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Bronzer vs. Blush: The Real Difference and When To Use Them

Bronzer vs. Blush: The Real Difference and When To Use Them

Most of us love the idea of using a bronzer and/or a blush, but admittedly, we aren’t always the most successful when we use them (especially if we use them simultaneously). 

There’s no need to be intimidated. With the right know-how, you can pick colors that are ultra flattering and create beautiful, natural looks for day and night. 

If you’re completely confused by bronzers and blushes, we’re here to help. We’ll uncover the differences between the two products, and explain when and how to use each of them correctly. 

What is the Difference Between Blush and Bronzer?

Both blushes and bronzers add color to your cheeks, so aren’t they essentially the same? They’re actually not, and they aren’t always exclusively cheek-color products either. Here’s a breakdown of what makes them different from one another. 


Blush adds a hint of natural, face-flush color to the cheeks that looks inviting and awakens the color of pale or washed-out skin. Think of the color of a child’s cheeks when they’re flushed and you’ll see a spot-on example of what a blush should do for your own cheeks. The overarching rule for blush is that it should look natural. 

Blushes are found in colors like pinks, reds, berries, or soft earth tones with an undertone of rose.   These are typically applied to the apple of the cheeks to lift the face and also give that healthy pop of color. 


If the goal of blush is to make you look naturally flushed, the goal of a bronzer is to make you look like you have been kissed (or bronzed) by the sun, but without the dangerous sun exposure. Bronzers are especially useful in the summer when the temptation to tan is much higher.

Bronzers can be applied as a blush depending on color, but it’s better to apply them horizontally across the highest part of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and across your forehead; the same places on your face you’d get naturally bronzed if you sat in the sun.  

Being kissed by the sun is not the same as looking contoured, so using a bronzer as a contouring product is never a good idea. Remember, you’re applying bronzer in the same spots the sun would naturally color your skin.

Do You Use Bronzer and Blush at the Same Time? 

You can use both a bronzer and a blush together, in fact, you should! 

When working with makeup remember that the goal is not a “paint by number” masterpiece. Your goal should be to blend colors and products and layer them to create the desired effect. 

Be creative in your application. The best makeup artists are the ones that blend and use colors synergistically together. If you select complimenting bronzer and blush colors, you can easily blend them to create a healthy, glowing skin tone.

Can I Use Bronzer as Blush?

You can use a bronzer as a blush depending on the color of the bronzer and the effect you want, but tread lightly. Many bronzers can have darker colors that don’t translate well as blush. 

Ideally,  you want a blush that looks similar to the color of your cheeks when you’re embarrassed or flushed after a hot yoga class. 

Remember, less is more. You can always add more product, and if you’re attempting to create a more natural look a heavy bronzer may not be effective. If your bronzer is heavy and dark, consider swapping it for a more natural color.

Can I Use Bronzer as Contour?

Short answer, no. Bronzer is not usually a contour color. Contour colors are used to create shadows. To contour, you’ll use shades of greys and browns that mimic shadow-like colors. Most bronzers are shimmery by nature, so using them to create a shadow doesn’t make sense. 

If you do use a bronzer as a contour, apply with caution. Test it on a day when you have time to reapply if it doesn’t work out. It can take several attempts to get it right, so be patient and keep trying if it doesn't quite work out the first time.

What Color Blush Should I Use? 

It’s hard to determine what blush you should use if you don’t have a good frame of reference. You want a cheek color that compliments your skin tone, and most closely resembles your cheeks when you’re flushed. 

If you’re still stumped, try an online 121 consultation with one of our RMS Beauty makeup artist consultants. In less than half an hour they can help you determine which products work best for your skin tone and give you pointers on how to create the look you want with ease. It’s personalized, effective, and the best way to get an expert opinion when selecting a shade.

Looking for an even faster fix? Our Lip2Cheek multi-tasking blush/lip stain. Need help with colors? Our founder suggests these:

  • Spell works beautifully for most skin tones in creating a naturally flushed cheek. 
  • Demure is a great option for a cool hint of flattering pink.
  • Modest is a beautiful warm, rose shade that always works well as a blush. 

Lip2Cheek is coconut oil-based, and contains antioxidant-rich buriti oil, hydrating shea butter, and conditioning cocoa seed butter. Try using different colors on the cheeks and lips to create completely different looks.

How Do I Find the Right Shade of Bronzer?

Finding the perfect bronzer is a little trickier, especially considering most bronzers on the market are all plagiarized versions of each other that have resulted in shades that are too orange, too sparkly, or too golden. 

Bronzers can also end up too matte, making the skin look unhealthy and less energized. Pick the wrong bronzer and you could end up with a dull, brownish-red color that is so far away from a true sun-kissed look that it borders into the realm of contouring products. 

Because some bronzers can have red undertones, it’s essential to be extremely careful when picking one, especially if you have red or pink undertones in your own skin. Picking a bronzer that has red in it can make your skin look sunburned instead of sunkissed. 

If you’re looking for an effortless bronzer that is flattering on virtually any skin tone, RMS’s Buriti Cream Bronzer is the solution. Our cream bronzer is great for every skin type and coconut oil based. This bronzer contains wildcrafted buriti oil that is rich in antioxidants and packed with skin-nourishing vitamins. 

Our bronzer captures the sun-kissed look of a week in Bali, without the sun damage or two weeks of your income.

The Takeaway

Bronzer and blush are both products you’ll want in your beauty arsenal, but knowing how they differ and how to blend them properly is the key to keeping your look natural (and believable). Choose shades that look most natural to your skin tone and that compliment one another so they can be worn together. 

RMS Beauty offers one2one online consultations to help you find the perfect shades of each and give you tips and tricks for application. 

As always, our products are the greenest and cleanest in the beauty industry. You simply won’t find a higher standard of clean beauty elsewhere. 



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