While we adore our full-coverage foundations, there are a handful of days where we simply want an easy-breezy, light flush to the cheeks.
To help achieve that bouncy, dewy and lit-from-within glow, a quality cream blush can do the trick.
But, with a simple cursory search of cream blushes, you can easily find yourself looking at an endless list of buttery browns and primrose pinks. So, we turned to experts at Sephora and Ulta Beauty for some specific guidance on everything from shopping for your cheeky essentials to the top ones to buy.
“The main difference in cream blush is the formula, having a creamy texture rather than a typical powder formula,” David Razzano, Sephora’s beauty director with 10 years at the company, told The Post. “A cream formula allows the blush to create a very smooth realistic skin texture that blends seamlessly into your complexion, often with the added benefit of some natural-looking glow as well.”
With cream blush, you can spin your daily makeup into those sought-after bridal looks you gloss over (and, it doesn’t even have to be your wedding day).
Ahead, comb through everything you need to know about shopping for and applying cream blush to suit your skin type, complexion and budget. The pros share their 17 favorites, too.
Click to skip over our FAQ and jump to the best cream blushes:
What’s the best cream blush for my skin type?
Whether your skin leans drier and somewhat sensitive or oily — maybe even acne-prone, there’s a cream blush out there for you — no worries there.
Ulta Beauty’s Pro Team Member Deney Adam gave us the rundown of what type of cream blush works best for each skin type:
- Acne-Prone: Look for cream blushes with collagen and smoothing properties, but do detailed research on what your skin needs before using any product to avoid skin irritation or damage.
- oily: Try and find a cream to powder blush, a mouse finish, a liquid stain that dries down matte or even a water-based gel blush.
- Dry: Look for water-based gels, oil-based creams or oil stains.
- Combination: It’s important to know the anatomy of your skin and how it produces oil, and then you can take it from there. “For example, your T-zone might be oily and the rest of your face is dry or vice a versa,” Adam explains.
- Sensitive: Look for skincare-like ingredients (also “clean” ingredients) to keep hydration and not dry out the skin.
how to apply cream blush
There are many ways to apply a cream blush, depending on the desired result and what you are comfortable with. Your options? Your god-given fingers, a beauty sponge or a makeup brush.
For a lighter, natural look, Razzano recommends you use your fingers. If you need to run out the door, a beauty sponge is your best bet as it allows you to quickly blend out the product and build the color to your desired shade. For the most control, consider using a makeup brush — the blush will sheer out evenly or intensify easiest.
If you apply too much (it happens to the best of us), you can always disperse the color with a quality setting powder.
If I use a cream blush, do I have to use a cream bronzer?
According to Razzano, you don’t have to use a cream bronzer or even a cream highlighter when opting for a sweet flush of your favorite cream blush.
“A good rule of thumb is cream products should be applied after all powders have been applied on the complexion,” he notes. “So, if you use a powder bronzer and highlighter you would simply finish with the cream blush last.”
Best Cream Blushes
Please note all blushes listed below come in multiple shades.
1. NudeStix Nudies Matte All-Over Face Blush & Bronze Color, $34
“Exclusive to Ulta Beauty, this modern K-beauty blush stick has a minimalist look with a soft, lightweight feel, perfect for giving your cheeks a pop of color,” Ulta Beauty told the Post. Not to mention, the color option and buffer brush on the flipside is too good to pass up.
2. Tower 28 Beauty BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush, $20
“For someone with very dry skin, Tower 28 Beauty’s BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush has green tea extract to calm skin and aloe vera extract to hydrate and soothe, all while creating a beautiful dewy wash of color,” Razzano notes.
Plus, the brand’s Clean ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss ($14) is one of our tried-and-true favorite clear glosses.
3. Honest Beauty Creme Cheek Blush, $13, original price: $16
It’s no surprise Honest Beauty’s Creme Cheek Blush made the cut. For one, we’ve seen it across many bridal makeup tutorials on YouTube (and it’s just effortless).
“This cushiony, blendable lip and cheek color melts seamlessly into your skin to give you a dewy flush,” Adam chimes in.
4. LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush, $16
As one of our personal favorites, we were overjoyed when Razzano felt the same about LYS Beauty’s Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush.
“If you have very oily skin, I’d recommend LYS Beauty’s Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush, which is a ‘Clean at Sephora’ blush that uses Kaolin Clay to help minimize pores and reduce excess oils,” he said. “So, you get a gorgeous satin-matte texture that has the skin-like effect of cream blushes.”
5. Florence by Mills Cheek Me Later Cream Blush, $14
Exclusive to Ulta Beauty, this creamy blush is also made with kaolin clay. “It’s an oil-absorber that dries down to a powder finish that doesn’t slip or slide off the skin,” Adam notes.
Not to mention, the less-than-$15 price point is convincing enough to add it to our carts.
6. Pacifica Fluffy Blushy, $11
How glamorous does Pacifica’s Fluffy Blushy look? Plus, the name is just too cute.
“New to Ulta Beauty, this air-whipped cream blush is lightweight, blendable to add a fluffy, cloud-like color to cheeks and lips with a clean formula that will keep you from additional breakouts,” Adam highlights.
7. Elf Cosmetics Putty Blush, $6
As one of the most searched-for cream blushes by beauty connoisseurs, Elf Cosmetics’ Putty Blush is just $6 and we can’t believe how peachy-keen it applies.
“This lightweight putty blush is highly pigmented with a creamy formula that melts into your skin for a natural glow and a semi-matte powder finish,” Adam explains.
8. Ulta Beauty Too Cheeky Lip & Cheek Color Stick, $10
Specially designed for sensitive skin is Ulta Beauty’s Too Cheeky Lip & Cheek Color Stick. And hey, we love a multipurpose product.
“This versatile cream blush stick gives cheeks a super pigmented pop of peachy color with a creamy texture and finish,” Adam states.
9. Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush, $21
Not only do we vow by the brand’s cover-up as one of the best concealers we tested, but Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez also has a bouncy, beautiful cream blush worth keeping in mind.
“For fair skin tones, soft nudes and pink generally create a beautiful natural flushed look, Rare Beauty’s Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush in the shade ‘Nearly Neutral’ is a perfect soft nude pink that would work on fair skin tones beautifully,” Razzano notes .
10. Makeup by Mario Soft Pop Blush Stick, $28
We adore Makeup by Mario’s cream products and, truthfully, keeping resorting back to them when applying makeup. “Peachy colors tend to work very well with medium skin tones,” Razzano adds.
Choose a color like Makeup by Mario’s Soft Pop Blush Stick in ‘Soft Coral’ to enhance your complexion. However, all of these shades are add-to-cart-worthy.
11. Milani Cheek Kiss Cream Blush, $10
“This cream blush blends seamlessly for a flushed-from-within glow, with a balm-to-gel cream formula that melts onto skin for a luminous wash of deep red color,” Adam shares. Plus, the $10 price is yours for the taking.
12. Sephora Collection Clean Velvet Cream Blush Palette, $18
We love a cheek palette to give us more bang for our buck (or rather, more blush for our buck).
“For deeper skin tones, I find rich bold colors like plums, reds, and browns all look stunning,” Razzano mentions. “I love the Sephora Collection Clean Velvet Cream Blush Palette in ‘Spiced’ because you get four shades all perfectly suited for deeper skin tones.”
13. NYX Sweet Cheeks Soft Cheek Tint Blush, $9
As one of Adam’s favorites, the NYX Sweet Cheeks Soft Cheek Tint Blush is equally as good for a swipe-on lip color. Plus, it’s extremely buildable and, for $9 a pop, you’ll want to have the entire assortment at your disposal.
14. Stila Convertible Color, $25
Much like Tarte’s powder blushes, Stila’s Convertible Color is the cream version, elegantly packaged in circular compacts with a slew of shades to choose from — no wonder it’s one of Adam’s top choices.
15. Iconic London Sheer Blush, $27
As a hidden gem in the cave of cream blushes, Iconic London’s Sheer Blush is one of the best for giving you that natural, dewy glow (just look at that rose color!). For $27, it’s one to stash in your makeup bag, per Adam.
16. NARS Air Matte Blush, $30
We said it once and we’ll say it again: we would see our souls to NARS’ ‘Orgasm’ blush (and so would Adam). It’s probably the Dutchess of all cream blushes too, and now it’s available in a dreamy and creamy consistency that’s perfect to speckle on with your fingers.
17. ColourPop Blush Stix, $9
If you’re more into cream blush sticks, Adam wears by ColourPop’s Blush Stix as the best. Not only does it glide on easily but its lightweight, buildable coverage is just what we love about this $9 blush.
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