The Two Faces of Blush
Ask someone what Blushing is, and you will get all kinds of answers. Generally, people’s ideas about Blush fall into two main categories: Blush that gives the cheeks a “healthy glow,” or blush that gives the skin a flushed look of undertones of reds, blues and sometimes olive.
From a physiological point of view, there is really one type of blush, which is caused by an increased blood flow most visibly in certain regions of the face. The facial skin has more capillary loops per square inch and generally more blood vessels per square inch than other skin areas. In addition, blood vessels of the cheek are wider in diameter, are nearer the surface, and visibility is less diminished by tissue fluid. So, when a person gets excited, or agitated, or stressed, or emotional, the increase blood flow can be seen in the form of a facial blush.
This is true blushing, and the colours produced are a product of the pigments present in the skin, the veins containing blood, and how the light interacts with both. If you want to simulate a true blush, pick blush products that contain skin tone pigments plus reds, blues, or greens according to your own skin’s melanin mix.
The other category people call Blush is really about what happens when skin is exposed to UV rays. The “blush glow” is really a simulation of sun-affected skin. It can be a brown [from the melanin being activated] mixed with a slight sun-burn redness. Some people find this effect pleasing to see on the face and cheeks, and those are the people who buy makeup Blush that has brown, copper, or burnt sienna pigments, which mimic a “sun-kissed” effect on the skin.
When you next set out to buy a Blush makeup product, first decide if the Blush you want others to see on your face is more about emotion causing increased blood flow, or whether you want to look like you stayed a little too long in the sun and your skin is slightly inflammed. That will help you choose which colour blush products will deliver the look you want.