3 Ways To Fake A Glowy Complexion Without Blush

Sometimes you've gotta give the apples of your cheeks the night off.
Publish date:
December 10, 2014
nars, clinique, face oils, Laura Mercier, highlighting, blush, yves saint laurent, benefit cosmetics

While I fully support your right to rock a simultaneous bold eye and bold lip, combine the two with too-bold blush and the whole look can go from sassy to tacky real quick.

I love wearing blush most days, but lately I’ve been switching it up with a couple other products I use instead of blush when my eyes and lips are taking the stage instead. (Three’s a crowd, you know.)

My Favorite Luminizing Primer

There are very few products I’ve purchased more than once, but I’ve picked up Laura Mercier Foundation Primer in Radiance three or four times over the past several years. It's one of my favorite products of all time, on its own or as a base for my foundation. It gives my skin a subtle, naturally bronzed glow, and I can’t get enough.

See my skin on its own...

...and my skin with a sheer layer of primer:

When I’m skipping blush, I sometimes swipe an extra layer of this primer along my cheekbones for a bit of golden flush that doesn’t overwhelm my face.

Highlight, Highlight, Highlight

The harsh winter wind provides my cheeks with plenty of rosy goodness, so I often reach for highlighter rather than blush.

I love to blend a few swoops of pearly or Champagne hued highlighter across the tops of my cheekbones, over my eyebrows, and down the bridge of my nose, as well as some tiny pops on my Cupid’s bow and chin. This gives my skin a healthy, shimmery shine that always has people telling me how “well rested” I look, which is the ultimate compliment.

I use Benefit High Beam on top of my cheekbones for a bit of shimmer, and then YSL Touche Eclat (in Radiant Vanilla) everywhere else for a natural “lit from within” appearance.

Consider Using a Bit Of Face Oil ON TOP Of Your Foundation

Lately, I’ve been opting for heavier foundations. I love the look of a perfectly even complexion, but often I feel like I’m sacrificing the glow of my natural skin. To get both, I apply all my foundation and then pat on a few dabs of face oil for that runway glow.

A dewy, healthy complexion is the perfect complement to the drama of a smoky eye and red lip combo.

Here, I painted up my eyes with Clinique All About Shadow 8-Pan Palette and my lips with NARS Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil before patting some rosehip oil lightly onto my cheekbones and forehead. Do I look cherubic or what?

If all else fails you in the glow department, just opt for a genuine smile this season.

  • What are your favorite alternatives to blush?
  • Which products do you rely on for that much-lauded glowy look?