By Marissa DeSantis
Blush is one of makeup’s unsung heroes. While it doesn’t always elicit the same excitement as a new lipstick or highlighter, blush has the ability to instantly brighten or add warmth to your complexion—especially in a cream formula. Not only does cream blush impart a dewier, more natural finish than its powder counterpart, it’s also more versatile because it can be used to tint lips and eyes (and it’s easier to apply on-the-go).
If you needed another reason to convince you to give cream blush a try, the silky formulas are often infused with hydrating ingredients that nourish while giving cheeks a flush of color.
When it comes to choosing your ideal shade, as a general rule of thumb, light pinks and peaches best complement fairer skin tones, deep pinks and true peachy tones work for medium skin tones, and rich berry and crimson colors flatter darker skin tones. You can apply your cream blush with a stippling brush, tapping the blush into the apples of the cheeks and up towards the temples. But the preferred method is actually just to use your fingers. The warmth from your fingers helps melt the blush into the skin better, and it allows you more control over how much color is applied and where it’s being placed.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite cream blushes, from true cream formulas in pocket-sized pots to sheer liquid-creams—and even a dual-ended stick.
If you prefer a blush with a shimmery finish, Chantecaille’s Cheek Gelée will become your new go-to. The formula is more of a liquid-gel that dries down to give you a creamy finish. Each of the three shades (Happy’s rose petal pink, Lively’s peach, and Vibrant’s raspberry) provides a sheer wash of color that can be built up to a bolder finish depending on your preference.
From Selena Gomez’s beauty-positive line, this cream blush has a unique formula that almost feels like an oil when you first touch it, but is magically weightless (not even a hint of grease or stickiness) on the skin. Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush gives you more of a matte finish and feel compared to traditional cream blushes, and it’s water-resistant so it stays in place throughout the day.
The color payoff is seriously impressive, too, and the blush is housed in a tiny pink compact with its own mirror for on-the-go application.
A cream blush (or lip or eye tint!) that can be applied straight from the stick, INC.redible’s Three Love adds a subtle flush that’s easily buildable for those who want more color. Even though it contains super-moisturizing ingredients like squalane, shea butter, and coconut oil, the finish isn’t overly shiny.
The newest cream blush launch on the list, Tinted Love Lip & Cheek Tint is a liquid-cream formula that gives a more stained effect. Created by celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, all six shades are transfer-proof and loaded with moisturizing ingredients hyaluronic acid and vitamin E.
The lightweight tint also uses an applicator wand, which makes for a much more seamless and precise application to the lips and cheeks.
While many of our favorite cream blushes boast more natural formulas, Kjaer Weiss is the only certified organic one on the list. Packaged in a refillable case in an effort to be more sustainable, the cream blush is a buttery-soft formula that’s packed with skin-nourishing ingredients like sweet almond seed oil, rosehip seed oil, and jojoba seed oil.
It also gives you the most color options, with 13 shades ranging from a soft coral to a deep berry (and several shades that include an iridescent finish).
This two-in-one cream blush and highlighter stick was the product that started it all for Wander Beauty (which was co-founded by model Lindsay Ellingson). Unsurprisingly, the On-The-Glow Blush And Illuminator continues to be a bestseller thanks in part to its vitamin E-rich formula that leaves skin looking dewy while providing antioxidant protection and moisturizing benefits.
You can use the cream color side on cheeks, lips, or eyes, and the illuminator can be used to highlight anywhere on the face (or even the body).
For a drugstore option that really works, Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops are our top pick. The formula dispenses as a colorful gel that melts into skin and quickly dries down for the most natural, lit-from-within glow that feels weightless on the skin.
This is one of the OG cream blushes, and it’s been a longtime fixture on beauty awards lists. The formula feels smooth as you apply it, and it continues to wear with a creamier finish because of ingredients like castor seed oil and lanolin oil that hydrate and lock moisture to the skin. The Convertible Color comes in several earthier tones if you’re forever searching for your neutral blush match (which, FYI, for my fair skin with yellow undertones is Lillium’s nude-pink).