Are You Making This Surprisingly Common Blush Mistake? What To Do Instead

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
(Last Used: 2/8/21) Woman with smooth skin and pink blush
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Imagine: You're peering into the mirror, blush in hand, ready to sweep on the pigment for that oft-mentioned healthy glow. You smile so the pigment hits the points where you naturally flush, and you tap it onto those supple circles. You relax—and you move on with your makeup routine, with your day, with your life. 

But wait! According to makeup artist Alexandra Compton, product development manager at clean beauty retailer Credo, you shouldn't actually smile while applying blush. Oh.

If you can't remember the last time you've opened up a blusher without grinning into the compact, you're not alone. Below, she explains this common blush blunder and what to do instead for the perfect hit of rouge.

Why you shouldn't smile while applying blush.

While blush placement differs for everyone, the smile can be a bit misleading. See, smiling lifts the apples of your cheeks and helps them form into plump, perky rounds—which is helpful for knowing where you naturally turn rosy, sure, but those apples sink back to their resting place as soon as you relax. 

As a result, "Your blush placement will actually be lower with a straight face," Compton notes, which can create the illusion of sagging. Rather, when you apply your blush with a relaxed face, you'll know exactly where to plant it to achieve that lifted, lit-from-within glow, sans grin. 

Plus, Compton adds, applying blush on a relaxed face can keep the formula from settling into any creases. Again, because smiling lifts the cheeks, the pigment on the edge of your apples can nestle into fine lines once they lower back down. 

So, how should you apply blush without beaming at the mirror, you ask? Simple: Tap your blusher du jour (like this creamy dream from Alima Pure) on your cheekbones and either blend inward to create a soft fullness or outward toward the temples for more lift and definition. Both techniques work beautifully, and you can tweak it according to your face shape.

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The takeaway.

Ultimately, there are no rules to blush—if a soft smile helps you land that perfect application, we're not going to tell you to upend your entire routine! But if you step away from the mirror and feel like your look is just a bit off, try keeping your cheeks relaxed as you sweep on the pigment. It may be the subtle tweak you need.

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