Makeup Artist Trick Of The Week

Chanel blush

My friend Karen says “blush brings the pretty.”

The right blush can make you look fresher and more rested, and is one of my “le no makeup” makeup essentials.*

Creme blush is often recommended for those of us of a certain age to achieve a more dewy and natural-looking glow, but I’ve found that it’s tougher to control application with cremes than with powder blushes. Too concentrated, or not blended enough and you can wind up with a splotchy or overdone, unnatural effect. Too little and it disappears.

So when a Chanel makeup artist/Sales Associate told me about this technique, I had to rush home and try it: use a “stippling” foundation brush to apply creme blush.

MAC Duo Fiber Face Brush #187
MAC Duo Fiber Face Brush #187

These brushes have two types of fibers/bristles, both shorter and more compact and longer/looser. Usually used for applying and blending foundation, they also work brilliantly to get a controlled, natural-looking application of creme blush. You can start out sheer and build as desired. The brush applies and blends the color in one step, and makes it a breeze to get the blush exactly where you want it.

*My new favorite blush is this Blush Crème de Chanel in “Intonation.” Looks very intense in the container, but lovely on the skin.

Give this technique a try and let me know what you think.


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  1. Do you “stipple/dab” to get the product on the brush, too? Or do you wipe the brush across the product?

    1. Thea, I just wipe the brush across the product. The color will be in the tips of the long bristles.

    2. Thea the MAC artist taught me to swirl the brush in the blush about 5 times in a circular motion. I do think that the individual person has to play with how much blush to pick up on the brush. My MAC blush is very nude looking. With a stronger or brighter color you might need less. Sally

  2. Actually, I’ve found that any round (not flat) synthetic brush will do, as long as the brush is not too stiff or dense. I use a cheap round tapered brush from e.l.f. (“e.l.f. Studio Small Tapered Brush, $3) and I prefer it to my stippling brush from MAC.

    I dot the product very lightly on the cheek, then quickly brush it out to blend, using a light touch with the brush. If you do a little at a time, you’re less likely to over-apply. I have run into problems when I over-applied, then had to blend so much that I rubbed off my foundation underneath.

    But overall, I love creme blush and use it exclusively because I find it so much easier to blend than powders.

  3. I use both. I put on my Bobbi Brown cream blush with a touch of my Bobbie Brown powder on top. My BB consultant showed me this and I really like it…lasts all day.

  4. I love my Bobbi Brown pot rouge cream blush and wear it daily. It also looks intense in the compact but applies sheer and natural. I often use my fingers, but I sometimes use a flat, synthetic foundation brush. Now I’m intrigued by this MAC brush! Might have to give it a try;)

    1. I’ve found the same with my NARS bar. It layers as needed. I spread it in a streak across my cheekbone and then use an up and down brushing motion with my hand (open palm turned sideways). I actually saw the technique on a YouTube video by NARS. It works for me.
      I agree about blush being the pretty maker. I recently changed the shade of mine and now people are going “you look more rested”, “you really look nice today”. Oddly, I went from a peach to an outright tangerine. Who knew?

    2. Lisa, my problem with using fingers to apply or blend is that my skin reddens noticeably and immediately with any pressure or friction. So it’s hard to tell how much blush I’ve applied and how much of that color is just my skin getting finicky and will fade in a few minutes.

  5. I use NARS powder blushers and then just pat on my daytime moisturizer over the top of my entire face. Gives me exactly the right glow, without the made-up look. I love NARS products as they are so true to their colors and one can use water to dilute their powder eyeshadows, and then apply them in layers.

  6. I discovered the MAC blush brush one day at the make up counter in Nordy’s. It was a revelation! I love it–so easy to apply the cream blush with this. I never could manage the foundation-over-blush technique and the endless blending technique. My face gets red with any blending used by my fingers also. I’m intrigued by the Chanel blush and will give it a try. Currently I’m using a MAC blush that is very nude looking. Thanks!

  7. Just found your blog and thank the heavens for that! Finally sophisticated, classy fashion and great reads for the over 50 ladies… Cheers!

  8. Yes! Blush is “the pretty” for sure! I look at women a lot and think to myself how just a dab of blush could liven them up. I use my fingers with my favorite Bobbi Brown creme blushes, but I do have a stippling brush so will try that too for blending.

  9. At 47 I recently started wearing a bit of blush. I always had issues with putting makeup on my skin and would break out, only ever did eyes and lips. It seems as I get older my skin is finally getting that clear complexion and glow I always dreamed of. I took the dive into the blush world with BB and was show to use a brush, I saved money by going to Body shop and bought a retractable one, it is great for travel doesn’t leave any mess and is in a pretty silver case. I stipple it then just barely put on cheeks, forehead, chin and nose, gives me a tiny glow.
    First comment on a blog ever, as I just stay away from putting myself all over the internet, but have really been loving the fashion blogs and getting some great ideas.