AS we age our skin generally lightens and older faces are often colourless. So blush is essential as it instantly adds energy to a weary complexion, mimics a youthful flush and, generally, brings the face to life. And it’s also one of your hardest-working products as it can double as lip and eye colour.
In a previous post we talked about why primers are important to your make-up regimen. But, in part four of the series The Best Make-Up For Women Over 50, I explain how nothing takes years off the face and fakes a goodnight sleep like blush.
When you’re over 50, your face and cheeks naturally become more sunken and contouring, which is all the rage right now, only accentuates this. Instead apply blush to the apples of your cheeks — best is a warm pink shade that complements your skin tone — to create fullness, which is sometimes is lost with age.
But not all blushes are created equal and there are many options. Powder, cream, stick, gel or tint blush — or even just a dab of lipstick — the choices are many.
For normal to dry skin: Try a cream blush or stick blush. Cream blushes are also great if you don’t wear powder and prefer a moist, dewy finish. They look more natural and are great if you have dry skin as they add moisture. You can also apply them with your fingers, which makes them easy to use. They are also more convenient and can be used on both cheeks and lips. Set your make-up with a light dusting of powder to help your colour last all day.
But they are not for everyone. Colour is more concentrated, so they need to be blended well so you don’t end up looking like a circus clown. And, if you have deep wrinkles, cream blush can crease.
For normal to oily skin: Go with a powder formula. It will last longer than a cream blush, which is susceptible to slide and fade. Powder blushes look great when applied correctly, are easy to use and you get a better distribution of colour. Plus there are more colours to choose from and they’re easier to touch up on the run.
However, powder blushes are not always the best choice for mature skins as they can accentuate wrinkles, lines and creases and make older, dry skin look even more dehydrated. They can also highlight any rough patches on your face, dry out your skin and soften any glow you might have, and cling to fine facial hairs making them more obvious.
For oily skin: Cream blushes, or gel or tint options (which can be hard to blend on drier skins), stay put.
My favourite blushes include:
* Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge (for lips and cheeks)
* Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip and Cheek Cream
* Lancome Cushion Blush Subtil
* Paula Dorf Cheek Colour Cream
* Bobbi Brown Blush
* Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush
* Yves Saint Laurent Kiss And Blush
* Laura Mercier Second Cheek Skin Colour
* Genie Cashmere Blush
* Look Fabulous Forever Blush
* BeneFit Lip and Cheek Tint
FLATTER YOUR FACE SHAPE
Expertly applied blush can shape and define your face, creating the illusion of cheekbones that don’t exist — and it’s easier to do than you think:
To thin a round face: Start your blush at the apples, then brush it along the cheekbones all the way up to the temples, says make-up artist Pat McGrath.
To fill out a thin face: Using circular motions, apply your blush to the centre of your cheeks and blend it along the cheekbones and straight back to your ears. On a narrow face, make-up artist François Nars likes a bright pink blush with highlighter on the apples.
To shorten a long face: Dust your blush from the apples up toward the temples, then a little across each eyelid and on the chin, says make-up artist Mally Roncal. Having the same shade on your eyes, cheeks, and chin will make your face look shorter.
To soften a square face: Apply a soft shade of blush on the apples and down into the hollows of your cheeks, says Roncal. Then lightly skim your brush over your temples to very subtly contour.
To create higher cheekbones: Choose a contouring powder or a matte bronzer a shade or two darker than your skin. Starting at the outer cheekbones, lightly sweep it over them. A dot of highlighter on the tops of the cheekbones creates a lifted effect.
WHAT COLOUR WORKS WITH WHICH SKIN TONE
Fair skin tones are best suited to soft pink, coral and peachy colours.
Medium skin tones suit bronze, peach and warm mauve tones.
Darker skin tones pop against fuchsia, coral and rich berry blushes.
TIPS FOR APPLYING BLUSH
1. Blush and lipstick colours should never clash; they should be complementary or from a similar colour family.
2. As we age our face drops, so smile in the mirror and apply the blush on the apples of your cheeks, the part that lies directly below your pupil. Blend well out and up along the cheekbones toward the ears with no visible edges where the blush starts and stops.
3. Blush can exacerbate redness and look blotchy on uneven skin. Use a primer so you get a smooth base for your blush to go over.
4. Less is more! You can always add more, but taking it off can mess your make-up.
5. Even if your skin isn’t oily, a layer of translucent powder under your powder blush will help the pigment go on uniformly and last longer.
6. To help colour last all day, first apply a little cream blush and let it sink in, then dust a bit of translucent powder over the area and finish with powder blush.
7. When applying blush, go in one direction only. Don’t go in circles or back and forth as it can look streaky and also it is bad for the brush.
8. Blushes with shimmer bring sallow skin back to life, while matte blushes are ideal for oily skin, eliminating shine and staying put longer. Sheer blushes (creams or gels), look best on very dark or very pale complexions, since they allow the skin to show through.
9. Alternatively, use a bronzer, particularly in summer.
10. Want more, then read the 10 Commandments Of Blush.
If you missed the earlier posts of this series, read the rest here.
Part 1: The best primers for women over 50
Part 2: The best foundations and concealers for a more mature face
Part 3: To powder or not to powder? That is the question for women over 50
Part 5: The secret to beautiful brows
Part 6: The 10 best mascaras for lustrous lashes
Part 7: The best lipsticks for more mature lips
NEXT: The secret to beautiful brows
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All products mentioned are available from department stores, selected pharmacies and drug stores, and specialist make-up stores (such as Mecca Cosmetica and Sephora)
— except where I have made direct links. Other online beauty sites include
StrawberryNet, Beautylish, Adore Beauty, Priceline, Chemist Warehouse, PM Studio, and Cosme-De.com
For tutorials on how to apply your make-up, go here.
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Do you have a product that you can’t live without? Got a favourite make-up for mature skin? A go-to product? Care to share? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …