Saturday, July 5, 2008

Blushes N Bronzers: - Decoding the secrets….

Today I’m going to discuss a topic which creates tension amongst public when handled. Its something that people do not know about and nobody ventures into that side while their visit to cosmetic counters. There is going to be some gossiping about this relating to the current scenario and who ever it is about please don’t mind. Sometimes gossips have to be taken in a constructive way same as criticisms. Btw today we wont be discussing the essential facts of using a blush and a bronzer. I’ll just be doing a little beating around the bush.

With that note let me highlight over a few things that I learned about blushing and bronzing as a Beauty Traveller. I had an entire day spent on discovering blushes from uber chic and beautiful brands but unfortunately the results were a little shocking.

The makeup artist at Chanel counter (who happens to have learnt makeup from a very prestigious beauty school) in Juhu couldn’t distinguish between a blush and a bronzer and fought with me when I asked questions and was really very rude. Whilst people on other counters told me some of the silliest things and showed me all the garish and clowny shades that would flatter European skins but no way would look good on Indian skins. The only good people to direct me in the situation were Jayshree from LancĂ´me and Neetu from MAC who are extremely knowledgeable and extremely friendly ladies who listen to all the crap that I ask very patiently and do not mind if I don’t buy something from them at times.

I think I’ve spoken too much. Anyways now lets see what do blushes and bronzers exactly do. I’ll be talking from a few excerpts from the makeup books as well.

A blush is something that gives you a “flush” of colour on the cheeks mimicking the color that you get when you are embarrassed {in a good way} and when a gush of blood rushes in to your face. If you are a normal human being then this gush happens in the apples of your cheeks and sometime the nose and eyebrows {happened to my brother when he was small}. And a bronzer does something very different. Bronzer adds warmth to the skin mimicking the glow when the sun kissed you. Isn’t that totally different from a blush? If you want to get tanned in a healthier way then your best friend to do this would be a bronzer. Generally Caucasians and Hispanics who have cool skins don’t get tanned because of the type of skin they have. Instead they get burned and that’s why they rely on bronzers to fake a tan.

So when you go in the sun a blush will make you look burnt or flushed because of heat while a bronzer would make you warm and tanned and healthy and of course ALIVE.
Robert Jones, an eminent makeup artist calls the blushes and bronzers as COSMETICS TO THE RESCUE. And I staunchly believe in him. Blush changes the appearance of a tired skin into something alive in a jiffy. Of course the key is to understand the right ways to apply blushes and bronzers. There are a million formulations which make a zillion number of ways to use a blush so why discourage ourselves from using them.

Every makeup artist has a signature way to apply blushes and that reveals their personal identity at times. Like Pat McGrath, my favorite and the most phenomenal makeup artist in the industry relies on her hands and some important tools for enhancing someone’s appearance. That’s how she could makeup you look as if you have come from Ibiza or St.Tropez in one look and instantly change it into something utterly sophisticated in the next. The magician tells us some really important things and nuances of blush application that we wouldn’t even think of. She shared certain Do’s and Don’ts of blush application in a interview of hers taken years back.

Here’s an excerpt” –

Do: "make sure your skin isn't at all greasy before you apply your blusher," says Pat. "Even if you've only applied a tinted moisturizer, tissue off any excess shine. You want to ensure that a powder blush goes on smoothly, or that a cream formula doesn't slip or slide."
Working out where to place colour can be confusing, and makes all the difference in achieving a natural-looking result. "With powder blusher, dip your brush into the powder, smile and brush a little on to the apples of the cheeks using upwards and outwards strokes. If you prefer to use a cream blush, smile and then use your fingertips to dab colour on to the cheeks, aiming to create an oval shape over the cheekbones."

Don't: "make the mistake of 'drawing' a heavy line under the cheekbones, rather than simply creating a healthy, all-over glow. Also, avoid heavy brown shades, and don't apply blush over dry skin patches. Prepare the skin before applying make-up."
Shop like a pro: always try before you buy, says Pat. "If you stick to the pink and berry shades, you can't really go wrong. The idea is to give the cheeks a natural glow, by simply blending the blusher away until you have a natural flush."
I loved the way she discussed that. Well it was in Dec 2002 and still the trend hasn’t gone. Blushes are still treated in the same way and I absolutely admire her for that. Makeup artist par excellence Mary Greenwell who has been prepping celebrity makeup artists even before I was born share the ultimate details you could get from any pro. She says. “Blush is the one piece of make-up that you’ll never have to change. Stick with a blush that adds the right healthy glow and change the colour of eyes and lips.”

Somehow Indian women have always been a bit scared of blushes and bronzers and that’s the reason we look so incomplete. Here is something to read from a beauty site and found it true to their every word.

Blusher has a reputation for being difficult to apply but, once you know what you’re doing, it can make you look your best in seconds.

Powder blusher is easier to control and blend, which is why it’s the most popular choice of all. You’ll also find the widest choice of shades comes in powder form. It should be applied over foundation - and under face powder - not on bare skin; applying powder blush to clean, fresh skin gives you too bright a flash of colour. At the very least, you should wear a veil of translucent powder underneath. It will also stay put longest if ‘sandwiched’ between foundation and powder. Make-up artists always use powder blusher.
Cream blusher is good for dry or sun-damaged skin; it slides easily over the surface and won’t settle in wrinkles. To avoid a clown effect, always put cream or liquid blusher into the palm of your hand first, then apply it to your cheek. It should be tapped on lightly with the finger and blended immediately
Gel blusher offers the sheerest form of colour, and is great for giving a natural-looking glow to bare skin on outdoorsy weekends. Because gel blushers are transparent, they’re perfect for summer. Gel should always be applied over moisturiser (not foundation), which makes it glide on more smoothly and avoids a ‘polka-dot’ effect (the stain ‘takes’ very fast when it hits the skin). Do always remember to wash your hands immediately after applying them, as the pigments can stain fingers.
Bronzing powder can be substituted for blush in summer. It’s also great dusted around the hairline, on the nose and chin, as well as across the cheekbones, for giving you a truly healthy-looking tan.

Colour Choices: -

Don’t go too bright or too dark. Aim for a natural, soft, healthy glow. Bobbi Brown says: ‘The right blusher for you is the same colour your cheeks are naturally when you’re really healthy.’Fair-skinned women should look for beige, tawny and pink tones.Olive/yellow-toned skins will find warm brown, almond and copper shades most flattering.Dark-skinned women can use plum, fuchsia, auburn and deep bronze shades.Redheads look best in orange, apricot, peach and coral shades. These also look good on anyone with a tan.

The Contour Controversy: -

Should you shape your face using darker powder to disguise chubby cheeks or double chins? Opinions vary. Bobbi Brown thinks it’s better to play up your good points rather than try to cover up your flaws. But Maggie Hunt, who every year teaches hundreds of women how to make the most of their looks, does believe in contouring: ‘I use a face shaper - a matte brown one - to help minimise double chins, chubby cheeks and high and narrow foreheads. Choose a shade of powder that’s just a darker version of your own skin tone and brush it onto the heavy areas. If your forehead is too high, put a soft brown powder around the hairline

Blusher Tips From the Pros

• ‘Invest in a proper blusher brush,’ advises Bobbi Brown. ‘The teeny ones you find in compacts just aren’t up to the job, and will give visible brush strokes.

• Don’t use blusher to give yourself instant cheekbones. The most flattering way to apply it is on the ‘apples’ of the cheeks. Locate yours by drawing an imaginary line down from your pupil to the centre of your cheek. Then lightly stroke outwards, towards the top of the ear, covering the entire cheekbone area in soft, sweeping strokes.

• Kevyn Aucoin sometimes applies blusher to the cleavage and along the hairline, too. ‘It adds warmth to powder and foundation, making the whole look more realistic and healthy-looking.’

• Carol Shaw advises applying blush when you’re smiling: ‘Add a little blush in that ball of your cheek and bring it back a little towards the bone.’

• ‘You want to look like the noon sun has hit you on - not under - your cheekbones,’ believes Mary Greenwell.

• Like many make-up artists, Maggie Hunt likes to ‘double-blush’, first applying one layer of blush, then powder, then blushing again: ‘It helps the colour stay put.’

• Shu Uemura’s resident make-up artist Andrea says that in summer, older women should avoid powder blusher: ‘It can look dusty. Instead, try rubbing some lipstick into your cheeks, which gives a much more natural result.’

• Says Kevyn Aucoin: ‘Over-blushing can always be corrected by blending in a little powder.’
This is something very precious that we could read and I’m sure its going to help many women. In the next article I’ll discuss the beat ways to apply blushes and bronzers for Indian women. I’ll also discuss the best buys in the market and what would suit various skin tones. Please read this and stay beautiful.
Till then have fun watching this video on essentials of a bronzer by another favorite makeup artist of mine, Mr.Beau Nelson.


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