Summer Blush and Bronzer

I’ve always been a big fan of blush. And lipstick. They are what I tend to shop for most, and what I find I’m most creative with, as far as my makeup goes.

Finding the right blush, in my opinion, is an absolute makeup essential.

If you are new to wearing blush, start off more neutral, and as you become more comfortable, start experiementing with brighter colors. 

As far as bronzer goes, that is much harder to find than blush. Oftentimes, I’ve tried numerous different bronzers on in a store, wore it for a day to see how it “wore” and ended up not purchasing the product. Bronzer that looks orange is a huge mistake. And as pale as I am, I have to find the right balance of color and warmth without the oranginess. 

I love the Bare Escentuals The Skinny Dip bronzer. I picked it up at Ulta a few weeks ago, and have been wearing it almost daily since then. It’s buildable, and never turns into a weird color by the end of the day. I’d highly recommend it.

Tarte blushes are my absolute favorite. I’ve had both of these for months and I’ve barely made a dent in either of them. These will last me years. The color payoff is fantastic. And they apply evenly and don’t budge once you’ve applied. Cannot say enough great things about these blushes. I also love wearing them together. I’ve applied a light amount of Peaceful and added a touch of Dollface to the apples of my cheeks. They look great together.

This Nars blush is highly talked about in the beauty world. I had been debating purchasing it for a while. I finally bit the bullet and bought it a few weeks ago. Overall, I could live without it(am I alone in this?). The color is okay, it’s quite pink in my opinion, but I find that it isn’t as pigmented as I would have hoped. It’s one of those types of products that you can apply and apply and apply without seeing anything and then suddenly you are wearing way too much. It isn’t shimmery like I feared, but it’s just kind of “meh”. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but I’d take my Tarte blushes over this Nars one any day. 

Do you have a go-to blush, or do you like to change it up each time you buy a new one?

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Comments (88)

  1. Posted June 26, 2013

    I use the exact same method for my blush/bronzer with the Tarte blushes. I am very fair with brown eyes and brown hair so I always have trouble finding the right blush and bronzer as well. Dollface and Peaceful are the perfect solution!

  2. Anya says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    Gutted we don’t have Tarte here in the UK 🙁 Those colours look gorgeous!

  3. Posted June 26, 2013

    I’ve been dying to try more Tarte blushes! I have one of the deeper berry colors for winter but I feel like Dollface is a summer must have across the board!


  4. Posted June 26, 2013

    I bought the bare minerals ready blush in aphrodisiac a few weeks back. LOVE it!! It’s the perfect peachy pink. I haven’t found a good bronzes yet. Most of them are super shimmery and I feel like they make me look sweaty. I’ll just have to go try some out!

    • Kate says
      Posted June 26, 2013

      definitely try The Skinny Dip. There is NO shimmer!

  5. Steph says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I use warmth or faux tan from Bare Minerals for a bronzer. I like faux tan better. I hate when brozer has a lot of shine. Blech. For blush – MAC, hands down. I have DollyMix, Springsheen and Melba. I have another one, too, that is more dusty rose colored and I love MAC blushes. So pigmented and blend really really well. I will move to a MAC bronzer when my Bare Minerals bronzers are gone (in, like, 2 years!)

  6. Aileen says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I completely agree with that shade of Nars. On me it was way too orange, so I bought a different shade that I liked better but I agree with the application. I keep putting more and more and then suddenly my cheeks are super pink. Thanks for the recommendations on the other brands! I’ll have to try them on my next trip to Sephora.

  7. Posted June 26, 2013

    I also LOVE faux tan by bare minerals. It looks so natural and pretty!

  8. Unknown says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I LOVE all of the blushes from The Balm! All of the shades are very flattering and have great pigment. I’d highly recommend them!

  9. Posted June 26, 2013

    I LOVE mineral fusion’s bronzer… Natural glow 🙂

  10. Posted June 26, 2013

    I really want to try the blushes from Tarte, but they are not available in the Netherlands! Especially since you picked them over the Nars blush 🙂
    Suzanne from written by suzanne

  11. Posted June 26, 2013

    I have a Tarte cream blush that I LOVE, but considering that I have about 9 blushes I think I’m going to wait until one of them runs out to purchase an Amazonian clay one. But my current favorite is Benefit’s Coralista. I was able to use Birchbox points to purchase it and I am obsessedddddd. A) It’s scented, which is amazing! B) I’m usually pretty pale (blame it on the ginger hair) but I also can get pretty tan in the summer, and this blush has transitioned with my skin amazingly. I’m trying to convince everyone I know to get it! As far as bronzers go, I saw NYC’s Sunny bronzer in a ton of youtube beauty videos last year and decided to buy it. It’s matte, and for $2 it’s great quality!

  12. Posted June 26, 2013

    Try Tarte – Park Avenue Princess from Ulta for Bronzer! It never looks orange and has been a long time favourite of mine. Laura Mercier has some fantastic blush colours also.

  13. Posted June 26, 2013

    I love Mac’s Fleur Power blush 🙂

  14. Emily says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I too fell into the Nars obsession blush and I don’t really think it’s anything special. I’m fair with red hair and it’s a bit too pink for me. I’m glad I’m not the only one…

  15. Posted June 26, 2013

    Completely agree about Nars! I use to love it a few years back but after using the Tarte Amazonian, I have a hard time going back. The lasting power is amazing.

    Have you seen the new Josie Maran one? It looks like Gak – I’m intrigued but wondering about last power on it.

  16. kate says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I agree about the Nars blush— NYX “Pinched” is a dupe but better for it! And for around $5, it’s so budget friendly! And it lasts all day, too. In general, NYX blushes are definitely my favorite, but I also LOVE LOVE LOVE my cream blush by Lioele that I picked up while in Japan. Absolutely gorgeous pale peach color. 🙂

  17. Melissa says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I tend toward a deeper berry pink in the winter and brighter pinks in the summer. I have issues with bronzer because I’m also fair with almost black hair and dark brown eyes and if I put on just a teeny bit too much bronzer or it’s not quite the right shade I look like an oompa loompa! So the right bronzer hunt continues.

  18. Krystyl says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I’ve been way into Urban Decay’s “Naked Flushed” palette. blush+bronzer+highlighter. I feel so polished when I wear it.

    • Posted June 26, 2013

      So happy to hear you like it. Now I must give it a try. I love the Naked eye!

  19. Posted June 26, 2013

    i’ve been on the nars train for a while, but now i definitely want to try the tarte blushes!

  20. Mallory says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    Those are the only 2 Tarte blushes I own, but I’ve never thought about pairing them together! I’ll have to try that soon. I’m wearing Dollface today. Tarte blushes are by far the best in my opinion!

  21. Posted June 26, 2013

    I agree with you about Orgasm. It was my first high end makeup purchase a couple of years ago. I had wanted it for 10+ years after reading in all my favorite beauty magazines when I was younger about it and how it creates the perfect “peaches and cream” look on fair skin. When I finally got it, I didn’t see what all the hype was about. I personally find that it does come off too shimmery on my skin type/tone. I’m very oily and have some enlarged pores on my cheeks and it just doesn’t do anything for me. Oddly I used it a ton after buying it and have hit pan, but I hardly reach for it anymore now that I have other peachy blushes (theBalm’s FratBoy and NYX’s Peach are my two favorites).

  22. Natalie says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    My #1 blushes are from The Balm. The color payoff is unbelievable, they last all day (especially their new line Instain) and the shades are universally flattering. Plus, if you get sucked in like me by cute packaging/naming, The Balm is far and away the cutest. I could also go on for days about Mary Lou-Manizer, their hightlighting product, but I suppose that’s another topic all together! Look for it on Hautelook, when it’s often offered for 50% off.

  23. Posted June 26, 2013

    Cargo blush in Catalina! It’s the ideal baby pink for us fair skinned gals 🙂

  24. Shelly says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I love the soft color of Dollface….I have a fairly similar Sonia Kashuk color that is gorgeous.

    Like everyone else I tried the Nars favorite one, and while I liked it for a while over time it started to look ruddy on my face.

    My newest favorite is the Josie Maran Gelee. It blends so easily and really looks like a natural flush. I have found that it depends on my foundation though how well it shows up and stays. While I am usually a little afraid of cream/gel blushes, this one has been fool proof for me.

  25. ehomaha says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I love your recommendations and would love to try a bronzer! I’m just scared I’ll look like an oompa loompa. Can you give a tutorial or directions on how you apply it so it looks natural? Thanks!

  26. Posted June 26, 2013

    My cousin gave me the Nars blush for my birthday last year. She kept saying “Tell everyone what I got you! Tell them the name!” Super embarrassing. lol

  27. Carly says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    It’s funny, I thought I would LOVE that Nars blush…..and I was pretty underwhelmed!


  28. Posted June 26, 2013

    Thanks Kate! Do you have any makeup brush brand recommendations?

  29. Posted June 26, 2013

    I recently purchased Sephora’s blush {can’t remember the name of it right now} and I really like it. I did choose a shimmer-y one this time and I will probably purchase one that has a matte finish next time. It last all day, which I love! Overall good purchase! 🙂


  30. Kori says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I love the Blush and Brighten and Bronze and Brighten lines from Laura Gellar. Bronze and Brighten is totally buildable in that it acts almost like foundation and can really perfect overall color. I admittedly buy her products from QVC. They have great kits for awesome prices. They sell Bare Minerals, Tarte, Smashbox, Mally, Philosophy and all kinds of cool brands there! Plus they offer a 30 money back guarantee. Check it out!! 🙂

  31. Posted June 26, 2013

    Just stopped by your sister’s blog…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Any big plans today?? Pamper yourself or better yet, have Justin pamper you all day:). I love reading your blog everyday and LOVE your hair tutorials. It’s how I always start my day; your blog with my morning tea.

  32. Posted June 26, 2013

    Is today your birthday?! Have a wonderful day!!

  33. Ashley says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I really love my MAC Fleur Power and Pink Swoon but I have been dying to get the Tarte blush in “Tipsy.”

    Sincerely Miss Ash

  34. Caitie says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I love the color of Orgasm, but it frustrated me the lack of color payoff and staying power. I found the type of brush made a huge difference. My MAC 168 didn’t work at all, and neither did my angled contouring brush from Sigma. But my angled contor brush from the Kirkland set worked so beautifully!!! Try it with a larger, less structured brush!! I also love for summer NARS Deepthroat (despite the name, it’s the best NARS blush and very similar to Dollface), MAC Warm Soul, and Milani’s Luminoso!

  35. Kristin says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    Happy Birthday!

  36. Posted June 26, 2013

    Thanks for this post! I was actually on your blog yesterday searching for blush recommendations. I also tried the Loreal cream one you mentioned in one post but I feel it wears off by the time I’m out the door. I can’t wait to try Tarte for blush.

  37. Posted June 26, 2013

    Thanks for this post! I was actually on your blog yesterday searching for blush recommendations. I also tried the Loreal cream one you mentioned in one post but I feel it wears off by the time I’m out the door. I can’t wait to try Tarte for blush.

  38. Posted June 26, 2013

    I LOVE tarte! Everything from them is amazing. I have Peaceful and love it! Next, lipsticks!

  39. Posted June 26, 2013

    I have a load of go-tos, though I love benefit’s posie tint gel. Too-Faced non-shimmery, milk chocolate bronzer is perfect for my pale skin. It’s not too orange. LOVE IT. They make a dark chocolate for people with darker skin tones.

  40. Steph says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I have never tried bronzer, but I do use blush every day. For the past year, I’ve been using the Joe Fresh cream blush in rose in the winter and peach in the summer. They are just nice, happy blush colours that give me a but of colour and ‘flush’. Don’t know if they’re available in the US yet, but they are only $8 and last forever.

  41. Posted June 26, 2013

    I really like tarte’s bronzer also.

  42. Posted June 26, 2013

    I’ve been debating over those Tarte blushes (especially Dollface) forever now, and I think I’m going to bite the bullet and just get it. The reviews are just too good!

  43. Posted June 26, 2013

    I Was so glad to hear about your blush post! I used Clinique for years, and I used Bare Minerals in Poppy until it was discontinued. My Mom gave me a Lancome cream blush in Berry light, and it was just too rosy. I just can’t seem to find A good blush for A porcelain skinned redhead.

  44. Cortney says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    What kind of brush are you using with the tarte blushes?

  45. Missy F says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I read you & Lauren both, Happy Birthday!

  46. Posted June 26, 2013

    Happy Birthday Kate!!!

  47. Posted June 26, 2013

    Pur Minerals Marble Blush has great staying power! I love it.

  48. BeckyJ says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I agree about the NARS blush. I heard all the hoopla and had to try it so I bought it. It really isn’t anything that special to me. And I seriously hate the names NARS uses for their blushes. Imagine the embarrassment if your friends ask what blush you use! Or your mom! Or Grandma!

  49. Posted June 26, 2013

    I totally agree with you about NARS blushes – I gave two different colours a go, and when they ran out, I was excited to try a new brand. I found by lunchtime, they had totally faded! I now use Stila custom colour blushes which pigments’ adjust to your own skin tones. It lasts ALL day long and usually a quick re-apply for evening is all I need. It’s about the same price point as Nars as well.

  50. Posted June 26, 2013

    Love this! And, Happy Birthday! You’re a beautiful lady! Hope this year is wonderful for you!

  51. Posted June 26, 2013

    Great read on these blushes & bronzer! The Tarte Dollface looks like a fun & flirty color to work with. I love my Benefit’s Coralista blush 😉

  52. sloank says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    Thanks so much for doing this post! I’ve been trying to find some good summer products to wear. I’m wondering if you’ve done a post or have a suggestion for foundations to wear during the summer? Mine currently just makes my face feel so gross as soon as it put it on during these sweltering summer months! Thanks for your help!

  53. Posted June 26, 2013

    Agreed on the Nars blush. I have the duo that has both versions of Orgasm. One is glittery, which is fun for a night out (which I never have anymore…welcome to Motherhood…lol) but otherwise, I’m meh on it. I use it because I have it, but I actually prefer the mosaic bronzer/blush that came in this month’s Ipsy bag. I also used to have a L’oreal blush that was stellar and I can’t recall the name of it, but I loved it.

  54. Aunie says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I didn’t love the Nars O blush either, but I DO love a different shade, “Deep Throat.” Yep… that might even be worse than your not-to-be-mentioned! Ha! DT has the perfect color for my skin and I balance it with a Tarte bronzer 🙂

  55. Posted June 26, 2013

    I might be alone on this, but I actually LOVE my L’Oreal Souffle Blush in Celestial. I don’t like powder blushes, but the souffle blush blends REALLY well, and a little goes a long way, so it lasts forever. The color is perfect on my medium skin tone, and looks natural. It blends really well and also can build. I find that the powder blushes are hard to control and never look natural on me. So I just use my pointer finger to apply the souffle blush and it looks amazing!
    Bronzer though I haven’t yet found one I like. I like a slight shimmer, but not a lot. It needs to be buildable, but the right shade. I have a really odd shade of medium skin, with a mix of a lot of yellow, blue AND pink. So it’s SUPER hard to find the right shade of foundation and bronzer. Any great recommendations would be LOVED! 🙂

  56. SK says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I agree the NARS blush was a bit of a let down, glad I am not the only one who thought it wasn’t pigmented enough. I will definitely have to check out the Tarte blushes instead.

  57. Posted June 26, 2013

    My fave is Mary Kay Shy blush. I have been wearing it for years. I love the color and the way it brightens up my face.

  58. Posted June 26, 2013

    I would love to try the Tarte ones they look divine.

    Jodie x

  59. Rebecca says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I’m a bit of a blush addict, so I change it up often! But, I do have some that I like to wear specifically during the summer.

  60. Posted June 26, 2013

    I can’t do bronzer because I’m sooooo white! So I use matte face powder in 2 shades darker than my skin to do my contouring. For blush I’m obsessed with Mocha by MAC. It gives me the perfect flushed cheek!

  61. Posted June 26, 2013

    Happy Birthday, Kate!

  62. marie says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I returned my NARS laguna bronzer for the same reason–sephora will honestly take a return at any point, so I’d definitely recommend doing that! Really makes me skeptical of NARS as a brand, though! But otherwise I’m a tried and true Tarte girl, and the couple of Milani blushes I’ve also tried have been great!

  63. weety says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    I’m fair with dark hair (dark, dark brown) but I have a tendency to look pink. Do you recommend a pink blush or a peachy blush with this kind of facial undertones?

  64. Carrie says
    Posted June 26, 2013

    This is totally unrelated, but I watched your live chat last night and had some thoughts for you. Don’t listen to the people who say you won’t be able to wash your hair every day with a new baby. It is totally doable; you just have to plan for it :-). Don’t plan on being anywhere before 10am unless necessary and leave two hours to get ready. That way you have time to feed baby three times if you have to. With a little practice, you’ll be able to do makeup one handed while breast feeding (or bottle feeding should you choose). A bouncy chair or Rock n play are perfect for sliding into the bathroom for a quick shower. It will not cause permanent psychological damage to your baby if they cry for five minutes while you wash your hair ;-). Happy mommy = happy baby and sometimes happy mommy means putting yourself first. Signed, Mommy of two littles

  65. Posted June 26, 2013

    i’m right there with ya on Tarte!
    i’ll have to try skinny dip asap because i’m also rather fair skin but i tan easily too.. You think it’ll work for me? Blonde hair/green eyes.
    i noticed for me using the Nars i had the exact same problem and i was irritated for the first couple tries. All of a sudden WHOA what just attacked my face!? So i started trying different brushes and i ended up liking it more with the 3rd brush i used. Slightly more challenging than i would have liked to get a stupid blush to go on right, but it was free and i love the color!

  66. Posted June 27, 2013

    Bought the Nars blush plus bronzer and returned it – streaky and uneven with no color. The bronzer was too intense and looked dirty on me. Figure the hype is all in the name??? I use Bobbi Brown shimmer blush in Coral. Color is peachy (coral-y as the name suggests!) with gold flecks, and it wears beautifully and always looks pretty. Have wanted to try the Tarte blushes for a while now, so you’ve sold me!

    For you paler ladies, I’ve recently been using Maybelline FIT bronzer in the lightest color Light Bronze – little to no shimmer, very sheer color laid down so I’ve been able to use it liberally without it being totally obvious where my brush has been. Give it a shot!

    Kate you are amazing and I’m so delighted for you and your growing family! 🙂

  67. Posted June 27, 2013

    My go to blushes are also from Tarte! I love them. I currently switch off using shimmering peach and shimmering poppy from their Amazon Clay line. You are right, the color is so pigmented, easy to blend, and looks beautiful on anyone. I am a beauty blogger myself and I have to say I love Tarte cream blushes though I have noticed many other bloggers say they are not fan of cream. Anyways, great post!!

  68. Posted June 27, 2013

    Which color of Nars is that? I have a sample of Orgasm and it’s too peachy for my skintone. I’ve heard good things about the Deep Throat color for those of us who perfect cooler pinks.

    I’m at the bottom of my Benefit Dandelion box so I may use that as an excuse to try the Tarte in Babydoll.

  69. Posted June 27, 2013

    So relieved to hear you didn’t like the NARS blush either. I felt so silly that I paid so much for it! Now I will definitely have to try the Tarte blushes! Thank you for recommending them!

  70. KyLee says
    Posted June 27, 2013

    My all-time favorite is Benefit’s Dandelion blush. It’s such a pale pink, but I’m super pale, so it shows up really nice on my skin. It’s good for a good subtle blush look. If I want to make it a little more bright and noticeable, I like to dab a little posietint on before the dandelion blush. I like a natural looking flush on my cheeks. All this being said, that Tarte blush in Dollface is such a nice bright pink, I sooo want to try it.

  71. Alyssa says
    Posted June 27, 2013

    Looooove Tarte blushes!!! I also love Hoola by Benefit.. I’m pale too, so I had the same orange-y concern you did, and it’s perfect!

  72. Posted June 27, 2013

    haha, when you said “this nars blush”, i knew exactly the name you were trying NOT to say! i haven’t tried the O blush, but i will say that the lip gloss in that color is fantastic – super flattering, beautiful peachy-pink color, and lasted a long time for as much as i wore it.

    bare escentuals has a great bronzer, but it’s loose powder and bit messy to put on :S

  73. Jill says
    Posted June 27, 2013

    I have the Tarte and the NARS and love the Tarte FAR better. It has better staying power and doesn’t look like an odd color later in the day.

  74. Posted June 27, 2013

    I wasn’t really a big fan of the Nars blushes either, Tarte is fantastic and the Milani baked blushes. I also like the Tarte Park Ave Princess bronzer as well. Its a perfect bronzer, especially if you are really fair.

  75. Posted June 27, 2013

    Never used the bare minerals one, i want!!

  76. Posted June 27, 2013

    I was hesitant at first, but I’ve discovered I really enjoy creme blushes (rather than pressed powder blushes) for summer time!

  77. Anna P says
    Posted June 30, 2013

    I hardly ever wear blush but when I do it’s usually Bare Minerals. I have a Loreal bronzer from ages ago that I like to use in the summer (it’s a little sparkly so I tend to use it more on shoulders/chest than on my face).

  78. Posted July 13, 2013

    Hi!! I was so happy to go to my Sephora store today to pick up the Tarte Peaceful color. Sadly…they didn’t have it…as in, at all. Was there a specific store (sephora or Ulta) that you got it from, or was it an online only kind of find?

  79. Posted July 26, 2013

    The unblinking eye

  80. Posted July 3, 2014

    I have been looking for several new blush shades. I bought a few of the NYX brand today. I haven’t tried any NYX products before, but I have heard fairly good things about them for the price. I know that some of the shades seem to be dupes for higher end brands. Have you ever used any NYX blushes? I’d love for you to do a review of NYX products if you get a chance. I tend to buy makeup from the cheaper section and would love to hear what you think about them!

    Thanks for the blog posts! I am definitely not experienced with makeup, so your tutorials help me a lot!

  81. Kati says
    Posted July 10, 2014

    Over the last 14 years when my son had met someone I was inetrested in, I introduced him as a friend. I think it is perfectly fine to be cautious and I suggest you let things happen naturally, when it feels right to include him in activities – then do so. Trust your instincts and you will be just fine.

  82. maria says
    Posted June 7, 2015

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