The right blusher can turn a lacklustre complexion into healthy, lively, ethereal skin with just one sweep - and with temperatures dropping fast, it looks like we're going to need all the glow we can get.
Like foundation and concealer, your skin tone plays a huge part in hunting down the perfect blusher. Thankfully, it's no longer a 'one-shade-suits-all' situation. But it also pays to take the texture and finish into consideration, not to mention your skin type, too.
Blemish-prone? We hate to break it to you, but shimmer is not the one.
Luckily for you guys, we're on hand to make achieving that post-spin flush a little easier - and there's no exercise involved whatsoever.
How To Find The Right Blusher For Your Skin Tone
'Blusher is like the magic wand of make-up,' says Pixi Beauty Global Director of Training & Artistry, Amanda Bell, 'But only when it's the right colour!'
So if you find yourself being sent off with a standard doll pink every time you visit the beauty counter, we've got you covered.
Pale To Light Skin:
If you have pale skin, you might feel like you're limited to one shade of blusher - baby pink - but there's so much choice out there, and it all depends on the finish you want.
'Peach and soft rose hues are great options for paler skin, especially if you want to achieve a more subtle effect,' says Amanda. 'But for a little more of a statement, sheer plum (the key word being sheer) and soft coral both look great.'
Steer clear of anything too warm, though. It'll only make your skin look muddy.
- Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff, £15
You know how your cheeks look after a minute or two in the cold? This pretty pink blusher is basically that in a tube. It may look dainty but the pigment inside is mighty. Expect vivid, non-budge colour that's on par with your favourite powder blusher.
Slightly rosy, slightly coraly, this iridescent blusher warms and revives light skin but never makes you look 'done up'.
Don't let the word 'plum' put you off. This matte blusher a little more sultry than the others but it has a sheer, gauzy effect on the skin.
If you're in this camp, you suit most shades - YAS.
Your best bet? To invest in a blusher palette. That way you can tailor your make-up to the seasons - warmer in the winter when your skin needs a boost and softer and peachier in the summer. You can also play around with different finishes and textures depending on your mood.
With warm, orange and pink undertones as well as both matte and pearlescent finishes, this suits-all palette is worth its weight in gold. P.S. The pigment is intense.
Pearly pink, coppery bronze and iridescent rose taupe make up Laura Geller's baked blush trio the perfect addition to any make-up bag.
This boasts three shades of vibrant blusher as well as bronzers for those with warmer undertones. Choose from both matte and satin finishes. Swoon.
Thanks to both the yellow and green undertones, olive skin can look a little sallow sometimes, so a wisp of blusher is key to perking it up - but you need to pick hues that are going to complement, not clash.
Orange-y peaches breathe life into both light and dark olive tones, but if you're after more of a pretty, pinched look, a vibrant rosy shade works wonders.
Alternatively, you can reach for a bronzer. 'A rich bronze adds a natural blush effect to olive skin tones,' says Amanda.
For that highlighter-meets-blush flush, it has to be Hourglass. This might look extra-pink in the compact but it lends cheeks a subtle, petal-like finish.
- NARS Blush in Orgasm, £23
120 of these rosy blushers is sold every hour and it isn't difficult to tell why. It's the closest thing we've seen to a believable flush, suits most olive tones beautifully, and the subtle light-reflecting particles add a gorgeous glow, so there's no need to follow with highlighter.
- MAC Powder Blush in Gingerly, £19.50
Occupying a cosy space between bronze and peach this matte blusher warms up olive skin in a few swipes and doubles as a flattering eye shadow.
Rosy hues and candy pinks might show up well on darker skin tones but they have a tendency to look a little frosty or doll-like. Instead, look for something with a warm undertone to enhance your skin's natural glow.
'Dark Asian skin pops with hot corals, warm reds with a rich undertone and deep neutral pinks especially,' explains Amanda.
- Diorblush Vibrant Colour Powder Blush, £32.50
Coral tones were made for darker skin and they don't get any prettier than this. The texture is velvety and the finish oh-so-chic.
With a complexion-enlivening coral core, this reddy-brown blusher sculpts and highlights darker skin so well.
- NARS Blush in Dolce Vita, £24
Deep pink meets muted mauve in NARS' infamous Dolce Vita blush. It looks really dark in the pan but the result is an honest flush.
It can be difficult to get pinks and corals to show up on deep or ebony skin tones, but according to Amanda, something with a brick red tint will look epic.
'Other shades that complement deep skin are raisin browns or bronzed sienna hues,' she says.
Loved by make-up artists all over the globe, Chocolate Cherry complements the natural pigment in black skin and the subtle sheen gives it dimension.
Illamasqua's cult powder blusher is somewhere in between russet, taupe and brick red and the pigment payoff is incredible.
Highly pigmented? Check. Amazing staying power? Yep. This cream blush lends an otherwordly radiance to deep skin.
Check out the best highlighters for darker skin tones here.
How To Pick The Right Blusher Formula And Finish
Cream, powder, gel, tint... The type of texture and finish you settle for is largely down to preference, but if you want to look f-l-a-w-l-e-s-s, your skin type should always be a factor.
Large pores? Go for a matte powder. Acne-prone? Avoid thick or solid textures.
If You Have Oily Or Acne Prone Skin:
If you find that cream blusher slips off before you've even got to the office or that it contributes to your breakouts, swap it out for a powder version, especially if you want it to last and look smooth.
'Also keep away from blushers that contain mineral oils,' mentions Amanda. 'Formulations that are powder-based will work best - they just have to be blended well into the skin.'
- Lily Lolo Mineral Blush, £9
This loose blusher is oil-free and non-comodegenic, which means it won't clog your pores or lead to spots. The feather-light powder also absorbs any face grease that crops up during the day. Win-win.
- MAC Powder Blush, £19.50
Dermatologically tested and proven not to contribute to breakouts, every single one of MAC's powder blushers are buildable, whether you prefer a subtle wash of colour or a bold finish. If you're super-oily, go for the mattes to avoid extra shine.
Normal To Dry Skin:
You'll do well with most blushers (lucky you) but if you like the dewy, ethereal look, try a hydrating cream, gel or serum-based texture. To amp up things up, you can always layer a powder blusher in a similar hue over the top.
- Burberry Lip & Cheek Bloom, £24
If you want your glow to look au-natural, a few tiny dots of this pearly, watercolour-esque cream blush is all you need. Yes, it feels super-silky, but it really sticks around.
It looks jet-black in the compact, but this clever cream-gel blusher adapts to your tone to lend a dewy dash of berry colour that clings to the skin like no other. P.S. It won't make a crater in your perfectly-applied foundation base.
Top Tip: To make cream blusher look dewy all day, choose a product with natural oils and waxes in the formulation. 'This means that there is an existing rich base,' says Amanda. 'You can also spritz a hydrating facial mist on to the brush before blending it in to the skin for an extra glowy finish. I like the Pixi Make-Up Fixing Mist, £16.'
And what about tints?
'Those with drier skin can use tints, but they have to ensure the skin is super-hydrated first,' says Amanda. 'Use a primer with humectants. It will trap moisture in the skin so that it doesn't just drink up the tint.'
We rate the Pixi Rose Flash Balm, £26. It leaves skin feeling quenched and soft so that any make-up you apply on top glides on seamlessly.
If You Have Large Pores:
Matte blusher is your best friend.
'If you're conscious of your enlarged pores, stick to blushers that have a velvety texture,' says Amanda. 'Anything with a sheen or too much lustre in the pigment will only accentuate pores, bumps and blemishes.'
Sans any gaudy silver shimmer, the pigment and staying power of Inglot's matte blushers is second to none. Obsessed.
- Bobbi Brown Blush, £20
The silkiest matte blusher out there, this lends cheeks a wisp of colour that never looks cakey or chalky. Top marks, Bobbi.
How To Apply Blusher
We're all guilty of being a little slapdash with blusher but Amanda has a few top tips to pinpoint exactly how and where we should apply it to avoid the theatrical look.
'To know where you should apply blusher, imagine a line coming down from your iris to the end of your nose,' she says.
'Where it ends is the perfect spot which you should start applying your blusher. Starting from this point, sweep the blusher onto the cheek and blend outwards towards the hairline.'
Gotcha. But it's not just the technique - the tools matter, too.
'When using a brush, sweeping movements give a much stronger blush application. For a pro finish, take a smaller-headed brush and blend outwards towards the hairline using use swift, circular motions. This will effectively polish the pigment into the skin,' says Amanda.
The bristles are super-soft and malleable, making powder blusher application both effortless and flawless.
- MAC 129 Powder/Blush Brush, £28
The small-head on this ELLE-approved brush makes light work of perfecting powder blusher.
Cream or Gel-Based Blusher:
'Creams and gels are the easiest to work with.' says Amanda. 'They can be applied to the apple of the cheeks with a nylon brush and then blended in with clean fingertips for a soft, fresh effect.'
- Daniel Sandler Waterbrush, £15.50
The bristles are super-soft but densely packed, making it easy to smooth cream or gel-based blusher over foundation or naked skin.
This is great for an airbrushed finish. Dampen the sponge and simply pat your chosen cream blush into the skin. It's also ah-mazing at blending tints or stains sans blotchiness.