I've never had much success with blushers. I like the idea of something that gives me instantly rosy - not to mention razor-sharp - cheeks but, although cream blushers work fine on light skins, if you are dark the colour tends to fade within minutes of application, leaving just a glitter residue.
Thankfully, the new generation of stick blushers is different. Glossy, rather than creamy, the best sticks for black skin are translucent - clear, like a bar of Pears soap. Once applied, they give cheeks a fresh-faced look rather than an obvious block of colour. Because they are gel- (rather than powder-) based, the sticks don't contain the white pigment that shows so badly on black skin.
The gel blush stick from Trish McEvoy is fantastic. It looks bronze but, once applied, makes even the most hungover of cheeks look deliciously rosy. Ruby & Millie also has a wide selection of gel sticks. Although there are plenty of colours in the range, many of them didn't show up on my skin. The deep purple, however, is strong enough to leave a subtle hint of colour.
The blusher stick from Nina Ricci (in Caramel) and the Gelstick from Bobbi Brown (in Spicy Ginger) are great for those who are confident about applying colour to their cheeks. These sticks (actually, the Bobbi Brown is more like an oversized crayon) go on as smoothly as cream blusher but are matt, so there's no danger of unwanted glitter.
For those with lighter skin, colourwash from Calvin Klein (a cream, not a stick) in Radiant and the Artstick from Bobbi Brown in Brown Berry both give a light pink colour which is soft but not frosted.
To apply the sticks, always use upward strokes across the most prominent part of the cheekbone and out towards the top of your ear. If your cheekbones aren't as prominent as you'd like (let's face it, why else do people use blusher?), just smile and apply the stick to the plump part of the cheek (the apple), using two or three soft strokes, as if drawing on whiskers, instead of one single line. This makes the blusher easier to blend (using fingers) and should prevent any Aunt Sally impressions.