Add some Colour to your Face with a Dash of Blush

Sweeping statement: women over 50 should always wear blush. As we age, colour seems to leach out of our faces and it’s easy to look like a piece of used chewing gum. Is it any wonder so many of us have a problem dealing with our new Cloak of Invisibility when we do nothing to hide it?

There seems to be a fundamental antipathy towards blush and who knows why. Is it considered tarty or common or just unacceptable? Perhaps it’s too flashy or promiscuous; the early Christian church was largely responsible for its demise (before the 16th Century). Or is it that women really don’t know how to use it properly.

All that being said, let’s talk about using blush properly and a little of its history which may go a long way to explaining why we should be using it, or not! Realistically, all make-up was and is designed to attract men and simulate the appearance of sex. Do we care that much over 50? Perhaps not. But we do care about looking as youthful and bright as we can.


The Egyptians were amongst the first to use rouge  (blush) as a face enhancer. Cleopatra knew that if she wanted to look radiant and youthful over the breakfast table, she needed a bit of colour in her face. All the black eye make-up, without the rouge, made her look like a Panda and neither Julius or Mark liked the look.

Rouge (the name was used until quite recently) was made from a variety of things including red fruits, vegetable juices and even finely crushed ochre. It was used on cheeks and lips.

The ancient Greeks made a paste from crushed seeds and berries and covered their faces in chalk or lead powder before adding the colour paste. Unfortunately, the lead was deadly.

In the middle ages women defied the church and rouge made a come back. They would even go as far as painting their faces with egg white for the pale complexion which proved they were high class. Then they’d apply rouge!

It’s interesting that rouge was used most often by upper class women or prostitutes, until Elizabeth I started using make-up which made it acceptable to all except the most religious. Women used lead paints mixed with vinegar to create a paste called cerise for whitened skin, and mercury sulfide for rouge. Not surprisingly, their hair fell out, hence all those high foreheads and receding hair lines in Tudor times. As they wore the rouge on their lips, these women (if pregnant) also ran the risk of killing their baby.

Make-up fell into disrepute again after the French Revolution when it was considered, again, to be fake and a sure sign that women were trying to reclaim their lost youth. Well of course they were!

Make-up bans, down the centuries, have all been instigated by men on moral or religious grounds, or to prevent women from deceiving men with their false beauty. As recently as 1770, the British parliament were happy pass a law suggesting a marriage could be annulled if the bride used cosmetics before the wedding day.

Fortunately for us, rouge evolved into cream and then powder blush which means you no longer give yourself lead or arsenic poisoning and you are no longer considered a harlot if you wear it to brighten your face and look younger!

Rouge, Blush and Aging Younger

Why should women over 50 in particular wear blush (cream or powder)? It really is the difference between looking bright, alert and more youthful, or as if you’ve just been dug up. I’m sorry to be so blunt but seriously … have you looked at yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning and during the day?

We all know looking brighter makes you feel brighter. Gone are the days of fading into the background like a comfy old chair. Look on your make-up as a bit of re-upholstery.

To Cream or to Powder

There are a lot of pros to both and an equal number of cons. Many make-up people espouse cream and I wonder if …

a) They are anywhere near 50,
b) have direct personal experience of what happens to the skin on your face,
c) are just trying to sell a product?!

Cream Blush

The argument for cream is that it looks more natural and doesn’t dive into lines and creases. I’m going to disagree with that because the other consideration is the state of your skin. If it isn’t good, adding a cream blush to the equation can make it look very much worse; unless you wear so much concealer, primer and foundation that your face slips off.

However, in the interests of fairness, I’m going to recommend the following cream blushes:

NYX Cream Blush
Maybelline New York Dream Bouncy Blush
HAN Skin Care Cosmetics Natural Cheek and Lip Tint.

You can but try. Whichever takes your fancy, let us know how it went.

Powder Blush

I prefer powder to cream because you can just wave your blush brush around and instantly look bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed. If you don’t have a brush try Luxspire Blush Brush  or try  or this EcoTools Retractable Kabuki Love Kabuki brushes.

Because blush is usually the last thing you add to your face and because, unlike powder, it sits on a small part of your face, the likelihood of it falling down a crevasse is minimal!

However, there are certain ground rules I believe should be followed:

a) NO sparkle
Seriously girls. You’re over 50. Do you really want to look like the fairy at the top of the tree?
b) NO stripe across the cheek bone
A stripe across your cheek bone (which I know is very popular), is silly. When did you last see natural colour in a stripe? You haven’t and you never will.
c) apply to apples of the cheeks only
It’s more natural. Smile (hugely), and lightly dust blusher over the apple area in a circular motion. Perfect!

My favourite powder blushes are:
NARS Blush, Orgasm (available in 37 colours, including matte … yay!)
Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup, Blush
Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Blush with Vitamin E

And there you have it; a little history and some really useful information. With some lipstick and a dusting of blush you have all you need on those days when you’re at home or not doing anything special. And if you go out, don’t forget your sun block!

Do you wear blush? Cream or Powder? If you don’t wear blush, why not? We’d love to hear what you think …

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