The Best Cream Blush Formulas for Real-Life Cherub Cheeks

The best cream blush can do it all, whether you’re going for a natural flush or want to take the sunburnt-blush trend for a spin. (Blame it on BlushTok—and Billie Eilish.) With all these trends popping up, cream blush is especially versatile compared to its traditional, powder-based counterparts.

After all, the beauty of a good blush is that it can be whatever you want it to be—which might explain why the multitasker appears in a ton of recent beauty hacks—and a hydrating, creamy formula makes the options endless, whether you’re mixing it with undereye concealer (for a lifted effect) or sculpting with it for a backlit look. Here, what you need to know.

What is cream blush?

Cream blushes have a, well, creamy texture. “They melt into the skin more easily, and, in my opinion, look the most natural,” says celebrity makeup artist Katrina Klein. “They are also more hydrating than powder blushes.” They usually leave skin with a dewy finish, and often the best cream blush will have moisturizing properties. They also tend to be buildable, too, so you can get more or less pigment, depending on how much you apply.

How to apply cream blush

You can use a brush to apply cream blush, which can give you more precision and help you control the intensity. For a more natural-looking flush, “use your fingers and melt it into the apples of your cheeks,” Klein says. Whichever way you prefer to apply, don’t forget: More isn’t necessarily better. “Cream blush is buildable, so start light and go from there,” she says.

Cream blusher also plays well with other products—for instance, you could mix it with a highlighter for an extra-glowy finish, or blend it with a creamy bronzer for a sun-kissed, back-from-vacay makeup look. You can also pair it with other types of blushes. “Powder will give you the best pop of long-lasting color, especially if you place it over a cream blush,” Klein says. You’ll also get a more matte finish, if that’s your thing.

Best Overall Cream Blush: Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush

While Rare Beauty’s liquid blush having gone viral, don’t sleep on this cream formula from Selena Gomez’s makeup line. It has the weightless feel of liquid blush in a cute, easy-to-pack compact and also offers skin-care benefits: The formula pairs pigments with a blend of botanical oils (think meadowfoam and sunflower seed) to nourish and hydrate.

Best Two-in-One Blush: Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick

We love a multipurpose beauty product, and this blush-lip tint doesn’t disappoint. It offers an impressive amount of color payoff for a cream blush formula, and glides onto cheeks and lips to help skin look lit from within. Even better? It also gives skin a moisturizing boost with avocado and apricot oils, as well as mango butter.

Best Blush Stick: Makeup by Mario Soft Pop Blush Stick

Going somewhere? This clever dual-ended blush stick offers sheer coverage and comes with a built-in blusher brush for precise application whenever, wherever. And if the reviews are any indication, the Pale Petal is far and away a fan favorite.

Best for Dry Skin: Nars Liquid Blush

For those dealing with dryness, look no further than this liquid formula. It’s packed with pigment for a rich, immediate payoff, but what makes it stand out is the combo of monoï and tamanu oils, which moisturize the skin while you wear it. It also comes in the brand’s best-selling (and universally flattering) Orgasm shade—just saying.

Best for Oily Skin: E.L.F. Cosmetics Putty Blush

Lightweight? Check. Buildable? Check. This unique formula starts as a cream and dries to a matte powder finish, making it a winner for anyone prone to oiliness throughout the day—and ensuring it won’t slide off in the heat. It’s also infused with argan oil and vitamin E for a hit of hydration.

Best for Deep Skin Tones: Glossier Cloud Paint

This isn’t just a cream blush. It’s a gel-cream blush, not to mention a previous Glamour Beauty Awards Readers’ Choice winner from 2021. And its versatility, easy application, and buildable formula have kept it in the mix—not to mention the pigment payoff, which makes it ideal for those with darker skin tones. “The formula holds super well—only a tiny drop is needed for both cheeks, and you can apply as needed to get more of a vibrant look,” says one Glamour staffer.

Best Clean: Tower 28 BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush

Tower 28 made waves as a sensitive-skin-friendly makeup brand, and this tinted balm does not disappoint. It contains a blend of green tea and aloe vera extracts to calm skin, and the formula is pigmented enough that a little goes a long way. “I’m making an exception for this lip and cream blush—it’s that good,” says a Glamour editor. “The shades blend in flawlessly with a Beautyblender on bare skin for a natural look, and when I dab a little on my lips, it gives that just-bitten look that I really love.”

Best Drugstore: Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush

For some reason, it’s historically been hard for drugstore brands to get cream blushes right, but this one checks all the boxes. This gel-cream blush uses an oil-free, water-based formula to impart color without shimmer or shine. It goes on so sheer that you can apply it all over the cheeks without overdoing it—a boon if you tend to have a heavy hand while applying.

Most Versatile: Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek

It doesn’t get more multipurpose than this formula, which works for lips, cheeks, and eyes alike. Inside you’ll find coconut oil, aloe, and algae to back up its skin-care chops, leaving skin better than when you applied. (The sculptural compact is also a nice touch.)

Biggest Shade Range: Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush

While most blushes offer five to seven shades (if that), Fenty Beauty has, once again, broken the mold with 10 shades. Even though the formula is superlight, it’s both sweat- and water-resistant—leaving behind an all-day wash of color. Yet again, we have no choice but to pay our respects at the altar of Rih-Rih.

Best for Contouring: Kosas Color & Light Crème Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo

This duo of a creamy blush and highlighter is a great option to throw in your purse (or luggage) and go. Thanks to a mix of apricot, avocado, and rosehip oils, these creams are particularly lush and blendable, and the wide range of shades has something for everyone. 

Best for Face-Lifting: Saie Dew Blush

If you’re not yet familiar with the face-lift hack, which involves not a scalpel but strategically placed cream blush, take notes: It involves placing blush directly on top of the cheekbones (instead of the apples of the cheeks) for a lifted look. And this dreamy formula was practically made for it. According to a Glamour contributor, “It goes on like softened butter and smooths right over your cheeks, leaving you with the most natural-looking wash of color—the same flush you’d get when Gran pinched your cheeks.”

GLAMOUR

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