Hold the needle, cancel that clinic appointment and postpone the meeting with your bank manager. If you want to look youthful, fresh and pulled together, blusher should be your first port of call. My colleagues, friends, family and vague acquaintances will tell you I’m being biased - I collect blusher like some people collect stamps, train sets and their children from school. I’m hands-down hooked on the stuff, but my love of a flush is far from fanciful. As I tell myself (and others if they’ll listen) every day, the ease, speed and transformative properties of the right shade of rouge can make all the difference. Think higher cheekbones, a plump, healthy complexion and a general girlish glow. Hangovers, sleepless nights and jetlag are sent packing with just the caress of a blusher brush.
Don’t believe me? I asked Max Factor makeup artist Mel Arter to back me up on the benefits of oft-overlooked blusher.
Why wear blusher? What is it for?
It is the one thing that perks up the complexion. It can literally be the difference between looking healthy or not.
Why do you think that many women skip blusher, or opt for bronzer instead?
I think women skip blusher because it can be quite a scary product. It can be difficult to know what colour to go for, where to put it and what to apply it with. Even as a makeup artist it can be tricky to correct if too much is applied, which is a common mistake. It is far easier and less technical to buff on bronzer, which is somehow more acceptable, and more foolproof. However, bronzer too can appear colourless and flat if used generally and on its own.
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How can you match it with other makeup? Should you match your blusher with your lip colour?
I don't think blusher should match eye makeup or lipstick. It's about complementing your makeup but mostly about brightening your complexion. For this reason it is good to make it the last thing you apply to 'finish' the look.
Should your blusher change during the seasons?
As your skin tone changes during the seasons It is wise to adapt your blusher. Warmer skin can take more colour where with paler skin it should be more subtle.
Can you experiment with colour like you would with lip or eye colour?
You absolutely can experiment with colour intensity. It is key to find a colour that works for you and then experiment with that colour. I think it takes courage though - you are slightly more limited than you would be when experimenting with eye colours.
Can blusher ever be the main focus of a look - like the red lip/ smokey eye?
Layering is great for a statement look, it can look really pretty when it's pushed. As long as the rest of your look stays pretty simple. I love a strong blush, it can be so refreshing and uplifting. But the above rules apply. It’s important to achieve lots of depth, so layer and blend well and exercise both control and caution.
What would be your top tip for blusher phobes?
For blusher phobes I recommend using a cream-based colour such as Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush , £6.99. It's much more forgiving than other formulas and you can apply it with your fingertips. I also recommend a soft pink as it’s such a safe option and suits everybody. A delicate hue can make all the difference.
Once and for all - to smile or not smile when applying?
Smiling makes the apple (centre) of your cheeks more prominent. This then maps out where to apply your blush. This works great for general application as it makes your cheeks fuller. So for all the blush novices, this is a good pointer.
What is the best way to apply blush?
A medium-sized brush is required for control when applying powder blush. The brush needs to be fluffy with no hard edges - the softer the application the better. Cream blush works better with fingertips.
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How do you avoid looking stripy/ clownish?
Make sure your skin is primed for a perfect flawless blush. One primer I love is the new Max Factor All Day Flawless Primer , £10.99. It’s also important to use the correct tools and blend well. Build it up slowly!
How do you avoid midday blusher slippage?
Primer is key here and also try lightly powdering over blusher to 'set' it. Cream blush is great for on the go and can be topped up effortlessly.
Who wears blusher well in your opinion?
Reese Witherspoon never gets it wrong - she wears blusher beautifully.
MORE GLOSS: Clinique Cheek Pops
Finally, what is your hands-down favourite blusher?
Anything in baby pink is brilliant for achieving instantly healthy, youthful-looking skin.
With Mel’s wisdom in mind, I’ll be stringing out this blusher business for as long as I can. Join me for a future edition of Makeup Maniac when I countdown the best blushers on the market. I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, paint the town red, pink, peach and mauve. Other colours too if you like. Anything goes, just blend, blend, blend.
What are your favourite blushers? The Makeup Maniac within me would love to know- tweet me @AnnaMaryHunter