not a professional. just crazy

This Color-Adjusting Blush Is the Closest Thing to My Natural Flush

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

If you like wearing blush, odds are you gravitate toward a particular tone or shade. For me, that’s always been dusty roses (like Glossier’s “Dusk” or Tower 28’s “Magic Hour”) or jammy-berry shades (like Milk Makeup’s “Quickie” or Merit’s “Raspberry Beret”). I believed that these colors gave my cheeks that perfect sun-kissed flush without looking too makeup-y and gave the effect that I’d been lying out at a sunny picnic all day. When it came to hot pinks, however, I wasn’t so convinced — one of my first blushes ever was an ultrabright-pink powder from CVS, and it made my skin look so patchy and clownlike, I’ve essentially steered clear since (and I have my seventh-grade yearbook photo as a reminder).

But a few weeks ago, I was listening to an episode of Gloss Angeles (one of my favorite beauty podcasts, hosted by journalists Sara Tan and Kirbie Johnson), where one of the hosts mentioned her recent obsession with Youthforia’s BYO Blush color-changing cheek oil — it creates a bespoke color when applied to your skin. After hearing Tan rave about the extremely natural, gorgeous peachy shade that the blush conjured up (she even went so far as to say it gave her cheeks an “I just had an orgasm” glow), I was tempted to buy it right then and there. But just to make sure I wasn’t falling for a complete gimmick, I first reached out to Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist and the founder of KKT Consultants. She explained that the specific dyes in Youthforia’s blush create a chemical reaction that causes the product to change colors based on your skin’s moisture level, as well as how much alkaline and acidity is in your skin. And while human skin tends to sit right below 5.0 on the pH scale, Koestline says people’s skin can differ by two decimal points — meaning yours could be 4.45 and mine could be 4.65 — and that would theoretically create a different colors from the blush’s dye (though, she admits, probably not very drastically so.)

The blush is bright green in the bottle, but it goes on clear when you first apply it to the skin with its doe-foot applicator. However, the real magic happens when you start to blend it in. When I first tried it out, in just a single swipe, the liquid transformed into a bright pink, which only became more vibrant as I went on blending and as the dyes continued to react to my skin’s pH. The formula is oil-based, which makes the product extremely easy to blend into the skin and to create a seamless, ultranatural finish.

Simply put: This is not a shade I would have ever reached for if I saw it at Sephora. As someone who prefers a more natural base when it comes to my complexion makeup, this bright-pink fuchsia would have been far too loud and intimidating. But once I had blended the product into the skin, I instantly noticed that the shade did, in fact, mimic the exact color my skin has when I leave the beach in the summer or go for a walk on a super-cold, winter day. Without a question, it was the closest a makeup product had ever come to emulating my very own sun-kissed flush.

If you’re someone who’s in the market for blush, but like for your makeup to be Über-natural, this may be the perfect fit for you. As you wait for the product to fully dry down and absorb into the skin, the blush continues to settle, creating a truly untraceable, harsh-line-free, seamless flush. On minimal makeup days, when I just want to add a little life to my skin before I run out the door, I’ll apply a touch of the Youthforia blush to my cheeks to quickly give my complexion a rosy, sun-kissed glow. Full disclosure, as it’s extremely natural looking, it’s probably not what I’m reaching for on nights out when I’m wearing a bit more makeup and need it to stand out and last throughout the evening (in those cases, I love the Pat McGrath Divine Skin Blush) — but it’s a staple in my day-to-day, low-fuss makeup routine for meetings, getting lunch with friends, or just running a quick errand or two.

And if you still think it’s a gimmick: I recently made my sister try it out and was pretty amazed to see a coral-y shade form — not at all similar to the fuchsia pink that showed up for me — as she blended it in. She liked it too, so much so she tried (and failed) to swipe it from my makeup bag. But, hey, at least I know what I’m getting her for the holidays this year.

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This Blush Is the Closest Thing to My Natural Flush