It's Officially Boyfriend Blush Summer—Consider This Your Starter Pack

I have one main goal for my summer makeup routine: avoid looking ruddy seconds after stepping out of my apartment. It's a difficult feat given the heat island effect of NYC, but it's not impossible to combat sweltering temperatures as long as I use minimal products and the right primers and setting sprays.

The latest TikTok beauty trend, however, is all about appearing intentionally flushed and (dare I say?) sweaty. It's called "boyfriend blush," and it has officially become my favorite summer makeup hack. Keep reading for a low-down on the look and the best products to achieve effortlessly youthful cheeks. Your streamlined beauty routine is waiting!

Woman wearing the boyfriend blush trend

(Image credit: @isabelleikpeme)

What Is Boyfriend Blush?

The term went viral after makeup artist Mallory Osses tested the technique on her oblong face shape (she later went on to explain how the trend flatters round, heart, square, and oval faces, too). "It's not a new term," she shares in another video. "It’s all over high-fashion, runway, editorial type of looks." But with the right placement, it's well-suited for everyday looks—especially during summer, as it emulates how you might look after hours outside.

Why the "boyfriend" moniker, you might ask? Well, Osses uses a photo of young Prince William and Harry to describe the flushed, ruddy nature of the look. "It just looks youthful [and] sporty," she says, like how the two princes might appear after a game of rugby.

Prince Harry may be credited as the inspo, but really, the look has nothing to do with men; the "boyfriend" bit is just a cute identifier. In fact, many consider Devon Aoki the "queen of boyfriend blush," as the model commonly sports a flushed, healthy glow concentrated on the lower half of her face. The blush technique even showed face at the Met Gala this year, with celebs like Gigi Hadid and Rita Ora displaying rosy, blooming cheeks on the carpet.

Devon Aoki wearing the boyfriend blush trend

(Image credit: @devonaoki)

To achieve boyfriend blush, apply your product of choice in a triangle shape right on top of the apples of your cheeks and angled towards your chin and jawline. Instead of blending outwards and upwards (as you would for a lifted effect), blend outwards and downwards towards your jaw. The product may even touch the corners of your mouth just a bit, but that only adds to the flushed, "I just went for a brisk jog" effect.

"[My cheeks] still get such great definition, but they just don’t look so long," Osses says in a tutorial. She even forgoes contour in favor of the boyfriend blush hack. During summertime, a minimal-as-possible makeup routine is a major win for me.

Your Boyfriend Blush Starter Pack

Jamie Schneider
Senior Beauty Editor

Jamie Schneider is Who What Wear’s senior beauty editor based in New York City. She has a penchant for trend forecasting, covering everything from innovative skincare launches to celebrity profiles, and her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Coveteur, and more. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English before moving to NYC, and she's been there ever since. When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty finds, Jamie loves exploring vintage boutiques, reading mystery books (bonus points for an unexpected twist), and she’s always down for a park picnic in Brooklyn.