How To Wear Red 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 reds.

The Effect: Red blush gives the impression of innocence, health, and romance. It doesn’t look sophisticated, mature, or cosmopolitan. It mimics the effect of running in the cold, or the way you look after making out with someone—it’s like bringing blood to your face.

The Placement: Concentrate the color on the apples of your cheeks and blend it out toward the edges of your face. The boundaries will depend on your face shape. If you have really high cheekbones, you can blend the color a little lower, but it should really stop an inch above the jawline. I always recommend looking at yourself in profile, because it shouldn’t go all the way to the perimeter of your face. You can also apply it on the tip of the nose so it sort of looks like you ran around the block. You can use your fingers or a big, fluffy brush to get a more diffused look. Even when I’m using a powder blush, I’ll finish the application with my fingers to kind of bring the makeup back to life.

The Products: In the case of such a bright blush, cream colors can be more forgiving because they don’t streak, and you can blend them away with your fingers. RMS Lip 2 Cheek in Rapture and Shiseido Orchid are really good reds.

—Suzy Gerstein

You can follow Suzy on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Here's her website. Illustrations by Suzy Gerstein.

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  • Teckie

    I bought Nars Exhibit A blush a few months back because of a recommendation, and it's beautiful. You have to use it with a light hand, obviously, but it creates a very natural flush that's flattering on all skin tones.

  • Jennifer Monforton

    Great article! I have fair skin but am a huge lover of red blush- it's all in the application! MAC Frankly Scarlet is my fave :)

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I love the look of red blush but with rosacea I just can't wear it!

    • Aja Joy

      Have you tried the cheek gels from Josie Maran? They are coconut water based and very cooling/moisturizing. There is a red which may be perfect for you because it will just add a tint on top of the color you already have in your cheeks :)

      • Clever Girl Reviews

        Thanks for the rec, I'll check it out next time I'm in Sephora!

  • Danielle D’Amato

    A red blush is my alternative to a red lip. I adore Tarte's Natural Beauty and Milani Red Vino.

  • Harlowrose

    I have a whole Pinterest board devoted to red blush. It's my go to look in the fall and winter.

  • Harlowrose

    It looks closer to Fever.

  • Allison

    I love a good red blush, my favorite is Tarte's Natural Beauty!

  • Rachel Gilman

    Love this and Suzy Gerstein!!!

    • Suzygersteinmakeup

      You're the sweetest Rachel Gilman! And this compliment means the world to me coming from a talented artist and sweet soul like yourself!!!

  • Suzygersteinmakeup

    Jennifer, than you- it was a fun one to be a part of! I ❤️MAC Frankly Scarlett- thanks for reminding me about that one! Clever Girl Reviews, RMS Lip-to-cheek in Muse is good for balancing rosacea while adding a pretty hint of something. I will try to use it on an upcoming job and post a pic to my Instagram, @suzygerstein, so you can see it on the skin. Danielle and Allison, I must try Tarte's Natural Beauty- I love anything from that line!

  • Gauri

    Definitely want to try the red blush after this!!


    • Suzygersteinmakeup

      Awesome Gauri, you should! It's my favorite trick for looking rested, especially as the mama of a 1-year-old

  • Nikki P.

    Haven't tried a red blush before but I do own Tarte's Natural Beauty and it's still in its unopened box. Will try that soon. Thanks for this! :)

  • Isa

    You should try Nars Exhibit A. I have dark skin and I love it.

    • Tary

      thank you Isa!


RMS Lip2Cheek
Shiseido ‘The Makeup’ Luminizing Satin Face Color