When it’s cold outside, applying blush is always a major makeup step. Whether you’re a little under the weather or in need of a little color, here are a few easy rules to follow when applying a little color to those cheeks. 

Powder first. 

Even if your skin isn’t oily, a layer of translucent powder (try Estée Lauder Lucidity Translucent Loose Powder) used as a primer for your powder blush will help the pigment go on uniformly and last longer, says makeup artist Laura Mercier. “If you like a dewy look and normally avoid powder, just powder the area where you’ll be applying blush.”

Learn proper placement.

For the most natural look, begin your blush application at the top of the apple of your cheek. The idea is to deposit most of the pigment “where rosiness would first appear naturally, if you were simply flushing,” says Mercier. If you can’t see where that spot is, smile to push the apples up. Then, placing the color on the part that lies directly below your pupil, blend outward, toward the ear.

Pick a finish.

First, think of the lighting: ”Certain lights reflect more than others — fluorescent especially — so skip anything too sparkly at the office,” says Mercier.

Then consider your skin: “Blushes with shimmer bring sallow skin back to life,” Mercier explains, while matte blushes are ideal for oily skin, eliminating shine and staying put longer. Sheer blushes, which tend to be creams or gels, look best on very dark or very pale complexions, since they allow the skin to show through.

Don’t overflush.

If you have rosacea, tone down the redness with an opaque foundation. Then apply blush. If your rosacea verges on purple, peachy or soft bronze blush (try Lancôme Blush Subtil Delicate Oil-Free Powder Blush in Bronzed Rose) will counteract the redness. But if your skin is more rosy, look for a muted or peachy rose, says Mercier. (Try Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Fandango.) And for truly red rosacea, try a brownish rose (such as Dolce & Gabbana The Blush Luminous Cheek Colour in Tan).

Find the right tools.

A fan or a big, fluffy brush works with powder blushes, as long as it’s soft. “The bigger brushes can be too thick, giving you too dense an application,” says makeup artist Jillian Dempsey. She likes both natural and synthetic bristles; Mercier prefers goat- and pony-hair ones for their softness. For cream or gel blush, the best tool is your fingers. [via Allure]

Check out Allure Magazine for more great tips on applying blush

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