This or That / Blush vs. Bronzer

3 years ago by

Until recently, I was a hard-core bronzer fanatic, it was my hero product in my beauty routine since high school. I tried every version under the sun (pun intended) and loved glowing all year-long.

Then, one day I decided to get acquainted with a cream blush just to try it, I said to myself. Color me shocked to find that I liked the flushed look I was exuding. Think, “I just ran a half marathon, but still look great” vibes. I was torn: do I abandon my one true “product love” since high school? Was I a total beauty hypocrite? Are you allowed to love both blush AND bronzer?!

So I tapped into a few makeup artists-turned-friends to see if we could put this unresolved beauty product rivalry to rest.



“Honestly, I love both,” confessed Kelli J. Bartlett, Artistic Director of Glamsquad. “Like the best duos: Chrissy and John, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, peanut butter and jelly—blush and bronzer are amazing on their own, but when paired together, they are the unstoppable power couple.”

Makeup artist Samantha Lau (who works with Grace Elizabeth, Herieth Paul, Yara Shahidi, Romee Strijd and Carla Bruni) admits, “I wear bronzer all year round. It’s great especially now in the winter. Our skin can tend to take on a sallowness. Bronzers can give you an instant pick-me-up. Who doesn’t want to look alive in the depths of winter?” According to her, Estée Lauder makes some of the best bronzers “in their Bronze Goddess range. One of my new favorites is the W3LL People Bio Bronzer stick.”

You might have beef with a particular product because you have been applying it all wrong. I learned from Barlett, “powder bronzers and blushes are both best applied with a fluffy brush.” Overall, the placement of the products depends on the end result. “For example, an overall bronze effect can be achieved by dusting powder bronzer over the forehead, cheeks, chin and decolleté—while a bronze contour can be created by carving out the deepest part of the cheekbone and buffing towards the temple,” Bartlett explains. “The same techniques can be applied with blush. However for a natural beauty look, I generally like to apply blush to the center of the apple of the cheek for a youthful look.”

When it comes to cream formulas, according to makeup artist Min Min Ma (who counts Hailee Steinfeld, Julia Gardner, and Lauren Santo Domingo as clients) it’s best to apply these directly after foundation. “Remember creams to creams, and powders to powders,” she explains. “Once the cream/gel blush is done, I like to lightly set it with a face powder unless the client has dry or mature skin. This will ensure the blush to last longer.” Laura Mercier Cream Blush is a staple in her kit, because it’s “not too dry or oily, it has a great consistency. Apply with fingertips or a synthetic blush. Make sure to blend well especially around the edges.”

When it comes to mixing your blush and bronzer, apparently that’s no longer a no-no either. “It’s always okay to layer your blush and bronzer,” makeup artist Lakeisha Dale explains to me. “The transition of a soft pop of color into a sculpted bronzed cheek is beautiful. Especially for women of color.”

“Being that some skin tones are as warm as the bronzer, if the bronzer has tiny shimmers, it gives a glow to the skin instead of warming the skin. That plus blush is the perfect combo for a radiant look,” she adds.

Duly noted for next time when I’m feeling wild and spicy. Plus, it means I honestly don’t have to choose between them both. But, we’re dying to know where your allegiances lie. Blush, bronzer or both, tell us in the comments section below!


You may recognize these two beautiful ladies from this post we did with them! Corinna and Theresa Williams are the Founders of Celsious, the coolest way to do your laundry. But, beyond that, they are the sweetest humans and we couldn’t resist bringing them back to the studio for a morning of fun!


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