When you think baked, you probably think of fresh bread, ziti, or delicious desserts like cake and cookies (yum). When you think blush, you probably think of a cream or powder used to give your cheeks a warm, radiant glow. You may not think of these two words in relation to one another.

Enter: baked blush, a cream blush that has been specially baked over time to create a more luminous, blendable blush. It takes the best of both worlds (cream and powder blush) and improves upon their strengths. Simply put, baked blush is goals.

How do you bake a blush?

So, how exactly do you go about taking a cream blush and baking it? Well, that process is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Baked blush is made by taking a cream blush and literally baking it.

There are a few different methods to bake a blush. The most popular ones are oven-baking in a large, specialized oven, and sun-baking. Baking in an oven is a slower process than baking, say, a batch of cookies. Sun-baking takes even more time, as it involves a process of placing all the goods in terracotta or another natural material and leaving it out in the sun to let the sun do its thing.

Both of these are more natural (and ultimately healthier for your skin) than regular makeup processes, which make them an easy choice when cleaning up your makeup routine.

Why baked is better

Traditional makeup creation processes frequently involve the use of extra chemicals to achieve the desired texture and look of the product. They are typically created by mixing pigments together with various chemicals to bind it all together, whether it’s a cream, powder or pressed compact.

Baking takes away a lot of the chemicals as it uses a more natural method to bind the pigments together. As many of us are moving toward more natural, skin-healthy choices when it comes to what we put on our bodies, a baked blush is a great way to make an easy choice that’s better for our skin and has the added benefit of a smoother look.

A more luxurious blush

On top of being better for your complexion, the process of baking the blush makes for an overall higher quality product. With the lack of added chemicals that frequently dilute the color itself, the baked version of blush is purer in pigment, making for a more intense and concentrated color.

The baking process creates a marble effect that warms your whole face, creating a lovely, radiant finish. The swirled distribution of shiny goodness throughout the blush gives it dimension and variety, making for a beautiful shimmer that catches the light and accentuates at all the right angles.

Easy application

The plush, smooth texture of a good baked blush makes it easy to brush loosely over cheeks with even, buildable coverage. These beautiful colors are best used to contour and highlight all your favorite features (even if you’re not necessarily a professional makeup artist).

Use your loaded brush on the apples of your cheeks, then use leftover pigment to add a kiss of warmth to your nose, hairline and chin. From there, you can add more in thin layers to your cheeks, for a bolder, brighter look. The consistency of a baked blush is also very versatile—it can be used in its dry powdered form, or dampened for a wet application that makes the pigment even more powerful. Whichever application you fancy, baked blush will do the job nicely.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to expand your makeup repertoire, try something new, or find a more skin-healthy alternative to your makeup staples, give baked blush a try. The intense pigments, rich texture, and smooth, simple application could be the answer to all your blush wishes.

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