How Much Blush Is Too Much?


Jennie Suk, 27, has gotten really into wearing blush in recent months, inspired by videos from TikTok influencers and celebrities, like the singer Sabrina Carpenter, whose dewy, flushed cheeks have become her calling card.

Drawing from her personal arsenal of about 25 blushes, Ms. Suk says she enjoys experimenting with layers of different creams and powders for a rosy glow.

“A couple years ago, I probably only had one or two blushes — I would rarely use it,” said Ms. Suk, who lives in Houston and works in social media for a veterinary services company. “Now I can’t leave the house without blush on.”

She found herself using more and more products, until someone finally pointed out that she might be using a bit too much. On social media, this affliction — not being able to tell, empirically, how rosy is too rosy — has jokingly become known as “blush blindness.”

“I first realized that I kind of had blush blindness when I walked into my sister’s house and she was like, ‘Oh, did you get a facial? Because your face is so red,’” she recalled.

Being called out for having blush blindness has women like Ms. Suk reconsidering how much of the product they are wearing. (It is a spinoff of another TikTok trend, eyebrow blindness, in which users post self-deprecating photos of their old eyebrow styles.)

Gone are the days of powdery blushes one might associate with her mother or grandmother. Blush products have exploded in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to new, creamier liquid formulations like those from Rare Beauty, the makeup brand founded by Selena Gomez. Last year, Rare Beauty was reported to have sold 3.1 million units of its liquid blush product.

Laney Crowell, the chief executive of the beauty brand Saie, told The New York Times in an email that her company sells a blush every 30 seconds. “On social media, blush is definitely the new accessory,” Ms. Crowell added.

It was a Rare Beauty blush that made Celine Blumenthal, a rising junior at Yeshiva University in New York City, realize she may be overdoing things.

In a phone interview, she remembered her mother making a comment about the bright shade: “She was like, ‘I’m telling you right now, you’re going to look back that the orange color doesn’t suit you at all. It looks bad.’” Ms. Blumenthal exchanged the product for a different shade.

On TikTok, Ms. Blumenthal posted several photos of her previous pink-cheeked looks and identified herself as a “victim of blush blindness.”

Toni Bravo, a beauty content creator in Los Angeles, attributed the rise in popularity of blush to a cultural shift away from “being afraid of color.” And she said that blush has become a widespread beauty trend could also make it feel more approachable.

“People who might have been afraid of using blush or figuring out how to use it are realizing that there’s all these different kinds of blushes, there’s all these different kinds of shades, tones, finishes, textures,” Ms. Bravo, 24, said. “There’s really something for everyone.

But as is the case with anything that relies on human perception, blush blindness is highly subjective, Ms. Bravo added.

In a recent video, she responded to a commenter who accused her of wearing too much blush by applying even more.

“I think it’s all just a taste thing,” she said. “I think some people are just not used to bright or bold blushes, especially on deeper skin tone.”

Ms. Bravo is not alone in ignoring what the internet masses have to say about her makeup. Rachel Carlisle, 27, has grown a small following on TikTok for posting videos where she applies her makeup step by step, including a copious amount of blush as a base layer under the rest of her products. Ms. Carlisle, who lives in Biloxi, Miss., and works in health care consulting, said she liked the warm, sun-kissed effect of this blush style.

Commenters often accuse her of trolling, but Ms. Carlisle said her intentions were earnest.

When people first started doing at-home contour, everybody made fun of that. They made it sound like that was absolutely insane,” Ms. Carlisle said. “But look at it now. I feel like it’s going to be like that.”



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