Over the last few years, we've seen dozens of smartened-up new products hitting the market, which promise to do all of the above—and then some. According to Marc Reagan, director of global education, artistry, and events at Hourglass, there's a reason why these types of products have become so popular. "Cream formulas help the skin look fresh and hydrated,” he says. “Plus, the colors tend to be a little clearer and have subtle transparency when they are applied, which prevents rich colors from looking milky or grey on the skin.”
As someone with dry skin, I am always on the hunt for the best cream blush to keep my complexion looking naturally radiant. In the latest episode of Zoe Tries It All, I tested out some of the top formulas on the market to see which one reigns supreme. Check out the video above, and shop my picks below to give your own complexion a skin-loving swathe of color.
Shop the best cream blushes
I’ve long considered this blush as one of my desert island products. It packs a major punch, color-wise, but is easily blendable so that by the time I’m done swirling it onto fingertips, I look naturally sun-kissed. Thanks to this ability to melt seamlessly into skin, each shade in the collection works beautifully on a range of skin tones.
This blush is the brainchild of Gucci Westman, one of the top makeup artists in the world. Simply dab a few dots onto your cheeks (or lips, or lids), and blend with your fingers. It delivers a sheer veil of color that really lets your skin shine through (you can see your freckles underneath it, which I love), and has a perfect matte-meets-dewy finish. That said, it’s slightly more expensive than some of the other options on the market, and while it’s certainly a great product, you don’t necessarily have to spend $48 for the sake of a solid cream blush.
“Dewy” is the name of this stick, which is technically a highlighter-blush hybrid. The formula is ultra-buildable, and the stick application makes it really easy to layer on color in a targeted way—which means you can get a totally customized look every time. The finish is similar to that of a balm, giving your skin a sort of wet look.
The most important thing you need to know about this drugstore stick is that it smells like blackberries (and also that it hails from the beautiful mind of one Ms. Drew Barrymore). The shape of this stick reminds me a little bit of my deodorant, which I felt weird about at first, but during application, I realized that this makes it so much easier to use the blush to sculpt your face, because I now know that it’s going to go exactly where I want it to. The formula is super moist and sheer (which means that it doesn’t have a super-pigmented payoff). I personally preferred the finish on my lips more than my cheeks.
Blush paints, like this one, generally terrify me. If you aren’t careful, they wind up getting everywhere and leave you looking like a clown. This product is no exception: It is very pigmented, and a little bit goes a long way. The high-impact color feels a bit at odds with the matte finish the product provides, and the whole experience of using the paint was just… hard. There’s definitely a steep learning curve with this stuff, so I’d personally choose another option and skip the hassle altogether (to each their own, though!)
The gold-gilded packaging that Tata Harper’s cream blush comes in is a good indication of what you’ll find inside. The formula is what can best be described as luxe, delivering the perfect amount of color with a subtle sparkle that won’t make you feel like your face is covered in glitter. I love that it works in equal measure as a blush, lip balm, and eyeshadow, and offers the perfect amount of buildable coverage to give you exactly what you need wherever you choose to swipe it on.
The poppy Fuschia blush and light pink highlighter give you everything you need to sculpt your face and look far more understated on your skin than you might expect (FWIW, the set comes in five other colors if “hot pink blush” isn’t quite your style). The glowy finish makes your skin look naturally hydrated and healthy, but the one issue I had with the formula is that it’s slightly sticky, not as easy to apply as some of the others on this list.
Lys’s products are designed to work on all skin tones, and what I love most about the blush is that the color you see in the compact is exactly what you’ll get on your face. It packs an intense pigment, delivers some solid hydration into your skin, and can be layered depending on what kind of look you’re going for (though, trust: you don’t need much product to make a serious statement). When applied to your lips, it looks and feels like a matte lipstick, and is great for creating a monochromatic look.
Minori’s brand ethos is all about paring down your makeup routine to the bare minimum, which is exactly what this blush will help you do. It feels just as much like a highlighter as it does a blush, and delivers a glossy finish that makes skin look radiant and beautiful. Think of it more like a tinted balm, which can truly be used wherever you need it.
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