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What Are the Differences between Blush and Bronzer?

Amanda R. Bell
Amanda R. Bell

Although blush and bronzer are both used to add color to the face, there are several differences between the two products. Bronzer is typically used to make the face look tan, while blush is meant to add a flush of color to the apples of the cheeks. Blush and bronzer also come in very different shades, with bronzer coming in browns and blush in shades of pink, orange, or plum. Blush and bronzer can also be used to contour the face, although blush can only be used to bring out the cheekbones, while bronzer can be used in other areas.

The main purpose of bronzer is to add an overall glow to the face. Blush and bronzer are both applied to the cheeks, but bronzer can also be applied to the bridge of the nose, chin, and upper part of the forehead to mimic the look of a natural tan from where the sun would hit. Blush is typically only meant for the apples of the cheeks, the areas that stick out when a person smiles, and across the cheekbones, stopping at the temple. When blush is applied on the chin or forehead, like bronzer, it tends to look unnatural.

A woman has blush applied to her cheeks.
A woman has blush applied to her cheeks.

One of the main differences between blush and bronzer is the colors in which they come. Unlike bronzer, which comes in varying shades of brown ranging from light to very dark, blush can come in colors from orange to plum, although a variety of pink shades are the most common. Both products, however, can be in shimmery or matte formulas.

A matte or satin bronzer can be used to contour the face, bringing out a person’s natural angles and often providing a slimming effect. When bronzer is applied to the hollows of the cheeks, it can make the cheekbones appear more prominent. A light application of bronzer down either side of the nose can make this area appear slimmer, while a soft dusting across the tip can make the end of the nose appear smaller. Applying bronzer around the perimeter of the face can make wider faces look leaner, and can also draw attention to the center of the face.

Blush enhances the cheekbones.
Blush enhances the cheekbones.

Blush has very limited contouring effects when compared to bronzer, as bronzer is typically only a darker shade of a person’s natural skin tone. Since blush is a different color, it can be used to sculpt the cheeks themselves when two different colors are used. A bright blush on the apples followed by a darker blush in the same color family across the cheekbones can slightly alter the shape of this area. Blush cannot typically be used down the sides of the nose, in the hollows of the cheeks, or around the face as bronzer can.

Discussion Comments


Some matte bronzers do look like a blush. I have a bronzer that's a compact powder with a combination of tan and pink colors. Bronzers don't generally contain pink pigments. So this product is sort of like a blush and bronzer in one. It's suited for fair skin.

But I agree that the pigments used for bronzer are generally different. If it's not different, then I would doubt the quality of that bronzer. I have a bronzer that has pigments that reflect light. So when I'm in natural light, my face looks luminous and glowy. The bronzer uses natural light to accentuate parts of my face and gives me a sun-kissed look.

I have blushes with shimmers too, but it doesn't work the same way. Plus, my blushes are all tones of pink.


@fify-- That may be correct, but the colors and tones make all the difference. Bronzers usually come in tan and brown colors and may have gold pigments and shimmers. You won't be able to find so many shades of tan and brown in a blush. And blushes tend to be more pigmented so they leave more color on skin. If you were to use a brown blush as a bronzer, it would come out too dark even if you are light handed with your application.

I have used a bronzer on my cheeks before as a blush and for contouring. But I have never used a blush as a bronzer. If I had to choose between a blush or bronzer, I would go with bronzer.


I think that the only difference between blush and bronzer is the coloR. I just looked at the ingredients list of my blush and bronzer and they are almost identical. There is only one ingredient that's different. So I don't think that we can say that these are different products.

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    • A woman has blush applied to her cheeks.
      By: Viktor Pravdica
      A woman has blush applied to her cheeks.
    • Blush enhances the cheekbones.
      By: Vladimir Voronin
      Blush enhances the cheekbones.
    • Bronzer is intended to lend skin a healthy glow.
      By: anakondasp
      Bronzer is intended to lend skin a healthy glow.