Scarlet Fever: Embracing Red Blush

Red Blush, MAC, NARS, NYX, makeup

Almost no blush shade looks more alarming in the pan than a bright, in-your-face red, it looks like something you’d find stashed away in a clown’s makeup kit. But before you dismiss tomato shades as too intense and retreat to the safety of a nice peachy pink, let me make my case.

Every girl should have a red blush. The whole idea of blush is to mimic a natural flush, right? To infuse color into our complexion, to make us look healthy and radiant and like we just stepped in from a brisk walk. Now think about when your cheeks are naturally flushed, what color are they? Babydoll pink? Plum? Shimmery coral? Somehow I doubt it. Chances are, they’re red, red due to the blood that’s rushed to the surface…. are you starting to see where I’m going with this?

Red blush creates the most natural and gorgeous wash of color; the key is in the application. As you might imagine, being heavy-handed with a shade like MAC’s Frankly Scarlet will leave you looking overheated at best and contagious at worst. Red blush is best used sparingly, in a sheer, barely-there wash. For the most natural effect, apply it where you would naturally flush (hint: it’s not on the apples of your cheeks). I personally apply blush in an almost straight line across the tops of my cheeks. This results in a youthful, natural glow that, as an added bonus, also helps lift the face.

The very best thing about red blush is that it works for everyone and all skin tones (we all blush red, guys). Depending on your skin’s undertones you can choose a rose-red shade like MAC’s Frankly Scarlet or something like NARS’ Exhibit A with more orange undertones. Counterintuitively, I think this shade is particularly gorgeous on fair skin (think Snow White), though pale skin types will have to use an especially light hand. It’s the perfect shade for those sneaky no-makeup makeup looks.

snow white makeup, blush, beauty

Next time you find yourself reaching for your standard peachy coral or shimmery rose, do yourself a favor and give red a shot – I promise you won’t be sorry. Here are a few of the best red blush shades on the market for inspiration:

NARS (Exhibit A) – bright, orange-toned red powder blush.

NARS Matte Multiple (Siam) – matte true red cream blush.

MAC Powder Blush (Scarlet Fever) – rose-toned matte powder blush.

Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelee (Getaway Red) – true red water-based blush.

NYX Powder Blush (Red) – very similar to MAC Frankly Scarlet, slightly more pink.

Quickie Makeup Tip: Bronzer As Eyeshadow

Bronzer’s one of those makeup items that every girl seems to own. Whether shimmery or matte, well-loved or mostly neglected, chances are you’ve got one stashed away somewhere. Being a pale girl with a built-in radiance (read – oily skin), bronzer doesn’t tend to fall on my list of holy grail products. I have one or two, sure, but it’s only in summer that they see any regular action.

That’s all about to change; however, bronzer is definitely having a moment this year, and I am all about it. Bronzed, sexy, Victoria’s Secret eyes are making a comeback for spring and bronzer is your one-stop-shop for achieving them. This past year saw matte bronzer as a go-to transition crease shade: a soft brown that added warmth to a look while making the transition between shadow and skin that much more seamless. This trick worked especially well with something like a black smokey eye, making a traditionally intense look more wearable.

For 2014, bronzer is taking over the whole lid and it couldn’t possibly be easier. Simply sweep a wash of bronzer over your entire lid with a fluffy brush (think MAC 217) and blend through the crease. That’s it. You’re left with a subtle, trendy, smokey eye in the space of maybe thirty seconds. This look works with either shimmery or matte bronzers, though matte works better for defining the crease.

The real beauty of this tip is that your bronzer is already matched to your skin tone, you’re working with a color you know suits you –  no guesswork involved. It’s a wonder it took us this long to figure out. This would be an especially great trick to keep in mind when traveling this summer – think about how much space you’ll save leaving your palettes at home.

Anyone else tried the bronzer/shadow look?