If there’s one makeup product that can totally transform your look in an instant, it’s blush. Even the tiniest bit of color on your cheeks goes a long way to make you look healthy and well-rested. And while traditionally powders may reign supreme, we’re currently on a cream blush crusade. Powder blush is great, but, at the end of the day, it is still a powder. That means it often comes with all the drawbacks associated with powder—namely a drying effect, the potential for creasing and settling into imperfections, and a flat finish. Cream blushes melt into, rather than sit on top of, your skin, making for a finish that makeup artists love.
“The end result is that ‘your skin but better’ effect, which can look much more believable than powder,” explains pro makeup artist and beauty educator Jo Levy. That’s why, along with the ever-growing no-makeup makeup trend, cream blushes have also become more and more popular. Not to mention that because you’re dealing with a cream—the base of which is by definition made with hydrating ingredients—these formulas are also ideal for anyone with dry skin.
Concerned that the application may be trickier than what you’re used to with a powder? Quite the opposite. In fact, you don’t even need a brush. “The soft, easy-to-blend texture of a cream blush allows for no-fuss application using just your fingers,” says Levy. Dab a dime-sized amount on the apple of each cheek, then buff into skin using circular motions; the warmth of your fingertips will help the product melt and blend. A brush is completely optional, but if you prefer using a tool, choose one with synthetic bristles (they’ll help spread the product without absorbing it, like natural bristles would).
Think beyond your cheeks, too. The pros often use cream blush all over the face—try it on lips and lids for a super chic (and easy) monochromatic effect. On lips you can also top it off with a clear gloss to up the staying power and create an on-trend glazed effect, notes Levy. Convinced yet that cream is the way to go? Try five of our favorite formulas.
It may be a cream, but this formula goes on as easily as a powder, choice for cream blush newbies. And with an impressive array of 16 shades, there’s an option for every skin tone.
Believe the hype you’ve heard about this product. The gel-cream hybrid blends beautifully, with color that’s neither too sheer, nor too pigmented. A little bit goes a long way, so the tiny tube will last you a long time.
A coconut oil base makes this easy-to-swipe stick extra creamy. The formula is also free of all kinds of potentially irritating preservatives and chemicals, choice for sensitive skin types.
A touch of color on your cheeks will always make you look more youthful, but this formula goes above and beyond, with blurring technology that helps camouflage the look of lines, wrinkles, and other imperfections. Buy all three shades and mix and match.
Okay, so this may not make you look like Jessica Alba, but it’s still a great product. Easily buildable, dab on one layer for a sheer flush, or add a little more for a noticeable pop of color.