Pageant Beauty Basics Faceoff: Blush vs. Bronzer


by pageantprofessors

When Prita and I were filming the other day, I noticed that she was applying blush to her cheeks whereas I reached for my bronzer. Both of us sported a healthy glow—Prita a little flushed, and myself sun-kissed. But it got me thinking… what’s the difference between blush and bronzer?

The Basics

Blushes come in a variety of pink shades and are used to give your cheek color a boost. Next time you are out for a run, take note of what color your cheeks are—this is the shade you should seek out at the makeup counter.

Bronzer comes in shades of brown and is intended to make you look tan (as if I need to look more tan). Ideally, use a shade that is one or two shades darker than your current skin tone.

Skin Tone

Speaking of skin tone, one option may be better suited for your complexion than the other.

If you are fair: opt for a blush with pink or rose tones. It will not only warm up your look but also create more definition in your cheekbones.

If you are medium/olive: lucky you, you can get away with using either!

Bright pink blushes awaken medium complexions. I’m always intimidated by these shades in their packaging, but have been pleasantly surprised on how deep a color my skin can actually take on.

I prefer using a matte bronzer. I made the mistake of buying a bronzer last summer that had shimmer in it– I wore it to work one day and a co-worker kept pointing out that I had glitter on my face. The glitter was most evident in the light and it looked so unnatural (clearly not the look I was going for).

If you are dark: the key to choosing between blush and bronzer is to find a shade that brightens your face rather than one that makes your skin look darker.

Try a deep plum blush.

Women with darker complexions can also use bronzer, but not in the same way as those with medium/olive tones—a good bronzer can do wonders evening out your complexion.

Nicole’s tip: I am naturally a medium skin tone, but in the summer months I can quickly turn dark. As a result I have two bronzers that I use—one for the fall and winter months and a darker shade in the spring and summer, when my skin is more tan. Keep more than one shade of either blush or bronzer in your makeup case to account for the variation in your skin tone during different times of the year!


Application is just as important as the color your choose and it depends on the formula your select. Both options come in powders, creams or sticks and stains.

Powder: not only is it the easiest option to use, they are the most versatile on all skin types– if you have only skin, this is your best bet.

Dip your brush into the blush, tap off any excess, smile into a mirror to find the apples of your cheeks and apply to the “C” area around the apple. To avoid looking sunburned and just downright ridiculous, blush should ONLY be applied to your cheeks. For bronzer, apply to your cheeks, forehead and any other part of your face that would naturally be kissed by the sun.

For a deep blush, don’t apply more product—get a darker shade!

Nicole’s tip: in my opinion, the teenie freebie brushes packaged with blush are the worst! In college I bought a MAC brush set– at the time I thought they were seriously overpriced but 8 years later I realize it was worth the investment.

Cream/Stick: provides color and delivers moisture to dry skin.

Put cream product onto your middle finger and use both your middle and ring fingers to apply to the “C” area around the apples of your cheeks. Again, smile into the mirror to find this area.

Because the color in creams are so intense, a little bit of product goes a long way. Alternatively, you can use a makeup sponge.

Nicole’s tip: If you’ve gone overboard on the application, sweep on translucent powder to tone down the color, use a clean makeup sponge to soak up the excess or get a makeup cleansing wipe to remove the product completely

Stain: works well on normal skin.

With the sheerness of a powder, stains are applied like creams, with your middle and pointer fingers or a makeup sponge.

To recap, there is a difference between blush and bronzer in terms of formulas and applying the product to your skin but both can be used to achieve a radiant look, regardless of your skin tone or type. The key to looking your best at all times is choosing the right shade and formula for you!

Still can’t decide between blush and bronzer? Get the best of both worlds by purchasing a blush/bronzer duo set and sweeping on a bit of each for an effortless glow. I love Neutrogena’s “Healthy Skin Custom Glow Blush and Bronzer.” It feels light and luxe all for about $11 and it comes in a variety of shades from “Natural” to “Rosy” to the deepest “Plum.”

  •  Bronzer or M.A.C.s mineralize skin finish. It’s amazing and I love it!

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