Even when cystic breakouts have completely taken over my cheeks, skipping blush has never crossed my mind. If I’m wearing makeup, blush is as much of an essential as mascara. No matter what state my skin is in, I still love having that bridge of color between my colorful eye makeup and lip tint. Blush also gives my skin a flushed glow that makes me look alive and radiant (even when I’m running on four hours of sleep). But not everyone shares these same sentiments.
Let me back up a bit. Earlier this year, I was getting my makeup done for a photo shoot, and an assistant makeup artist swept a peachy pink Nars blush on the apples of my cheeks. Once she was done, the lead makeup artist checked my makeup and told her assistant that she shouldn’t have put blush on me — because I have “textured skin.” The subtext of what she was saying was only people with smooth, poreless skin can wear blush. Please tell me how that adds up.
In that moment, I felt like I was reduced to my acne. Suddenly, I started to believe my “textured skin” was putting me at a disadvantage and was considered a bad thing that shouldn’t be accentuated in any way with pretty products, like blush or highlighter, but avoided and concealed. My acne is not something I’m ashamed of, but for weeks after, I started overthinking it and wondering if I should be.
But this wasn’t an isolated incident. Every makeup artist that I’ve worked with on photo shoots since has consistently forgotten to put blush on me. Inevitably, I have to remind them to, and when I do, I feel like a kid asking for ice cream for breakfast, expecting them to say no and scold me.
Wearing blush on acne-prone skin comes down to formula. I can agree that powder blush doesn’t look the most flattering on my acne-prone skin, mostly because it can look cakey on top of foundation when it’s not brushed on correctly. This applies to all skin types, though.
Instead of powder, oil-free gels and creams are my favorite blush formulas. They work with the texture of your complexion — instead of against it in the way powders do— by seemingly melting into your skin. The overall effect has more of a natural-looking flush than thick splotches of color on your cheeks.
The Innisfree Smart Drawing Blusher in Peach Coral is what I’ve been reaching for the most lately because it has an easy-to-use brush applicator. The beloved Glossier Cloud Paint is also an amazing option, especially since it comes in a bold variety of shades. I’ve recently gotten into the Flower Beauty Blush Bomb, too. It’s incredibly pigmented yet lightweight. No matter which one I use, I always dab a pea-sized amount on the center of the apples of each cheek before blending it outward with either my fingertip or a damp Beautyblender. All of them are buildable, so depending on my look, I layer on a second dot on each cheek to intensify the color for a bolder look.
Thanks to these liquid blushes, I don’t have to eliminate blush from my makeup bag just because I have acne or “textured skin”. In fact, you don’t have to take anything out of your makeup routine unless you want to. Depending on what your skin is going through, alternatives always exist. You just have to adjust the products you use to better accommodate it. In no way should makeup be a way to determine your skin as good or bad, as makeup artists often do for me. Makeup should be a way to help you feel comfortable with your skin and adorn it however you’d like.