The unconventional but flattering blush placement everyone's loving for summer

Taking inspiration from that rosy hue our skin gets post-exercise, this particular blush placement is about to be all the rage for summer...

A woman pictured applying powder blush to the apples of her cheeks with a blusher brush/ in a pink template
(Image credit: Getty Images/Maskot)

Coined the 'Boyfriend Blush' on social media, this unconventional makeup placement is trending for summer and touted to offer the perfect, naturally-occurring flush to your cheeks - so, of course, we've quizzed the pros on exactly how to achieve the youthful look...

Like that of contour and bronzer, our best cream blushes can wield great power in our beauty routine. Indeed, where you choose to apply your rosy powders or liquid formulas can have very transformative effects on the overall look and structure of your face, whilst also delivering a flattering glow to your cheeks. Following the line of your cheekbones, for instance, can afford a lifted look, while blending a dot or two across your cheeks gives a sunkissed appearance (minus any actual sun damage). As of 2024 though, there's another placement making the rounds, that calls back to the '90s and looks to mimic a natural, 'exerted' tint.

'Boyfriend Blush' as it's known across social media, offers a flush akin to the kind that spreads across your cheeks after an embarrassing encounter, a 20-minute run or a walk in frigid temperatures - and is surprisingly flattering. Thus we've asked the makeup experts how to adapt the look for both mature skin and everyday wear...

What is the 'Boyfriend Blush' trend?

As mentioned the look has become something of an internet phenomenon and is tipped to be the go-to placement for blush this summer - and for good reason.

It first crossed our radar when makeup artist, Mallory Osses declared the trend's return. As a way to capture the essence of the look, which Mallory says has been around for decades, both on and off the runway, she then showed images of both Prince William and Harry in their early 20s and explained that "they both have this flush that goes down and it just looks youthful, sporty."


♬ original sound - Mallory Osses

Simone Otis, makeup artist for 19/99 Beauty - who has previously worked with the likes of Sandra Oh and Tilda Swinton - elaborates further: "What is called “boyfriend blush” is what I would call a ruddy complexion, or sporty blush. The boyfriend blush trend is when you place your preferably reddish-toned blush lower on the cheeks, it mimics the look you get when you have been exerting yourself or spent time out in frigid temps and you get a flush."

Diana, Princess of Wales is pictured with flushed cheeks whilst holding her skis and poles during a holiday in Klosters, Switzerland wearing a skisuit by Head and a braided headband

(Image credit: Getty Images/Tim Graham Photo Library)

Otis notes that this style of 'ruddy complexion' is naturally occurring and has been around for decades, beloved for offering a youthful effect: "It’s actually caused by dilated blood vessels and/or broken capillaries. It has been a look that appears in the beauty trend cycle often - think Micheal Kors runway shows in the late 90’s and early aughts. It can be very pretty, youthful-looking and give your face some subtle shaping."

Kate Moss pictured with blushed cheeks at the Versace runway show circa 1990s in Milan, Italy.

(Image credit: Getty Images/ PL Gould/Images Press)

How to replicate the 'Boyfriend Blush' look?

Now onto how we achieve this fresh and youthful blush - Otis says placement over precision is key to creating boyfriend blush: "Find the apple of the cheek, place the blush colour there and blend down into the hollow below the apple and continue toward the jawbone."

As for which of the best blushers to use, for textured and mature skin, Otis recommends using a cream formula, as opposed to powder blush and says to blend, "the product with the warmth of your fingertips will give the most natural look." Otis adds that while you can, of course, still use a powder, she would suggest a cream formula for this look (and recommends the multi-purpose 19/99 Beauty Precision Colour pencils in 'Voros' or 'Rozsa') as they are easier to blend. A cream formula can melt into the skin, offering more of a diffused 'lived-in' look.

If you want extra impact thought, Otis says to: "layer a powder blush overtop that is in the same colour family as the cream colour you use."

A makeup artist's guide to 'Boyfriend Blush' placement:

  • Start at the apples of your cheek: "Using a blush brush or even better your fingertips, place the blush onto the apple of the cheek."
  • Blend downward: Otis says to work the blush into the apples whilst, "also working the blush down toward the jawbone. Be sure to keep the intensity of colour just below the apple and don’t above that."
  • Diffuse the edges: Otis says to blend around the edges of your blush, "for a seamless look."
  • For added impact: "Use a powder blush in the same tone and layer that overtop of the cream one - keeping the majority of colour on the apple of the cheek and just below." Otis also says to avoid formulas with shimmer, "for the most natural look."

What effect does lower blush placement give?

The key difference between your typical blush application and this sporty-looking flush is the placement. While placing our cheek products higher up, following the line of our cheekbones has been popular for a sculpted and lifted look, a lower position can be equally as flattering.

"Everyone looks good with a flush, subtle or full-on," muses Otis, "it is a pretty and fresh look for the skin. It also gives the face some subtle shaping, not as strong as contouring."

Naomi Jamieson
Digital Beauty Writer

Naomi is a Digital Beauty Writer from woman&home, where she covers everything from skincare to fragrance but specialises, particularly, in makeup and nail trends. Through her work, Naomi gets to share her trend expertise and share her own shopping recommendations and product reviews. Previously, she worked as a Lifestyle News Writer for My Imperfect Life magazine, where she used her savvy for TikTok to bring readers the latest beauty buzzwords, fashion movements and must-have products. 

Before that, Naomi split her time between both GoodTo and My Imperfect Life, whilst training for her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ, for which she earned a Distinction. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but leapt into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing. Now, when she isn’t reporting on the best perfumes and latest beauty releases, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping...