Blush-shy? These autumn shades will convert you

Laura Kennedy: The most natural way to add structure back to the face after applying foundation is with a sweep of creamy blush

Blush remains beauty’s unsung hero. More than a mere accent designed to finish and elevate a face of make-up, blush is a foundational product. It can transform not just a complexion but a whole face, adding form, structure and balance after foundation (or even without). While Gen Z, with their more playful approach to make-up, “get” blush and its capacity to lift and reframe the face, many women are still a bit afraid of it.

Particularly in Ireland, where we can lay unfortunate claim to being Europe’s rosacea capital, there is an aversion to the idea of putting anything on your face which might add something approaching redness, or adjacent to it. This is understandable, but when any foundation apart from the very sheerest formula is applied correctly, it will inevitably leech the complexion. The best natural skin has variation in tone and pigment. You’ll know what I mean if you apply just a full-coverage foundation and then have a look in the mirror – it flattens even a face graced with great cheekbones to a bland disk. My own face in this state reminds me distinctly of a peeled Babybel cheese.

The solution to this is to use make-up to return the natural-looking structure to the face which foundation has blanched away, and the quickest, most natural-looking way to do that is to apply some blush.

I prefer cream blush textures over any other. A powder is great when you’re using a matte foundation or you’re concerned about serious lasting power, but a cream is forgiving, easy to apply, and looks much more like the soft, blooming flush of actual skin. There are no rules when it comes to tone – just use what calls out to you. No, you won’t look like a clown. It’s all about applying a tiny bit and building from there until you’re happy. Use your foundation brush or sponge to tamp down any excess if you feel you’ve overdone it.


The coming season has me inclined toward plummy and port wine tones. Again, there’s nothing to fear – these tones mimic that frosty cheek look after a snowy walk and tend to sheer out very naturally.

Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh Cream Blush Stick in Fame (€43 at is portable (if pricey) and blends so easily into the skin that it really does look like a natural flush of colour. Fame is a sort of mauve-pink shade that looks particularly good with green or blue eyes, but somehow works on both cool and warm toned complexions. It’s a versatile colour that will carry you through to next spring.

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Raisin Standardz (€29 at is a rich plummy tone with a melting texture and buildable pigment. It looks spectacular on every skin tone from fairest to deepest, bringing richness to autumn and winter make-up and pairing beautifully with a smoky eye.

Jones Road Lip and Cheek Stick in Royal Plum (€34 at has a similar tone. It looks very dark in the bullet, but glides on as a wash of deep berry pink, bringing a sort of blackberry-stained bittenness to the skin that looks instantly expensive. These blush sticks last forever too.

Vieve Sunset Blush Balm in Piazza (€27 at is one for those who like the idea of some depth in their blush but are keen to avoid red or plummy tones. Piazza is a liquid product – making it instantly sheerer than most creams – and has a brown undertone. The result is something that looks like a flush of soft bronze on the cheeks. It works as well in summer as it does in winter, and a very little will suffice to bring life and colour to the face.

Read More