It's hard to believe, but there was a time when most mass market makeup product offerings didn't span a variety of skin tones — especially deeper ones. I know, right?! The pre-Fenty Beauty era was so bleak. But even if we're living in the golden light of Rih and company, there are still a few products that are hard to find, including blushes for dark skin.
Admittedly, I didn't even know that they were a thing for the longest time, especially because most blushes were offered in a variation of whisper-soft pink tones that barely made a mark on my complexion. But after Sir John (makeup artist to Beyoncé, Serena Williams, and so many more) told me that blush is the one product you need to make your face look awake, I made it my personal goal to find a couple that'd help me fake a flush. And friends, it hasn't been easy. Blush, for the record, isn't the easiest staple to find: There are liquid formulas that are too runny, and powder formulas that read way too chalky. I even ruined a brand new silky snakeskin-print blouse while squeezing out a little bit of day-glow orange pigment onto my Beautyblender in the midst of all my testing. It was worth it, though. (Especially since my mom helped me get the unsightly stain out). Now, I feel like my face looks empty without a little bit of color swept onto the apples of my cheeks — it ties any makeup look together.
Because I believe in sharing the love (or, at least, killer products that deserve some shine), I'm highlighting my favorite Black girl-friendly blushes below. No Tide-to-go pen needed.
Pinks & Berries
Taraji P. Henson, Chrissy Teigen, and a host of other A-listers were among the first to test out this gel-cream blush at the Oscars 2017, and I remember being so eager to get my hands on the stuff afterwards. I still haven't let it go. My favorite is Haze, a really pretty berry. And when I'm feeling fancy, I mix it with Storm, a deep rose.
Crush Rose looks bright in its packaging, but gives me a cherubic flush once applied. The formula is also made with vegetable squalane, so it hydrates rather than depletes.
I'm so pumped to try Mented's newest launches. Since this brand is Black-owned, the founders have experienced some of the disparities that women of color experience at the makeup counter. I already know that these pretty pink shades will actually show up and look good.
Purples & Plums
Purple blush. It's a concept that shouldn't work, but I love it. This is a favorite for festivals, when I want to stand out in the crowd.
A former coworker put me on to Sketch, a rich plum shade that dark-skinned beauties use to contour. I like wearing it directly on my cheeks when I'm wearing a dark lip and smoky eye.
Peaches & Oranges
I wasn't a huge fan of how this lipstick looked on my lips, but knew it was too pretty to go to waste. So one morning before church, I just applied some directly from the bullet to the apples of my cheeks and blended out with a wet sponge — and got praised for my lewk all morning long. Note: the Monterey lipstick is a limited-edition shade that's part of the limited-edition Savannah Peach Collection. But the whole set is definitely worth the splurge.
It takes a little bit of work (work, work, work, work... ) to get this cream to blend — definitely warm it up on the back of your hand first — but the payoff is so worth it.
This color is richer than Jay Z, so be sure to apply with a light hand.
I keep this single on my desk and sweep it on with a big, fluffy brush right before a night of events. It stays in tact, no matter how much I'm running around.