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19 Blush, Bronzer, And Highlighter Tips Every Beginner Should Know

Shine bright like a naturally flushed and perfectly bronzed diamond. The products in this post were updated in February 2018.

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

1. Use this handy chart to figure out how to best apply blush for your face shape.

If you want to see it done in action, here's a quick video version from Birchbox.
Apex Beauté / Via apexbeaute.wordpress.com

If you want to see it done in action, here's a quick video version from Birchbox.

2. And use this chart to figure out what blush shade is most flattering for your skin tone.

Drugstore: NYX (available on Target for $6.49) and Milani (available on Amazon for $6.93) High-end: NARS (available on Sephora for $30) and Tarte (available on Sephora for $29)
Valerie Fischel / Via youbeauty.com

Drugstore: NYX (available on Target for $6.49) and Milani (available on Amazon for $6.93)

High-end: NARS (available on Sephora for $30) and Tarte (available on Sephora for $29)

3. Use a small dome-shaped brush to concentrate the color on just your apples and then use a clean, fluffier brush to gently blend outward into your temples and jawline.

Your apples are the chipmunk-y areas when you flash a big ol' smile. Blend gently in circular motions.Drugstore: e.l.f (available on e.l.f. for $3) and Real Techniques (available on Amazon for $4.99)High-end: Sephora Pro (available on Sephora for $32) and Marc Jacobs (available on Sephora for $38)
Make Up For Ever / Via makeupforever.com

Your apples are the chipmunk-y areas when you flash a big ol' smile. Blend gently in circular motions.

Drugstore: e.l.f (available on e.l.f. for $3) and Real Techniques (available on Amazon for $4.99)

High-end: Sephora Pro (available on Sephora for $32) and Marc Jacobs (available on Sephora for $38)

4. In terms of formula, cream blush is best for drier skin and has a higher color pay-off than powder blushes.

Emily Resling / Via julep.com

You can use a stippling brush, but clean fingers work just as well. Just be sure to start off with a really small amount and pat/build up the color as needed to avoid looking like a murderous clown. But if you do go a little overboard, use a damp sponge to pick up some of the excess color.

Drugstore: NYX (available on Amazon for $5.99+) and L'Oreal Visible Lift Color (available on Amazon for $5.98+)

High-end: Glossier (available on Glossier for $18) and Stila (available on Amazon for $25), and NARS (available on Nordstrom for $39)

5. If you have oily skin, try applying a translucent powder to your cheeks before putting on powder blush, so the color will last way longer.

Drugstore: Maybelline (available on Amazon for $7.49) and e.l.f. (available on e.l.f. for $6)High-end: BareMinerals (available on Sephora for $23) and Laura Mercier (available on Sephora for $38)
@lauramercier / Via instagram.com

Drugstore: Maybelline (available on Amazon for $7.49) and e.l.f. (available on e.l.f. for $6)

High-end: BareMinerals (available on Sephora for $23) and Laura Mercier (available on Sephora for $38)

6. Don't be afraid of wearing blush if you have redness on your face! Just make sure to apply a good makeup primer with color-correcting properties that will even out all your bumps.

bit.ly, amazon.com

Drugstore: e.l.f (available on Amazon for $5.79) and NYX (available on Amazon for $9.74)

High-end: Make Up For Ever (available on Sephora for $37) and Smashbox (available on Sephora for $39)

7. Switch up your application order and apply blush either before foundation or after highlighter to nail that ~glowing from within~ look.

Miki Hayes / Via bustle.com

Apply your cream blush with a slightly heavier hand, so a natural amount will peek through the powder foundation (which also helps set the blush).

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

8. The most basic tip for applying bronzer is drawing a three shape on both sides of your face.

This shape makes sure the bronzer hits along your hairline/upper forehead, temples, below your cheekbone, and below your jawline. And don't forget to use circular motions to blend everything out. Read the full post on A Beautiful Mess here.
AnnaRose Kern / Via abeautifulmess.com

This shape makes sure the bronzer hits along your hairline/upper forehead, temples, below your cheekbone, and below your jawline. And don't forget to use circular motions to blend everything out.

Read the full post on A Beautiful Mess here.

9. If you want to cover a little bit ground, here's a slightly more comprehensive chart to follow.

Make sure you dust some on your neck so it matches your face.
Amy Nadine / Via thebeautydepartment.com

Make sure you dust some on your neck so it matches your face.

10. Powder bronzers are best for beginners because they give you the most control.

Experiment with bronzers that are just one shade and ~baked~ bronzers with multiple shades to find the most natural finish for you.Drugstore: NYC (available on Amazon for $4.99) and e.l.f. (available on e.l.f. for $4)High-end: TheBalm (available on Amazon for $19) and Hourglass (available on Sephora for $50)
@hourglasscosmetics / Via instagram.com

Experiment with bronzers that are just one shade and ~baked~ bronzers with multiple shades to find the most natural finish for you.

Drugstore: NYC (available on Amazon for $4.99) and e.l.f. (available on e.l.f. for $4)

High-end: TheBalm (available on Amazon for $19) and Hourglass (available on Sephora for $50)

11. Use a big, fluffy brush (like a powder brush) for a natural, tanned flush.

If you want more intense color/definition, use a brush with denser bristles (angled brushes are especially helpful). Otherwise, a fluffy brush is a safe bet against your bronzer appearing too harsh and obvious. Tap your brush to get rid of excess product too.Drugstore: EcoTools (available on Amazon for $7.99)High-end: Too Faced (available on Sephora for $34)
sephora.com

If you want more intense color/definition, use a brush with denser bristles (angled brushes are especially helpful). Otherwise, a fluffy brush is a safe bet against your bronzer appearing too harsh and obvious. Tap your brush to get rid of excess product too.

Drugstore: EcoTools (available on Amazon for $7.99)

High-end: Too Faced (available on Sephora for $34)

12. If you want super precise application, try a cream formula in pen form and make little hash marks underneath your cheekbones, on top or below your jawline, along your hairline, and around your nose.

If you want to accentuate certain areas even more (like a small swipe right under your cheekbones or around your nose tip), use a slightly darker shade after the lighter one. Check out the full video tutorial here! And if you want to contour specifically for your face shape, this is a useful guide.Drugstore: NYX (available on Amazon for $11) and Etude House (available on Soko Glam for $14)High-end: Trèstique (available on Sephora for $28) and Burberry (available on Sephora for $37)
Jen Chae / Via frmheadtotoe.com

If you want to accentuate certain areas even more (like a small swipe right under your cheekbones or around your nose tip), use a slightly darker shade after the lighter one. Check out the full video tutorial here!

And if you want to contour specifically for your face shape, this is a useful guide.

Drugstore: NYX (available on Amazon for $11) and Etude House (available on Soko Glam for $14)

High-end: Trèstique (available on Sephora for $28) and Burberry (available on Sephora for $37)

13. Blend out any sharp edges of your bronzer with a damp sponge.

Tyler Joe / Via elle.com

The Beautyblender (available on Amazon for $20) is always a trusty option; the Real Techniques sponge ($8.99 for two) is a good dupe for it.

14. Shimmery bronzers are great for illuminating skin and giving off that fresh ~sun-kissed glow~, but not so much for contouring and shadowing.

And use a light hand to avoid emphasizing uneven skin texture.Drugstore: Physicians Formula (available on Amazon for $9.97) and Soap & Glory (available on Target for $12.99)High-end: Too Faced (available on Sephora for $30) and Bobbi Brown (available on Sephora for $48)
@bobbibrown / Via instagram.com

And use a light hand to avoid emphasizing uneven skin texture.

Drugstore: Physicians Formula (available on Amazon for $9.97) and Soap & Glory (available on Target for $12.99)

High-end: Too Faced (available on Sephora for $30) and Bobbi Brown (available on Sephora for $48)

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

15. Use this handy chart to find out what areas you should be highlighting.

Liquid highlighters work best for small areas like the inner corners of your eyes, which helps to really open up your peepers. Other areas that are worth a dab are right above and underneath your brow arch.Drugstore: NYX (available on Target for $5.19) and L'Oreal (available on Amazon for $11.19+) High-end: Benefit (available on Sephora for $26) and Becca (available on Sephora for $41)
Sophia Flores / Via thebeautydepartment.com

Liquid highlighters work best for small areas like the inner corners of your eyes, which helps to really open up your peepers. Other areas that are worth a dab are right above and underneath your brow arch.

Drugstore: NYX (available on Target for $5.19) and L'Oreal (available on Amazon for $11.19+)

High-end: Benefit (available on Sephora for $26) and Becca (available on Sephora for $41)

16. Use a fan brush for a concentrated swipe that gets *right on top* of the cheekbones.

Drugstore: Sonia Kashuk (available on Target for $7)High-end: IT Cosmetics (available on Ulta for $18)
Katie VanTassell / Via katievantassell.com

Drugstore: Sonia Kashuk (available on Target for $7)

High-end: IT Cosmetics (available on Ulta for $18)

17. Strobing has been touted as "the new contouring," but it's really just intense highlighting that targets your face's highest points rather than defining through shadowing.

One method is to apply cream highlighter first and then layer powder highlighter on top. If you have oily skin, just use powder highlighter to avoid looking excessively shiny. Check out a video tutorial from Desi Perkins here!Cream —Drugstore: Maybelline (available on Amazon for $6.35+)High-end: RMS Beauty (available on Sephora for $38)Powder —Drugstore: Physicians Formula (available on Amazon for $8.29+)High-end: Becca (available on Sephora for $38)
Bellapierre Cosmetics / Via jumia.com.ng

One method is to apply cream highlighter first and then layer powder highlighter on top. If you have oily skin, just use powder highlighter to avoid looking excessively shiny. Check out a video tutorial from Desi Perkins here!

Cream —

Drugstore: Maybelline (available on Amazon for $6.35+)

High-end: RMS Beauty (available on Sephora for $38)

Powder —

Drugstore: Physicians Formula (available on Amazon for $8.29+)

High-end: Becca (available on Sephora for $38)

18. As a last step, use a finishing spray to really lock in your chiseled, glowing face without disturbing the amazing work you've already laid out.

Dana Rae / Via hbfit.com

Drugstore: NYX (available on Amazon for $5.99)

High-end: MAC (available on Nordstrom for $23)

19. And of course, there are always multitasking kits that combine highlighter, bronzer, and blush.

Because who has the time (or SPACE) for three separate products?Drugstore: Rimmel (available on Amazon for $6.79) and Maybelline (available on Amazon for $9.05)High-end: Make Up For Ever (available on Sephora for $45) and Tarte (available on Sephora for $45)
gopjn.com

Because who has the time (or SPACE) for three separate products?

Drugstore: Rimmel (available on Amazon for $6.79) and Maybelline (available on Amazon for $9.05)

High-end: Make Up For Ever (available on Sephora for $45) and Tarte (available on Sephora for $45)

🎵 All the right ~makeup~ in all the right places 🎵

Disney / Via giphy.com

Or this is probably a more accurate version, tbh.

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Ryan Pattie / BuzzFeed
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