How to Apply Pigmented Blush (without looking like a clown)

I used to apply all of my blushes with my MAC 129, and I was quite happy doing so. It wasn't until I bought MAC Mineralize Blush in New Vibe from the In the Groove collection that I realized some blushes just couldn't handle such a big brush with dense bristles. When I first applied New Vibe here I looked like a clown! I manically had to powder my face down with my MAC MSF Natural afterwards to tone down the crazy a little bit, but you can still see in the last few pics that the blush was applied much too heavily (for my taste anyway).

I decided to give my MAC 188 a shot the other day, especially since it hasn't gotten much love from me since I purchased it a few months ago. Prior to this I had only been using it to stipple MAC Lustre Drops in Sun Rush to my cheek bones as a golden highlight (which is gorge, by the way!).

Here are 4 easy steps to follow when applying pigmented blush:

Step 1: Choose a pigmented blush and swirl MAC 188 through it.

The coral side of Marine Life is super pigmented and can look a bit much if you're not careful with your application. This is where the MAC 188 comes in. It allows application with much more precision than the 129 and since it's a stippling brush, the bristles are not as densely packed. This means that it will pick up less product when swirled over the blush and deposit less product when swirled over your cheeks.

Step 2: Smile to locate the apples of your cheeks and begin application there.

Step 3: Swirl brush in a circular motion from the apples up to the temples, concentrating more on the apples.

Step 4: Smile and be happy you don't look like a clown :)

The key here to achieving a natural flush rather than clown cheeks is definitely the choice of brush. The 188 is my new go-to brush for bright pigmented blushes, while the 129 still holds a special place in my heart for all of the others (massive shout-out to Well Dressed and Hang Loose!).

How do you apply your blush?



  1. Great tip thanks girlie :) I usually use cream blushes, so I use my MAC 188 to blend it into the apples of my cheeks. Then I set it with a little bit of powder! xo

  2. I have used the 188 in the past too especially for those highly pigmented blushes that I want to tone down a bit. It works well

  3. Great post :) Thanks for the suggestion!

    I personally prefer the Sigma SS187 brush (like MAC 187) for blush :D


  4. Very nice tutorial Tiffany. I use the 188/131 for powder blushes as well. The 130 is really good for cream blushes.

  5. Great tutorial! Thanks for the tips!

  6. ya a stippling brush is definitely the way to go, being fair, I also use a brush like this to apply bronzer as well.


  7. the first time i used new vibe i had the same experience. like "ooops".
    i prefer using the 131 brush. that works quite well for me.

  8. Great post! I've been needing a brush that applies those more pigmented blushes well without packing on too much color.

    I've also just given you an award over on my blog here:


    Have a lovely day!

  9. I bought the #188 for the same reason a few weeks ago! And as I was very happy I bought the #131 too, it is even better than the #188 I think :)
    Regards from Germany!

  10. Great tutorial :) I usually apply my blush pretty heavily though with minimal eye makeup... I just like how it looks :/ I hope I don't look like a clown, haha!

  11. @ kali: Thanks kali! xx

    @ Jule: Hello! I may have to get that one next then :)

    @ Caitlin: Don't be silly! I'm sure you look gorgeous as usual :) Some people can definitely pull it off...just not me, haha.

  12. Great tutorial, you look so happy in the photos :D

  13. @ SilhouetteScreams: haha, thank you! Sometimes I feel like such an idiot when I try to smile and pose for my blog pictures :)


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