This is a “new” but actually old make-up trend (that dates back to the late 70’s and into the 80’s) that makes your cheekbones the focus.
Keep your other make-up flawless, clean, and to the bare minimum: no heavy eyeliner, or heavily filled-in brows. Just a single coat of mascara and brushed eyebrows, and foundation/base, (unless you’re one of those rare women with a flawless, poreless, even-toned complexion, in which case you can skip it entirely, or use a light dusting of setting powder all-over instead), with no other contouring or highlighting.
The simplest way to achieve this look and interpret it in a modern way, is to use one colour (in a bright tone) and use it as a soft wash to sculpt your cheekbones, temples, and envelope your outer eyelid in a halo. There should be no harsh lines or edges, so blending is very important with this look.
If you’re looking at the pic above as a guide, you can see that a bright pink blush is used on the left, while a bright orange/peach is used on the right. They’ve contoured her nose and added highlight down the centre, and kept her lips fairly neutral and matte, but depending on how dramatic or how subtle you want to go, you can skip any of those steps or add a few more (such as applying the same-toned bright, matching colour on the lips, but still matte). They also used a bronze-toned shadow along and just under her lower eyelid, but if you want to keep it very clean and subtle, just omit that step entirely.
How do you achieve this without a brush? Simple: use a cotton ball (for powder blushes) or a Q-tip (for applying around the outer eyelid), or even your own fingers. Just make sure your hands are thoroughly washed and clean before and in-between any steps–don’t “double-dip” especially if you’re using a cream blush, when using a brush, Q-tip, or your fingers, because you’ll introduce bacteria into the product and you’ll end up having to toss it sooner rather than later–or even worse, give yourself a break-out or pink-eye.
Make sure you have access to a natural source of light if you’re executing this look in the daytime. On camera or in pictures, it’s recommended to go a little heavy-handed (but still well-blended so you don’t see any edges), but on the street in broad day-light, you can easily go overboard and look like a Kabuki performer. So check yourself in a mirror outside or by a window, and blend, blend, blend!
On darker skin tones, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the paler the colour, the more “chalky” it shows up on your skin. This is why blush draping is so universally flattering for all women, from the palest to the deepest of shades. If you want to go subtle, use a more bronze-toned, tawny coloured blush, if you want to go dramatic, use a deeply pigmented and bright fuchsia, berry, plum, or coral.
Lastly, the other reason I adore this look so much is that it saves time in your make-up routine by reducing or eliminating steps completely. It doesn’t take a lot time, products, or even multiple make-up brushes to achieve. You can look polished and ethereal with a single pop of colour on your face, which takes the place of blush, contour, and eyeshadow in one fell swoop!