For a healthy glow, just dab and go - these are the best cream blushers on the market today
Powder blusher is great for a classic matte look, but for a healthy glow and natural, dewy finish, you really can’t beat a cream blusher. Simple to apply and super-flattering, cream blusher can be worn alone or over a light blemish balm (BB) cream for a fresh and healthy flush of colour that makes you look like you just got back from an invigorating walk.
Cream blusher, as a concept, isn’t especially new: liquid blushers made from crushed berries and sandalwood extract date back to the Roman era. Taking a degree of inspiration from these natural cheek paints of the past, modern cream formulas not only blend seamlessly for a beautifully natural look, but also boast skin-loving ingredients to hydrate, nourish and protect, helping your skin look its best from the inside out.
Cream and liquid blushers have a sheer finish and are easy to blend and build layer by layer, so you can add as much colour as you like. As they’re more hydrating than powder and won’t fall into lines and creases, they’re particularly good for dry and mature skins. Slightly denser gel and stick formulas can also be a good choice for oilier skins.
We’ve picked our favourite cream, liquid and gel blushers in a range of formulas to suit your skin type and budget.
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How to choose the best cream blusher for you
What types of cream blusher are there?
Cream blusher is similar in texture to a concealer and usually comes in a palette or stick. Cream blushers appear very pigmented in the package but become sheer when applied to the cheeks, and typically give a dewy, slightly shimmery finish.
Liquid blusher is more fluid than a cream and usually comes in a tube or applicator bottle. Liquid blushers give a very pretty, natural finish that’s slightly more matte than a dewy cream.
Gel (or jelly) blusher is denser than a cream blusher and is great for oily skins (or for all skins in hot, humid weather), as the slightly dryer formula won’t simply slide off. Gel blusher is a great way to get a sheer version of long-wearing colour.
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Should I choose a cream blusher or a powder blusher?
Powder blusher is great for a very classic, matte look, and sits very well with other powder products. So, if you’re doing a look with full coverage foundation, bronzer and pressed powder, a powder blusher will blend well with the rest of your make-up. Oilier skins might prefer the mattifying effect of the powder. Powder blusher is better suited to a stronger, more graphic application and also tends to last longer on a single application.
Cream blusher, on the other hand, is good if your overall look is light and fresh, and sits very well on bare skin, or over a primer or BB cream. Cream or gel blusher can also be applied over foundation as part of a fuller look. It will tend to blend into foundation a little more than powder, so it’s less suitable if you want a strongly pigmented look. Cream blusher can wear off a little through the day, so you might want to keep a tube or stick with you for touch-ups on the go.
Cream and powder blusher can be used together for a stronger colour and long-lasting finish. If you’re combining blusher types, start with the cream blusher and layer the powder blusher over the top.
How to apply cream blusher
Cream or gel blusher couldn’t be easier to apply. Just dab your fingers onto the palette or stick, and press lightly onto the cheeks where you’d like a flush of colour. The warmth of your fingers will slightly melt the cream, making it easy to spread and blend. Placing your fingers on the apple of your cheeks and sweeping up toward your temples will give your face a fresh, lifted look.
Cream blusher can also be applied with a large, fluffy brush if you prefer: dot your brush into the palette and sweep on your cheeks as you usually would, with light, sweeping motions.
Liquid blusher can be gently dotted onto the cheeks from the applicator tube or bottle, or squeezed onto the back of the hand before dabbing onto the cheeks with the fingertips as for cream or gel blusher.
It really is as simple as that. Now, just dab and go!
How we test cream blusher
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete understanding of a product. As such, we personally test all of the cream blushers in the roundup, either at home or in-store.
We first note the formulation of the blusher – whether it’s a cream, a gel/jelly or a liquid – and use the blusher as directed, applying it with either fingertips or a brush. We note the pigmentation and coverage of the product, how well colour builds and blends with additional layers and how well the blusher sits both on bare skin and on top of foundation. We then wear the blusher over the course of a typical day, taking care to note any issues with caking or patchiness, and how long a single application of the blusher lasts. We also note how comfortable the blusher feels on the skin, the fragrance of the product and the overall ease of use, including the packaging design and how much product is required to achieve the desired effects.
The best cream blushers you can buy in 2023
1. NARS The Multiple: Best multitasking cream blush
Price: £30 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
When cream blushers made a resurgence in the early 2000s, cult French brand NARS launched its The Multiple cream stick as a hardworking multi-use cream blusher and highlighter in flattering shades that can be used on cheeks, lips and eyes. The Multiple hasn’t stopped selling since, and is a great introduction to cream blush. The sheer colour has a gentle shimmer, and the product feels velvety-soft. Acai and Vitamin E help keep the skin soft and healthy, too.
The stick is convenient to keep in a handbag and super easy to use: just dab on straight from the stick and pat with fingers to spread the soft and super-blendable formula.
Key specs – Pack size: 14g
2. Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle cream blush: Best for long wear
Price: £19 | Buy now from Boots
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty range exploded onto the scene in 2017 and immediately impressed models, beauty editors and everyday folk alike with its colour range and quality formulas. Fenty’s Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush follows in that vein, being a sheer and light cream blush in a range of ten very wearable shades that give a fresh and healthy flush to all skin shades with just a tap of the fingers. The pretty veil of colour feels smooth on the skin, and the cruelty-free and water-resistant formula will last all day. We can’t guarantee that you’ll look like Rihanna if you use this blusher, but we certainly love the pretty flush this gives.
Key specs – Pack size: 10ml
3. Glossier Cloud Paint: Best for a modern, matte finish
Price: £15 | Buy now from Glossier
Cloud Paint is one of hip beauty brand Glossier’s most popular products, and with good reason. The lightweight gel-cream formula comes in eight flattering, just-been-to-the-gym shades that build on the cheeks from a sheer wash to a pop of pretty colour. Where some cream blushes favour a dewy shimmer, Cloud Paint gives a more matte finish that combines well with modern, minimal make-up looks. Made with hydrating glycerin and plumping collagen, Cloud Paint feels soft and comfortable on the skin, and a simple pat with the fingers will leave you looking freshly flushed all day.
Key specs – Pack size: 3g
4. Flower Beauty Blush Bomb: Best budget cream blush
Price: £9 | Buy now from Superdrug
Fenty Beauty isn’t the only celebrity-led make-up brand in town – and, like Fenty, Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty range has impressed with its good-quality products at affordable prices. The vegan and cruelty-free brand’s Blush Bomb is a tube of pretty gel-cream colour, similar in formula and colour effect to Cloud Paint but at just over half the price. If we have a quibble, it’s that the colour range is slightly limited (the six available shades sit a little better on light to medium-toned skin, with fewer options for darker skin), but the gel blush goes on smoothly and blends beautifully for a natural, healthy flush.
Key specs – Pack size: 22g
5. Trinny London Flush Blush: Best for mature skins
Price: £20 | Buy now from Trinny London
Cream blush is a great way to add a flush of colour to dry or more mature skins, as it blends into the skin where powders tend to sit on top, which can highlight fine lines and creases. This velvety-soft cream blush from stylist Trinny Woodall’s Trinny London line gives a flattering glow to all skin types. The hydrating creamy formula blends easily, and Flush Blush comes in a good range of shades to suit all skin tones. The product comes in a little pot that sits neatly in your handbag, and can be stacked with other Trinny London products to complete your desired look.
Key specs – Pack size: 4g
6. Shiseido Minimalist Whipped Powder Blush: Best luxury blush
Price: £35 | Buy now from Look Fantastic
Japanese brand Shiseido is known for the quality of its ingredients, and this gorgeous cream-to-powder blusher looks and feels beautiful on the skin. The highly pigmented mousse-cream is formulated with silicone powder for a smooth and dewy finish, and whipped with micro-bubbles of air to help the product glide smoothly and diffuse evenly across the skin. The blusher dries to a modern, matte finish and will stay in place for up to eight hours. It’s not cheap but, if you have the budget for a luxury product, the colour result is beautiful and a little really does go a long way.
Key specs – Pack size: 5g
7. Milk Lip + Cheek: Best conditioning formula
Price: £16.50 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Another multitasking product similar to The Multiple, vegan brand Milk’s Lip + Cheek stick is great for adding a pop of colour to lips and cheeks in an instant. Simply swipe once for a sheer flush, or twice for a stronger pop of colour, and your look is done. The product is rich in nourishing ingredients including avocado and apricot oils to keep lips and cheeks soft and radiant from the inside out. Vegan and cruelty-free, Lip + Cheek comes in a convenient twist-up pack so you can swipe on whenever you feel like sweeping on a bit of colour.
Key specs – Pack size: 6g
8. NARS Liquid Blush: Best for a popping pigment
Price: £26 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
If The Multiple is the original and the best, this long-lasting and intensely pigmented liquid blusher brings NARS’ own classic formula into the 2020s. Perfect for a full-coverage look, this liquid formula will give your cheeks a lovely wash of colour in one pump. Choose from matte or shimmer options, all enriched with nourishing plant oils for a finish that feels comfortable and looks great. Wear on its own for a natural and long-lasting look or, for an even stronger pop of colour, NARS Liquid Blush can be layered with a powder blush. A classic made modern.
Key specs – Pack size: 15ml