Boyfriend Blush and Sunset Blush: How to Get Each Look (and Why We’re Obsessed)

Written by: Megan O’Neill


Published on: July 2, 2024


Photo courtesy of Holly Broomhall/Blaublut Edition

Blush makes just about anyone look better. And this—thanks to two viral trends—is the summer of blush. The first, called boyfriend blush, imitates the invigorated flush that appears below the apples of your cheeks after a run or a brisk walk. It’s a sporty-fresh, slightly exaggerated pop of color that’s so called because men supposedly get ruddier with exertion than women do (it is not to be confused with the Gwyneth-coined boyfriend breakfast).

The second (which is equally popular) is sunset blush. Inspired by the gold-tinged pinks, terra-cottas, corals, and ethereal ombré effect of a sunset, it creates a more romantic, hazier look.

Both are easy to achieve, and these blushes—gorgeously sheer, buildable, and boosted with skin-softening ingredients—are the linchpin of both looks. Here, how to use them to create either trend, plus the skin care and stealth makeup touches to leave you looking effortlessly luminous.

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Makeup layers more naturally when you start with even, practically poreless skin. Exfoliate to polish away roughness and amp up radiance. Then smooth on moisturizer: This one delivers a rush of weightless hydration for an instant glass skin effect.

  1. Smoothing Face Polish

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    Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator
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  2. Featherlight Moisturizer

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    72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream
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The combination of bronzer and blush is a match made in summer-skin heaven. So smooth on this bronzing gel—either over your entire face for allover glow or anywhere the sun would naturally hit, like cheeks, brow bones, and along the nose. It builds from subtle warmth to a beach-vacation tan, depending on your skin tone. Spot-treat imperfections or uneven skin tone with concealer if you need it.

  1. Antioxidant Bronzing Gel

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  2. Serum-Concealer

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  1. Dab blush just below the apples of your cheeks, blending the pigment downward toward your jawline (the lower placement of the blush is the crux of the look). Use your fingers for a subtle wash of color or a brush for more intensity.
  2. Blend the blush so it looks as bold or as mellow as you like. Either way, the idea is not to sculpt but rather to create a rush of color.
  1. Subtle Berry

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  2. Soft Mauve

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    Colorblur Glow Balm in Velveteen
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  3. Blending Brush

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    Blender Brush
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  1. To create this look’s gradient effect, you’ll need a few shades of blush, all with warm undertones. (Pro tip: Use pigments that are the same consistency so the shades blend seamlessly.)
  2. Start with Venus, a soft fuchsia, on your cheekbones, blending it up toward your temples.
  3. Layer Slipper, a warm peach, right below the fuchsia, again blending upward at an angle.
  4. Blend Whiskey, a terra-cotta, in the same way, just below the peach. If each shade is still visibly distinct, gently blend the colors until there are no demarcation lines, leaving a subtle color-fade effect.
  5. Dab highlighter—whichever shade complements your skin tone—on top of your blush for the prettiest shimmer-flecked finish.
  1. Soft Fuchsia

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  2. Warm Peach

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  3. Terra-Cotta

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    Colorblur Glow Balm in Whiskey
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  4. Buffer Brush

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    Buffer Brush
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  1. Iridescent

    Ami Cole
    Light-Catching highlighter
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  2. Pearlescent

    Glow I.V. Vitamin-Infused Skin Enhancer
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  3. Golden Pink

    Westman Atelier
    Lit Up Highlighter Stick
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Bonus: When You Want Summer Skin in 3 Minutes

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