A Healthy Glow: Blush vs. Bronzer

cosmetic brush blush
Makeup Tips Image Gallery The right product can give you that healthy glow. See more makeup tips pictures.

Nothing shouts "healthy" like a little sun-kissed color on your face and a light flush on your cheeks. But with evidence that the sun's rays are becoming increasingly dangerous, especially for naturally pale skin, Mother Nature may not be your best source of beauty. Sometimes you need a little help from the cosmetic gods, and this is where blush and bronzer come to the rescue.

If you're not well-versed in the wide world of cosmetics, here's a quickie primer on blush and bronzer. Blush is used to give your cheeks a little color, as though you just came in from a cold afternoon.


Bronzer, on the other hand, generally comes in shades of brown and is intended to make you look suntanned. It's a light powder that's meant to be applied on the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead. The two can be used in tandem to achieve a natural, outdoorsy look, and bronzer can be applied as blush in certain cases. Blush, however, should be limited to the cheeks, otherwise you may end up looking less sun-kissed and more sunburned. The key to using both products successfully is finding the right shade for your skin.



Blushing Beauty

woman applies blush
It's hard to overapply blush using powder and a brush.

Blush is a great cosmetic to brighten up your complexion, especially if you're fair. It can also be used to highlight cheekbones to make them look more defined and chiseled. It comes in a rainbow of skin tones, ranging from a creamy peach to a bright ruby to a dark brown. The best way to find the right shade of blush for your skin is to try to match the color of your cheeks when it's cold outside. Pinching your cheeks until they flush will have the same effect. If you're still not quite sure, you may have to do a little experimenting. As a rule of thumb, a rosy beige is neutral enough to flatter most skin tones while a browny orange doesn't really look good on most people. Blush comes in powders and creams, or if you want to keep up with the latest trends in makeup you can try a cheek stain, which comes in stick form. There are benefits to each.

Powder is applied with a brush and goes on sheer. It requires layering for a deep blush, so it's a good choice if you're concerned about overapplying your makeup. Cream is applied with your fingers or a sponge applicator and has a denser color, so a little goes a long way. Plan on doing some scrubbing if you apply too much. Cheek stains apply like creams with the sheerness of a powder and, as the name implies, stain or dye your skin for a short period of time.


Bronzed Goddess

beautiful face bronzer
Bronzer can create a radiant look.

Bronzer is a sheer powder or cream used to add a little color to your overall complexion without sun worshipping or a fake and bake. If you already have a tan, or were blessed with an olive complexion, you'll most likely have the best results using bronzer. The key with bronzer is to find a shade that's at the most one or two shades darker than your current skin tone. This may mean changing bronzers with the seasons.

When applying bronzer, you need to make sure it blends evenly so you don't end up with streaks or a tan line around the edge of your face. If you want to funk it up a bit, you can pick a shade with a little shimmer -- but be sure to save this for nighttime wear. It will give you a subtle shimmer by moonlight but can make you sparkle excessively in the sun.


Lots More Information

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  • "Bronzer or Blush?" carefair.com, 2010. http://www.carefair.com/makeup/Bronzer_or_Blush_2251.html
  • Karimi, Sabah. "Spring 2010 Makeup Tips - Choosing the Right Bronzer." Associatedcontent, March 15, 2010. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2783190/spring_2010_makeup_tips_choosing_the.html
  • Lamas, Peter. "Get a Rush From Your Blush!" lamasbeauty.com, 2010. http://www.lamasbeauty.com/beauty/blush.htm
  • Siddons, Sarah. "How to Choose the Right Bronzer." Howstuffworks.com, 2010. https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-and-makeup/choose-the-right-bronzer.htm