Sunburn Blush: How to Fake Sunkissed Summer Skin

Out of all the ways that summer naturally enhances beauty—beachy hair, bronzed cheekbones, we could go on—sun-flushed skin might be the most alluring. It’s that blush that comes from staying out in the sun a little too long (not long enough for an itchy, red, painful sunburn, of course)—just enough to bring out a wash of healthy, sunkissed warmth. The internet, for one, seems to agree. The #sunburnblush look has almost 100 million views on TikTok. Here’s how to cheat the look of softly sunburned skin—no UV damage needed.

1. Choose your blush

For the most natural, just-left-the-beach effect, look for a blush in a rosy or reddish shade. The idea is to mimic how your skin looks after a brisk jog, so pick a shade that looks the most natural to you. Whether you opt for a cream, liquid, or powder formula is a personal preference, but we love the dewy, skin-like finish that creams tend to deliver.

Here are some of our favorites:

2. Apply to cheeks and nose

To master the sunburned blush trend, the right placement is key. Start by applying a small amount of blush to the tops of the apples of your cheeks and the bridge of your nose—the spots where you’d naturally burn if you fell asleep in the sun. Use your fingers or a brush to gently blend, moving from your cheeks across your nose in a “W” shape. You can always add more pigment to build up the intensity.

3. Finish with highlighter

Complete the lived-in summer look with a dewy highlighter on the high points of your face—browbones, cupid’s bow, tip of the nose, and inner corners of the eyes.

Illustrations by Megan Badilla