How To Wear Plum Blush


There’s a lot of real estate on your cheeks, and you've probably noticed that the shades meant for the hollows have no business on the apples. The success of 'perfect' cheekbones or that flush that feigns coyness very much relies on placement. But since the system failed us by not making blush application part of the standard junior-high curriculum, we asked makeup artist Suzy Gerstein to help us make a hard-and-fast guide to where to put what colors—and why. Today we're talking shades of plum

The Effect: One way I love to do plum blush is in a sort of 'seventies' fashion. It sculpts the face, adding structure that slims, in a sophisticated, chic way. It's not that ‘90s, fresh, apple-of-the-cheek placement. It’s more now—color in a modern, graphic way. We do the same thing in a lot of editorials using taupe sculpting powders, but that might make you look a little dead in real life. Plum is a much more flattering color.

The Placement: Start at the outer corner of your cheekbone and move in. You want the color to be the most concentrated on the outer part of your face, a little higher than the apple of your cheeks. A good rule of thumb is to draw a diagonal line from the outer corner of your eye, and follow the line of the cheeks down, bringing a hint of color into the hollows of the cheeks. It’s not quite a contour, it’s cuter and more disco. I apply it with a big powder brush, but pinch it with my fingers to create a thinner line. It’s also really modern to use a nice fan brush because it deposits less color and diffuses the blush to make it look lived-in.

The Products: For someone with oily skin, I recommend a powder like MAC Plum Foolery and Marc Jacobs Beauty Outspoken, which is a cool, lilac pink that is good for pale skin. Nars The Multiple in Na Pali Coast is sort of plum-y, and is good for older, drier skin because cream formulas make the skin look healthier.

—Suzy Gerstein

You can follow Suzy on InstagramTwitter or FacebookHere's her website. Illustrations by Suzy Gerstein.

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  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I love a plum blush, just need one with a bit of brown so it doesn't make me look too red!

  • Maria

    These guides here are so great. I am loving these tips.

    • Suzygersteinmakeup

      Thank you, Maria! So glad:)

  • Crystal

    These guides are a great idea, just wish they were more handy, i.e. all the blush colors on one page with better diagrams.

    • Suzygersteinmakeup

      Thank you, Crystal for your feedback. There are human examples on my Instagram if that is more helpful for you- there is one up there today for the plum blush. To your suggestion, we had initially thought about putting them all on one page but there was a lot of information so it seemed better communicated in installments. Also just to be clear, the illustrations are just a suggestion- there are so many ways to wear these colors and no hard and fast rules in makeup. Placement depends not only on the color but also on your face shape so best to use this as a point of departure. I suggest playing around with different techniques - as you would with incorporating a new piece into your wardrobe- and see which suits you best.


MAC Powder Blush
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Marc Jacobs Shameless Bold Blush
NARS The Multiple Stick