5 Blush Rules to Break

When it comes to blush, it’s tempting to play it safe for fear of winding up with the dreaded clown-face syndrome. But even the most conservative among us would do well to revisit this oft-overlooked part of our beauty collections. We interviewed makeup artist Ashley Ann Harris, whose clients include Brooke Shields, Selma Blair, and Rachel Leigh Cook, to learn why we should be defying the standard blush conventions.

Old Rule: Combat inevitable fading by reapplying blush.

New Rule: Layer on different formulas for extra longevity. First, apply a primer like Youngblood’s Anti-Shine Mattifier, and follow with a cream blush like Benefit’s Fine One One. Dust a powder blush on top and blend. In lieu of layering, Harris says you can also try spraying your brush with a setting agent like Skindinavia’s Finishing Spray before applying blush.

Old Rule: Steer clear of bright lipstick if you’re wearing blush.

New Rule: A bold lip and flushed cheeks can be a stellar duo. Just make sure to pick complementary shades: “Match the undertones of your lipstick to the blush and stick within the same color family,” advises Harris—that means cool tones go with cool tones and likewise with warm tones. Coral blush and tomato-red lips? Go for it!

Old Rule: Pick a shade and stick with it.

New Rule: Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone—look-at-me pinks like stila’s custom color blush and theBalm’s Hot Mama may seem intimidating, but they go on sheer. If you’re out to find a harmonious shade for your skin, try Harris’s favorite tip: “Gently pinch your cheeks and match that shade to your blush color.”

Old Rule: Only apply blush to the apples of your cheeks.

New Rule: “Blush isn’t just for the cheeks,” says Harris. For a natural, unified flush, blend the pigment out towards your ears, dust a bit across the brow bone, and finish with a light swipe down the middle of the nose.

Old Rule: Never wear blush and bronzer at the same time.

New Rule: The pair actually looks great together as long as you don’t go overboard. Once you’ve finished putting on blush, apply bronzer where the sun naturally hits your face: forehead, temples, the tip of your chin, and the bridge of your nose. When selecting a bronzer, always “opt for one that’s more brown than orange,” says Harris. Her pick? NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna. And always remember: If it looks good on you, go ahead and wear it.

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