Ask the Experts: Beautiful Blush for Brown Skin

Here's a secret we've learned from makeup artists over the years: On blah days when your complexion looks dull and you're feeling less-than-fierce, blush is your friend. The right hue, applied the right way, can instantly wake up your face, giving you a radiant, healthy glow. But with so few blush shades formulated for brown skin (and the ever-present threat of the blush that looks great in the drugstore, but ends up making you look more ashy than amazing), searching for the right shade can be a chore. Here, we got Jamie Svay, celebrity makeup artist and creator of Tastee Cosmetics, to give us expert tips on creating a flawless flush.
ESSENCE.COM Jan, 26, 2010

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“Blush should mimic the color of your cheeks when you’re excited, hot, or just come in from the cold,” says Svay. Try Revlon Blush in Blushing Berry ($9.99, drugstore.com), a matte berry hue.

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“If you have fair to medium-toned skin like Thandie Newton, I’d recommend a soft peach or cinnamon hued blush,” says Svay. Try Cargo BeachBlush in Coral Beach ($13, sephora.com).

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If you have a round face, use a bronzer or highlighter to define cheekbones. “Apply right over blush to add contour,” Svay says. “I love Lorac TANtalizer Baked Bronzer ($30), it has a gorgeous sheen.”

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Orange blush looks crazy-bright in the packaging, but nothing’s prettier on brown skin than a pop of tangerine. Nars Powder Blush in Taj Majal ($25, drugstore.com) is our favorite.

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“Dark-skinned Black woman like Alek Wek look amazing in rich shades, like berry or chocolatey plum,” says Svay. Try Iman Luxury Blushing Powder in Sable ($9.99, ulta.com), a creamy cocoa shade.

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“I’m a fan of soft, dewy skin, so I love cream blush,” says Svay. “Use your middle finger to apply to the apples of your cheeks.” Try Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick in Rosy Flush ($18.50, macys.com).

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“When applying blush, you’ll get the most natural flush if you use a brush the size of the apple of your cheek,” says Svay. Bobbi Brown Peony Blush ($22) gives a summery pop of color.

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“Women with medium-to-deep complexions like Gabrielle Union look great in shades ranging from deep rose to a brick red,” says Svay. Try MAC Blush in Raizin ($18.50), a red-brown hue.

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Stila Pomegranate Crush Lip and Cheek Stain ($24, sephora.com) is blended with pomegranate extracts that react to your personal pH levels, creating a customized, plummy flush. So smart!

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“If you don’t like color on your cheeks, try bronzer instead,” says Svay. “Go a shade or two deeper than your skin tone.” Tarte Sunkissed Cheek Stain ($30, sephora.com) gives a sheer hint-of-a-tint.

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Is your favorite blush cracked and worn down to the edges? Svay has a tip: “Mix it with a bit of my Tastee Organic Lip Balms ($20 for 3, tasteecosmetics.com) to make a cheek stain,” she says.

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Still can’t find the perfect blush? At ThreeCustom.com, makeup artist Trae Bodge and the Three Custom Color Specialists can custom-blend a blush shade for you, based on your specifications!