The Ridiculous Way A Makeup Artist Makes Cream Blush Look 10x More Natural

Experts may have their own tried-and-true techniques, but generally, the right blush placement can really make your makeup sing. For instance: You can tap the eyelids for an allover glow, sweep in a C-shape to sculpt those cheekbones, brush across the bridge of the nose for a little faux sun, and so on. But when it comes to blush that just looks natural (read: like you went for a brisk jog, the blood flow offering a boost of oxygen and nutrients to your happy skin cells), is there one trick that trumps all?  

Enter, celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwins’ hack for a natural-looking flush: “My favorite cream blush trick seems ridiculous, but it works so beautifully,” she says. Irwin, we’re all ears. 

How to apply cream blush for a natural flush.

“I take a tiny dab of cream blush, and instead of putting it on with my fingers, I put it onto my palms—just on the meaty part under the thumb joint,” she explains. Then “it’s just a quick press into the skin to make it look like a perfect natural flush.” Like you’re stamping the color onto the cheeks and pulling away with the perfect, diffused rouge. 

Here’s how it works: That fleshy part at the base of your thumb (called the thenar, if you want to get technical) is relatively the same size as most people’s cheekbones—so when you bounce it into the skin, it will line up with your bone structure in a similar, slanted angle. 

Rubbing the two palms together also pre-blends the blush, so all it takes is a gentle press into your skin to transfer a light wash of color. So even if you grab a highly pigmented number (this buildable lip and cheek tint is a personal go-to), it’ll melt into your skin with a sheer, dewy payoff. Your fingertips (or in this case, your palms) make the best blender, especially with cream confections; the pads of your fingers warm up the formula, so when you press it into your skin, well, it melts like butter.

The result, says Irwin, is a natural-looking flush—like you’re radiating joy. 

Buildable, cream blushers are super versatile—these mimic your skin’s texture for a soft, dewy finish. But if you’re hoping for a natural-looking, “no makeup” look, try Irwin’s pre-blending technique. It’s like using your palms as a palette to diffuse the pigment—then one stamp on the cheeks, and you’ve got a bouncy glow.

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