Retro Rerun: Blush: Easy To Do Right . . . And Wrong

| Sep 25, 2017

No other cosmetics product may give so instant an improvement, nor be so disastrously wrong, as blusher — especially for transgenders.

A good application of blusher will make you look younger and healthier, and it is a terrific tool for creating contours. But, as anyone who has ever been with a group of transgenders knows, it is also one of the most abused and poorly applied make-up products used in the community. Before we start just remember: if you don’t practice you cannot expect to look fabulous when it really counts. These rules are not written in stone. Practice and modify them. And don’t be easy on yourself, if you think it looks lousy, it does.

Let’s get started!

There are usually three big problems with blusher: placement, intensity and color. We’ll start with the easiest of these and work from there.

Picking the Right Color

Those of you who have followed the “Style Counsel” series know that I am a devotee of Carole Jackson’s “Seasons” color theory. It is a simple and very effective way to straighten out your closet and it is also the way I like to work with makeup colors. If you don’t know your season, get Jackson’s “Color Me Beautiful” or read the two articles here on Knowing Your Colors: Part 1 and Part 2

You really do need to know your season before you can your make-up right, otherwise you’ll end up experimenting forever and never quite getting it right.

Here are some of Carole Jackson’s basic color ideas for blusher, as quoted from her Color Me Beautiful Makeup Book:

Winters: For your basic color, look for a clear, medium pink or, if your skin is darkish, a burgundy. Black skins, especially, should consider burgundy their number-one basic. Be sure to choose shades that are true, rather than dulled. Your next blush purchases might be a soft, true red and a fuchsia, to go with those clothing colors. Last, add a plum to round out your wardrobe needs.

Summers: Start with a soft rose for your first blush. It’s your most flattering shade and one that will match most of your wardrobe. Next, add a soft watermelon red and a soft fuchsia, to go with those special clothing colors. Don’t go too bright on the red. You may want to try a cream or liquid rouge, which tends to go on softer than the powdered red blushes. Last, add soft plum to harmonize with your mauve, plum, and burgundy clothes.

Autumns: If your skin is medium to dark, you’ll love a tawny peach blush for your everyday color; if you are very fair, try a lighter apricot shade. Next, add a salmon for the pinkish side of your wardrobe and a mocha shade to go with your browns and brown burgundy. Last, add a brick red to go with your reds and, depending on your coloring, either a chestnut or a brighter terra cotta for your rusts and pumpkins.

Springs: For your first purchase, aim for a clear salmon blush that’s not too pink and not too orange. It’s your perfect basic. Then add a peach or an apricot for the orange side of your wardrobe and a warm pink for your pinks. Last, you might get a soft shade of poppy red. Like Summer, you may want to choose a cream or liquid formula for sheer application. Be sure to avoid any brownish or tawny blushers. Spring needs clear colors to look her best.

Putting It On

The intensity of the color can vary tremendously depending on time of day and your outfit. Obviously the blush you use in the day is not going to be as intense as that used at night, unless you’re going for the “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” I like to use two shades of blush most of the time, a lighter shade just above the crest of the cheekbone and a darker version on the cheekbone and slightly below it. I find this makes those cheekbones just pop out. I also tend to use the same colors all the time, I just vary their intensity.

A much more difficult problem, one seen all the time in the community, is the way people place their blush. Too often it is too low on the cheeks and too close to the nose. Go too low and you’ll look droopy and vampirish, but it happens all the time. Here is what Carole Jackson recommends to avoid these common mistakes:

1. Apply blush along the cheekbone, starting right under the outer edge of your eye. You can go to the outer edge of your iris but no closer to your nose. One way to find this position is to place two fingers next to your nose and start the blush outside your fingers. Blend the color out to your hairline at the tip of your ear. Most of the color should be on the crest of the bone.

2. Feather color slightly downward into the hollow of your cheek, in a tear- drop shape, but:

  • Don’t go lower than the center of your ear at the outside, or below your nose on the inside.
  • Don’t go closer to your nose than the outer edge of your iris.
  • Don’t go into the circular area under your eye.
  • Don’t go as high as your temple.

3. Using a contour brush, which is slightly stiff, blend all edges so there is no distinct line where your blush ends. You can use your fingers too.

Special Tricks

Notice in this picture how the blush sweeps up towards the top of the model’s ear. That will work for most people. But if you have:

Narrow face: Widen by starting blush a little closer to your ear and sweep back to about the center of your ear.

Larger face: Thin it by allowing the lowest part of the blush to dip slightly below the line from the nose to the center of the ear. Sweep it higher than the top of the ears.

And finally:

When things don’t quite seem right, just remember it’s only makeup. You can wash it off and try again!

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Category: How To, Makeup

About cindymartin: I am one of the original co-founders of TGForum, which obviously was a long time ago now. I'm very proud of how it's changed and improved. It's great. Kudos to all. I'm not nearly as active as I once was, but I still really enjoy the life, and from time to time I'll share some tips and ideas for improving your feminine self.

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