How To Wear Tawny Blush

Cool Tan Blush Guide

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 tawny.

The Effect: This is more of a Christy Turlington, feline look that enhances your bone structure. It will always be in style. Cool tan creates a blank canvas, so, unless you’re doing a very stark, minimalist face, you can add a layer any colorful blush over it.

The Placement: Using very little product, apply it in the hollow of your cheek, down the sides of your nose, at the jawline, in the temples, and down the side of your neck. Think of it like shading. The idea is if you put it on the right places, the color looks like it’s coming from within, instead of looking like you drew on your face. It’s also pretty if you put it around the eyes to make them look deeper-set. If you’re using a cream formula, apply it right on top of your foundation. But if you’re using a powder formula, layer a translucent powder between your foundation and the blush so that the color won't melt into the oil of the foundation. You should use a really fluffy brush to make sure you have the lightest application. A dome eye shadow brush is great for the nose and creases around the eyes. And a regular powder brush is great for under the cheekbones, and to erase hard edges.

The Products: You can use a true tawny blush, or taupe foundation or a concealer, but the easiest products for most people to find are MAC Sculpting Powder in a cool, neutral tan, or MAC Blush in Blunt. You can even use matte taupe eye shadow.

—Suzy Gerstein

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

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Alyssa Gapske

    I've been eying Tarte's Amazonian blush in exposed for that tawny look. Wonder if that will do it!

    • jamie

      I received that blush in a best sellers of Sephora kit. It comes out much more "pinky/dusty rose" than I expected based on the name and online description, but still a beautiful blush and colour!

  • Gauri

    MAC'll always be my favorite

  • Amanda

    I like blushes like NARS Taos, MAC Ambering Rose, and the NARS Multiple in Malibu to create that slightly-sunburned look. That way, I don't need to cake on bronzer as well and I love the way it looks.

  • Teckie

    The MAC Pro Sculpting palette powders are fantastic for powder contouring. My favorite is "sculpt." Blends beautifully.

  • Sophie Isabella D.

    MAC Harmony!

  • Teresa @ BrushAndBullet

    Yes! I feel totally redeemed now using Bobbi Brown Taupe eyeshadow as contour. (For reference, I'm about NC37.)

  • Alexandra L

    My favorite is Kjaer Weis creme blush in Abundance! :)

  • Inkygrl

    I want to do this, but I'm terrible at it. My face always looks dirty when I try it. Sigh. I think I'm just more of a pinky cheeks kinda girl.

    • slanketfart

      I've heard that if you're quite pale a very light matte gray eyeshadow can work for contouring. I haven't tried it myself though

  • TrendBridged

    I love my Mac Bronzing: Extra Dimension Highlighter as that sculpts and highlights! However Nars orgasm is my go to blush..perfect for my Indian skin tone!

  • Lorna – Studs and Dreams

    I need to get myself a Tawny blush! It was lovely meeting you at the BeautySpotter. event! :)

  • Suzygersteinmakeup

    MAC sculpting powders come in all different shades. Bobbi Brown bronzers work well too- the matte ones.

  • Suzygersteinmakeup



MAC Sculpting Powder
MAC Powder Blush