy, fresh-faced makeup looks and no-makeup makeup.

Those accustomed to powder blush may feel some trepidation when uncapping a liquid formula, but rest assured, applying liquid blush is actually super simple. Here, we’re explaining how liquid blush can be a game-changer in your makeup routine and detailing how to use liquid blush for a rosy (and realistic) glow.

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What Are the Benefits of Liquid Blush?

One of the main benefits of liquid blush is that it’s easy to apply, even on the go. Taylor notes that liquid blush tends to be user-friendly, and says that you can even apply it with your fingers if you don’t have any tools available. Additionally, like other liquid makeup products, liquid blush tends to be buildable and blendable, which makes it a great choice for individuals who are just learning how to use blush.

Another advantage of liquid blush is that it’s generally suitable for all skin types. “It doesn’t accentuate lines or texture,” Taylor says, and often has a dewier finish, making it “ideal for anyone of any skin type who desires a natural flush.”

The best liquid blushes will come in a range of colors (to suit multiple skin tones) with varying finishes, like the L’Oréal Paris Lumi Le Liquid Blush. This formula is available in six different shades and both dewy and glowy finishes to help you enhance your skin’s radiance just how you’d like. Plus, it’s buildable, blendable, and comes with a doe foot applicator for an easy, controlled blush application.

What Tools Do You Need to Apply Liquid Blush?

Ahead of your liquid blush application, you may want to give your makeup bag a little update with a new tool or two. But you don’t have to use a blush or a sponge to apply liquid blush if you don’t want to—your fingers will suffice! These are the three most common liquid blush application methods; there are advantages to each, but it really comes down to personal preference.

Makeup sponge

If you’re already a fan of all the different ways to use a beauty sponge, we don’t have to tell you how versatile one of these little tools can be. They’re also very easy to use. “A sponge, preferably a damp one, will give you the most natural finish and is ideal for beginners,” says Taylor. By tapping or bouncing a beauty sponge across a dab of liquid blush, you’ll be able to blend in your color without any harsh lines of demarcation for a seamless look.

Stippling brush

If you’re after a bolder blush look, consider reaching for a stippling brush: “This will give you a denser application,” says Taylor. The longer, sparser bristles of a stippling brush dot on small amounts of product, while the shorter, denser bristles help buff it in without diffusing the pigment too much. Just make sure you select a stippling brush with a smaller head for your blush application—a larger brush is best suited for putting on foundation, while a smaller one will allow for a more concentrated blend.

Your fingertips

Cleaning makeup sponges and brushes is a time commitment, but all you have to do to wash your built-in blush applicators—your fingertips—is rinse them off with soap and water. The heat of your fingers will help press and melt the liquid blush into your skin for a hyperrealistic flush, and they’re great at building up pigment, adds Taylor. When applying multiple layers of blush, your fingertips won’t pick up or move previous coats as much as a manmade tool. Plus, replacing several beauty tools with your fingertips is a no-brainer if you’re hoping to debulk your makeup bag.

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How to Apply Liquid Blush for a Natural Look: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you’re likely sold on trying it out for yourself, learn how and where to apply liquid blush in three easy steps.

Step 1. Prep your skin

Before you even get to your makeup, let alone blush application, you’ll want to create the perfect canvas. “I always tell my clients, ‘Your makeup is only as good as your skin prep,’” says Taylor, who recommends exfoliating to ensure your skin is smooth and ready for product. Sometimes, makeup can cling to patches of dry, dead skin and make them noticeable. For the same reason, she says it’s important to moisturize, regardless of your skin type.

The foundation you apply ahead of your blush will depend on your coverage preferences and skin type. For example, if you have oily skin, you might want to apply a foundation formula with a matte finish (try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation) as the combination of a dewy liquid blush and luminous skin could make your skin look overly shiny. If you want to create an especially natural makeup look, use a sheerer option, like the L’Oréal Paris True Match Hyaluronic Tinted Serum. It provides natural-looking lightweight coverage and leaves the skin feeling smooth and hydrated.

For what it’s worth, there is a makeup trend that involves switching up the order of things—with underpainting, you’d opt for a heavy liquid blush application ahead of putting on your foundation. However, ahead of mastering that more advanced technique, we’d recommend learning how to apply liquid blush the traditional way first.

Step 2. Dot on color

Though they’re buildable, the best liquid blushes will pack plenty of pigment into just a few dabs of product, so you won’t need much when going in for your blush application. Wipe any excess off the applicator, then add one or two dots of liquid blush onto each cheek—if you’re uncertain, we recommend starting with one, as you can always apply more blush later.

Determining where to apply liquid blush mostly comes down to the shape of your face, so you’ll want to identify your face shape to determine how to put blush on for a flattering effect.

  • Those with square faces can apply blush to the apples of their cheeks to add softness and help balance to their angular features.
  • If you have a round face, consider applying blush in a straight line along the tops of your cheekbones to help emphasize your bone structure.
  • Oval faces are enhanced by blush placement on both the apples of the cheeks and cheekbones—what you choose depends on your desired effect.
  • Those with heart-shaped faces look great with blush that gently curves from the cheekbones up toward the tails of the brows. This placement will help keep the face in harmony rather than making it appear too chiseled or too soft.
  • If you have a diamond-shaped face, aim to apply blush a bit higher up—toward the tops of the cheekbones—to help create balance.
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Step 3. Blend

Now for the part of your liquid blush application when the look finally comes together—blending. If you’ve decided to apply liquid blush with a stippling brush, start blending it in, moving towards the hairline using circular motions. This will diffuse the product and create an airbrushed effect. Those who have opted to use a beauty sponge or their fingertips can use the same blending technique—a bouncing, patting motion. This will result in a seamless finish. You don’t want to rub the product in during blush application, as this can create harsh lines or diffuse the color too much.

It might be at this point in the process that you face a few roadblocks. One common blush mistake is streakiness or patchiness. This is a sign that you still have more blending to do or that you’ve put too much product on. But combatting the clownish look of excess blush is easy—all you have to do is go back in with a little bit of your foundation, which will sheer out the excess pigment.

If, after you’ve fully blended, you find that you’re hoping for a bit more of a flush, go ahead and dot on a bit more color before repeating step three. But we always recommend finishing by using whatever small amount of liquid blush is left on your applicator of choice on the bridge of your nose. You’d naturally flush here, so this trick will ensure your liquid flush looks like the real thing.

Next Up: How to Find the Right Blush Color For Your Skin Tone

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