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

Shine bright like a naturally flushed and perfectly bronzed diamond.

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

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NYX ($6.99) and Milani ($7.49) blushes are popular drugstore options, while NARS Orgasm ($30) is the classic peachy pink.

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.

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

Drugstore: e.l.f ($3.99) and Real Techniques ($9.99)

High-end: Sephora Pro ($32) and BareMinerals ($28)

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

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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 ($5.99) and L'Oreal ($9.50)

High-end: Stila ($25) and NARS ($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.

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.

Drugstore: e.l.f ($5.13) and NYX ($12.99)

High-end: Make Up For Ever ($37) and Smashbox ($39)

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

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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).

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

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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.

Full post by A Beautiful Mess here.

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

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

Drugstore: NYC ($4.47) and Rimmel ($8.65)

High-end: Benefit ($29) and Hourglass ($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 ($6.64)

High-end: Too Faced ($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.

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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: Colourpop ($5) and NYX ($11.98)

High-end: Tarte ($24) and Burberry ($37)

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

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The Beautyblender ($20) is always a trusty option; the Real Techniques sponge ($9.39 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 ($8.35) and Soap & Glory ($15)

High-end: Smashbox ($32) and Bobbi Brown ($46, or $25 for travel size)

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

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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 ($7.49) and L'Oreal ($10.99)

High-end: Benefit ($26) and Perricone ($35)

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.

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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!


Drugstore: Sonia Kashuk ($10.99)

High-end: RMS Beauty ($38)


Drugstore: Physicians Formula ($7.95)

High-end: Becca ($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.

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

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

Drugstore: Rimmel ($6.49) and Maybelline ($8.53)

High-end: Sephora Collection ($32) and NARS ($59)

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