If your mother has ever yelled at you for not wearing sunscreen, I’m delighted to report TikTok’s newest makeup trend is for you. Meet, W blush: the easy way to pull off summer’s sunburnt beauty look (without ever having to get sunburnt.)
TikTok has been a large catalyst for the emergence of born-again blush fanatics. From lifting and sculpting ’80s methods to e-girl Hatsune Miku–esque applications, it seems like there’s a new method to perfecting the perfect rosy look. Glamour reported that blush sales skyrocketed by almost 40% since the start of the pandemic, and it’s not for no reason: People are all in for putting a little (or a lot) of color on their face.
As someone whose coworkers have berated her into using sunscreen at the ripe old age of 23, my cheeks aren’t a stranger to natural redness. I grew up on the Miami coastline, so naturally, I always had a rosy look that lasted through the first few days of the week, after spending my Saturday and Sunday lying at the beach or at the local YMCA swimming summer camp. It wasn’t until I moved upstate, however, that bright blushes became an integral part of my beauty routine to chase that sun-kissed, freckled look I constantly had while growing up.
So what exactly is W blush? It’s pretty self-explanatory: The method involves drawing a W shape across your nose bridge to connect both cheeks. Drag your blush of choice down to the apple of your cheeks, sweep it up to your the middle of your nose where the sun would naturally hit, and repeat it on the other side.
Influencers and cosmetic companies alike are co-opting the trend for their millions of followers. Milk Makeup signed off on it by featuring creator Muriëlle van Schaik using its Lip + Cheek stick to achieve the look—bringing the sunburned look sans aloe vera into the mainstream.
I’m not the only one obsessed with the youthful glow W blush provides. On TikTok the trend’s hashtag has amassed nearly 65,000 views and counting, ramping up even more over the last few weeks. Celebrity makeup artist Clarissa Luna works with Lana Condor, who did a Vogue Beauty Secrets video earlier this year professing her love for an over-the-top blush look.
“I use it almost daily on myself, especially on my ‘no makeup’ days,” Luna tells Glamour. “You can really take this look from day to night easily. We’re always looking for the easiest, quickest makeup hacks. This is a quick makeup with a beautiful finish. That’s a win-win.”
While you can incorporate W blush into any sort of look, Luna added that the trend is best suited for the no-makeup makeup look, spurred by the clean-girl, glazed-donut aesthetic courtesy of celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Addison Rae. Any type of formula (powder included!) works with the trend, but Luna prefers liquid and cream formulas due to their buildable coverage.
“It all depends on the type of makeup I’m trying to create for my client,” Luna says, “but if it’s a glowy makeup, I always start with great luminous base like Live Tinted’s Hueglow, and either mix it with a creamy blush or mix it together. It gives a beautiful youthful finish we are all looking for. For a more matte application or for oily skin, I’ll use a powder blush and top the cheekbones and bridge of the nose with a subtle highlighter like the Dior Forever Couture Luminizer Highlighter Powder, which is a subtle but effective way to highlight matte skin.”
The girlies (and by girlies I mean Miss Addison “Renegade” Rae) are fans.
So next time you see Dua Lipa or Bella Hadid with a sunburnt rosy tinge on their cheeks one day to the next, just know their dermatologists are breathing a sigh of relief. You can shop all the products for a W blush summer look, below.