This Old School MUA Blush Hack (That Brightens Your Under Eyes) Is Going Viral on TikTok
“Put a little colour on your cheeks!” – the catch cry of every mum and grandmother who decided you look sickly back in your high school days.
Whether you were emo or a St Tropez beach babe in highschool, we’re betting you reeled in terror at the notion of blush. After all, why would you put something the same colour as your brewing pimples on your face?
Times have changed in 2023, and the previously unpopular item has seen a serious revival thanks to TikTok.
Case in point: Klarna, the pay-as-you-go shopping app reported that blush sales increased 17 per cent between 2020 and 2022 with cream blush products skyrocketing by 89%.
But whether we’ve been draping our blush, sculpting our faces with our blush, or dusting it across our nose for an adorable flush, we don’t typically think of blush as having any place under our eyes. But, midtone blush, which now has 3 million views on TikTok, is set to change that.
What is Midtone Blush?
@makeupbylexh START MIDTONE BLUSHING NOW🏼💗🧚 #midtoneblushing #blushundereye #midtoneblush #undereyeroutine #blushroutine #kyliepinkpower #blushhack ♬ original sound – lex
Essentially, midtone blush involves taking your blush close to your under-eye and then blending it with a softer “midtone” shade. The technique has been promoted by @makeupbylexh, a certified MUA and TikTok creator whose four videos about the hack finally went viral when she posted “if you don’t hop on now, we’re going to leave and we’re not coming back to you.” TikTok listened up and they’re loving the results.
Why Midtone Blush Works:
The rationale behind midtone blushing is simple. By taking your blush closer to your eye line, and then softening it with a secondary shade, you’re bringing warmth and lift to the area without overloading on concealer.
The classic V-shape concealer hack brightens, in theory, but when there is a panel of white in the centre of your face and contour and blush in the centre, it can actually have a grey, unhealthy effect that makes the area look sunken.
The perfect demonstration of the benefits of switching up your blush placement can be seen with Kim Kardashian’s updated beauty look. Compare how Kim Kardashian did her makeup in 2014, above, to when contouring was at its height, with her look in 2022. You can see the impact of tweaked blush and concealer placement, which ironically makes her cheekbones look more chiselled.
At Fendi’s 5th Anniversary of the Baguette Bag this year (don’t worry, we also forgot to wish the bag a happy birthday), Kardashian’s blush and bronzer placement is higher and closer to the centre of the face. Her concealer, while placed in the same V-shape, is slightly closer to her natural skin tone than her previous stark white. Most makeup artists agree that the exaggerated contour of 2014 has passed its use-by date, and while we’re seeing a return of the trend, softer sculpting is preferable. This is where midtone blush comes in.
What Exactly Is a Midtone Blush Shade?
So, what is a midtone blush shade? It’s actually different for everyone, and the best way to find it is to use your favourite blush as a guide, and then work backwards. However, if you only have one blush, or you don’t have a “lighter” version of the blush you love, don’t sweat it.
The best thing about the midtone blush trend is you don’t actually need to buy anything new (assuming you own a few blushes and/or a face powder). If you’re unsure what your “midtone” is, @makeupbylex suggests grabbing a tinted powder in your skin tone in lieu of an actual blush. She recommends Makeup Forever and Ben NYE but there are plenty of options.
Really, midtone blushing is all in the technique. When I was working as a makeup artist, I had the chance to meet MUA Rose Marie Swift founder of RMS Beauty and makeup artist to Miranda Kerr and she suggested this under-eye blush technique, applying blush in line with the pupil before patting it out, as you’ll see on @makeupbyalex‘s TikTok.
I Try Midtone Blush:
After watching a few videos of flawless, enlivened complexions, I was racing for my makeup bag.
First, I chose my “main blush.” Several TikTokers have been using Kylie Cosmetics, Pressed Powder Blush in “Pink Power” ($30) for the look. I happened to have one of Kylie’s blushes on hand, so I grabbed her Pressed Powder Blush in “Baddie On The Block” ($30) as my pigmented, primary colour. Having fair skin, I find pigmented blushes can look startling on my light skin. I was interested to see how the midtone blush technique could help me create a more natural look.
I chose Laura Mercier, Roseglow Blush Color Infusion, in “Peach Shimmer” ($51) as my midtone shade. The two blushes are at different ends of the peach/coral colour family, with the Laura Mercier powder having a translucent, glowy finish compared to Baddie On The Block’s matte, opaque formula.
I applied Baddie on the Block just below where my eye socket started with an oversized brush, the 108 Zoeva Powder Blender ($49). An oversized brush won’t deposit product too heavily. The chisel shape of this powder brush is perfect for avoiding heavy-handed blush deposits. I then dipped my Sephora Collection, Classic Highlighter Brush, ($39) into my midtone blush shade. The rounded brush head makes this small highlighter brush perfect for diffusing blush rather than depositing lots of product.
Midtone Blush Reviewed:
The side-by-side results were pretty startling. The addition of “Peach Shimmer” not only lifted my under eye but made the whole blush look pop.
I looked way healthier, and, counter-intuitively, my cheekbones looked wider and lifted – I officially consider my blush game levelled up, just in time for spring.