Searching for a unicorn—flattering bronzer and blush for redheads with over 40 skin? Do the usual bronzers and blushes for redheads give you clowny blotch face? You’re not alone.

As my skin has aged to a fine, new configuration and my freckles have begun to merge, my go-to shimmery blushes have betrayed my newly ‘mature’ skin. Hoping for a solution—surely the internet can help!—I searched millions (!) of keyword combinations like fair skin + ruddy skin + light skin + over 40 skin + over 40 freckles + bronzer for redheads + blush for redheads + warm skin tones + red hair + redhead + blush for aging skin. I had no luck.

TL;DR Bronzer + Blush for Redheads

Seven blushes and bronzers for 40-ish skin that give good glow, not clown vibes or ‘I want to be Forever 21’ vibes (which, we can probably all admit none of us want anyway given that company’s terrible track record of human and environmental abuses). Here are the products in the order we photographed them:

  • Alamar Brighten & Bronze Complexion Trio in Light/Fair (Pale Where? and Cafe con Leche)
  • Hip Dot Blush in Solstice
  • OFRA Highlighter in Rodeo Drive
  • Arbonne Blush in Blossom
  • Milk Lip & Cheek Stick in Werk
  • YC Collection Blush in Fresa
  • Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer

The Very Sexy Backstory

Obviously, ‘redhead with red undertones’ is not a hot market, as my obsessive searching resulted in little more than listicles titled “BLUSH FOR REDHEADS!” Which, in fact, were listicles of many blushes for many skin types, featuring one porcelain-skinned young ginger wearing Nars Orgasm. I have never been described as porcelain-skinned.

Once I hit 40, the Nars Orgasm standby just didn’t work for me anymore. The peachiness, the shimmer, the pop of it all just read as too fake on my face. I wanted a natural glow, not an obvious attempt.

For those of us over 40 with fair or light skin, freckles, ruddy undertones, and (probably) red hair who struggle with blush and bronzer, LEXANN AND I ARE HERE FOR YOU. (Also, I need to be clear that Lexann is only 39. Okay? She’s a model with redhair and red undertones.) All this to say, whatever your age, you, too, should enjoy the wonders and false youth that a subtle, yet fabulous blush provides. 

THE PLAYERS

Two pale skin white under forearms with swatches of each of the 7 blush and bronzer colors labeled with overlaid text. Lexann's arm on the right has a double flower tattoo.
Yes, it’s silly how similar our skintones are. What’s cool and weird about people is although our skin is so similar, the blushes still looked different on each of us.

Let it be known: I am not a as challenged by blush as I am by bathroom remodels. However, without Lexann who spirit-guided us through this process and supplied all beauty products except the Butter Bronzer, this post would have never happened. In fact, I had hated my current go-to product (Butter Bronzer) until Lexann gently suggested using a different brush.

This led me back to the internet where I found this video, and now I feel like a goddamn pro when I bronze (is that a verb?). The bronzer looks so different when I apply it correctly with the appropriate brush. Like a healthy glow instead of a grey mud streak on my cheek. So, thank you Lexann. Please read her funny blog about bras and birthing and other stuff.

Read on for pictures of each product and the brushes we used; a blurb about how to apply each; and then one or two photos of Lexann and I each wearing the product. 

A Guide to These Important Blush Learnings: 

  1. FILTER FREE: There are no filters OR edits on any of these iPhone pictures, just natural light and a hand-held ring light. Of course I overlaid text, but there are no edits to blemishes or color, etc. About half of the pics were taken in portrait mode and the others in standard photo mode. 
  2. EVEN SKIN TONE: We both have smoothing stuff on under the blushes. Lexann is wearing Makeup Forever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation in Y225 Marble. I’m wearing Elta MD tinted sunscreen and a little Mac Studio Fix powder (color NC10) under my eyes and on my nose. (Totally relatedly: I really hated blush until I evened out my prone-to-red freckly and ruddy Irish complexion. I don’t like foundation, but think that Elta MD’s tinted sunscreen is a miracle machine. In the morning I apply moisturizer, then the (oh-so-gently tinted) sunscreen over top and it evens my skin out. Great for preventing that drunk clown look that occurs for me with blush or bronzer without an even base. If I’m feeling really fancy I’ll spot check with Mac Studio Fix, but that’s maybe twice a month. I’m not a celebrity. If you’re new to all this business and have red skin undertones, bronzer and blush for redheads can look kinda sad when starting with a splotchy base. Just something to consider.)
  3. photo of Makeup forever foundation, a pink makeup sponge, Elta MD tinted sunscreen and Mac Studio fix on a speckled quartz bathroom counterON DECISION MAKING: We applied the blush like we were living life, not walking a red carpet so it’s not overly visible in the pictures. WHICH WAS A BAD CHOICE FOR A MAKEUP BLOG. Admittedly they all kind of look the same in the pics. But they’re not! And hopefully you think, “Oh my, what a nice, healthy glow those gals have, I’d like that, too!” And then our job is done because although I am in no way getting paid for this random post about blush for over-40 skin, I feel deeply in my heart that at least one person will be happy. That’s because they’ll find exactly what I needed all those lonely nights ago, when my black-hole internet searching for “best bronzer and blush for redheads over 40” resulted only in creamy-skinned young maidens wearing Nars Orgasm.  
  4. NO TEAL: If we did this again I would not do it in front of a teal wall. Teal’s pretty and we’re vain and know redheads look nice against this color but for a makeup blog, it pulls attention from the blush color. Next time. We learn.
  5. LEXANN: Whenever I say “we” regarding makeup application, I mean Lexann. The makeup, magic brushes, and application knowledge were all her. 
  6. DON’T PANIC: I have ONE blush/powder/blending brush that I got for free so if you don’t have all these tools you’re gonna be okay. Just get you one. Or even use your finger if you have to. We’ll get there. 

Two redheads with fair skin standing in a bathroom. One woman is smiling and applying blush to a second smiling woman.

So, dear reader, I welcome your cheekbones which may be migrating south, the fact that glittery blush has turned on your newfound wrinkles, your absolute lack of knowledge about blush brushes and bronzers. Or maybe you’re just bored. In any case, I’m glad you’re here. 

Alamar Brighten & Bronze Complexion Trio in Light/Fair

I loved this three-piece contour / bronzer kit with matte colors. It was really natural and I just happened to look sun-kissed and healthy. The colors didn’t read as muddy on my face, which is often the case with contour. I vote yes! Here are the colors we used and how we applied them:


Pale as Where?: Applied as a bronzer on the cheeks, a light dust along the hairline on the forehead, and a light touch along the jawline with a powder brush.

Cafe con Leche: It’s a darker powder that we used as a contour in the hollow under the cheekbone with a contour brush.

Heads up: Lexann explained that the colors in this case can come across orange-y if applied heavily or paired with an orange-y peach blush, so proceed with caution.

Hip Dot Solstice Blush  w/ OFRA Highlighter in Rodeo Drive

The Solstice powder blush looks pretty terrible in the case (direct quote from Lexann) and even on our skin swatches, but she loves it on. Heads up that the loose powder blush can wear off quickly, too.

Solstice: Apply to apple of cheek. Smile, dab, blend! Then, pull it back down your cheekbone toward your ear. Use a blush brush to apply then a powder brush to blend.

Rodeo Drive: Use a pressed powder brush to apply the highlighter lightly above your cheekbones, and on your temples.

Solstice was a little too pinky peachy for me, but still nice and something I would wear without being super crabby about it. The highlighter is also pretty, but doesn’t look as happy and glowy on my skin as on Lexann’s. The blush looked different on Lexann, less obvious and gave her more natural glow. In the photos, Lexann also has more highlighter glow than I do.

Also, we layered Solstice and Rodeo Drive over Pale as Where? and Cafe con Leche. As you can see, Lexann’s application has a little more depth. This is a pro makeup move and one that’s way beyond my one-step reality. So if you are also a pro, Lexann has great strategy. If you are a newbie/have no time/don’t wanna, you’re totally okay only using one thing.

For all the upcoming products, we removed color before applying the new blush or bronzer. So, no layering from here on out.

Arbonne Blossom Blush

We applied Blossom with a blush brush to the apples of our cheeks (Smile, ladies!), then dragged (gently) the brush back along the cheekbone toward the ear. 

Funny how different the colors look against the different backdrops and with natural light vs. bathroom lighting. This color is really pretty and very natural. It reads a little deeper on Lexann than me. I’d use this as a daily go-to.

Milk Lip + Cheek Stick in Werk

Okay, this is both a lip and cheek stick, but we didn’t do any lips because this is a blush blog, but it seems important to do one in the future, against a non-teal backdrop. 

Werk: Don’t be scared! Just dot the product on the apples of your cheeks directly from the stick, then blend out with your fingers. Be gentle! I tugged the heck out of my cheeks by accident. This one is mauve-y-er than I’d typically wear, but with the tinted sunscreen under it didn’t make me cranky, but it wouldn’t be my go-to.

Fresa Liquid Blush by YC Collection 

This product is a doozy. It has a lip gloss type applicator and, boy, is it pigmented.

We each only did one dab on each apple of each cheek and it packed a punch. Might want to start with dabbing it onto the back of your hand and then applying it sparingly from there.

I finger blended and Lexann blended it with a powder brush.

My Favorite: Butter Bronzer by Physician’s Formula

This was the bronzer I landed on after my aforementioned blackholing about possible bronzer and blush for redheads with reddish-toned fair skin. My research led me to Benefit Hoola Lite or this, and this was cheaper, so I tried it first.

I don’t love the fake coconut smell of this bronzer. And the weird sponge pad that came with is what led me astray originally, thinking I hated this bronzer. That’s because I was applying it wrong (with the wrong tool) and it gave me mud streaks down the hollows of my cheeks. Don’t use the bonkers applicator (not pictured) it comes with.

But once Lexann told me the novel idea of using the right brush, I started using my one and only powder brush to apply it like this I really like it. It’s very natural and I feel like I look sun kissed naturally.

Goodbye For Now, Bronzer + Blush for Redheads

That’s the end of this blushy tale. What do you say friends? Have you tried any bronzer or blush for redheads you love? Tell us your secrets if you having something fabulous up your sleeve (or in your makeup bag).

 

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