Ever since I was a kid, I was a fan of blush. Alongside lipstick (which I wore on picture day in the first grade, mind you), blush was my introduction to makeup. As I grew older and developed my own beauty routine, blush was still a favorite, even if it didn’t become a signature like winged eyeliner or red lipstick. It was dependable—whenever I needed to brighten my complexion and look less like a zombie, I always chose blush over a bronzer. I’m old-school that way.
My favorite blushes have always been powders, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that they don’t sit on my skin as well as they used to. Could it be due to having oily skin and big pores, or was it because of my age? I recently turned 40, after all. Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman, who has worked with Bella Hadid, Anne Hathaway, and Bebe Rexha, shared some insight: “As people get older, certain changes to the skin will affect the way blush looks on the skin. The primary reason being that as the skin loosens, the pores expand as well, and blush can sink into these crevices on the skin and make the texture of the blush look rough.”
Personally, I was not ready to give up my blush habit despite my 40-year-old skin trying to sink it away. Thankfully, a new blush came into my life right at the perfect moment. Keep scrolling for all of the details!
Enter E.l.f. Cosmetics Putty Blush ($6). Being a huge fan of the brand’s Poreless Putty Primer ($8), I was already curious about this blush version. First of all, it’s a cream blush, and while I assumed cream blushes might just generally be better for someone with my skin type, that’s not necessarily the case. For example, I love the pigmentation in Rare Beauty’s Soft Pinch Liquid Blush ($20), but I noticed that my skin didn’t take to it well. It was hard to blend, and my large pores became even more apparent.
From the jump, Putty Blush was different. It’s pigmented but not heavy. It blended into my skin easily without much labor, which is probably due to the presence of nourishing argan oil and vitamin E. There are eight shades total, all named after tropical islands, and the one that I’ve been using is the coral-y color called Fiji. I sometimes apply it with clean fingers, but I think it looks best when applied with a brush, like the brand’s correlating Putty Blush Brush ($4). Also, I gotta point out, this blush is only six bucks! I may need to try all of the shades.
It’s also important to mention how skincare plays a part in makeup application. To help prevent blush from sinking into mature skin, Dorman suggests using a serum that contains both niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, as the former tightens pores, and the latter plumps the skin. “One of my favorites is Emepelle’s Serum ($175) because it contains these key ingredients in a light texture that works for all skin types,” she says. I’m pretty serious about my skincare these days (especially after experiencing a few stints of serious pandemic depression where I’d skip washing my face a couple of times a week), so Dorman’s advice to use niacinamide is something I’m definitely going to consider.
In the meantime, I’m also going to try another tip shared by Dorman: layering cream blush under powder. “It creates an even texture that lasts longer than one or the other,” she says. This is something that I’m going to try next, even though I’m already happy with the Putty Blush by itself. It gives me a good excuse not to turn into the other Marie (Kondo) and declutter my blushes. I’m not ready to give them up just yet!