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How to Use Blush to Sculpt, Balance, and Accentuate Your Face Shape

Learning how to use blush based on your face shape can instantly enliven skin — but when applied strategically, the color can also sculpt, balance, and accentuate features.

Simply grab a blush brush, pick your favorite shade, and follow the technique that best flatters your face.

Slim a Round Face

A rounded jawline causes the eye to circle the face’s perimeter, creating the illusion of a fuller, heavier appearance.

The fix: “Dust blush onto the apples of the cheeks, then move the color up and outward,” says makeup artist Gita Bass, who’s worked with Laura Dern and Julianne Moore. “By pulling focus diagonally from mid-face out, this breaks up any fullness and subtly ‘stretches’ the face for a slimmer look in an instant!”

Balance a Heart Face

Bass’ trick to harmonize the wider forehead and smaller chin of a heart-shaped face? Apply blush in a “kidney bean” shape.

Starting from the bottom of the cheekbone, sweep color up and around the outside of the eye toward the temple. “The subtle curve adds width mid-face tricking the eye into seeing a wider jawline,” says Bass, while the stroke of color along the edge of the face creates a “shadow” that visually minimizes the brow so it looks more in proportion with the chin.

Shorten a Long Face

The longer the face, the more droopy features like eyes and cheeks can appear. Bass’ tip: Start by applying blush just above the cheekbone, sweeping it out toward mid-ear.

“This causes the eye to scan from side to side, adding width to the widest part of the face to counteract its length.” Finish with a swirl of blush up near the eyebrow’s tail. By placing color up at the farthest points on the face, it directs the eye up and in for a face-lift effect!

Soften a Square Face

Since a square face’s cheekbones are the same width as the jawline, it can make the entire face appear harsh and boxy, says Bass.

She advises applying lighter strokes of color starting low on the apples of cheeks, then gradually going a bit darker as you bring the hue up and around the cheekbone, toward the ears. This slightly upturned, curved motion helps cheeks appear rounder to soften and “slenderize” the strong shape, while also distracting from the jawline’s harsh angles.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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