ask mGm – blush for medium/tan skin

Ask mGm is back with a question from Mariam


Hey I have a medium skin tone probably a bit tanner then you and have found it really hard finding a blush that gives me colour without fading or being too over the top. Can you recommend any that are also quite affordable for Australia. I have been looking at the Models Prefer stick blushes and the Savvy baked and normal blushes. What do you think?

Thanks for the question, Mariam. Here are some suggestions.

Understanding what colour works for your skin tone

Even before you decide on a brand or formula for blush, the first thing you need to determine is what looks good on you.

Cool toned pinks and mauves look very pretty on lighter complexions. On darker skin tones, they have the potential to look unnatural. That is, if they even show up on your skin. I hastily purchased a light pink blush once and despite several attempts, could not get it to show on my skin and relegated it to the reject drawer.

Some blue-based pinks can also have the less desirable effect of making the skin look bruised. These are best avoided. You want to look glowing and mildly flushed. Instead of looking like you had a fight. With your makeup box. In the dark.

In my opinion, warm and olive skin tones look best with coral and peach toned blushes. Here is an example of a coral blush. Pinks work too as long as they are warm toned. Other colours that might not immediately strike you as beautiful but can look stunning on tan skin is dusty rose or dirty coral. These tones appear beige or brown at first glance but can on the skin, they just look flawless and natural. Daniel Sandler’s Watercolour Blush in Angel is such a colour.

One other thing to keep in mind is that your lipstick and blush shouldn’t compete with each other. That is, avoid coral blush if you are wearing a cool-toned red lipstick. As much as they might be the bees’ knees separately, together, they could make your makeup look disjointed.

Decide on a formula

Depending on how comfortable you are with applying blush, you can choose from powder, cream, gel, liquid and stains. I find powders easiest to work with (however, not all powders are created equal).

Used properly, cream, gel and liquid formulas can be the closest thing to a natural flush. But blending them properly (and sometimes, quickly enough) can take some time to master. Keep in mind that your skin might not like non-powder formulations as some contain oils that can trigger acne.

Stains typically last the longest and powder wears off more quickly. Again, this will depend on the manufacturer but is a general rule of thumb. There are a number of dual purpose stains available for use on cheeks and lips – these are handy especially for travel or touch ups (e.g. theBalm Stainiac and Models Prefer has a new one)

Again, don’t let your lipstick and blush compete. Particularly if you are going to wear a matte lipstick, a glossy finish blush might throw your look.

Finally, see whether you have a preference for different finishes depending on the season. I tend to favour matte powders in the winter and go for baked terracotta blushes in the summer. Your skin will change with the season so it is likely you will need two different products at least for the cold and hot months.

Your budget

I appreciate we pay a lot lot more for cosmetics here in Australia, especially for drugstore brands. Often, I remind myself that if I refrained from shelling out $25-$35 for a L’Oreal or Revlon item, I could just add another $5-$10 and score myself something much better in quality from a mid to high-end brand (a la MAC, Bobbi Brown and NARS etc). And it isn’t just quality you get. Some products are so pigmented that because you would only need the tiniest amount, that one tube or pan might last you many more times over.

Now, I am not one to say no to a bargain so I also do look for quality products at sensible prices. Hello local products! Buy Australian!

Australis and Face of Australia constantly come up with products that amaze me with their quality and price. They deliver good colour payoff and longevity at a price point that won’t break the bank.

Work it

Don’t just rely on your blush for colour and certainly don’t pile it on.

Blend it into your bronzer if using one. Or sheer it our using a damp stippling brush. If you want more colour, you can build it up gently rather than chucking it all on at once. A tip with powder blushes is to tap off any excess from your brush before applying to your cheeks. You can always go back for more.

Another thing I like to do is to go over the cheekbones with a touch of cream highlighter using the same blush brush for a glowing finish.

Ok, enough with the preaching, here is my list of blushes that are affordable, look great on tan skin and won’t fade in 5 minutes. I’ve tried to keep them to 7 but I did cheat a little.

1 Daniel Sandler – Water Colour Blush Several

I use the shade Glamour

Also try Angel and Gentle

$29* Best bang for buck

Very long lasting

Great choice of colours

Very natural, dewy finish

Extremely pigmented

*from ASOS. Look out for discount coupons to get this for less.
2 Bourjois – Blush Several $20 Great choice of colours

Subtle shimmer

Price point


Bourjois – Blush Exclusif I use the shade Pink $20 Develops a natural colour unique to you

Price point


Glossy finish

3 Models Prefer – Cream Blush Stick Love $8-11 Flattering colour for tan skin

Very natural finish

Extremely pigmented

Price point

4 NARS – Powder Blush Several

I use the shade Exhibit A

Also try Cactus Flower, Taos and Liberté

$39 Flattering colour for tan skin


Extremely pigmented

Finely milled powder

Sheer finish

5 Savvy – Classic Blush Several

Try Plum

$5 Price point

Flattering colour for tan skin

Finely milled powder

Extremely pigmented

Savvy – Mineral Baked Blush Several

Try Blossom

$9 Price point

Flattering colour for tan skin

Finely milled powder

Luminous finish

6 Face of Australia – Powder Blush Several

Try Nutmeg

$9.45 Price point

Flattering colour for tan skin

7 Prestige – Mineral Blush Several

Try Peach

$22.50 Flattering colour for tan skin


Well pigmented

It would be remiss of me not to mention a few others which I consider great quality despite the relative higher prices. That doesn’t stop me from including them in my stash 🙂

  • MAC Powder Blush
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush
  • Bobbi Brown Powder Blush and Pot Rouge
  • Stila Convertible Blush
  • Becca Beach Tint

I hope this helps you out, Mariam, and that you find a blush you like that is easy on the eyes and wallet.
Have a great weekend everyone!

ask mGm – blush for medium/tan skin

One thought on “ask mGm – blush for medium/tan skin

  1. I have a feeling I’m a cool yellow, leaning to green. I have a hard time knowing which oranges work. I don’t look good in coral and peach, but apricot and reddish oranges are kind of ok (like lady danger) and wet ‘n wild’s purty perssimon.

    Mauves, plums and cool pinks are ok on me too…


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