If you’re like us, we probably remember a great aunt who put little circles of blush on the apples of her cheeks and ended up looking, well, a bit like a clown. If so, you may have sworn off blush then and there. After all, why risk it? The trouble is as skin becomes paler and more sallow with age, dusting on blush can actually be the boost you’re looking for — as long as you chose the right one. So we turned to makeup pros to help us discover the best blush for mature skin — and the best way to apply it.

The skin on our face changes with age

Once you round 50, it’s time to switch up the type and color of blush you’re using — plus the way you apply it — because of the way our skin changes as we age, says celebrity makeup artist Bryan Cantor. Our skin tends to be drier, less firm and its tone can look duller or discolored, he points out. And if you’re like us, you tend to be loyal to beauty products, so the idea of finding a replacement for your beloved blush can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on for the best blush for mature skin and the 411 from makeup artists on how to pick the your most flattering formula, shade and blush application tricks to help turn back the clock.

The best blush for mature skin

The best blush formula for mature skin

If you’ve never tried a cream blush, now’s the time — especially given that your skin is probably drier than it used to be. “The moisturizing base of a cream blush sinks into the skin, making for a more natural flush, rather than just sitting on top of the skin the way a powder does,” explains Cantor.

Makeup artist and beauty expert Jenny Patinkin agrees: “Cream blush is very flattering on ‘lived-in’ skin. It has a dewy texture that makes skin look healthy and vital and blends in seamlessly,” she says. But if you are really committed to sticking with a powder, she advises looking for one with a silky or satin finish (rather than one that’s totally matte) in order to help create some radiance.

The goal with blush is to add youthful color back to skin and create a healthy glow, but it’s important to stay away from formulas that are packed with overly shimmery and sparkly pigments. “Avoid any products that contain visible particles of glitter or shimmer, as they can settle into and end up enhancing the look of fine lines and wrinkles,” cautions Cantor.

How to pick your most flattering blush shade

While it may not be as precise of a science as finding an ideal foundation match is, it’s still important to choose a blush that enhances your particular complexion. And, it’s especially important to consider your skin’s undertones. If your skin is cooler or more pink, Cantor suggests picking pink blushes with bluer undertones, mauves or even pinks that look a little bit purple. If you have warmer, yellow undertones, look for pinks and peaches with warmer, orange undertones, he adds. One easy way to determine your skin’s undertones? If you gravitate toward silver jewelry, you’re likely cooler, and if you prefer gold jewelry, you’re probably warmer. (Click through to learn how to determine your skin undertone.)

The depth and darkness of the blush color should also correlate with your skin tone. For example, if you have tan or more olive skin, seek out blushes in deeper pinks or corals, Cantor recommends. And for the darkest complexions, red, burgundy and plum hues are especially flattering, he adds.

The best way to apply blush on mature skin

“Apply blush higher than you have in the past,” recommends Cantor. “The best spot for most face shapes is slightly above the cheekbones.”This higher placement counteracts any type of sagging, creating the illusion of an instant facelift, he encourages. Just make sure the blush isn’t too close to the under eye area, where it can accentuate the appearance of under-eye bags and fine lines, or too close to the folds between your nose and mouth, as this can make cheeks appear droopy, says Patinkin. A good rule of thumb is to have blush sit two fingers away from the nose and two fingers away from underneath eyes (as shown below).

Illustration of a woman with blush applied higher up on her cheekbones
Barbara McGregor

All of the above applies to almost all face shapes. However, if you have a square or round face, focus on keeping the blush more toward the center of your face for a slimming effect. Otherwise, blush should typically be swept upward and outward, toward your temples, which optically lifts facial features even more.

To see these blush application tricks in action, check out the video below from beauty YouTuber Jodi Mannes.

Our top blush picks for mature skin

Ready to experiment with a new blush? You can’t go wrong with these expert-backed choices.

Best cream blush
Makeup by Mario blush in light pink shade.
Makeup by Mario

Buy from Sephora, $30

Why we like it:

  • Contains hyaluronic acid
  • Feels weightless on skin
  • Has a subtle radiant finish

Patinkin calls this blush her current favorite, praising its wear time. The creamy formula is hydrating (credit goes to hyaluronic acid) though it still feels light on skin and leaves the complexion with a subtle dewy glow. There are six shades to pick from and Patinkin says the ‘Barely Blushing’ hue is a gorgeous nude for those who don’t want a blush that skews too pink or red.

Best multi-purpose blush
Stila blush in a coral color.

Buy from Ulta, $25

Why we like it:

  • Easily blends
  • Can be used on lips, lids and cheeks
  • Works well applied with a brush or fingers

Both makeup pros we spoke with had this blush on their top list of recommendations. Cantor says the formula, which is made with natural oils and waxes, blends beautifully into drier, more mature skin. Patinkin points out that it glides on beautifully, and loves that the wearable shades can pull triple-duty, equally as flattering on lids or lips as they are on cheeks — and you can apply with a blush brush or fingers to add a pop of color to features.

Best blush for easy application
Merit blush stick.

Buy from Sephora, $30

Why we like it:

  • 8 natural-looking shades
  • Small domed shape makes it easy to apply
  • Easily buildable or sheered out

This blush is so fun and easy to apply, says Patinkin of another one of her favorites: “Just dab the domed top onto your cheeks and blend.” While the product may be small, the formula is long-wearing and can easily be stowed in your bag for touch-ups. Plus, the creamy blush, which comes in a variety of neutral shades for different skin tones, can be layered if you want more of a pigmented punch or sheered out as you blend it in.

Best powder blush
L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect blush.
L’Oréal Paris

Buy from Walmart, $10.14

Why we like it:

  • Affordable
  • Powder-cream hybrid
  • Has a radiant finish

While creams are generally a better choice for mature skin than powders, this drugstore blush is a good exception to the rule. It’s powder-esque, though it contains camellia oil that gives the blush an almost cream-like texture. It’s a top choice for Cantor, who says it leaves skin looking healthy and radiant, never cakey or dry.

Best longwear blush
Fenty cream blush in magenta color.

Buy from Fenty Beauty, $18

Why we like it

  • Wide shade range
  • Sweat- and water-resistant
  • Never feels sticky or tacky

If you’re in the market for a budge-proof blush, try this one. Cantor says the longwear benefits are impressive, specifically the fact that it’s both water- and sweat-resistant. And even though it’s a cream, it goes onto skin smooth and stays put without feeling sticky or greasy. There are also 14 shades available so there’s one for everyone as they flatter a wide array of different skin tones. 

Best stick blush
Anastasia blush stick.

Buy from Nordstrom, $27.20

Why we like it:

  • Great for an on-the-go application
  • Has a built-in brush
  • Soft focus finish

Stick formulas are amazing for when you’re on the go and this dual-ended choice is no exception. “It comes with a built-in brush to make blending a breeze and melts into skin,” says Cantor. The texture is also ever-so-slightly dewy, which creates a soft focus effect that blurs aging skin concerns.

Best budget blush
e.l.f. Putty Blush in deep pink color.

Buy from Ulta, $7

Why we like it:

  • Low price
  • Cream to powder formula
  • Contains moisturizing argan oil

This wallet-friendly choice is another great blush option for those who prefer powders. It goes on like a cream — since it’s packed with moisturizing ingredients like argan oil — but dries down to more of a velvety, powder-like finish. Patinkin is a fan, especially of the ‘Caribbean’ shade, which she says is a gorgeous rich rose hue that’s especially stunning on medium or deep skin tones.

Best blush for dry skin
Milk blush stick.
Milk Makeup

Buy from Sephora, $24

Why we like it:

  • Very hydrating
  • Multi-tasking product
  • Comes in a variety of finishes

While any cream blush is a good pick for dry skin, generally speaking, this one really takes the cake. “It contains hydrating ingredients to add moisture, while also making the color buildable and blendable,” Cantor points out. More specifically, it’s loaded with mango butter, avocado oil and apricot oil, all of which moisutrize skin. What’s more, this stick blush can be swept onto lips as well to create a pretty monochromatic makeup look and it’s available in satin and shimmery finishes so skin looks radiant.

For more affordable beauty products to shop that are great for women over 50:

The 9 Best Undereye Concealers for Mature Skin That Brighten, Smooth and Hydrate

The 12 Best Foundations for Mature Skin That Will Cover + Repair Flaws

The 8 Best Hair Clips for Thin Hair That Will Hold Without Tugging or Dragging

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