Hair & Make-up 25 Jun 2024 5 MIN

Are you team boyfriend blush or sober flush?

It’s official, 2024 is the year of the blush. Here’s how to get on the bandwagon

In case you needed proof beyond your social media feeds that this is, undoubtedly, the year of blush, we’re here to tell you it’s happening. Milk Makeup’s second product to go viral after its famed Hydro Grip primer was its wobbly-textured Cooling Water Jelly tint, Rare Beauty’s bestseller is its Soft Pinch liquid blush, Hailey Bieber just launched her Rhode Pocket blush, while Mother Pat McGrath has been busy promoting new shades of her Divine Cream blush sticks. Everyone’s aboard the blush train, and excitement around the category’s reaching a fever pitch. 

But wearing blush? It’s an art. In an Instagram reel viewed 2.1 million times, one content creator painted her whole face red with a Pixi On-The-Glow ruby blush stick, with the caption “Is it too much blush?”. “Blush 2024 needs to be stopped,” read one of the top comments. “It’s giving ✨ alcoholic ✨,” read another. One user asked if the objective was to look like they got radiation poisoning. Clearly, there is such a thing as going overboard. 

Whether you’re a ‘tomato girl’, a ‘strawberry glaze girl’, or just someone who wants a pick-me-up, we decode some of our favourite trends in blush right now. 

Sober flushed


A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner)

For the risk averse, this is a pretty natural-looking, straightforward way of applying blush. The idea is to look like you’re flushed, like midway into a night of too many glasses of wine or as if someone’s just paid you a sizzling compliment. Apply a few dabs of a rosy, pink cream blush like Simply Nam’s Velvet Cream Magic blush, or a warm nude like the Ilia Color Haze in the shade Waking Up, on the apples of your cheeks and blend. If you prefer a powder, I can’t recommend the iconic Nars Orgasm blush enough. It’s peachy pink with the slightest bit of shimmer and looks great on practically everyone. 

Boyfriend blush

Irrespective of your relationship status, this is for when you want to look like an athletic boy who’s just run a 5k or has been out in the snow too long. The ‘boyfriend blush’ is a sportier, youthful extension of the natural flushed look. Choose a colour that would look natural on your skin tone, like a bright poppy or pink. Avoid anything with glitter so you can keep the look realistic. If it’s summer, opt for a water-based tint like the classic Benetint or Milk’s Cooling Water Jelly Tint in Spritz. For a frosty après-ski look, you can go for Chanel’s Healthy Winter Glow. Pull the placement down a little, go in low on your cheeks et voila! You look like you’ve just worked out. 

Sun-kissed glow 

If you want to look like you’ve just got back from the beach without actually having spent hours in the hot sun, this is the way to go. It’s a fuss-free ‘no-makeup’ look. Opt for a coral shade like the Glossier Cloud Paint in dusk or a nice warm sienna like Pat McGrath Labs’ Sunkissed Seduction. Use the W method: start by dragging down your blush stick from near your temple and draw a W shape across your nose bridge to connect both cheeks symmetrically. Make sure you don’t touch the tip of your nose, or you’ll look like Rudolph (especially if you’re using red!).  

Blush draping 

Not to be confused with the aforementioned W method, the C method is used to contour the face without using...well, contour. Credit for this technique goes to Cher’s make-up artist Way Bandy, who popularised the ‘colour glow’ style in the ’70s and ’80s. You start by sweeping down your blush from your temples to the top of your cheekbones (steer clear of the apples) and blend for a lifted look. Bonus tip: use it on your eyelids and blend it in with the blush on your temples if you want to go all out. Perfect for suckers like me who usually end up with stripes of bronzer while trying to contour. 

Sunset blush  

The latest blush trend is one that requires a little more effort. Picture a beautiful summer sunset with bold shades of gold, pink, and orange in the sky at golden hour. To replicate this on your face, you need to have an orange or coral shade, a bright pink hue, and a shimmery highlighter. If you’re using a liquid blush, start with placing a dot (or two, depending on how pigmented you want it to look) of orange high on the cheekbone, and then add dots of bright pink right above it, closer to your temples. Blend each colour separately to ensure you’re not mixing it all up. Pro tip: use a damp beauty blender that you can rotate easily to get that gradient or ombré effect. For the glow, top it off with a swipe of gold highlighter. A liquid or cream blush is easier to blend out, but if you’d rather use a powder, Rare Beauty’s soft pinch luminous blush powders in the shades Love and Joy are perfect for this look.