Beauty Minimums: The World Is Forbidden From Seeing Me Without Blush

I can’t be the only blush-or-die woman in the world, can I?
Publish date:
February 28, 2013
blushes, Tarte, Benefit, lorac, pale skin, obsessions

When I moved to Florida from Minnesota, I stuck out like a sore, extremely pale thumb with a vitamin D deficiency.

I was 15, so I wanted to fit in with all the tan Floridians, but I wasn't willing to regularly apply self-tanner. (Plus, this was the late '90s, and self-tanning formulas were still in their awkward formative years.) I turned to blush as a compromise, and that compromise quickly turned into a compulsion.

I’m now convinced I look dead without it.

When people see me without blush, they think I’m sick, hungover, or fresh off the Bloodmobile. Thanks for the concern! But unlike just-for-fun beauty obsessions like red lipstick or black eyeliner, my blush obsession is an effort to put me on an level playing field with all you rosy, warm-blooded people.

I’ve spoken to many other women about their beauty minimums--the step they simply cannot skip before going out in public. From mascara to lip gloss to concealer, I’ve heard them all, but I’ve never met a another mandatory blusher like myself.

If you were to rudely look through my bag while I was the ladies room, you wouldn't find a blush. HA! You thought I was going to say you'd definitely find one, right? No, because I took it to the bathroom with me to for a touch-up. At least one reapplication is to be expected on an average day.

I’ve even discreetly reapplied blush poolside, as well as in bed when a date turned into a sleepover, before he woke up. I no longer blush up in bed now that I live with my fiancé, but he's the only one who ever sees my true pallor.

A quick scan of my beauty product collection reveals 18 different blushes at the moment, and that's after cleaning it out a few weeks ago.

My years at a beauty magazine only fueled the infatuation and exposed me to every blush format and formula known to woman. Therefore, I think it's entirely reasonable to consider me an expert on the topic, so here are my extremely scientific findings, which can benefit casual and serial blushers alike.


The classic and still my go-to. With my combination skin, this kind of formula wears long and looks great in all types of weather. I prefer a peachy-pink shade with a bit of shimmer to catch the light.

Current favorite: Lorac Baked Matte Satin Blush


Although I swear by my loose powder foundation, I find loose blush too difficult to control. (Deduce what you will about my relationships.)

Current favorite: No.


If the color isn’t too bright, cream blush can create a nice, subtle daytime look with a dewy finish. It’s usually not dramatic enough for nighttime, in my opinion. However, even though a lot of people like switching to cream blush during warmer months, I stay away from them in the summertime because sweat just smears them.

Current favorite: Tarte Glam Cheek Stain in the cream-based formulations

Tangent: Am I the only one who thinks those blushes that supposedly “change to suit your unique skin tone” are suspicious? Won’t one color look different on many different complexions anyhow?


I keep this in my bag of tricks typically for outdoor wear: beach, pool, hiking (yes, I wear blush hiking, OK?), etc. It looks natural if blended well and lasts pretty long. A bit on the lips and eyelids works, too.

Current favorite: Benefit Cosmetics BeneTint

I know those last two blushes are pretty popular, but, like easy girls in high school, there’s a damn good reason for that. (Just kidding about the easy girls.)

What are your blush standbys? I can’t be the only blush-or-die woman in the world, can I? What product can you absolutely not even make a run to 7-11 without?