Reality shows get a bad rap for being mind-numbing, brain-garbage or portraying anything but reality. I gotta say, though, I love reality TV and I recently learned something pretty important from it.
Thanks to my colleague, Patrice, most of our department is enthralled with British reality show “100% Hotter,” which is streaming on Netflix. If you haven’t binge-watched the show like we have, contestants with extreme personal styles are given “make-unders” by beauty and fashion experts. Like most makeover shows, it works on the outward appearance of these contestants, but also explores their inner selves. They address their insecurities and attempt to overcome them to help them to feel good in their own skin.
Just a little FYI: I think anyone should wear anything that makes them happy (even dressing like goth Alice in Wonderland) but these people obviously agreed to be on the show so they must have wanted to participate and change their look in some capacity.
My fascination with it is not so much about the clothing but the makeup. Specifically, the blush, or “blusher,” as the British cast adorably calls it.
The most amazing transformations on this show come not only from dressing these people to accentuate their best assets or adding some quality hair extensions but applying makeup that complements their faces and brings out their best features. Aforementioned Alice-lover Phoebe emerged from her make-under with the most gorgeous peachy-coral shade of blush on her cheeks, which added depth and a pretty, warm glow.
Seeing it in front of my face on “100% Hotter” made me re-appreciate how transformative blush is. Then, it made me wonder. Blush makes the biggest difference in our look so why does it feel like the most banal of all beauty products?
Blush has been a constant in beauty routines since ancient women rubbed berries or other (sometimes poisonous) substances on their faces to appear youthful, healthy and, you guessed it, fertile. While women are no longer only known as being human baby-factories, the ritual still sticks. Except, today, lots of women (and men) wear makeup because we like it and it makes us feel good. (Remember what I said before about people being allowed to wear whatever they want?) But Blush doesn’t feel like an exciting part of the beauty routine — especially when everyone figured out we can literally change the way our faces look with contour and highlight.
I’m guilty of it: I’ll choose a certain foundation because I want a dewy, radiant finish and use this particular highlighter because it won’t compete with the matte smokey eye I plan to do. Then, I swipe on the same shade of blush I’ve used for years and move on with my routine.
But there are endless looks you can create with all kinds of shades and finishes of blush. Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala comes to mind, using Fenty Beauty Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter Duo in Sangria Sunset on her apples of cheeks and curving up to her temple (months before Fenty even launched) or Emilia Clarke’s hot pink blush (Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in Heather Pink) at the 2018 Met Gala. Emma Stone wore a rosy flush (NARS Kingpin and Buzzed from Wanted 1 Cheek Palette) on her cheeks at 2018 Oscars and Chrissy Teigen, pretty much any time she steps on a red carpet, has a blush moment.
I’ve been making a conscious effort to use more blush and vary my routine like mixing Glossier Cloud Paint colors to create a custom shade or taking a page from Ms. Fenty’s book using Killawatt Foil as blush for dynamic, metallic looks. A few months ago, I also bought Benefit Cosmetics Blush Bar which comes with four of the brand’s best-selling shades (pink-coral with gold shimmer Galifornia, rose-gold Rockateur, golden-nectar with shimmer Gold Rush and baby pink Dandelion, plus Hoola Matte Bronzer), and Urban Decay Backtalk Eye & Face Palette with some pink, peach and orchid shades. I’ve tried to incorporate these new shades into my looks and change up my beauty routine. You should, too, the next time you feel like you’re in a beauty rut.
We can’t forget about the wonders of blush. Especially if we’re looking to feel 100% hotter … or just feel good.