When it comes to the cheeks, go pink, or go home

There was a time when blushed cheeks were too pink, too gaudy, and too much.

The trendlet

But on today's uber-highlighted, crazily contoured, and seriously strobed cheekbones, a hint of color squarely placed on the apples of the cheek is less stark, more sophisticated.


Where does it come from?

A rouged cheek has been part of a pretty face since the days of the ancient Egyptians. In the Victorian era, red cheeks (and lips) were considered the face paint of harlots, but by the 1920s, with the advent of the movie industry, they were acceptable again. During that decade, actress Clara Bow became known for porcelain skin, ultra-thin brows, and cotton-candy-pink cheeks.

In the 1930s and '40s - thanks to the compact from Hollywood makeup artist Max Factor - blush, also known as rouge, became accessible to everyday women. After WWII, when pink powders became scarce, women used lipstick on their cheeks to create a flushed effect.

Blush applications popped in the 1950s and early '60s - think glamorous housewives. Yet by the 1970s, women craving a more natural, makeup-free look meant a plain cheek. By the '80s, Joan Collins' contoured cheeks were claret-stained. And in the 1990s, our cheeks were bronzed to create Jennifer Lopez's dewy, sun-kissed look.

Less was the makeup mantra through 2010. In 2012, Kim Kardashian posted a series of selfies on social media before, during, and after a combined highlighting and contouring application. (Selfies made more so much more.)

In order to tone down the contouring madness, makeup artists started playing with pinks and reds, and appled cheeks are now back.

Who is wearing it?

Women in politics. At this year's Republican and Democratic conventions, Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, and even Hillary Clinton sported appled cheekbones under the hot stage lights.


Would Elizabeth wear it?

I recently decided I would carry a makeup bag with all of the essentials: mascara, eyeliner, foundation. I thought blush was optional until I didn't put it on for a few days. And I missed my pretty, flushed cheeks.

Should you wear it?

Yes, but it's very important that you hit the apple of the cheek. Too much color above or below, and you risk the clown look. (And the last thing you want to be mistaken for these days is a clown.)

Models Bethlehem Solomon and Olivia Gracey, both of Philadelphia. Makeup courtesy of Robby Nelson, Giovanni & Pileggi, 308 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 215- 568-3040