Photographers might be the best people to bother for free makeup advice. A surprising number do makeup themselves (Steven Meisel comes to mind), and in the Gloffice, our own Tom Newton has been known to wield a contour brush from time to time. So when asked for his no. 1, Once and Future, sacred gospel of photogenic makeup, his advice: Everyone looks better with a bit of blush. “Color on the cheeks looks like sunburns, orgasms, laughing—all good things,” he says.
That being said, blush can be hard to get right. Something too pink can look childish and an overzealous application doesn't look feminine so much as overheated. When Kelly Mittendorf stopped by a few weeks ago, she agreed. “I had the Nars Orgasm one a while back, but then it broke,” she said. “I just never got a new one. I contour and things like that—but blush is harder. You have to get the balance right,”
She sat down, and Tom pulled out Becca Beach Tint in Papaya (he's very into non-traditional, non-pink colors as of late). Somewhere between a cream and a stain, it's red-orange—so definitely not girly. The goal here was to make her look hot, summery, and realistically tanned. Pale people go rosy before they go bronzed, so a good way to simulate vacation skin tone is to start with something warm and ruddy.
The end result is its own kind of contouring, but maybe a little more subtle than your standard photo-ready highlight and shade routine (though in all fairness, Kelly highlighted a little with the the Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate standard—it's never a bad thing to highlight). Dab a little extra blush on the lips, tousle the hair, and go.