little bit of blush can work wonders; a few dots here, quick blend there, and you’ll suddenly look alive, cheeks infused with a healthy glow.
There’s a whole host of formulas when it comes to blush, and in colours from a sunkissed coral to deep bordeaux, which works a treat on dark skin tones.
How to apply cream blush
Bobbi Brown’s Global Artist in Residence, Nikki De Roest, has some helpful application tips on her favourite cream blush, the iconic Pot Rouge. She says: “It has the perfect amount of pigment with just one swipe, and is easy to use with either a brush or your fingers.
“You can build it up for a major blush moment, or tap just a little on the apples of your cheeks for a subtle flush.
“I start on the apples of my cheeks, and then press outwards and upwards for a nice lifting effect. There is no shimmer in the formula, so it gives a nice amount of glow that looks natural and healthy.”
Can I use cream blush for my skin type?
While powder formulas offer longevity and can help keep shine at bay (perfect for anyone with oily skin), cream and gel usually give a dewy finish. Even if you have oil-prone skin, a cream blush can help bring a glowy radiance to your look, perfect for everyday as well as special occasions like weddings. The other plus is that cream blushes are buildable and can blend easily, so you can dial up or down the rosiness to best suit you.
From cult classics to brand new drops, we’ve rounded up the best cream blushes available now.
Nudestix Nudie Bloom
We’re big fans of Nudestix for its effortless applicators that offer a foolproof burst of healthy colour to the skin. The dewy effect formulas are offered in Bohemian Rose (fuchsia), Rusty Rouge (retro caramel), and Crimson Lover (a jewel-like garnet plum which has Christmas party season written all over it). Each gives a pop of sheer, buildable colour to eyes, lips and of course, cheeks too. Simply push the colour onto the apples of your cheeks before flipping the tube over and using the incorporated brush to blend out.
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge
This little compact blush is among our all-time favourites here at ES Best – one has lived in our handbag for as long as we can remember. The reason? It’s super buildable, blends like a dream and is a multi-tasking hero, adding gentle colour to lips and eyes as well as cheeks. The fact the compact includes a little mirror is also a big bonus and benefit when you’re trying to streamline your beauty kit or want to pack light for a holiday. Choose from powder pink, fresh melon and pale pink which add a fresh glow to light to medium skin tones.
Ciate Dewy Blush
The Korean beauty trend of glass skin isn’t going anywhere, but if you don’t have time for skincare steps that go into double figures, Ciate offers a shortcut with its Dewy Blush. The lightweight gel-balm formula offers an incredible gloss without glitter, mimicking catwalk beauty trends with a juicy, high shine finish that cuts the need for highlighter. The colour (there are four to choose from; we tried the darkest, Pomegranate) feels punchy at first squeeze out of the tube, but the initial blend sees it melt into skin leaving behind the faintest stain – and of course, that supermodel gleam. It feels and looks like a veil. From the packaging to the finish, this is a very modern blush.
Tata Harper Vitamin-Infused Cream Blushes
Making blushes work harder for your skin is beauty A-lister Tata Harper, who typically specialises in luxury skincare – this is its first foray into makeup. Given the US brand’s background, adding nourishment was non-negotiable when it came to devising this blush. Each pot is packed with skin-boosting ingredients such as cacay oil, plum oil, rosehip oil, camellia oil and more. There are seven hues of the ultra-creamy blush; we went for Lucky, a dark rose with a hint of glitter. The formula feels light and melts quickly on contact with body heat, making it incredibly easy to work with. Get ready to glide and glow.
Perricone MD No Makeup Blush
Small but mighty, this 10ml blush comes with an integrated brush applicator (like a lipgloss brush). No need to worry about the size though, all you need is one to three dots on your cheeks to sweep into a natural-looking wash. The formula includes Vitamin C to brighten and downplay discoloration and there’s Chinese ginger plant extract too, also helping to boost radiance. If you like a barely-there look, this one’s a winner.
KVD Beauty Modern Liquid Gel Blush
Silky smooth and with translucent colour, KVD’s liquid gel brush feels as good as it looks. We tried the vegan brand’s blush in Glowlita 10, a deep berry shade but there are three other shades to choose from. The formula looks natural and is impressively lightweight – you won’t feel like you’ve got anything on. How fitting for a blush.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Blush
There are five shades to choose from in ABH’s new cream blush stick collection: Peachy Keen (a soft peach), Pink Dahlia (rose petal pink), Latte (rosy brown), Soft Rose (deep rosy pink), and Peach Caramel (deep warm peach). Housed in a rose gold tube like a supersized lipstick, one end holds the blush, while a soft brush sits on the other end, ready to help blend the formula into the skin for a seamless look. While the initial colour hit looks highly pigmented, it blends down considerably to a powder effect finish, so it’ll take a few layers to build up to a stronger look. This makes it a perfect desk-to-dancefloor must-have that feels wear a light office-appropriate layer during the 9-5, before adding more for after-work antics.
& Other Stories Cheek & Lip Tint
Like it’s parent company H&M, Sweden’s & Other Stories offers a chic selection of beauty products alongside the latest fashion. There are eight shades, we tried Burnt Cinnamon on our medium/ olive skin.
Sweep the first wash from the apples of your cheeks up to the temples before dotting more in a concentrated area to deepen the blush effect. This is a hardworking hero – you can use the product on your lips and eyelids too. Be gentle when applying with your fingers though, you could easily shift your base if you’re too heavy handed. Gives a soft matte velvet finish.
Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops for Cheeks
This formula reminds us of the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ Lip Tar; it’s an incredibly pigmented liquid cream blush that you need to use with caution. The nib applicator helps deliver a drop or two, and trust us, that’s all you need. It glides across skin well but avoid applying this directly onto your cheeks at first. Use the back of your hand to sparingly dot on the blusher for more control. A great option for those no makeup makeup days when you just want a subtle perk.
Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Cream Luxe Blush
If you haven’t managed an overseas holiday this year, you can still get that vacay glow with this cream blush which offers the kind of warm sheen that would normally take two weeks in the Med to achieve. It’s slightly tacky which means it won’t slide on skin as much as some of the others on our list; the upshot is that building it up to the right shade for you is almost instantaneous. We gently patted some onto the bridge of our nose as well as cheeks for a more natural-looking sunkissed flush.
Stila Complete Harmony Lip & Cheek Stick
More of a cheek tint than a bona fide blush, Stila’s creamy blush comes housed in a chubby golden tube which clicks shut using magnets. There are six rosy and golden shades to choose from to suit a spectrum of complexions. How does it feel? Rich – you’ll definitely be able to tell you’ve got this on – but the gloss, gleam and stain left behind feels worth it. As a bonus you can use this as a lip stain too, lovely on its own or as a base to give a bolder colour more staying power.
Jillian Dempsey Cheek Tint
Barely there colour from the American makeup artist’s range, we tried shade Rosy, a warm coral pink that reminded us of Florida holidays. Use lightly – you won’t need much to see an effect, a swipe or two is plenty – and blend well with fingers or a brush to get a healthy glow. While there is a hint of glitter in the formula, we recommend adding a highlighter on top to bank the peachy vibes.
Dear Dahlia Paradise Dual Palette – Forbidden Fig
Who doesn’t adore a multi-use beauty product? Despite this compact being one of the smallest on our list, the tiny product packs in not only a blush, but a powder/highlighter and double sided mirror too. Clever design aside, the blush formula feels light and hydrating, sitting nicely on the skin while giving a rosy glow. The only trouble is there isn’t enough of it. A useful buy for someone who doesn’t like to cart around too much luggage.
NARS Air Matte Mouse
Morphe Cream Blush
Majoring in high fashion statement makeup, Morphe is one brand that aces colour. Its cream blush is delivered in a handy tube with a precise applicator so you can control exactly how much is squeezed out. The formula feels gel-like and imparts a lovely wash of colour and hit of hydration, making skin appear its healthiest. At this price, we can’t fault it.
Illamasqua Colour Veil
A gel cream blusher, Illamasqua’s colour veil blush gives rich pigment with just a few dabs. Unlike other gel formulas which offer a dewy effect, this dries into a powdery, velvet finish – welcome news to anyone with oily skin. Illamasqua Head Makeup Artist Mel Barrese recommends applying it with a round, fluffy brush but you could just as easily use your ring finger in a push.
Laura Mercier Creme Cheek Colour
Bring life and colour to your complexion with Laura Mercier’s Creme Cheek Colour which comes in six universally flattering shades. The refillable compact is pocket-sized, making it ideal for travel or makeup on the move. We tried Blaze, a terracotta red that looks a bit scary in the pan, but melts into a subtle sheen on the skin. It feels comfortable on, with a sheer tint that’s perfect for the office or a low-key weekend day.
SUQQU Shimmer Liquid Blush
Japanese brand SUQQU’s little glass vials of blush look like nail varnish at first glance – until you twist off the list and see the small pump applicator. One pump is plenty to deploy a watercolour-like wash over skin – we tried shade two which gave a fetching doll-like glow.
More of a skin stain than a blush creme, Benefit’s Benetint is so iconic, we couldn’t leave it off a list like this. Translucent at first but building intensity with every layer, it gives an innocent ‘just bitten’ effect. It comes with a nail polish-like brush for application but go easy – you can always build up but go too hard, and you may need to start your whole makeup look from scratch.
Milani Cheek Kiss
A small unassuming tube with a formula that packs a real punch, we tried this blush in the dark pink Berry Smooch shade, ideal for medium to dark skin tones thanks to its intensity. A little goes a long way – one dot is enough; anything more risks looking like sun damage. We’d use this as an evening blusher or one for special occasions thanks to the deep colour payoff.