How to Achieve the Perfect Summer Blush

Jun 6, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. ET
Perfect Summer Blush
Image: ImaxTree/Design: Allison Kahler/StyleCaster

Blush is the one thing we constantly debate wearing this time of year. When the heat has gifted us with a rosy but uncomfortably sweaty tint, we have a hard time believing that additional color will hide whatever the weather just slapped across our faces. Of course, we have face mists, lightweight moisturizers and other cooling products to take care of the perspiration and redness part, but what about an evening out or at least complementing our skin’s natural hue?

As with most products, making the most of your blush truly lies in the type of formula you choose, how it’s applied and whether it’s the best option given your skin type and the impending heat. That’s a lot to take in and consider, so we asked Ashlee Glazer, celebrity makeup artist and global artistic director for Laura Geller, to break it all down for us.

Powder vs. cream

The first obvious difference between powder and cream blushes is the texture. Whereas the former is lighter and softer to the touch, creams are generally heavier, thicker and easier to build upon. And because their formulas are so different, deciding what works best for you depends partly on your skin’s most prominent traits (or “skin type”).

Glazer says that for those with normal/combination skin (i.e., skin that experiences the occasional breakout or seasonal excess oil), it doesn’t matter whether you wear cream or powder.

However, “if you have acne, textured or super oily skin, use powder formulas so the shine from the cream doesn’t pick up more texture and the oil in your skin won’t mix with the cream, making you greasy. Use a powder blush with an illuminating finish for that soft glow,” she says.

If you want to avoid looking too muddy or cakey, try layering both textures. But be sure to add a sheer layer of translucent powder to the skin beforehand so your coverage has lasting power. As for drier skin, a liquid blush is best since it provides the same soft texture as a heavier cream, while still feeling lightweight.


According to Glazer, the two-finger rule applies to both powders and creams. “Place two fingers on the side of the nose, and begin the application against your pointer finger,” she says. This will keep you from going overboard and placing blush all over the face, instead of the places where color or highlight is needed.

From there, the process changes depending on your formula. It’s best to apply powder blushes with a small, soft, dome-shaped brush, swiping away from the face in soft wisps as opposed to a harsh back-and-forth motion. For creams, you can ditch the tools and use your fingers (throw a stippling brush into the mix if you’ve got anxiety about germs).

“After your foundation and concealer is on, dab a bit of cream, either with your fingers or a small stippling brush. Work in small baby circles from the same starting place as the powder,” she says.

From the starting point — your pointer finger — swipe the powder or cream in a direction that best suits your face shape.

Oval: “You want to add width, so keep blush within range of the tops of your ears, and dust on the chin and hairline to contour.”

Round: ” Brush in an upward angle to and from the temples. This will chisel your features instead of looking too full in the face.”

Square: “High cheekbones to soften the angles of your face, hairline and slightly under the nose.”

Heart: “Apply to apples of cheeks. This will balance out your bone structure and hairline — leave out the chin.”

So, you know the difference between powders and creams as well as how to apply each one according to your face shape, but is one better suited for the summer season? According to Glazer, there is no clear winner because both carry an equal set of pros and cons.

“Cream could be too heavy in real humid weather, but it’s super-hydrating and gives a glow. Powder is great in the summertime, but can look heavy in the sun.”

But don’t take this too literally; like all makeup, finding what works for you will require a test run or two, so you can really live in a product and decide whether it’s both weatherproof and flattering to your face. Also, remember that blush makes for a great multitasker when you want to save time and money. Just be sure that whatever brand you’re using is safe enough to use beyond the cheeks.

“Laura and I love using blush as an eye shadow!,” says Glazer, whose go-to is the Laura Geller Blush-n-Brighten. “Because the baked formulas are paraben- and mineral oil-free, they are safe for the eye area. This saves you time and gives a supermodel glow all over.”

Also, remember that pinks and peaches aren’t one-color-fits-all. Once you’ve determined the best blush color according to your skin’s undertones, peruse some of the top-selling cream and powder options ahead.

Originally posted on StyleCaster.

1 /20: Powder: Nars Limited-Edition Orgasm Blush

NARS Limited Edition Orgasm Blush
Image: Nars

1/20 :Powder: Nars Limited-Edition Orgasm Blush

2 /20: Cream: Glossier Cloud Paint

Glossier Cloud Paint
Image: Glossier

2/20 :Cream: Glossier Cloud Paint

3 /20: Powder: L'Oréal Paris Paradise Enchanted Scented Blush

L'Oreal Paradise Enchanted Fruit-Scented Blush Makeup
Image: L'Oréal Paris

3/20 :Powder: L'Oréal Paris Paradise Enchanted Scented Blush

4 /20: Cream: Stila Convertible Color

Stila Convertible Color
Image: Stila

4/20 :Cream: Stila Convertible Color

5 /20: Powder: Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Blush

Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Blush
Image: Kevyn Aucoin

5/20 :Powder: Kevyn Aucoin The Neo-Blush

6 /20: Cream: Make Up For Ever HD Blush

Make Up For Ever HD Blush
Image: Make Up For Ever

6/20 :Cream: Make Up For Ever HD Blush

7 /20: Powder: Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush

Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush
Image: Cargo

7/20 :Powder: Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush

8 /20: Cream: Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush & Illuminator

Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator
Image: Wander Beauty

8/20 :Cream: Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush & Illuminator

9 /20: Cream: Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek

Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
Image: Milk Makeup

9/20 :Cream: Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek

10 /20: Cream: Becca Beach Tint

Becca Beach Tint
Image: Becca

10/20 :Cream: Becca Beach Tint

11 /20: Cream: Sisley Paris Phyto Blush Twist

Sisley Paris Phyto-Blush Twist
Image: Sisley Paris

11/20 :Cream: Sisley Paris Phyto Blush Twist

12 /20: Cream: Bite Beauty Multistick

Bite Beauty Multistick
Image: Bite Beauty

12/20 :Cream: Bite Beauty Multistick

13 /20: Powder: Beauty Bakerie Scoops Élysées Face & Body Palette

Beauty Bakerie Scoops Élysées Blush Palette
Image: Beauty Bakerie

13/20 :Powder: Beauty Bakerie Scoops Élysées Face & Body Palette

14 /20: Cream: Laura Geller Baked Gelato Vivid Swirl Blush

Laura Geller Baked Gelato Vivid Swirl Blush
Image: Laura Geller

14/20 :Cream: Laura Geller Baked Gelato Vivid Swirl Blush

15 /20: Powder: Iman Cosmetics Luxury Blushing Powder

Iman Cosmetics Luxury Blushing Powder
Image: Iman Cosmetics

15/20 :Powder: Iman Cosmetics Luxury Blushing Powder

16 /20: Cream: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick
Image: Fenty Beauty

16/20 :Cream: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

17 /20: Powder: Burt's Bees Blush

Burt's Bees Blush Makeup
Image: Burt's Bees

17/20 :Powder: Burt's Bees Blush

18 /20: Powder: Milani Baked Blush

Milani Baked Blush
Image: Milani

18/20 :Powder: Milani Baked Blush

19 /20: Powder: MAC Powder Blush

MAC Powder Blush
Image: MAC

19/20 :Powder: MAC Powder Blush

20 /20: Powder: Flower Brand Flower Pots Powder Blush

Flower Beauty Flower Pots Powder Blush
Image: Flower

20/20 :Powder: Flower Brand Flower Pots Powder Blush