The ladies are left with red cheeks
Brighten up your blush as the lighter months arrive, says Sarah Caden, with five of these cheeky numbers
While mascara is always cited as a must-have make-up item to open up the eyes and make you look awake, blusher is the product that can make you look alive. On a made-up face, it lifts the flatness of a full-foundation complexion, and even if you’re going for a natural effect, it gives the face definition and, well, a bit of colour. Colourless cheeks can make you look a bit wan, but still, beware of overkill that strays into Coco the Clown territory.
As a blusher rule-of-thumb, pale complexions should stick with shades of pale pink and peach, while the berry shades are strictly for darker skintones. And this remains the case even if you have a tan, real or otherwise. Even if you’re kissed with gold, your undertones remain pinky or olive-y and, so, your blusher spectrum doesn’t change. You can move around within it, into more striking corals or plums, but the basic rule is unaltered. Come summer, too, you can experiment that bit more with blush textures. Powder is a good fit for winter, but summer allows for cream and gel blushers that are more dewy. And, if you must drag contouring into the sunny season, go lightly, please.
BEST OVERALL Bourjois Aqua Blush 12hr in Pink Twice, €10.49, available nationwide
The most common complaint about cream or gel blushes is that they don’t last. Hence the 12-hour promise is included in the name of this product, while the ‘aqua’ bit indicates its sheerness. In truth, getting 12 hours out of any blush is a tall order. As colour, texture and tenacity go, this is a lovely product, with a very pretty dewiness. A tiny gripe is that too much can shoot out if you don’t press the pump carefully. “It has a transparent quality that suits sheer foundation and even a ‘no make-up’ look,” said one panellist. “Perfectly summer-appropriate.”
BEST TRIO TREAT Catrice Blush Artist Shading Palette in CorAll I Need, €4.95, Dunnes Stores; Penneys, selected pharmacies nationwide
It bears repeating every time this brand appears on this page: it’s very good value. But it also bears repeating that the product is generally good, too. If you’re after a zingy, summery look for your cheeks, one that you’re only going to use for the sunny months, then this palette is worth considering. Nothing spoils a purchase like worrying about waste. “I like that you get colour and shimmer and matt options, particularly at this price,” said a panellist.
BEST CHEEK CLOSET Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Blush Palette, €42, House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Debenhams
If you are a blush devotee, then you will die over this palette. But it’s no excuse for brushing it on until your cheeks resemble overripe peaches. This compact contains a bumper selection of six shades, from a sweet pink to the shades that are closer to bronzer. The range means you can — if you must — get contouring, but it also means there are shades for daytime, night-time, holiday time, anytime. “I love a good blush,” a panellist said. “And six in one place — what joy! A blush wardrobe.”
BEST CONTOUR COMPACT Sleek MakeUP Cream Contour Kit in Light, €13.95, see cloud10beauty.com
Go lightly if you contour in summer. You don’t really want to do the waxwork-like Kardashian production, do you? Or maybe you do. Either way, this is a good cream product for creating contours and cheekbones. There are six shades in this palette, and an enclosed leaflet gives utterly foolproof instructions on how to use each and every one. In addition to this Light version, the palette also comes in Medium and Dark, so all skintones are covered. “This is a very decent price for a do-it-all kit,” said a panellist, “and the product is lovely and creamy.”
BEST NIGHT LIGHT Chanel Highlighting Blush in Coups de Minuit, €40, Chanel counters nationwide
If a big pop of colour is not for you, this may be a product to consider. It’s a very pale pink, so it’s low-key, but high on velvety shimmer. So it is what it says it is: a highlighting blush. You’ll get gleam, and it’s lovely with pale and with more olive skin tones, but if you want that pop-out blush effect, you’ll want to put something vibrant on the apple of your cheeks. “This is the definition of velvety,” one panellist said, “It gave me creamy, glowy cheeks.”
Pictured, from left, Bourjois Aqua Blush 12hr in Pink Twice; Catrice Blush Artist Shading Palette in CorAll I Need; Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Blush Palette; Sleek MakeUP Cream Contour Kit in Light; Chanel Highlighting Blush in Coups de Minuit Email...