Only a few short years ago, it seemed like blush was widely considered the least important makeup step. Bronzed, heavily contoured skin was becoming increasingly en vogue, prompting many to forgo blush altogether. But as with all trends, what was once deemed dated has come back around — and is quite possibly even bigger than ever. This summer, we’ve seen brightly colored, ultra-flushed cheeks everywhere, pulling inspiration from the beauty looks of the ’70s and ’80s. Blush has become so sought-after that, now, makeup artists and enthusiasts have popularized a particularly bold makeup style: the blush contour trend.
Blush contour is exactly what it sounds like; it involves using blush in the places where a contour or bronzer shade would typically be applied in order to sculpt the face, such as the hollows of the cheeks and around the forehead. The trend harkens back to the colorful blush looks that became popularized by ’70s icons like David Bowie and continued into the ’80s with stars like Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry.
In decades past, over-the-top blush often accompanied bright eyeshadow colors or glitter accents, but in 2021, it’s being used as the focal point of summery makeup looks. That is, the blush contour trend is more of an all-over, “I just spent the day at the beach” glow, rather than a show-stopping, stage-ready look.
On TikTok, the hashtag #blushcontour has 3.4 million views among a slew of tutorial videos. User @alenaavictoriaa shows her followers how she uses blush for contouring, applying a NARS shade in a C-shape from the tops of her cheeks up to her temples with a single sweeping motion. Others, like user @junedonkor, have gone even further, applying cream blush not only to the cheeks but across the top of the forehead and down the bridge of the nose, as they would a contour shade.
The result is a gorgeously flushed look that’s absolutely perfect for summer — but don’t let that stop you from trying it out all year long.