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Cream blush has been on the rise in the last few years. It’s become the go-to for anyone who likes a natural yet glowy makeup look, and for a good reason! A cream blush is easy to blend, with a smooth texture that melts into the skin to give an extremely natural flush. Not all cream blushes are made equal, however – the best cream blush for one person might not work for another.
Cream blushes can be sheer or pigmented, matte or shimmery, dewy or velvety. In this article, we’ve selected the very best cream blush formulations out on the market, profiling all kinds of different textures, applicators, and finishes. You will find a cream blush that you’ll love no matter your skin tone, skin type, or your experience level.
We then go on to explain the difference between powder and cream blush, and then go on to give the step by step on how to apply cream blush perfectly. At the end we have a few tips and tricks so you can really have fun playing around with your cream blush!
Cream Blush Makeup Guide: Contents
- 23 Best Cream Blush Sticks & Compacts to Buy
- Powder vs. Cream Blush: Who Is Cream Blush for?
- How to Apply Cream Blush
- Other Cream Blush Makeup Tips to Know
Both available in the easy-to-use stick formula and coming in a small jar, here we have selected the best cream blush variations you can get your hands on now.
1. Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze
One of the surest ways to make any makeup product a little more exciting is to release it in the stick form. Even ignoring the awesome applicator, which happens to be the perfect size and is conveniently fit with a really nice blending brush on the other end, this is still one of the best cream blush options around, especially for those who prefer a dewy look that is free from shimmer or sparkle.
This formula also works nicely on the eyes and lips, and while it’ll work for anyone we think it’s the ideal choice for those with mature skin, since it doesn’t have any shimmer that might highlight unevenness or wrinkles but it’s still creamy and hydrating. It comes in 7 different shades at Sephora.
2. Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips & Cheeks
This ultra-moisturizing cream blush formula is hard to resist, especially if your skin leans a little towards dry. Made with oils and fatty acids, the formula has a very nourishing texture that works especially well over bare skin or oil-based foundations. It comes in a compact with a mirror, so it is best to apply with fingers or a stippling brush. It is available in 6 colors, all dewy but without glitter at Nordstrom.
3. Edward Bess Glossy Rouge Candid Rose
For the perfect glossy sheen this would be the best cream blush to choose. It is a wonderfully moisturizing blush made of avocado and coconut oil, perfect for those with dry and sensitive skin. This light pink shade is universally flattering, but will suit those with cool skin the most. Order a pot online from Net-a-Porter!
4. NARS Matte Multiple
NARS is known for gorgeous blush colors available in every texture you can imagine, with these cream blush sticks being particularly fetching thanks to their sheer, matte finish. They come in four shades that also work for lips and are universally flattering. The stick packaging is substantial and functional – the kind of item you’ll love to have in your travel makeup bag. Pick one up from Sephora!
5. Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
Oils are the secret to the gorgeous texture of this cream blush, as well. These cheek and lip creams come in a chubby roll-up stick. They have a very saturated color that gives a gorgeous flush to the cheeks and works particularly well for those with deeper skin tones, though they are easy to sheer out if worn under foundation rather than over it. Made with castor and avocado oil, they are best for those with dry skin. Find it at Sephora!
6. Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick
We’ve recommended a lot of phenomenal glitter-less cream blushes, but honestly, a touch of shimmer is really nice to have, especially if you’re younger. These creamy sticks come in five colors that are quite sheer, so they are easy to apply especially when one has fair skin. They give a luminous sheen to the skin with just a hint of color. You can get them from Nordstrom.
7. Shiseido Minimalist Whipped Powder Blush
With this product we have proof that cream blush doesn’t have to be super dewy. This unique cream to powder formula has a velvet texture that gives depth and dimension without being too oily or reflective. It is easy to blend, as expected from a cream blush, and the colors have a medium payoff that can be built up to opacity or sheered out for a more natural look. There are 5 shades available, one of which is a perfect contour shade. They are available online and instore at Nordstrom.
8. RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek
Truly good natural makeup products are hard to find, with RMS Beauty being one of the very few exceptions. They’ve made one of the best cream blush products out there, which is especially surprising considering how clean the ingredients list is of synthetic ingredients. Natural oils and waxes are the secret to the gorgeous texture of this formula. The colors range from soft and sheer to deep and opaque, to please all! Pick up your favorite of the 9 shades available from Sephora!
9. Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Color
This is another compact-based cream blush for those who like to spruce up on the go. The cream to powder formula has a velvety finish that might work better for those with oily skin, and it is as sheer and light as can be. It is available in 6 colors at Nordstrom.
10. Kjaer Weis Cream Blush
This all-natural brand definitely has the best cream blush packaging, but what about the product? It gives the skin a soft wash of color that is breathtakingly beautiful. The formula is slightly matter than some of the other contenders on this list, and the shade range is respectable. You can order it from Net-a-Porter.
11. Jane Iredale In Touch Cream Blush
If you prefer a stick cream blush but would like as natural a formula as possible then this might be the best cream blush for you. There are 5 shades available here, and they are all surprisingly pigmented! All it takes is a small dab to get quite a bit of color payoff, and they also work beautifully on the lips. They are available through Dermstore.
12. Charlotte Tilbury Beach Lip & Cheek Stick
It can be really nice when your cream blush can also double as a highlighter. These cream blushes are loaded up with a bit of a golden glimmer. They blend easily into the skin and they go on sheerly so they’re great for those who are a little nervous about overdoing it. They are sold online via Sephora, in 4 shades.
13. Chantecaille Cheek Gelée Hydrating Gel-Cream Blush
And now for something completely different – a cream blush in a tube! The texture of this cream blush is more fluid than of many others, so it is especially lovely on ultra-dry skin. The finish is moist, and the color payoff is on the sheer side of things. It only comes in two shades – a blue-pink and a coral, both of which can be purchased at Nordstrom.
14. By Terry Glow-Expert Duo Stick
Before we start talking about the product, we gotta admit that the concept isn’t great – a stick that is half cream blush and half cream highlighter unfortunately does not take into account the way makeup is actually applied and blended. With that being said, this product is still one of the best stick cream blush options for those who like a bit of glow.
You can mix the two shades together to get a gold-tinged blush, or apply on an angle to get just a highlight or just a blush tone. The color goes on very lightly, so you can build it up slowly for more coverage, and it comes with a soft brush on the end of the applicator for blending. It is sold at Net-a-Porter in 5 color options.
15. Wander Beauty On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator
This is one of the best cream blush and highlighter duos, as it was made with travelers in mind! One end of the stick is a roll-up blush while the other is a highlighter for a total glowy look. The blushes themselves are shimmer-free, while the highlighters are very pearlescent and beautiful.
The texture is a little more solid than some of the other options on this list and it sets quite quickly, so it’s great for those who don’t use a setting powder or have oilier skin – it does require quick blending, though. Buy your favorite of 4 shade combinations at Sephora!
16. Clé de Peau Beauté Cream Blush
Want to feel rosy, just in time for spring? This little pot will hold the best cream blush for you in that case. Sheer and soft with a delicate rose scent, this is gentle luxury. The texture is buttery smooth, since it is a silicone-based cream blush, but the finish is luminescent but sans glitter.
This is one of the easiest cream blushes to work with, so those newer to cream blush or to blushes in general can definitely consider it a good place to start. It is good for all skin types, so pick it up from Nordstrom, where it comes in three colors.
17. Ilia Multi-Stick
This is a multi-use cream blush, intended for the eyes, lips, and, of course, cheeks. This means that the colors are a little more saturated, so they’re great for those who don’t want to give up on the drama of a powder blush. It’s an all-natural formula made of natural oils, so it’ll stay looking moist for most of the day. It’s a great choice for anyone, but especially those with dry skin. It comes in 5 colors, which you can order online from Net-a-Porter.
18. Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick
There have been so many fabulous matte stick blushes on this list, so let’s talk about these high shimmer cream blush sticks from Rihanna. They give a really gorgeous high intensity shimmer, and the color selection is truly incredible.
There are some more wearable coral and pink shades, but there are also more vivid violet and tangerine options for those who like to get really creative with their makeup. The formula is very versatile and slightly more solid than some of the other options on the list. There are 10 of these shimmery blush sticks on sale at Sephora.
19. INC.redible For The First Time Bounce Blush
New textures always get us excited, so how about a mousse blush? The cream blush was whipped to give it an even airier, lighter texture that goes on super smoothly. Because it is silicone-based it’s very easy to mix and match with other complexion products, though the coverage itself is sheer and easy to work with. Note that the container is tiny, so it might be a good choice if you’re a little nervous about shelling out for a full-sized product for your first cream blush. It is sold in three shades at Sephora.
20. Illamasqua Color Veil Gel Blusher
A gel texture and high pigmentation are what makes this one of the more unique cream blush options around. A little bit goes a long way to warm up the cheeks, but be careful as it can be easy to overdo it with this product! The finish is super moist since one of the main ingredients is water-attracting glycerin. This makes it fabulous for dehydrated skin, as it has significant moisturizing properties. You can order your favorite of 6 shades via Net-a-Porter.
21. Stila Convertible Color
This two-in-one cream for cheeks and lips comes in soft pinky shades for those with cool undertones and a preference for all things feminine. The compact packaging is gorgeously decorated and comes with a built-in mirror. The formula itself is oil-based and balm-like, so it blends easily though on initial application the color is quite opaque. There are 3 shades available at Sephora.
22. Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek
This is another multi-tasking cream blush for fans of monochrome looks. There are 6 matte options and one shimmer, so everyone can find something to love! The finish of the formula is velvety and non-oily, so those nervous of looking too dewy are sure to love it – it evens layers well on top of powder! The packaging itself is a sleek white compact in an angled teardrop shape, guaranteed to look chic when you pull it out for touch-ups. These cream blushes are sold at Net-a-Porter.
23. Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Cheek
The elegance of a Tom Ford product is hard to resist. This is the best cream blush for those who want subtle color in a sophisticated compact package. These black compacts actually include both a blush and a highlighter, both of which give a subtle wash of color or glow. One set is warmer with a golden undertone, while the second is cooler. Choose your favorite of the two at Sephora!
Contrary to what others might say, I believe that cream blush is for everyone! While we love a luminous and glowy cream blush formula, the truth is that cream blushes come in all kinds of finishes and colors that can work for anyone no matter their skin type or tone.
Unlike powder blushes, which are made of a mixture of mineral pigment powders, cream blushes are made from mineral pigment powders that are blended into a creamy base made up of either oils, fatty alcohols, silicones, or other emollient (i.e. creamy) cosmetic ingredients. As a result, cream blushes tend to be sheerer than their powdery counterparts, and they also have a more “wet” finish, while powder blushes will look matte or occasionally shimmery if they’ve had reflective particles (usually mica) embedded in them.
The sheerness of cream blush makes it the best choice for anyone who prefers a lighter, more natural makeup look. Especially when worn with a setting powder over it, cream blush can give that coveted “lit from within” glow and an extremely natural looking flush. Powder blushes, on the other hand, sit on top of the powder, so they require much more careful blending in order to look natural.
Because of their emollient texture, cream blushes are better for those who don’t wear foundation or powder. This is because they are easier to blend over bare skin or cream foundation. Powder blush, when applied over bare skin, will be harder to blend, as it might sink into the pores. When applied over foundation that hasn’t been set, the powder blush might end up sticking to the foundation and looking patchy.
Now, while anyone can wear a cream blush, those with dry or mature skin are going to benefit the most from it. This is because cream blushes, in addition to giving color to the skin, are also an emollient layer, so they also lend the skin the appearance of being more hydrated.
Powder blushes, on the other hand, can look dry and flat. Some powder blushes will even highlight texture issues in the skin. Too many layers of powder can cling to dry areas in the skin and make it look flakey.
Those with oily skin might prefer silicone-based cream blushes over oil-based cream blushes. Silicone-based cream blushes will be a little more matte than their oil-based counterparts, though they’ll still have some of that luminescence that powder blushes often lack.
For anyone who has texture issues in the skin, whether due to pore size, dryness, wrinkles, or anything else, it is best to choose a blush (cream or otherwise) that is free of reflective pigments or shimmer. The other thing to keep in mind is your experience level. Makeup pros will feel comfortable blending out pigmented cream blushes, but those newer to makeup will probably prefer something a little sheerer that is hard to overapply.
As with any makeup product, the key to making something really work for you is to experiment with it and try it a few different ways. Everyone’s skin chemistry is a little bit different, not to mention our desired results and application style.
While traditionally the best way to apply cream blush is after foundation and before setting powder, you might find that the particular cream blush you have looks better under foundation or maybe it actually blends nicely over powder.
● Make sure to start with clean, well-moisturized skin. The more hydrated your skin, the longer-lasting and more luminous your makeup will look, while makeup over dry skin tends to look cakey.
● If you’d like, apply a layer of primer all over your skin, smoothing it over gently. You can skip applying the primer to your cheeks if you’re applying oily cream blush, as oils and silicones don’t always play nicely.
● If you don’t wear foundation, or if you would like to have as sheer as possible a blush application then this is your moment to put on your cream blush.
● For a more saturated cream blush application, smooth on your cream or liquid foundation next. Try to keep the application as light as possible, especially around the part of the cheeks where you would like to apply your blush.
● There are a few ways in which you can apply your cream blush. If you have a cream blush that comes in the form of a roll-up stick, you can either make a few dots of cream blush along the top of the apples of your cheeks, or draw on a small stripe. Blend it out in circular motions using your fingers, a stippling brush or a rigid brush, or a damp makeup sponge or beauty blender.
● For a cream blush that comes in a pot, use your fingers, a stippling brush, or the fat end of a damp beauty blender-style sponge to apply it. Start with stippling or tapping motions first, in order to deposit the color on to the skin.
Concentrate the color on the top of the apples of your cheek, not too close to the nose, and then slowly work your way outwards so that the color is most concentrated at the center and fades out towards the temples and the part of the cheek closer to the nose.
Often repeating the tapping motion will be enough to blend out the cream blush perfectly. If that hasn’t blended out the cream blush enough, switch over to circular swiping motions until the color is sheered out to your satisfaction.
● If, after applying your cream blush, you feel like the application looks a little too heavy and the color is too opaque, load up whatever you use to apply your foundation with just a bit of foundation, and stipple it over your cream blush. This will sheer out and soften the blush significantly.
● If necessary, set your face with the powder you would normally use. A translucent powder is best for keeping the flush of your cream blush showing, while a setting powder with pigment or a powder foundation will help cover the blush if you’re finding that it looks too strong.
● Now you can apply any powder-based complexion products like bronzer, contour, powder highlight, as well as powder blush if you’d like a bit more color to your cheeks.
● Finish off your makeup as you normally would, capping off the eyes, brows and lips in whatever way you like. For a monochromatic look you can apply your cream blush to your eyelids with your finger or with a synthetic eyeshadow brush, and apply it to your lips with your finger or with a lip brush.
● This might be old news by now, but you really don’t have to apply cream blush only on your cheeks! Many formulas look beautiful on the lips, while others double nicely as eyeshadow. Wear your cream blush on eyes, lips, and cheeks for a fashionable monochrome look.
● Matte cream blushes can be mixed with a concealer or foundation made up of similar ingredients (if the ingredients are too different, then you’ll have unsightly separation), either to make the color softer or to give a tint to the foundation. This can have a lot of different applications!
● A coral or orange-tinted cream blush mixed with foundation can become a color corrector for a blue under-eye tint.
● A glowy or bronzy cream blush, especially a more liquid one, can be combined with foundation to turn it more luminizing.
● Your glowy cream blush can be combined with primer (as long as both are silicone-based) to turn it into a strobe cream.
● If you want a multi-dimensional look that will last for hours, feel free to use a bit of powder blush after you’ve applied and set your cream blush. This will add more complexity to your makeup look.
Photos via @pennyantuar, @nikki.cruz, @glowhappiness_beauty, @laviedefawn, @candidlyangie