The "Alphabet Cheek Dictionary" MOTW: A is for Red

This tutorial features rosy red/bright red blush in a side-way "A" application. As a self-professed blush addict, I'm sorely lacking bright, rosy reds in my collection, gasp! Here's my entire blush collection for your perusal. The recent addition of the Josie Maran Watercolor Cheek Gelee comes to the rescue for this look. If you don't have a red blush, you can always use a red lipstick in a pinch -- if your lipstick is too pigmented, you can "thin" it down with lip balm, face balm, or even a bit of foundation.

The tutorial features Le Blush Creme de Chanel in Chamade 67

The Tuto

A strong, red blush demands clean lines to enhance and contrast the complexion, thus the A-sideway shape. Somehow, a Japanese-version of sensibility always combines cuteness/sweetness/charm with feminine, grown-up feel which will be the underlying theme in this series (or in fact, in any of Japanese makeup look). 

The key success to this look is to blend it generously under the cheek bones to give a facial framework, so to speak. Notice this type of placement normally is done with contour shade in our Western beauty world (say.. Burberry Earthy, or Chanel Notorious), thus using an actual bright color to "contour" or give a facial framework is quite an interesting idea!

Using red-hue cream blush, start from the hollow of the cheek just in front of the ear lobe, patting towards the center of the face against the cheek bone. Then from the side of the nostril, blend the contour following the hollow. 

The look is finished with goldish-beige shadow and sheer red glossy lips. 

Products Used

  • Chanel Quad Mystere, for that sparkling, golden beige and the middle bronzy shade of Chanel Ombres Matelassees circa Holiday 2013 for more definition. You can play around with the shadow as you see fit as this is not the focus of the look. I opted for a simple wash and crease color.
  • Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black to line
  • Le Volume de Chanel Mascara (not shown)
  • Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelee in Getaway Red (oops, I mistakenly photographed Poppy Paradise instead, but Poppy Paradise, too, is a red variation, leans slightly more coral).
  • Stila Lip Pots tinted lip balm in 01 Fraise. Peeps, don't try this at home, this product is very, very old... oldie but goodie, use your own sheer red balm of choice.

My Impression

I thought contouring using bright blush may look odd but the result was not as odd. First, it looks like my cheeks are naturally blushing from the exercise without that clowny/cutesy effect that "pop" on the apples often creates. Second, since the placement is not at the apples but on the hollow, it creates a blank canvas on the apples and the cheek bones, acting as a "natural" highlight. Third, the placement, combined with my own facial shadow from sunken cheeks creates a very slimming effect, something I read over and over again is very appealing to Asian beauty sensibility.

Let me know if you decides to give this look a try -- I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!


  1. I think I AM going to try this - thanks for the excellent tutorial and tips, Claire! I actually had to apply blush in very weird lighting yesterday and inadverently placed my blush much lower than I usually do, and you're right, the effect was very slimming. Also, that Josie Maran Cheek Gelee goes back on my wishlist!

    1. I was a bit surprised of the effect, too. Sometimes you never know whether a certain tutorial will suit you or not. The JM cheek gelee comes in small pot, too: low budget commitment and it gets used up quite fast (I know we were talking about using up products) :-D Thanks for stopping by, Monika.