Best cream blush: the easy way to a healthy glow

From portable sticks to dewy liquids, the best cream blush offers the prettiest flush of colour

Swatches of cream blush on pink background
(Image credit: Getty images)

The transformative power of blusher (and the best cream blush in particular) should not be underestimated. Yes, the perfect puff of pink will distract from tired eyes, inject a healthy glow into lifeless skin, and even vanquish the telltale signs of a hangover. 

But finding the perfect blusher for your skin type between powders, creams, gels and liquids can be as tricky as trying to nail down the best foundation. Exhausting stuff, right?

As we reach a certain age, when lines become more apparent and dryness takes a hold, it’s advisable to switch to more nourishing, forgiving makeup textures—cue the best cream blush! These little beauties deliver great colour pay-off, often with a healthy-looking, glowy finish. 

So dust off those fingertips and blend, blend, blend, it’s time to reignite your love of the pink stuff. We've rounded up the best cream blush offerings that won't smear, crease or slide off after only an hour. 

What makes the best cream blush?

Don’t get us wrong, powder blushers have their place. For a start, they tend to be longer-lasting and can be a good option for oily skin types. But their longevity is a double-edged sword, given that they can feel cakey on the skin, particularly in summer, and accentuate fine lines and crinkles. 

“Even though powder blusher can be used on all skin types, the texture will always sit on top of makeup, making it more noticeable on the skin,” explains NARS Senior Artist, Rebecca Moore. The best cream blush, however, are completely universal—they work on any skin tone, skin type and skin age. Those with oily and combination skin types might be deterred by words like ‘glowy’ and ‘dewy’, commonly emblazoned on the packaging of cream and liquid blushers. But in these cases, Rebecca says, “as a final touch, dust over with finishing powder to lock your blusher in place.” 

Another winning asset? Their buildability allows you to truly customise your cheek colour to suit your mood, from a natural makeup look to a more sculpted and contoured, 80s makeup effect. “Liquid and cream blushers are great for adapting your desired blush look,” she says. “The texture allows you to blend the product seamlessly onto the skin, mimicking the appearance of a natural flush, and the hydrating elements create a youthful glow.”

How to find the best cream blush shade

You've found the best cream blush and now's the time to nail that perfect shade. Pinning down your skin's unique undertone is crucial, just as you would when finding your perfect foundation match. Usually, pale skin has a cool undertone that suits rosy pinks; medium skin tones can vary but generally have warmer undertones, suiting apricots and deeper rose shades; deep skin tones look best in rich burgundy and maroon blushers. 

A nice easy shortcut to working out your perfect cheek match is to think about the colour you would naturally flush on a brisk walk and embrace those tones. 

How to apply cream blush

To master a radiant complexion, you need to learn how to apply blush like a pro. If you want to create a truly natural-looking, ‘just got in from a jog around the block’ kind of flush, then the secret is to forgo foundation on your cheeks and apply blusher directly to skin. Smile,  find the 'apples' of the cheeks, and work the blusher around to this plump area for a fresh, youthful and natural look.

When it comes to the best tools for the job, this depends on the format of the cream blush. A blusher stick, for example, is best applied directly on to the cheek and blended out with your fingertips. But a cream compact or liquid blush could be used with a fluffy brush to diffuse the colour across the cheeks for a more subtle look. 

Rebecca’s expert tip to create a totally natural finish with liquid blush is to, “apply a pea-sized amount of liquid blush in the palm of your hand and push the product into the cheek.”

The best cream blush, as chosen by our experts

Glossier Cloud Paint

(Image credit: Glossier)

Glossier Cloud Paint

Best cream blush for most people

Specifications
Shade range: 8
Finish: Fresh and airy
RRP: £15
Reasons to buy
+Easy to blend+Buildable formula+Enriched with collagen
Reasons to avoid
-Tube can be difficult to control

The airy, translucent finish means that this is one of the more foolproof blushers on our shortlist. There’s very little chance of ending up with ragdoll pink cheeks with this cream, making it the best cream blush for anyone who wants a natural look. Although the squeezy tube can be a little hard to control so take heed and compress gently. Overzealous squeezing aside, the gel-cream is very blendable and smoothes across the skin as silkily as a skin cream. Dot on to your fingertip then bounce and blend across cheeks. The blurring powder pigments act like your favourite Instagram filter, hazing over the appearance of open pores. It’s even infused with moisture-binding collagen that ensures this pillowy-soft formula won’t pill, crease or gather in lines. 

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge

(Image credit: Bobbi Brown)

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge

Best cream blush for oily skin types

Specifications
Shade range: 3
Finish: Natural matte
RRP: £23.50
Reasons to buy
+Handy mirrored compact+Multi-use+Great colour pay-off
Reasons to avoid
-Limited shades

This best-selling blush is a cult favourite, owing to its multi-use capabilities. The colour can be used to flush up cheeks and blotted on to lips to create an elegant stained effect. Add to this the fact it comes in a mirrored compact and you’ve got yourself a truly portable, take-anywhere-and-everywhere hero. This cream is absolutely packed with pigment so please believe that the colour in the compact is the colour you’re going to achieve on your cheeks. In fact, the cream is so punchy that it can be easy to go overboard so our advice is to build up and blend out gradually. The finish veers on the more matte, velvety side so this a great option for oily skin types, particularly in summer when skin tends to feel a little more slippery. This colour isn’t going anywhere.

Rimmel London Jelly

(Image credit: Rimmel London)

Rimmel London Jelly Blush

Best cream blush for a healthy glow

Specifications
Shade range: 4
Finish: Dewy
RRP: £7.99
Reasons to buy
+Light water-based formula+Radiant finish+Pleasant texture
Reasons to avoid
-Can clag up in the pot-Not quite as long-wearing

There are very few makeup products out there that are as thrilling to apply as they are to wear. This is one such blush. The bouncy, springy gel feels fun and strangely satisfying to the touch. Just dab a finger into the pot and bounce across your cheeks until blended. It gives a soft and subtle effect but is easily built upon. What I love most about this wash of colour is how natural it looks. There’s a dewiness to the finish that looks super healthy and youthful. And because the formula is water-based, it feels weightless. The one downside is that once you’ve had the pot for a few months, the jelly coagulates and I have, on more than one occasion, opened the pot to spill a blob on my trousers/dressing table/carpet after the blusher stuck to the lid. But even this has not put me off. The formula is too gosh darn flattering. 

Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick

(Image credit: Westman Atelier)

Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick

Best cream blush for on-the-go

Specifications
Shade range: 6
Finish: Naturally radiant
RRP: £44
Reasons to buy
+Travel-friendly+Easy to control+Multi-purpose
Reasons to avoid
-May require top-ups-Pricey

This is pricey—no question—but from the moment you pick up this weighty, supremely tactile swipe-on cheek cream, it feels worth it. The stick glides across cheeks—no pulling, dragging or yanking and it blends out with the faintest of feathery finger strokes. The finish is quite natural, not too shiny, yet not matte. The Petal shade,  seems like it would suit anyone and everyone. I found I needed to go in with a second application after a few hours but the stick format makes this easy and enjoyable, rather than a chore. Great for gym bunnies and frequent travellers, who need something quick, easy and exceptionally pretty. I've enjoyed a long-standing love affair with stick blushers (I used to sneak in a No7 rouge into school to top up in the girls’ loos on my lunch break) Judging by Gucci Westman’s latest incarnation, twist-up blushers have come a long way.

Trinny London Flush Blush

(Image credit: Trinny London)

Trinny London Flush Blush

Best cream blush for buildable colour

Specifications
Shade range: 4
Finish: Naturally matte
RRP: £20
Reasons to buy
+Punchy pigment+Easy to blend and build+Stackable storage
Reasons to avoid
-Pot is quite small

Trinny London's clever cylindrical pots stack together so you can store your makeup neatly, or even select your favourites to 'click' together for a night out or weekend away. While this is undoubtedly clever and very helpful, it does, however, mean that the cream blush pot, which is intended to be applied with your fingers is a little on the small side. I have short nails so it wasn't too much of an issue for me but longer talons may struggle. One of the many upsides to this cream blush, however, is the formula. It's a little denser and less creamy than the others, which actually makes it easier to handle and harder to go overboard. Plus, once it's on the skin, it's a whole different ballgame. It diffuses across the cheeks beautifully, feels incredibly lightweight, and the colour can be revved up gradually. The finish is on the matte side, which makes it long-lasting too. 

Nars Liquid Blush

(Image credit: Nars)

Nars Liquid Blush

Best cream blush for long-lasting colour

Specifications
Shade range: 4
Finish: Available in matte or shimmer
RRP: £26
Reasons to buy
+Pump dispenser+Great colour pay-off
Reasons to avoid
-Quick-drying

Nars is THE authority on blusher. There aren't many beauty lines where the shades are as iconic as the brand itself—hello 'Orgasm'. So why do I love this Liquid Blush? For starters, this is the only liquid in our list with a pump dispenser, which makes it user-friendly—squeeze straight on your fingertip to dot and blend across cheeks, or squirt some on the back of your hand and diffuse with a fluffy blusher brush for a softer effect. The pigment is so incredibly punchy that even with the most modest amount this can look a little full-on but a bit of speedy blending (the formula does dry fairly quickly) will soften the look. It must be the added tamanu and monoi oils that give this such a soft and silky feel—you need not worry that the colour will sit in lines or cake after a few hours. It looks entirely natural, like a second-skin.  

Chantecaille Cheek Gelée

(Image credit: Chantecaille)

Chantecaille Cheek Gelée

Best cream blush for dry skin

Specifications
Shade range: 3
Finish: Sheer
RRP: £40
Reasons to buy
+Multi-purpose+Intensely hydrating+Buildable colour
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey

This clever, understated formula benefits from both the fresh, featherlight feel of a gel with the unyielding staying power of a cheek stain. The hybrid gel-cream texture is ridiculously easy to apply and effortless to blend, even when applying on top of other makeup - no chance of pilling or caking. What is so appealing is the soft-focus, airy, 'like you but better' effect this blusher creates. The brand's own website labels this as a multi-use product. We obliged using the 'Happy' shade across the eyes, cheeks and lips, and actually this monotone effect is a shortcut to a modern and elegant makeup look. There's nothing not to love about this, except maybe the price, but when you consider how little of the blush is needed to create a beautiful, all-day flush, one of these little tubes is sure to go a long way.