We’ve come a long way from the toxic mercury sulfide-based formulas of the 16th century, and the powder-only monopoly of grandma’s time. Between stains, creams, and gels, choosing a formula can be in and of itself confusing, not to mention the panorama of colors. Below, Phillips offers a quick rundown.
These formulas are generally made from a mixture of oils and waxes, and tend to look the most real to me. I especially love to use them in dryer climates on older skin types—the cream formula doesn’t settle into fine lines on mature skin the way a powder would.How to Apply
: The warmth of your finger will help to really melt the pigment into your skin, however, for those who prefer to keep their hands clean, look to a Beauty Blender
, a small blush or stippling brush to transfer a soft wash of color to the cheeks.
Stains are often water-based, oil-free, and alcohol-free, making them appropriate for all skin types. A stain actually acts as a temporary dye to saturate your skin with color. For this reason, it tends to last the longest and is designed to be waterproof.How to Apply:
The trick to working with a stain is speed. Apply with a brush (you can’t go wrong with the Utowa Cheek Brush
) and then blend it out using your fingers.
Liquid + Gel
Liquid blush has the consistency of water, while the gel is thicker and not as runny. Both liquid and gel blushes are highly pigmented, and a little bit of color goes a long way. Instead of depositing color on top of the skin, liquid and gel blush stain the skin and give the appearance of a natural flush.
How to Apply: One of the best things about using a gel blush is the color payoff–a little goes a long way. I apply this type of blush in the same way as a stain blush: using a brush first and then blending with my fingers. If the blush comes in bullet form, apply directly from the packaging with no brush or fingers, blending as you go for a more concentrated dispense of color. If too much blush is used, the only way to correct the color is to wash it off and start over.
Made from a talc, corn, arrowroot, or rice powder base, powder blushes are ideal for oily skin types and as a sealant for other creamy formulas and to create a multidimensional cheek. As for texture, creams, liquids, and gels will give you the most natural finish while loose powder blushes are more build able and offer more coverage.
How to Apply: Use angular brushes for defined blending or a domed brush to give you that perfect color pop. When in doubt, setting spray is a great tool for powdered blushes, in case you’ve applied too much and it appears dusty. Give your face a spritz or two after applying your makeup to help it last all day.
Peach can be especially flattering for complexions with yellow undertones; baby pink (like the inside of your lip) works best for those with pink undertones.