Written by Sarah Jones
Last Updated

Most women who wear make-up will have a collection of blushes and bronzers in their make-up box but are perhaps too nervous to use them for fear of looking like a red-cheeked clown or like some fake tan that’s gone wrong. 

However, these products have come a long way over the years and can now be used to give your skin extra radiance and to highlight key features, particularly in the summer when you might want a natural sun-kissed glow without the risk. 

But which product is the best to use when, and what’s the difference between a bronzer and a blush if they can both highlight areas of your face?


Bronzer vs Blush – What’s the Difference?

The aim of bronzer is to give your skin the same bronze glow as you would get from being out in the sun, so as a product it’s generally in a powder form and comes in brown, orange, and peach shades, often with a bit of sparkle thrown in. 

Blush, however, is meant to replicate that healthy rosy glow you get in your cheeks after a workout or a long walk, so they tend to come in more rosy pink or reddish colors to reflect the natural color of your skin blush. 

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How to Use Bronzer Effectively

Both products have different purposes and work in different ways, so how you apply them to your face should also be different. Bronzer is normally applied with a large brush and is swept across your face where the sun would catch you. 

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So across your cheekbones, natural hairline, and also around your jawline as well, you are aiming for a sun-kissed look so use it to highlight where the light catches you, not all over your whole face like you might use a neutral face powder. 

When choosing a bronzer you don’t want to go for one that is too many shades darker than your skin, or that has too much of an orange tone, otherwise, you will end up looking fake and shiny rather than sun-kissed.


How to Use Blusher Effectively

Blush is designed to enhance the rosy glow your skin gets naturally after a little exertion, which can be hidden when wearing foundation, so it adds the colour back onto the blank canvas you have carefully created. 

Again, you want to create a soft, natural look rather than end up looking like a clown, so you only need to apply a small amount. The blusher comes in both cream and powder form and is easier to use a light dusting of powder for most skin types. 

Choose a colour that most matches your skin type, which might not be a rosy pink, you might need a more peachy or tan tone, or perhaps a browner shade of blusher, to match against your natural skin colour. 

Blush can be applied directly to the roundest part of the cheek to add a glow but also used to frame the face, so swept over the cheekbones and around the temples to add definition to the face. Just follow the lines of your cheekbones and make sure you blend in the colour. You don’t want stripes.


What About Contouring?

Contouring is a different product again and has a different role for both bronzer and blusher. It’s normally a couple of shades darker than your foundation and is used to create a more dramatic highlighting of areas of your face. It’s best saved for wintertime. Blusher and bronzer work much better for summer. 


Are Blush and Bronzer Seasonal?

While contouring is definitely a stronger look that works better in the winter, bronzer tends to look more natural in the summer, because, that’s when your skin would naturally have that sun-kissed glow. You can wear either of them all year round, of course, the choice is up to you, but really bronzer is more a summer product. 

However, blush is something that can be worn any time of year and you can change it with the seasons. In the summer you might prefer a lighter peach color whereas in the winter you can go for something a little darker. 

You might also go for a powder blusher in the summer for that light coverage compared with a blush cream in the winter to help stop your skin drying out, as long as you can blend it and don’t end up with the dreaded clown look.



Both blusher and bronzer have their place in your make-up bag and can give you a different look for every occasion. Use bronzer when you want to look like you’ve just come back off holiday and blusher when you want to look natural and healthy. Both products are incredibly versatile and can complement any outfit when applied properly. 


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