- Blush is our secret weapon to looking fresh and awake, but choosing the right formula can be like playing a game of beauty roulette – you’ll never know what you’ll land on and like.
- We’ve tried a ton of blushes in various formulas, and have landed on Glossier Cloud Paint as our overall favorite because it’s easy to use, not too expensive, and depending on the color that suits your skin tone, looks oh-so-natural.
- But since everyone has different skin tones and textures and might have budget and formula concerns, we also tried and like blushes from BECCA, Bite, Hourglass, and L’Oréal.
If you had told me – a fair-skinned lady with naturally-flushed cheeks – that I would eventually become obsessed with blush, I would have scoffed at you. I’m not even entirely sure how to scoff, but I would figure it out so I could do it in your direction.
The right blush can help bring an entire makeup look together, wake up your complexion on tired mornings, or reinstate some life on your cheeks after you’ve blotted out your natural color with foundation. But until very recently, I avoided blush of all colors and formulas. I was intimidated by it and didn’t understand what it could do for me. After all, I already had naturally-rosy cheeks, and isn’t that the entire point of using blush anyway?
But one of the major perks of writing about beauty is getting to try a lot of makeup, so eventually, I decided to give blush a shot. After some trial and error, I found some Holy Grail blush formulas that look natural on my skin tone and texture.
My favorite blushes are relatively fool-proof and easily buildable in terms of coverage. I have fair skin so I always apply with a light hand (it’s easier to use add more blush as you go rather than to take it down a notch), and all the picks on this list can be built up to be more dramatic and opaque.
Here are the best blushes:
- Best overall: Glossier Cloud Paint
- Best powder blush: BECCA Mineral Blush
- Best multitasking blush: Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze
- Best glowy blush: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
- Best drugstore blush: L’Oréal True Match Super Blendable Blush
Prices and links are current as of 2/6/2020. We also replaced our previous pick for the best multitasking blush due to the product being discontinued.
The best overall
Glossier Cloud Paint is the easiest blush you’ll ever use, and it comes in a small but wide range of colors that suit different skin tones. Simply squeeze a little out of the tube and blend it out with your fingertips.
First of all, the packaging mimics real paint tubes and is 10 times cuter than the average blush compact. But Cloud Paint doesn’t just look good on the shelf.
The formula is a collagen-infused cross between gel and liquid that blends like a dream, leaving behind a natural-looking flush and dewy finish, minus the streaks or patches you get with drier cream blushes. I typically pat it on with my fingertips as it helps distribute the color on my cheeks easily and quickly. You can also use a flat stippling brush, especially if you apply too much product (which can happen because the tube is opaque so you won’t know you’ve squeezed out too much until it’s too late).
Glossier is known for light coverage, but these babies are super pigmented. I’ve used at least one of the six shades almost every day for more than a year and I haven’t run out of a single one. And speaking of shades, they are Beam (a coral/peach), Puff (bright pink), Haze (berry purple), Dusk (terracotta nude – I use this as a bronzer and blush combo for a sunkissed look in the summer), Dawn (bright orange), and Storm (deep rose).
I do use all six depending on my mood and overall makeup look, but some are more intense than others. For deeper skin tones, I especially recommend Haze, Dawn, and Storm.
January 2020 update: I use these almost daily and my original tubes are still going strong! A little really does go a long way, and they are a great value. Glossier now offers Cloud Paint in bundles of two shades for $30, which is a total savings of $6.
Pros: Easy to use, buildable, lasts (maybe) forever, great for makeup beginners
Cons: Opaque packaging makes it hard to see how much you’re squeezing out
The best glowy blush
The stunning Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush gives you that coveted “glowy but not glittery” look with one easy swipe.
I don’t typically advocate spending $40 on a blush, but I’ll make an exception for Hourglass. The brand’s powders are stunning. I had a hunch I’d fall in love with the brand’s Ambient Lighting Blushes before I even tried it because Hourglass makes my favorite bronzer of all time – the Ambient Lighting Bronzer in the shade “Nude Bronze Light.” One swirl later and I was hooked.
Like the bronzers, Hourglass’ blushes are swirled through with the brand’s cult-favorite Ambient Lighting Powders for a natural, luminous glow that won’t enhance pores or texture. Powder blushes can suck the life out of your complexion, but the subtle luminosity of these prevents you from looking flat.
The Ambient Lighting Blush formula comes in four shimmery shades and six radiant shades. My favorites are Dim Infusion and Luminous Flush, but they’re all really beautiful, buildable, and delightful to use.
Pros: Gorgeous luminous finish, easy to blend, versatile shades
Cons: Expensive, packaging is a little bulky, packaging also doesn’t include applicator brush
The best mineral blush
BECCA Mineral Blush is a seamless powder that gives you a gorgeous flush all day long.
Like Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush, these are buttery smooth and blendable. They’re a bit more pigmented and intense, making them a great choice for people with medium to deep skin tones, though people who are fairer can still use but with a light hand.
The formula is infused with good-for-your-skin vitamins and antioxidants. While I wouldn’t suggest relying on makeup alone for the skin-care benefits, it’s a nice bonus. BECCA Mineral Blush has been featured on “best of” lists at Best Products and Allure.
Pros: Easy to blend, pigmented, comes in six versatile shades
Cons: Super delicate and breakable
The best multitasking blush
The Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze gives you a one-and-done makeup look with blendable cream shades that can be worn on the eyes, lips, and cheeks.
On days when I really can’t be bothered, I reach for Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze. These cream sticks are multi-use, meaning you can blend them all over the face on eyes, lips, and cheeks for an easy, natural look.
While the formula is a bit stiffer than Glossier Cloud Paint, which is more of a liquid-y gel, I find these blend easily with warm fingertips or a dense, flat-topped brush. I have most of the seven currently available shades; my favorites are Bare Back (a subtle, cool nude) and Sunkissed (coral bronze). Bondi Bae makes a nice bronzer when blended on the temples and jawline.
All of the colors are buildable, so you can intensify them or apply with a light hand depending on the desired look. They leave behind a matte, slightly powdery finish. The attached brush isn’t my favorite option for blending, but it works well in a pinch and is better quality than the tools that come with similar products.
Pros: Blendable, travel-friendly, easy to apply, can be used all over the face, vegan, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free
Cons: Attached brush isn’t amazing, could use more color options
The best drugstore blush
L’Oréal’s True Match Super Blendable Blush offers natural buildable coverage and flattering shades at a great price.
Blush can be one of those makeup things that you don’t want to spend money on. You can technically use lipstick or even eyeshadow in place of actual blush, and for those blessed with naturally-rosy cheeks, you might not even need it. But if you still want to give blush a try (and I highly suggest you do), forking over $11.99 for L’Oréal’s True Match Super Blendable Blush seems like a reasonable compromise.
The blush is part of the brand’s shade-changing True Match line, though it doesn’t have any shade-changing technology that adapts to your unique skin tone. But with 12 blendable and buildable shades that range from peach to plum, there’s no need. The colors are so realistic that you might just be convinced to join #teamblush.
I find that some of the shades are so sheer and light that I need to build up the color, which causes me to use up the product faster. But at $11.99, it’s not a big deal. I actually care more about the outdated packaging than hitting the pan sooner than expected, but hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. – Jada Wong
Pros: Affordable, sheer colors are buildable
Cons: Outdated packaging compared to others on this list, compact doesn’t include mirror or brush
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