Blush vs Bronzer: Which is Best for You?

Two women lying on grass discussing makeup choices.

Blush vs bronzer. Women are often confused over which one of these enhancements to choose. Naturally, we all want to choose the product that’s the most flattering to our complexions.

These products are similar in that they both add a wash of color to the face. Where they differ is in the application and the tones of the colors. A little bit of know-how will help you select the best product for you.

A beautiful woman with purple eye makeup and blush.
On point makeup.


How are blush and bronzer similar?

There are some similarities, as previously mentioned. Both products:

  • Can come in a pressed compact, cream, stick or loose powder format
  • Add color to the cheeks
  • Enhance your selfies and photos

How do blush and bronzer differ?

While the similarities are few, you’ll see many more differences between blush and bronzer. These include:

  • Blush adds color to the apples of the cheeks. On the other hand, you apply bronzer for all over color.
  • Blush gives you the appearance of coming inside from a brisk afternoon. However, bronzer makes you look like you spent the day on a tropical beach.
  • You use blush for only for one purpose–as a blush. But, you can use bronzer for all over color, contouring, or adding dimension to your face.
  • Blush tones are pink, berry, red, or plum. However, bronzer tones are brown, bronze, or gold in hue.
A group of different colored powders.
Blush shades come in ranges from pinks to plums.
Cosmetics and makeup brushes alongside blush on a wooden table.
Bronzers are neutral tones.
A jar of pink eyeshadow on a marble surface, perfect for a touch of blush.
Loose blush can double as an eyeshadow.

Where do you apply blush?

If you want the fresh-faced and fetching look of blush, it’s yours with just a few quick flicks of your blush brush.

You’ll pick up some blush with your bristles and apply blush to the areas that you want to highlight when you smile. This means the apples of the cheeks and the top of the cheekbone. Keep at least one inch away from your nose so that you don’t lend a red, ruddy appearance to the nose as you apply the blush.

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A young woman wearing a white dress and pearls adds a touch of blush to her natural beauty.
Just a flush of blush.

One note on the application of blush – if you are using a cream or gel, a beauty blending product or your fingers are the right tools, skip the brush!

A woman with afro hair is posing for a photo with blush and bronzer.
Every woman can be a blushing beauty.

Where do you apply bronzer?

To get a classic bronzed look, you will apply bronzer to the high planes of your face. These are the key areas where the sun naturally kisses your face. You’ll hit the top of your brow bone, temples, top of the cheekbone, and the bridge of your nose with bronzer.  This technique will give you a sunkissed glow.

A beautiful woman in a black lace dress wearing blush.
Bronzer can be a contouring multi-tasker.

You can also use a darker shade of bronzer to give yourself a sculpted, contoured look. Use it to slim the sides of your nose, to hollow out your cheekbones, and to slim under your chin. Indeed, you’ll love this versatile product once you get the hang of it.

A young woman in jeans and a denim jacket with a blush on her cheeks leaning against a wooden wall.
Love an even more sculpted look? Follow bronzer with a highlight.

Blush and Bronzer Picks:

Here are a few of my favorite blush and bronzer products. I’ve personally tried each of these with success. I am not focusing on my favorite color, as that’s such an individual choice but rather on the quality of the product itself.

  • Favorite pressed compact bronzer: Estee Lauder – Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer
  • Favorite pressed compact blush: Tarte Amazonian Clay blush
  • Best stick bronzer: Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick
  • Best stick blush: Clinique Chubby Stick
  • My pick for loose bronzer: Bare Minerals Warmth loose all-over face color
  • My pick of loose blush: Bare Minerals loose blush (gotta go with them on this again. Sorry, it’s really the best there is!)
  • Favorite gel or cream bronzer: Tom Ford’s bronzing gel
  • Favorite gel or cream blush: Nars cream blush
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With a little practice with any of these products, you’ll have that warm glow you want for your face. Blush vs. bronzer? Have both and keep your options open. Whether you want to look like a ski bunny or a beach goddess, it’s really up to you.

Comparing blush and bronzer to determine the best option for you.
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