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Beauty 101: Everything to know about blush, bronzer, and highlighter

When it comes to radiating that ‘glow’ from within, there’s no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. That said,  we do have a few tips and tricks up our sleeves involving bronzers and highlighters that you might want to know about. We share them all and more, down below. 

That enviable dewy, radiant look that’s doing the rounds on social media can be achieved with a few beauty must-haves like blush, bronzer, and highlighter in your arsenal. Sounds great? Wait till you read more and then decide for yourself!

Differences between blushes, bronzers and highlighters

Beauty 101: Everything to know about blush

What is blush?

Blush was created to give the illusion of being naturally flushed. Because our natural skin changes colour and has dimension, when we apply a full face of foundation, concealer, and powder, our skin might appear washed-out and flat. Blush adds a pop of colour to your face. You could go with something natural and light for a splash of colour, or  bold and vibrant to complement your outfit.

How to choose the right blush shade?

According to makeup artists, the best blush colour is one that complements your undertones (warm, cool, or neutral). You may go as deep, light, natural, or bright as you desire as long as you pick a shade within this range.

Creams vs Liquid vs Powder Blushes

Cream blush

A cream blush is often applied with a brush or beauty sponge and comes in the form of a stick or pot. It’s considerably thicker than liquid blush, but you can control how much product you pick up on your brush, making it easier to apply with a light hand. Whether you have dry or oily skin, cream blushes blend in seamlessly. Creams may be the way to go if you’re concerned about your makeup fading after a few hours. Cream blushes tend to bind to the skin better and remain on the skin longer.

Liquid blush

Some liquid blushes have a serum texture that makes them sheer, blendable, and soft; others have a thicker texture that results in an opaque formula that may be both dewy and matte. This product works best when applied using a stippling brush that lightly buffs the product into your cheeks.

Powder blush

Powder blush is probably familiar to most considering it was the first blush formulation that an entire generation was first introduced to. When using a lightly pigmented product, it’s classic, easy-to-apply, and almost foolproof. It is available in matte and shimmer formulas that glide on smoothly and are often applied with a brush.

How to apply blush?

If you want a natural look, experts recommend following the natural structure of your cheekbones. They key is to smile and put blush slightly over the apples of your cheeks, blending outwards toward your temples. This will elevate your cheekbones and bring some colour to your face without overdoing it. However, blush may be used to accentuate your natural face shape, create balance, and achieve a specific look. Depending on the aesthetic you want to achieve, follow these guidelines:

For a natural look: Apply blush to the apples of the cheek and blend toward the temples/ears
To lift your face and make it appear more oval-shaped: Apply blush to the back of the cheekbones into your temples
For a sun-kissed glow: Apply blush underneath your eyes, across the bridge of the nose, and back toward the ear
For an editorial look: Apply your blush to the back of the cheekbones, blending into your eyeshadow for a draped effect
To shorten your face and create balance: Apply blush to the centre of the apples and out, just toward your eyes, avoiding blending too far out toward the temples.

Beauty 101: Everything to know about bronzer

What is a bronzer?

Bronzer is a great method for creating depth and dimension to your face, especially if you’re using foundation all over. Bronzers, according to beauty experts, are warmer with a red undertone and are used to warm up your face and give you a sun-kissed look. The skin isn’t always one colour. We’ll always have a few different shades in different places of our faces, whether naturally or from being out in the sun, and bronzer is there to help with that.

People frequently contour their faces using bronzer, adding shading and shadows to create a slimmer or more chiselled look. It’s also used to give you a summery glow, as if you’ve just arrived from vacation.

How to choose the right bronzer shade?

Bronzer is used to add warmth and dimension, which is why people often overdo it if they choose the wrong shade. What colour does your skin turn when you flush naturally? According to beauty experts, this is the bronzer you should use. Choose a colour that matches to how your skin would change if you spent a day in the sun (before you started slathering on buckets of sunscreen). It’s all about looking natural and enhancing your skin, rather than covering it up or changing its tone.

If you have a very cool undertone, a warm-tone bronzer will likely look quite orange on your face—a big no-no. In this situation, choose neutral or even cooler-toned bronzers to match your natural skin tone. This is especially useful for people with very fair skin.

People with very warm undertones, on the other hand, will want a warm, even leaning red, bronzer that matches the undertone in their complexion. Cool contours may seem muddy on their skin, as if they spread dirt all over their faces instead of wearing makeup.

In terms of depth, your bronzer should be a shade or two darker than your skin tone. It’s easy to go crazy if it’s any darker. Any lighter, and you’ll have to work hard to make the product stand out against anything else on your face.

Cream vs Liquid vs Powder Bronzers

Cream bronzer

The use of cream bronzer is not for the faint of heart. It’s normally more difficult to blend, but finding a thin formula that’s flawless on skin is easier than ever. Creams have a “softer, sheerer” finish, which allows them to seem more natural once blended out. Cream bronzer has now become available in a wide range of shades, in simple formulas, and in improved packaging.

Liquid bronzer

A liquid formula is typically runnier than a cream and is available in a tube or dropper. Unlike a cream, which may be both matte and shiny, they are generally shimmery or radiant formulations to make your skin extra glowy.

Powder bronzer

We’re all familiar with powder bronzers. It’s most likely the bronzer you’ve been using for years. But there’s a reason they’re still around. These bronzers are easier to blend than the others, and once you get the right shade, they’re practically flawless. They contain a little more pigment, but their blendability makes them the most beginner-friendly.

How to apply a bronzer?

Where you apply bronzer is determined on the shade and the look you want to achieve. If the tone is only slightly darker than your skin, apply bronzer all over with a fluffy brush and a light hand to give your complexion a sun-kissed look. If your bronzer is more than one shade darker, apply it in the “3E” method: around the temples, under the cheekbones, and under the jawline, making a “3” and a “E” on either side of your face. This technique is pretty foolproof. You often see people applying bronzer and contouring in little dots all over their faces or in complicated shapes, and while that works, it doesn’t have to be so elaborate to get results.

Beauty101: Everything to know about highlighter

What is a highlighter?

The highlighter in your makeup kit is the most essential product.  Period. This is because highlighter is what elevates your beauty game. The product comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and forms and is designed to highlight the high points of your face (the areas where the sun strikes straight) – the bridge of your nose, the top of your forehead, and the high points of your cheeks.

How to choose the right highlighter shade?

Generally, you’ll want to pick up a highlighter shade that’s about two shades lighter than your skin tone for a natural-looking finish.  You can also find the best highlighter for your skin tone by paying close attention to your undertones. Your undertones might be useful when choosing a highlighter, just as they are when choosing a foundation or concealer match. Warm undertones look great with gold and bronze shades, while cool undertones look best with silver and pearly white hues. People who fall somewhere in the middle can sport most shades since they all look great against their skin tones.

Liquid vs Stick vs Powder Highlighters

Liquid highlighter

Liquid highlighters may be blinding since even a small amount is very pigmented, but when used properly, they can give you the ‘glow-from-within’ look that is so trendy these days. In fact, mixing a drop or two with your moisturiser allows it to blend seamlessly into your skin.

Stick highlighter

These are the easiest to apply since they focus on the most important areas of your face, resulting in a precise application. They may also reach the tiny and difficult-to-reach parts of your face, such as the inner corner of your eyes or underneath your brow bones. It also requires little blending and is travel-friendly too.

Powder highlighter

Powder highlighters resemble compact powders, but they are shimmery. They are pressed powder and are not as pigmented as their liquid counterpart. Apply a fan brush stroke to the highest points of your face — trust us, it will make your face glisten and add dimension.

How to apply a highlighter?

When using powder highlighter, use a fan brush to dust the powder onto the areas of your face you want to glow.

Apply dab of liquid or cream highlighter to your face and blend with your finger or a makeup sponge.

Featured image: @kritisanon/Instagram; Hero image: Courtesy Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What order do you apply bronzer and highlighter?

Answer: Bronzer is applied first, followed by blush and highlighter. Bronzer should be applied just below the cheekbone, blush on the apples, and highlighter on the upper cheekbone.

Question: Can you use blush and bronzer together?

Answer: The answer is, indeed, yes. Not only can you wear them together, but you should! These three create a stunning match if you want a very beautiful yet basic makeup look. Just be sure to apply your bronzer, blush, and highlighter in the correct order.

Question: Do I need bronzer and highlighter?

Answer: Bronzer may give your face a sun-kissed look, whilst highlighter can give it a dewy or glistening look. A matte bronzer may also be used to contour the face by creating the illusion of shadows. If you're looking to achieve such a look, then yes, you need bronzer and highlighter.

Question: Are bronzer and highlighter same?

Answer: The primary distinction between bronzer and highlighter is their purpose. Bronzer can give your face a sun-kissed appearance, whilst highlighter can give it a dewy or glowing look. A matte bronzer may also be used to contour the face by creating the illusion of shadows.

Question: Where do you apply concealer?

Answer: The key areas to apply concealer for illuminating purposes are down the bridge of your nose, above your cheekbones, in the middle of your forehead, and in the centre of your chin—the same places you would apply highlighter.

Beauty 101: Everything to know about blush, bronzer, and highlighter

Anushka likes to write about fashion, beauty, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she likes to make her Pinterest boards come to life.


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