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Fact: A quick hit of blush on your cheeks can make even the palest, dullest, most sleep-deprived complexion come to life in a matter of minutes. And depending on the exact placement, you can visually lift your features or subtly sculpt some in. It just comes down to a little know-how.

If you haven’t brushed up on your blush skills since high school, we’re here to guide you through six fresh ways to wear it in 2021 (and one look to leave behind in the ‘80s).

RELATED: 6 Ways to Wear Eyeliner in 2021 (and 1 Look That’s Best Left in the Past)

1. Do: Blend Upward

Here’s a trick we picked up from makeup maestro Mario Dedivanovic (aka @MakeupbyMario) recently: Apply your blush just above the apples of your cheeks and blend it up towards your temples to subtly lift your features.

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2. Do: Try Blush as Bronzer

Another tip he gave us was to think beyond your usual pinks and try a tawny nude instead. A neutral-toned blush that’s a hue or two darker than your natural skin tone can have a warming effect on your entire face (like bronzer, but much more subtle).

3. Do: Go Darker

No, seriously, take a break from pink and try a different shade. You’d be surprised at how flattering a caramel blush can look—especially when paired with a lip color in a similar hue.

4. Do: Go monochromatic

And when you do rock pink, try wearing the shade on your lids and lips as well. Keeping your makeup within a similar color palette gives the entire look a more polished finish.

5. Do: Pair it with a Bold Lip

Bright blush, meet bold lips. The key to keeping this look au courant is to balance the level of intensity, meaning sheer out the blush but go all in on the lips.

6. Do: Try it With a Statement Eye

Or go neutral on the cheeks and lips and add a bright pop around your eyes instead. (Psst, this nude blush and turquoise liner combo is especially on trend this summer).

ways to wear blush in 2021 debbie harry
Ron Galella/Getty Images

7. Don't: Draping

While it’s true that draping—that is, applying blush high up on your cheekbones a la Debbie Harry here—has made somewhat of a comeback in recent years, we’ve mostly seen it on runways and editorial shoots. Which is to say, it's a challenging look to execute at home without looking like you're running a fever. (We speak from personal experience.)

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