Glowing cheeks are a foolproof way to wake up your complexion, brighten your eyes, and look youthfully fresh. Simply start with concealer and finish with highlighter -- here our expert shows you how.
Step 1: Concealer
Makeup artist Kelly Meredith, who has worked with actors Michelle Williams, Claire Danes and Alicia Cuthbert, always starts with concealer. "Once you hide under-eye circles, redness around the base of the nose, and any other red areas, you'll see that you need less colour on your skin than you think," she says. Top concealer with a bit of loose powder to set it, but avoid your cheeks if you're using cream blush. (Note: Powder cheeks if you're going straight for powder blush.)
Products to try: Revlon Age Defying Concealer with Botafirm, $11.99 (available at drugstores and mass retailers); Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Maximum Coverage Concealer, $23 (available at department stores); M.A.C Select Sheer Loose Powder, $24 (available at www.maccosmetics.com).
Step 2: Choosing the best colour
For spring, Meredith likes soft pink or apricot on the cheeks. "These colours look beautiful on almost every skin tone," she says. Tip: To find your most natural flush, check out the colour of your cheeks after a workout (or pinch them a couple of times if you're in the drugstore aisle), then look for a shade closest to that hue.
Step 3: Cream blush
Using your fingertips, dot the apple of your cheek -- the roundest part when you smile -- with a wee bit of colour, then blend it gently into the skin and back toward your hairline. "Always start with just a little," says Meredith. "After you've blended, wait for a few seconds, then decide whether you need a tiny bit more." When you're satisfied with the intensity, dust on a light layer of loose powder to set the colour.
Products to try: Estée Lauder BlushLights Creamy CheekColor in Berry Lights, $35 (available at department stores); Clinique Touch Blush in Fresh Apricot -- we also love Petal Cream, $22.50 each (available at department stores); Maybelline New York Dream Mousse Blush in Pink Frosting, $8.99 (available at drugstores), Revlon Cream Blush with Pop-Up Mirror in Just Peachy, $11.95 (available at drugstores).
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Step 4: Powder blush
Dab a rounded blush brush in powder blush and tap the handle firmly to get rid of excess. Apply in small, circular motions on the apple of the cheek, then sweep back toward the hairline. Meredith likes doing this step after using a cream blush and setting it with loose powder. "Cream blush and powder blush on their own can fade after a few hours. Layering the products gives them more staying power," she says.
Products to try: Physicians Formula Powder Palette Multi-Colored Blush in Blushing Natural (available at drugstores), $15.99; Quo Two Cheeky powder blush duo in Peachy Keen, $19 (available at Shoppers Drug Mart); Lise Watier Safari multi-striped blush, $29 (available at drug and department stores; www.lisewatier.com).
Step 5: Highlight
Once the cheek colour is in place, Meredith likes to amp up the glow with a light dusting of highlight powder over cheekbones and forehead using a large, fluffy brush. "It adds dimension and luminosity," she says. "If you have oily or problem skin, however, skip this step."
Products to try: Lancaster Wake-Up Make-Up Illuminating Compact Powder, $37 (available at The Bay and www.lancaster-beauty.com); Guerlain Terracotta Pearly Brush Sublime Shimmering Powder in Blondes, $56 (available at Guerlain boutiques, and select Bay stores); M.A.C Iridescent Powder in Silver Dusk -- or Golden Bronze if you have medium/dark skin tones, $24 (available at www.maccosmetics.com); Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in Smashing Dusk, $34 (available at Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutiques and www.sephora.com); Clinique Limited Edition Shimmering Tones Powder in Peach Bronze, $38, (available May 1st in department stores).
Kelly Meredith is a makeup/hair artist with the judy inc. agency in Toronto.