If you’re on the eternal search for the right make-up look to achieve that dewy, radiant, lit-from-within glow, then it’s time to explore the wonders of cream blush. For years, I stayed away from blush in general—I just didn’t think it was really my thing, and I associated it with that caked-on, aggressively overdone look of a different generation.
Over the past two years, though, I’ve entirely changed my tune and become a total convert, to the point where I don’t think my makeup routine is complete before adding a touch of blush to my cheeks and the bridge of my nose. That’s largely due to my discovery of cream blushes, which are the perfect way to attain a natural flush for that “just got back from the beach” aesthetic, even when it’s the dead of winter and you can’t remember the last time you caught a glimpse of the sun.
Cream blushes give a natural, dewy pop of color, and they don’t cake, unlike many of their powder counterparts. Cream blush tends to be lighter and more buildable, too, which makes it quite easy to apply, even for a beauty novice. It’s all about finding the right formula, of course; you want a product that’s sheer yet buildable, and won’t sink down your face (or just disappear altogether) by the end of the day, and serious bonus points to all the cream blushes with moisturizing (but not greasy) ingredients. While I usually apply cream blush by tapping it in with my fingers, you can also use your favorite blush brush; one that has soft, long bristles is best.
Now that you’ve surely been convinced that you absolutely must add a cream blush to your makeup repertoire, see our favorite cream blushes to try right now.
All products featured are independently selected by Observer editors. When you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission that supports our work.
The Best Cream Blushes
Merit Flush Balm
Merit is all about a simple, minimalist routine, but even the truest make-up junkies will fall in love with Flush Balm. It comes in a variety of shades, but I’m partial to the cool pink “Cheeky” color, which adds the perfect “just got back from a brisk walk” flush. The balm-like formula is incredibly easy to apply; I like to directly pat the actual balm onto my cheeks and then tap it in with my fingers.
Cle De Peau Beaute Cream Blush
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Cle De Peau blush, but after just one use, I was a total convert, including telling anyone and everyone who would listen that it is, indeed, possible to achieve the perfect beach glow in the dead of winter, and it’s all because of this particular rouge. Full disclosure, my favorite shade was a limited-edition holiday color (a peachy-pink tone fittingly named Winter’s Magic), but the other hues are also lovely. It blends like a dream, and I love adding a touch on the bridge of my nose, too.
Tata Harper Vitamin-Infused Cream Blush in Spicy
As a loyal Tata Harper skincare fan, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their vitamin-infused blush last year. The clean skincare maven did not disappoint; it’s a creamy, lightweight formula that didn’t irritate my sensitive skin, and is both blendable and buildable. This particular terracotta-peach shade gives skin a sunkissed-glow that is just as appropriate in the spring and summer as the dead of winter.
Jones Road Lip and Cheek Stick in Mauve Rose
Who doesn’t love a multitasking product? Bobbi Brown’s clean skincare line is all about that no-make-up make-up look, like this Lip and Cheek stick that offers a subtle touch of color to liven up your face. You can’t go wrong with this mauve shade, which gives a natural, barely-there tint, and also happens to very easily fit in even the smallest of purses.
Colour Of Passion Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow in Colour of Passion
Celebrity-adored makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury can do no wrong in my eyes; her products never miss. While the CT Beauty Light Wand is getting most of the attention right now, don’t overlook the Pillow Talk Lip & Cheek Glow, which is also *constantly* sold out. The shades are pigmented but don’t look costume-y or cake-y; instead, they give a luminescent yet natural glow, and also happen to function as a lovely lip stain.
Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek Blush
This rose-y blush and lip duo is creamy, buildable and so easy to blend out, without any unsightly streaking. It’s also made with hydrating, skincare-focused ingredients, and has a super smooth application.
Jillian Dempsey Cheek Tint
This cheek tints is like a velvety balm; it’s super pigmented, blends so well and you only need one dab to get a lovely flush, though those that want even *more* color can always add another swipe or two.
Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh Cream Blush Stick
Of course Victoria Beckham absolutely killed it with her beauty line; these creamy blush sticks are up there with easiest applications; just directly dab it onto your cheeks, or use a brush or you fingers if you prefer. They go on so smooth, don’t move down your face and add a fresh-faced, natural flush to your look.
Chantecaille Cheek Gelée
This creamy blush has a gel-like, almost liquid-y texture. It’s hydrating and goes on so smooth, and also functions as an eye color.
I love all things Ilia (the clean beauty brand’s Super Serum Skin Tint is a mainstay in my routine), and their multi-stick is perfect for a natural hint of color that works not just for a minimalist rosy cheek, but also on your lips and even your eyes. And, of course, I always like to dab a touch on my nose.
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick
This Chanel blush is ridiculously easy to apply; I like to directly dab it onto my cheeks (and anywhere else I want a little rosy flush). It has a bit of shimmer to it, which is perfect when you want more of a highlight, too. I even like to use certain shades on my eyes.
Tower28 BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm
You can’t go wrong with this multitasking tinted balm; it’s sheer but entirely buildable, and gives such a good sun-kissed look. This one is great to keep in your bag, as it’s so simple to apply and touch up throughout the day, whenever you want a little extra color.
Hourglass Vanish Blush Stick
If you want a more matte cream blush, try this Hourglass formula. Don’t be intimidated by the pigmented shades, as it goes on sheer at first, but you can always add a few more layers, as it doesn’t get thick or sticky.
RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek
Not only will this lip and cheek tint add light and color to your face, but it’s also packed with amazing moisturizing ingredients like buriti oil, shea butter and coconut butter. It’s great for all skin types, though those with dry skin will especially benefit from the hydrating formula.