Top Picks

Cream blush is great at creating a dewy finish or a natural flushed look on your cheeks. You can even use it as a lip tint or eye shadow. Finding the right shade for your skin tone and the right formula for your skin type can be daunting, though.

So we’ve put together this guide to give you some tips on how to pick the right shade and what to look for in a cream blush. You’ll also find a list of the best cream blushes for 2020.

What to Look for in a Cream Blush

Choosing the best cream blush comes down to finding the right shade and then comparing the formulas to find out which one will work the best with your skin type and give you the coverage you’re looking for.

Shade

Shade is the most important factor to consider when choosing a blush. You want something that complements your skin tone well. It should be bold enough to stand out against your skin, but not so much that it contrasts and looks like a smear of paint on your face.

Most brands offer a range of different shades in the same formula, but some offer more variety than others. It’s a good idea to make sure the brand offers a shade that works with your skin before you look at other features of the product. You’ll quickly weed out the ones that just won’t work for you. Then, you can compare the remaining ones based on their other qualities.

You’ll find a more in-depth guide on how to choose the right shade later on in this guide.

Formula

When comparing formulas, you’re mainly thinking about your skin type. Most important is to match your skin type to a blush suitable for it, but it’s also worth looking into specialized product made for certain skin problems.

If you’re acne-prone, you need a lightweight, noncomedogenic formula like this one by Honest Beauty.

If you have dry, chapped skin, especially in the winter, you want a moisturizing formula like this BaeBlue cheek tint.

If your skin is sensitive, look for a more natural and protective formula like this Physician’s Formula blush.

Coverage

Cream blushes offer a more buildable coverage and more staying power than powder blushes. However, there still is some variation in how buildable the cream blush is and how long it will last, especially when you consider your skin type and the climate you live in.

For more pigment, you want to avoid “sheer coverage” creams that will take forever to build up. For a more subtle, natural flush, however, that sheer coverage is exactly what you want.

If you want something that’s more buildable so you can transition from subtle to dramatic as needed, a cream-to-powder blush like this one from Revlon will be your best bet.

Now that you know a bit more about the uses of cream blush and how to compare your different options, take a look at our favorite cream blushes for 2020:

Top 12 Best Cream Blushes 2020

1. Best Overall Cream Blush: Revlon Insta-Blush Stick

Revlon Insta-Blush Stick


Why we like it: With shades for all skin tones and a versatile application system, this cream blush is a great all-purpose blush to finish your whole look.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 4 shades
  • Sheer coverage
  • Stick application
  • Best for oily and combination skin

This sheer but buildable cream blush comes in four shades so people of all skin tones can find something that will flatter their cheeks and lips. The stick application allows for a variety of techniques. Apply the stick directly to your cheek or smear a little onto a brush or your finger.

Coverage

This formula is intended to provide a sheer coverage to start, but you can get a richer pigment by simply adding additional layers. Its on-the-go design is designed for quick touch-ups or light, natural looks.

The sheer coverage makes it a great pick for those who are new to cream blushes. Since cream formulas tend to have more pigment, it’s often easy to accidentally overdo it. With a sheer but buildable formula, it spreads on subtle and builds more gradually.

The stick application also makes it a little easier to spread. Swipe the stick across your cheek and then blend it in with your fingertips.

As buildable as it is, this stick blush will never reach intense or bolder pigments because the shades available are so neutral. If you need something that’s capable of more dramatic makeup looks, you might prefer the blush line from HAN.

Skin Type

The cream to powder formula goes on smooth and then sets into a silky powder finish. This makes it a good choice for oily or combination skin. The fragrance-free and glitter-free recipe is also gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Pros

  • Sheer but buildable coverage is very beginner-friendly
  • Shade range complements all skin tones
  • Powder finish is great for oily or combination skin

Cons

  • Neutral shades aren’t suited to more dramatic looks

2. Best Premium Cream Blush: HAN Skincare All-Natural Cheek and Lip Tint

HAN Skincare All-Natural Cheek and Lip Tint


Why we like it: This antioxidant-infused stick blush is easy to apply, great for your skin, and looks gorgeous on your cheeks and lips

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 8 shades
  • Medium coverage
  • Stick application
  • Best for dry, aging, and sensitive skin

This nourishing formula will feel luxurious against your cheeks and provides enough pigment to work as a light lipstick as well as a buildable blush. With eight different shades available, people of all skin tones can enjoy this luxurious formula.

Coverage

The medium coverage and the stick application makes this a great cream blush for building up to the exact pigment you want. Dab a few light spots of blush along your cheek and blend them in for a sheer look. Layer up from there to get a more dramatic look.

The range of both neutral and bold shades allow for a full range of effects from just barely flushed to dramatic eye-popping looks. They also make for great lip color as well.

Skin Type

This cream blush is infused with acai oil, berry extracts, shea butter, and tons of other nourishing ingredients that will hydrate and revive your skin. It doesn’t just cover up dull skin, it heels it.

This is a great recipe for sensitive skin that is easily irritated by the harsher or more synthetic blush formulas. None of the usual inflammatory ingredients like parabens, talc, or synthetic dyes are included. It’s also great for dry or aging skin and can help even out combination skin.

For oily skin, however, the coconut and argan oil included in the ingredients might be too heavy and lead to a greasy look. In that case, you’d be better off with a lighter weight formula like the one from Honest Beauty.

Pros

  • Nourishing, natural ingredients like shea butter, berry extracts, and acai oil
  • No inflammatory synthetic fragrances or dyes
  • Shade range offers both neutral and bold options
  • Medium coverage can achieve both subtle and dramatic looks

Cons

  • Moisturizing formula may be too heavy for oily skin

3. Best Budget Cream Blush: Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush

Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush


Why we like it: With a tube of this water-based cream blush, you can create beautiful looks without clogging your pores.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 6 shades
  • Medium coverage
  • No brush or sponge included
  • Best for oily, combination, and sensitive skin

This lightweight formula offers surprisingly rich coverage without feeling heavy on your cheek. It’s great for oily or combination skin. The creamy formula can also be used to add a pop of color to your lips and eyelids.

Coverage

This cream blush provides a medium coverage which allows for both subtle and dramatic looks. The six shades available come in both neutral and bold colors so you can achieve a full range of effects with this blush.

For those who are new to cream blush, this may be a challenging one to start with. The tube packaging can make it difficult to control the amount of product you use. Since it is a medium coverage cream, you need such a small amount that it can be hard to avoid squeezing too much out of the tube.

We recommend holding the tube upside down and very gently pressing on the sides to smear a small dot of the blush onto your fingertip. If you’d rather use a blush that comes in a more user-friendly packaging, you might like the Palladio cheek and lip tint with its stick application format more.

Skin Type

Maybelline uses a water-based formula that feels more like a gel than a cream. This allows for a super lightweight formula that doesn’t clog pores or trigger breakouts. While it doesn’t offer a particularly nourishing formula like some other brands do, it’s not at all harsh or inflammatory so it’s safe to use on sensitive skin.

Pros

  • Lightweight, water-based formula is great for oily or combination skin
  • Noncomedogenic
  • Medium coverage is buildable
  • Wide range of shades for all skin tones

Cons

  • Tube packaging is not user-friendly

4. Most Versatile Cream Blush: Undone Beauty 3-in-1 Lip + Cheek Cream

Undone Beauty 3-in-1 Lip + Cheek Cream


Why we like it: Each compact comes with three cream blushes, offering a full range of coverage options from sheer to opaque.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 4 shades
  • All coverage types
  • Brush application
  • Best for dry, aging, and sensitive skin

This compact comes with three strips of blushes in different coverage levels so you can easily create any look you want. This variety also makes it a great option for those who want to use their blush as lipstick or eyeshadow as well.

Coverage

For those who want a range of coverage options without the risk of accidentally overdoing it like you might with most cream blushes, this is a great option. Each of the three strips are formulated with different pigment levels.

When you want sheer coverage, use the sheer strip. For a bolder, more show-stopping look, use the opaque coverage strip. For something in between or for building a custom look, use the medium coverage strip.

This also allows for easy coordination. Use the subtle cream on your cheeks and the opaque cream on your lips for a coordinated look that doesn’t create to obvious of a match.

The four shades available are better suited to light to medium skin tones. The berry shade would flatter a darker skin tone, but even the opaque cream might not be pigmented enough to create a more dramatic look when you want it. For a cream blush that works better on darker skin, you might prefer the line from Shany.

Skin Type

The formula is coconut oil infused to provide hydrating but non-clogging moisturization for your skin. It’s also paraben-free so that it’s gentler on your skin. Overall, this ingredient blend is best suited to dry or aging skin. The coconut oil and lack of parabens also make it a soothing cream for sensitive skin. However, it may show up greasy on oily skin.

Pros

  • 3-in-1 coverage for versatility and easy coverage building
  • Ideal for those who want to use it on lips and eyelids as well
  • Great for dry, aging, or sensitive skin

Cons

  • Shade range may be too subtle or neutral for darker skin tones
  • May look greasy on oily skin

5. Best Sheer Coverage Cream Blush: Palladio I’m Blushing 2-in-1 Cheek and Lip Tint

Palladio I’m Blushing 2-in-1 Cheek and Lip Tint


Why we like it: This sheer cream blush is great for a quick hint of color or that naturally flushed look that lasts all day long.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 4 shades
  • Sheer coverage
  • Stick application
  • Best for all skin types

For a sheer coverage that doesn’t fade by the end of the day, this Palladio blush stick is a great pick. The formula is gentle on your skin, lightweight, and provides lasting coverage that stays in place.

Coverage

This sheer coverage blush is great for infusing your cheek with just a hint of color and creating that natural radiant glow. It goes on light and is easy to blend in. The neutral shades available blend well into your skin tone for a dewy, flushed look on any skin tone.

For those trying to create a more dramatic look, Palladio is not going to do it for you. Even after layering it on, the neutral shade combined with the extract-infused recipe makes this an incredible sheer coverage but not the most buildable blush.

To get a more dramatic look, you’d be better off with something like this variety palette from Undone Beauty which offers bolder color options and more buildable coverage.

Skin Type

The lightweight formula is infused with aloe, chamomile, ginseng, and other botanical extracts that moisturize without clogging pores. These extracts sink into your skin quickly so that you get that hydration without a greasy finish like some of the heavier moisturizing formulas.

This makes it a great pick for dry skin but equally beneficial to oily or combination skin since it doesn’t clog pores or sit on the skin.

Pros

  • Lightweight, hydrating formula that works on all skin types
  • Paraben-free and botanical-infused recipe is gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • Sheer coverage ideal for no-makeup or subtle makeup looks

Cons

  • Not very buildable

6. Best Cream Blush for Acne-Prone Skin: Honest Beauty Crème Cheek Blush

Honest Beauty Crème Cheek Blush


Why we like it: This lightweight formula is free of petrolatum, mineral oil, and toxins that can irritate skin and cause breakouts so you get gorgeous looks without causing breakouts.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 4 shades
  • Medium coverage
  • No brush or sponge included
  • Best for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin

For medium coverage in a lightweight blend, Honest Beauty is a great blush to pick. Those with oily skin or who are prone to breakouts, the lack of petrolatum, mineral oil, and other pore-clogging ingredients makes this a great find.

Coverage

This is a rare example of a cream blush that offers buildable, medium coverage in a lightweight, breathable formula. It’s easy to apply either with your fingertip or a brush and it blends easily so that you can create the exact level of pigment that you want.

The shade range is also very thoughtfully curated. While there are only four, the variety covers a full range of skin tones, including a rich plum that will look radiant against darker skin and a peony pink that will add a soft glow to lighter skin.

Skin Type

The cream to powder formula is hypoallergenic and won’t clog pores so acne-prone skin is less likely to break out under this blush. It’s also free of other unfriendly ingredients like parabens, petrolatum, talc, and synthetic fragrances.

It’s a breathable blush that will add color to your cheeks without causing you to break out. That breathable formula is possible thanks to the natural ingredients used. One potential drawback to the recipe is that the fruit extracts tend to separate and come to the surface of the blush in what looks like condensation.

Since it’s in a palette rather than a tube, you can’t just shake it to recombine the ingredients. Instead, you’ll need to gently swirl it with your brush or finger to recombine. For a similarly lightweight formula that won’t separate, you might prefer this cream blush from Maybelline.

Pros

  • Lightweight, noncomedogenic formula safe for acne-prone skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Ideal for oily or combination skin

Cons

  • Ingredients may separate, especially in warmer climates

7. Best Cream Blush for Darker Skin Tones: Shany Paraben-Free HD Liquid Blush

Shany Paraben-Free HD Liquid Blush


Why we like it: With deep pigments and a range of vibrant shades, this line of liquid blushes is the best way to get gorgeous results on darker skin tones.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 8 shades
  • Opaque coverage
  • No brush or sponge included
  • Best for all skin types

With eight beautiful and richly pigmented shades that flatter a full range of skin tones, Shany is definitely one of the best brands on the market for finding the exact shade to complement your skin. The hydrating liquid formula dries to a powder for a silky smooth finish.

Coverage

This liquid blush provides serious coverage. The smallest drop of the cream will create a rich, medium coverage and with just a little more, you can create bold, dramatic looks that would be at home on a runway or a photoshoot.

The intense pigmentation also makes it a great choice for darker skin tones. Since neutral shades and sheer coverage blushes tend to disappear on darker skin, you need something with more pigment, even for a “sheer” look. This is the blush that will do it.

Given how much pigment is in this blush, it’s not the most beginner friendly. The pump action bottle adds to the challenge. For lighter to medium skin tones, it’s very easy to accidentally squeeze out too much or apply far more color than you actually wanted.

If you want something that’s a little easier to create subtle looks on lighter to medium skin, you might do better with this stick blush from Revlon.

Skin Type

The cream to powder formula is surprisingly lightweight for how much pigment is in it. It’s a paraben-free recipe that won’t dry out your skin. It’s also water-based and noncomedogenic so it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts, and it will work on all skin types.

Pros

  • Great shade range for medium to darker skin tones
  • Opaque coverage is ideal for creating dramatic looks
  • Safe for all skin types

Cons

  • Harder to achieve more subtle looks on lighter to medium skin tones

8. Best Natural Cream Blush: Burt’s Bees All Aglow Lip & Cheek Stick

Burt’s Bees All Aglow Lip & Cheek Stick


Why we like it: The natural ingredients in this cream blush will nourish your skin while creating that perfect youthful glow.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 6 shades
  • Sheer coverage
  • Stick application
  • Best for dry and sensitive skin

Burt’s Bees is one of the best brands for those who want an all-natural, nourishing formula that provides a subtle, no-makeup makeup look. This blush is great for adding that hint of color to your cheeks and lips while nourishing your skin with jojoba seed extract and other skin-loving ingredients.

Coverage

This natural, sheer coverage blush is surprisingly buildable. It starts out as a subtle kiss of color but adding layers will intensify the color into increasingly bolder looks. Swipe on a layer or two in the morning for your daytime look and then bring the blush stick with you to add another layer or two for your more dramatic night look.

Skin Type

This all-natural, water-based blush is safe for all skin types but ideal for dry skin. The formula relies entirely on natural ingredients like jojoba seed extract, coconut oil, and other nourishing extracts that plump up your lips and cheeks for a natural dewy look.

It’s free from petrolatum, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and other fillers that other blushes use, so those with sensitive skin can wear this blush without worrying about irritation or inflammation.

One draw back to the natural formula is that it soaks in a little too well. You might find that your hint of color has all but disappeared after a few hours. You’ll definitely want to keep this in your purse or pocket for touch-ups throughout the day. For something with more staying power, try the Julep stick blush.

Pros

  • Sheer but buildable coverage
  • Free of harsh, irritating ingredients that inflame sensitive skin
  • Filled with natural, hydrating oils and extracts that are ideal for dry skin

Cons

  • Color wears off quickly

9. Best Cream Blush and Highlighter Combo: Julep Skip the Brush Cream to Powder Blush Stick

Julep Skip the Brush Cream to Powder Blush Stick


Why we like it: This cream blush offers a silky finish and just enough crushed pearls to provide a radiant yet natural highlight.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 8 shades
  • Sheer coverage
  • Stick application
  • Best for dry skin

Whether you’re short on time when getting ready in the morning or just want something for quick touchups on the go, this combination blush and highlighter stick is up to the task. With eight shades ranging from neutral to bold, and just a touch of crushed pearl for that iridescent finish, this is a great all-purpose cream blush for all skin tones.

Coverage

With a wide range of shades and the unique crushed pearl formula, this combo blush and highlighter is a great pick for anyone who wants a quick way to glam up their look in the morning or touch up their evening look while they’re out. The cream to powder formula goes on easily and then blends into a silky subtle finish that you can build as needed.

Then, the crushed pearl infused into the blush adds a hint of radiance. It’s subtle so you won’t look like you dipped your face in a tub of glitter. If you want a more dramatic highlight, you’ll still need to apply a separate highlighter. The pearl is just meant to add a youthful glow.

Skin Type

The beeswax and crushed pearl formula is moisture-locking and hydrating for dry, dull skin. You’ll get an instant dewy look and long-lasting hydration with these ingredients. However, these do make it a little heavier than some other blushes.

Oily or combination skin might end up looking greasy underneath this blush. For this skin type, a lighter weight formula like the one used in this blush from L’Oreal would probably work better.

Pros

  • Great for quick glam-ups or touch-ups
  • Wide range of shades to suit all skin tones
  • Best for dry skin
  • Crushed pearl provides a subtle glow

Cons

  • Heavier formula might look greasy on oily or combination skin

10. Best Cream Blush for Aging Skin: L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift Blur Blush

L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift Blur Blush


Why we like it: This unique formula sinks into your skin while still providing a smooth finish that blurs fine lines and instantly revives dull skin.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 3 shades
  • Sheer coverage
  • No brush or sponge included
  • Best for dry skin

L’Oréal’s Visible Lift cream blush is formulated with a proprietary opti-blur formula that instantly blurs fine lines or acne spots without looking caked-on or heavy. With this blush, you can get a sheer, no-makeup look while still concealing any blemishes or uneven texture.

Coverage

The opti-blur technology makes it possible to offer full texture-correction in a sheer coverage blush. For those who want to conceal blemishes or lines without layering on full coverage makeup, this is a great option. It melts into your skin for a natural effect then infuses a subtle highlight to your skin to transform dull, wrinkled skin into plump, radiant cheeks.

While the coverage is great and it melts beautifully into your skin without exaggerating fine lines, it comes in a tube which can make application difficult. We recommend squeezing a small dot onto the back of your hand and then dabbing your finger in that before applying it to your face. Otherwise, it’s easy to accidentally apply too much.

For something that’s easier to apply, you might prefer this stick blush from Palladio.

Skin Type

This blush is noncomedogenic and very lightweight so it can safely be applied to oily or combination skin. However, it’s mainly intended for dry skin. The hydrating formula is meant to rejuvenate your skin and refresh your look.

Pros

  • Opti-blur technology helps even out fine lines and textured skin
  • Noncomedogenic but hydrating formula is great for all skin types
  • Sheer coverage is ideal for everyday looks

Cons

  • Tube packaging makes it difficult to apply

Physicians Formula Natural Defense Multicolor Stick with SPF 20


Why we like it: This cream blush is not only free of harsh chemicals but also formulated with sunscreen and pollution-blocking ingredients that keep your sensitive skin safe.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 4 shades
  • Sheer coverage
  • Stick application
  • Best for all skin types with sensitive skin

It can be hard shopping for makeup with sensitive skin. Fortunately, this Physician’s formula blush was designed specifically for people with easily irritated skin. Not only is it free of all the harsh chemicals and toxins that inflame your skin, it also acts as a sunscreen and pollutant blocker to keep irritants in your environment from damaging your skin.

Coverage

This sheer coverage blush is a bit more like a sunscreen with a little blush in it. It’s great for subtle touches of color and creating that naturally flushed look. It also works as a lip stain that will add just enough pigment to give your lips a no-makeup touch of color.

Because of this, the formula is not the most buildable and the shades are very neutral, so dramatic looks are not easy to achieve with this blush. If you want something a little bolder, you might prefer this cream blush from HAN.

Skin Type

This blush is a dream for sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic and free of parabens and other irritating chemicals that tend to get used in makeup. In addition to skipping the harsh chemicals, Physician’s Formula has added SPF 20 sunscreen, a pollution blocking cream, and blue light protection.

So you’re not only avoiding putting inflammatory ingredients on your skin, you’re also blocking irritants from the environment around you by wearing this blush. While it’s made for sensitive skin, the protection this blush offers is something that would benefit all skin types.

Pros

  • SPF 20 sunscreen
  • Pollution blocking formula
  • Great for all skin types but especially sensitive skin
  • Sheer coverage is ideal for subtle, daytime looks

Cons

  • Not buildable
  • Not great for bold looks

12. Best Cream Blush for Dry Skin: BaeBlue Organic Cheek Tint

BaeBlue Organic Cheek Tint


Why we like it: This dual-purpose blush and moisturizer will hydrate your skin while leaving a radiant, natural flush.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts:

  • 4 shades
  • Medium coverage
  • Stick application
  • Best for dry and sensitive skin

This all-natural, hydrating formula was made to be both a great blush and a great moisturizer. You get buildable coverage in a range of four neutral shades, all infused with shea and cocoa butters to add plumpness to your cheeks and lips.

Coverage

Although this is a natural blush, it’s still able to offer medium coverage thanks to its unique formula. With added pigments, this is much more buildable than most organic blushes. It’s also great for lips or eyelids.

Skin Type

This organic blush is another great pick for those with sensitive or dry skin. It includes hydrating ingredients like shea and cocoa butter along with anti-inflammatory ingredients that will soothe irritated skin.

While these ingredients are incredible for your skin, they are also heavier than some of the lighter synthetic formulas. For oily skin, this can result in a greasy look that slides across your face, depositing blush in places you don’t want it.

For a lighter weight formula that stays in place, try this water-based formula from Maybelline.

Pros

  • Hydrating shea and cocoa butter revive dry skin
  • Anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe irritated skin
  • Buildable coverage

Cons

  • May look greasy on oily skin

Complete Guide to Cream Blush


various cream blushes

Cream blushes are a popular alternative to the traditional powder blush and it’s easy to see why. There are a ton of benefits to opting for a cream blush. Here are a few of the reasons you might want to ditch the powder:

Natural Look

Cream blushes tend to create a dewier finish and a more radiant glow than powder blushes. This creates more of a natural flushed look to your cheek that blends so seamlessly into your skin that it looks like it truly is radiating out of it, as opposed to a powder which looks more obviously like it’s sitting on top of your skin.

Because the cream formulas are naturally more hydrating than a powder, it also helps minimize any dryness, which adds further to that radiant glow.

Requires Less Product

Cream blush tends to be more pigmented than a powder. So, you can get away with using a lot less of it to achieve the same look that would require piles of powder. For a sheer look, you’ll use barely any cream blush at all. For a richer, deeper contour of the cheek, you’ll only need a thin layer.

By using less product, you’ll be able to create incredible looks that still feel lightweight and touchable. You’ll also save money since a single stick of cream blush will stretch much further than a powder blush compact.

Easier to Apply

Cream blushes are much easier to apply than powder blushes in the sense that it’s easier to blend it out and get an even look. It’s also easier to build up a cream blush to get the precise level of pigment that you want.

This is because the cream texture and the fact that you will most likely use your fingers to apply it makes it much easier to spread over the exact areas you want it.

While it is easier, those who have used powdered blush and are used to the way it applies may require a bit of learning curve to switch to a cream blush. You need so little cream blush to achieve the same look that many powdered blush users tend to over-apply at first. Stick blush applicators like the Revlon Insta-Blush Stick are easier to control, making them ideal for new users.

Better for Textured Skin

For those with fine lines, acne scars, or larger pores, a powder blush can end up exaggerating those features. This is because powder just sits on top of your skin and doesn’t blend well into creases or pores. Instead, they will build into cakey layers around the edges of these features so that fine lines end up looking like deep wrinkles and minor scars look like craters.

Cream blush, on the other hand, sinks into your skin and blends seamlessly into the natural texture of your skin. The even tint across your skin smooths out the appearance of fine lines, scars, or other textures on your skin.

You can even find formulas like this L’Oreal cream blush that are specifically crafted to create a blur effect to minimize the appearance of uneven textures.

How Do I Pick the Right Shade of Blush?

While your overall skin tone and undertones play the biggest role in what shade of blush will look best on you, there are a lot of factors that affect the final look of the shade you pick. Because of that, choosing a shade can get complicated. Below, you’ll find some useful guidelines to make that process a little easier:

Skin Type

Cream blushes can suit a wide variety of different skin types but not every product works for every skin type. Here’s how to choose the right formula based on your skin type:

Oily skin

Choose a lightweight cream-to-powder formula like this one from Honest Beauty that won’t clog pores or look greasy.

Dry skin

Choose a richer, more hydrating formula like this BaeBlue blush that will plump up dehydrated skin and add a glow to dull cheeks.

Combination Skin

Base your decision on where the blush will be applied. If you want the blush for contouring an oily T-zone, get a formula better suited to oily skin. If you want it to add color to dry cheeks, get a formula better suited to dry skin. If your blush will be doing double-duty, try something simple yet versatile like the Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush.

Skin Tone

How a blush looks on you mostly comes down to your skin tone. Finding the right shade can be a challenge because it’s hard to tell how a color on the palette will look against your skin until it’s already on your skin. For the most part, it just takes a lot of trial and error to find the shades that work best on your skin but here are a few general guidelines you can use to help:

How to Find Your Skin’s Undertones

If you don’t already know your undertone, figuring it out can be a little tricky but one of the easiest ways to tell is to think about is how you look wearing bright white clothes:

  • Cool undertones: wearing white makes you look washed out and pale.
  • Warm undertones: wearing white makes your skin look radiant and perhaps even brings out a slight yellow or gold glow to it.

Another trick is thinking about which jewelry looks best on you. If your skin looks more radiant with gold jewelry, you probably have warm undertones. If your skin looks more radiant with silver jewelry, you probably have cool undertones.

The Bottom Lip Trick

You can also use the bottom lip trick to quickly find a shade of blush that will work on your skin. Pick a shade of blush that most closely matches the color on the inside of your bottom lip. This trick finds a color that “exists naturally” in your skin already so it’s much more likely to match.

However, this only finds shades for natural or neutral makeup looks. You’ll need to use the more complicated methods described above in order to find the right shade for more dramatic looks.

Lighter Skin Tones

For lighter skin tones, a little goes a long way when it comes to cream blushes. It’s better to opt for the sheer coverage formulas and then build those up to the pigment you want. The stronger pigments can quickly become too intense against your skin and wash out the rest of your face.

As far as shade goes, look to the more neutral-toned shades. Corals, peaches, warm rose hues and other more neutral shades will complement your lighter skin better.

They are also easier to build into more dramatic looks without looking cartoonish against your skin. So, choose lighter shades that you can build up as needed rather than darker shades that will contrast too starkly, even when applied as a sheer coat.

Darker Skin Tones

Cream blushes are a great choice for darker skin tones because they are more buildable than powder. Since you tend to require more pigmentation for the blush to appear on your skin, that buildability is key to achieving the look you want.

With that in mind, darker skin tones have the advantage of wearing brighter, more vibrant colors well. Those rich purples, hot pinks, and wine or berry shades were made for you. Meanwhile, softer or neutral tones like roses and peaches can end up looking ashy or dull on darker skin.

So, opt for those bolder colors, even if it might look too intense or shocking in the palette. Then, choose a cream blush like this one from Shany with lots of pigment. The “sheer” blushes will likely be all but invisible on darker skin. If you want that sheer look, get the richer pigmented blush and just apply a thin coat.

Undertone

Whether your skin is darker or lighter, everyone has either warm or cool undertones. These are sometimes referred to as “autumn” or “winter” tones. Warm undertones are reds and yellows. Cool undertones are blues and silvers.

Warm Undertones

If your skin has warm undertones, opt for more neutral pinks for lighter skin and natural wine or berry tones for darker skin. If it has highlighter in it, make sure it’s a gold highlight rather than a silvery highlight.

Cool Undertones

If your skin has cool undertones, opt for blue-based blushes and bolder colors. For lighter skin, corals and magentas will look best. For darker skin something like the Shany Paraben-Free HD Liquid Blush in a deep purple or bold red will complement your skin best.

Purpose

Blush can serve many different functions. You can create a natural looking flush or something more dramatic. You can contour your forehead, nose, and cheek bones or you can simply add a subtle glow to the apples of your cheeks. With cream blushes, you can often use them as lip color or eye shadow as well as a standard blush.

Think about how you plan to use your blush as you shop. Cream blushes can be sheer or richly pigmented. They can come in hydrating formulas or offer a more lightweight, powder-like finish.

If you want a multi-purpose blush that can work as blush, lip tint, and eye shadow, you might prefer something with a variety of coverage options like this 3-in-1 blush. If you want deep pigments to create dramatic looks, you might prefer this liquid blush from Shany. If you want a subtle, natural flush, you might go for a sheer formula like this one from Burt’s Bees.

Your skin tone and undertone will guide you to the right shade. Your purpose for the blush will guide you to the right formula and coverage level.

Is Cream Blush Better than Powder Blush?

powdered blush on a sponge

We talked about the benefits of cream blush earlier in this guide. For a natural, dewy finish and a look that doesn’t exaggerate fine lines or acne scars, cream blush is the better choice. Even so, there are some benefits to powder blush that are worth considering.

Some of the advantages powder blushes have over cream include:

  • Powder can create subtle, barely-there looks more easily because the individual grains of powder disperse across the surface of your cheek better.
  • Powder goes on faster because there’s less blending required. You can brush it on and go.
  • It’s better for oily skin because it absorbs moisture rather than adding it.
  • Powder blush lasts longer in humid climates because of those same moisture-absorbing properties.

So, there’s no clear winner in the cream vs. powder blush debate. The answer depends on what you need. For those with dry or textured skin, cream blush is the better choice as it will plump up dry skin and even out textured skin.

For those with darker skin tones or who otherwise want a more pigmented look, cream blush is again the way to go. It’s easier to build up and create richer tones to better complement the deeper tones in your skin.

However, those with oily skin or living in humid climates might do better with a powder blush. The moisture-absorbing capabilities of powder will prevent your makeup from looking greasy. For the best of both worlds, you could set the cream blush with a light coat of powder.

Tips for Applying Cream Blush

Even if you’ve never used it before, cream blush is easier to apply than powder. Since it goes on lighter, it’s easier to build and achieve the right pigment you’re going for. With that in mind, it doesn’t go on the same way that blush does so you do need to adapt your technique to your new product. Here are a few tips to get the best results out of your new cream blush:

Prep Your Skin

As with all makeup, cream blush will go on better if your skin is washed and primed. Don’t skip your morning skincare regimen.

At a minimum, apply a moisturizer or sunscreen to your washed face. If possible, allow 15-20 minutes for that moisturizer or sunscreen to soak into your skin before applying your blush.

Use Other Cream Products

When using a cream blush, most makeup artists recommend using a cream foundation as well. If you try to use a cream blush with a powder foundation, the result can be cakey or splotchy. The blush just won’t glide as easily over a powdered cheek.

When you do use powder products, always apply them after your cream blush. Cream blushes don’t set properly on top of powder. For example, if you’re going for a more matte finish, a light dusting of powder over your cheeks after you’ve applied the blush is fine.

Use a high-quality blush brush rather than the sponge that comes with powder compacts. Brush it on very lightly so that the bristles don’t leave crease lines in the blush.

Choose Your Application Method

Cream blushes can be applied in three different ways: with a brush, with your fingertips, or by directly applying a stick blush to the cheek. Each method produces a different result:

  • Brushes are best for achieving a richer, deeper color as the blush stays on the surface of your cheek better.
  • Direct stick application is best for creating an even, barely-there flush
  • Fingers are best for precision results with deeper tones on the apples of your cheeks that blend out into a dewy flush at the edges. Fingers also help melt the product into your skin for a more natural look.

Of the three, using your fingers is the easiest way to get the look you want. Brushes can be tricky because they may create a streaked look if there’s more product on some bristles than others. Applying the stick blush directly can make it difficult to target coverage to the areas you want and you might end up with blush in places you didn’t want it to be.

Start on the Apples of Your Cheeks

Whether using a brush, fingertips, or stick, start on the roundest part of your cheek. To find it, smile and look for the apples of your cheeks that way. To blend it, rub it in a circular motion upward and away from your nose.

You can blend it out toward your hairline but let it gradually fade before it goes past the edge of your eye.

Make Sure It’s Even

After you’ve applied blush to both cheeks, take a step back from the mirror and look at both cheeks side by side. Make sure that the pigment is more or less even, both in terms of intensity and location.

If you notice that your cheeks are uneven, be careful with your correction. Otherwise, you could end up applying layer after layer of blush to each cheek in a never-ending attempt to even them out until both are way darker than you wanted.

Other Ways to Use Cream Blush

Your cream blush isn’t limited to your cheek bones. Because it’s a cream rather than a powder, it has a much wider range of potential uses.

Lip Tint

Using the same shade on your lips as you did on your cheeks is a great way to get a natural, youthful look with minimal effort. You can even apply it to your lips with your fingers the same way you applied it to your cheeks.

Going for a light, sheer coat will give a more natural, pouted lip appearance. Applying a few extra layers for a richer pigment will create a slightly more dramatic but still natural look.

Eye Shadow

Cream blushes also make for great eyeshadows. However, avoid red hues. Instead, opt for oranges and purples to double as your eye shadow. Start with a light, sheer layer and build up until you’ve got the intensity you want.

Color Correct Dark Circles

When you wake up with dark circles under your eyes, concealer alone is rarely enough to really take care of the job. There’s often still a bluish tint coming through. To counteract this, use your cream blush before the concealer.

Spread a generous layer of red tone blush under your eye area, covering the entire dark circle area plus a little beyond the edge of the dark circle for better blending. Then, apply your concealer on top of that blush layer. Pat it across your under-eye area gently with your fingers, enough to set it but not so much that you blend the concealer into the blush.

The red tones of the cream blush are on the opposite end of the color spectrum as the blue tones of the dark circles under your eyes. Because of this, the two tones will neutralize each other, becoming invisible underneath your concealer.

When Do You Apply Cream Blush?

If you’re planning to wear foundation, apply the blush after your foundation but before any highlighter or bronzer. If you aren’t wearing foundation, apply the cream blush after your moisturizer or sunscreen.

You should also allow time for your moisturizer or foundation to set into your skin before applying blush. Wait at least five minutes but 15-20 minutes would be better.

Final Word

Choosing the right shade and formula for your skin really comes down to your skin tone, skin type, and what kind of look you want to achieve. Cream blushes are usually much more versatile and beginner-friendly than powder blushes so it’s a great way to start experimenting with different looks.

First, find a few different brands that offers shades that will complement your skin tone. Then, narrow that list down by finding the formulas that better suit your skin type. Finally, pick the one that offers the kind of coverage you want—you’ll end up with a beautiful, skin-safe, natural look that you love.