The Cream Blusher Edit: A Roundup of the Best
Main image – Sasha_Brazhnik/Adobe
I love blusher, I really do.
I love how it can make you look healthy and alert even when you’ve overdone it on the boxsets and only had 6 hours sleep. And I adore how one swipe of the right blusher shade can go from making you look like you haven’t seen the sun in two years to gorgeously holidayed (the sort of lazy girl makeup payoff I live for).
In fact, other than some under eye concealer (sadly less of want and more of a necessity in my case), if pushed I’d happily abandon all other products in favour of the perfect coral blusher. Although I admit mascara would be pretty hard to give up.
The only problem, though, was that until about 10 years ago most came in powder format and were pretty matte (with the occasional sprinkling of glitter).
And while that was great for oilier skin types or those who like a powder-like finish, for a long time there weren’t a lot of blushers that offered the sort of subtle, dewy look I spend my life in search of.
Luckily though all that’s changed over the past few years and now pretty much every makeup brand (and some skincare ones too) has got on board the cream blush train.
Perfect for anyone who likes their look on the no makeup-makeup side- as well as those with dry or sensitive skin- cream products typically come in an emollient (moisturising) base, giving them both a natural, healthy sheen at the same time as nourishing skin.
Their creamy formulas may not make them quite as long lasting as powder equivalents, but since they’re slightly more waterproof they do stand up well for active types or in warmer climes.
So if you’re thinking of taking the leap from powder to cream blusher (or just want to add to your existing collection), I’ve rounded up some of my all-time favourites for a natural-looking glow.
Best Cream Blusher for Dry Skin
Olio E Osso Tinted Balm
I just love this balm- truly a real favourite and I will be rebuying for years to come. Available in an impressive range of 15 shades, this balm was created by Paola LaMorticella after she couldn’t find anything to gently moisturise her baby son’s dry skin.
She was joined by businesswoman May Albano in 2014 and Olio E Osso was launched.
The result was a balm so natural it contains just 4 ingredients (or 5 in the case of the coloured balms) and all organic.
And while the original un-tinted version, No. 1 Clear, is still available, my own favourites are No. 2 French Melon, a fresh, bright coral that really wakes up the face, and No. 8 Persimmon, a deep burnt orange which looks gorgeous with a tan.
Able to be used on both the cheeks and lips, Olio E Osso’s balms are moisturising enough that I don’t need a separate lip product, portable enough that I can take them pretty much everywhere, and easy enough to use that even I and my total lack of makeup skills, can apply well.
Great for: Anyone who lives in the sun, active types and natural look fans. Those looking for an organic cream blush.
Not-so-great for: Very sensitive types, who might not enjoy the grapefruit essential oil here (although it does make these balms smell gorgeous). The balm also takes a little while to warm up on skin before it can be applied easily too, so it’s not quite as quick to use as some other cream blushes.
Best Affordable Cream Blusher
Colourpop Blush Stix
A really impressive budget buy, Colourpop’s line of 9 Blush Stix may not be the most natural ingredient-based, but they are both cruelty-free and ridiculously good quality for the price.
Highly pigmented and easy to use with fingers, these go on in one swipe and blend well. They’re also cheap enough that I don’t feel guilty buying a couple of different shades.
Great for: Budget buying and pigmentation.
Not-so-great for: Those who like their products free from silicones, since these have a dimethicone base. Also for ease of delivery since these have to be bought from their US website, making shipping a little longer. And finally, for some reason, the lettering always seems to come off my Colourpop Blush Stix- not a big deal, just not great for photos.
Best Cream Blush for Travel
Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator
One at the luxury end of the cream blush scale, Wander Beauty’s dual-ended product is perfect for anyone who likes their beauty quick and fuss-free- but can’t skip the highlighter.
Containing squalane to moisturise, this two-in-one product’s versatility makes it great for travel (which makes sense since that’s Wander Beauty’s brand philosophy), while its sleek, golden design makes it perfect for luxe lovers too.
Great for: Travel since this could theoretically be used for everything from lip colours to blusher, highlighter, and even eyeshadow.
Not-so-great for: The wallet, as this is pretty pricey. Also for those who don’t like silicones in their products as contains dimethicone.
Best Cream Blusher for Mature Skin
Kajer Weis Cream Blush
Possibly my favourite ever brand when it comes to packaging (all their cases are made of metal, are amazingly good quality, and completely refillable with no plastic waste), Kjaer Weis specialise in dewy, natural finishes.
So it’s no surprise that their own Cream Blush has a place in my list of favourites.
Highly pigmented, made from all-natural ingredients, and able to be used on all points of the face, this blusher actually offers a slightly more matte look than the others on this list.
The effect instead is more of a polished, sophisticated finish which oilier skin types or the glow-averse might enjoy. Meanwhile, the sweet almond and castor oils here making this a particularly moisturising and nourishing cream blush for dry, sensitive or mature skin.
Great for: Those who like their products cream-based but their finishes matte. Also, dry or mature skin types.
Not-so-great for: The price, which again is on the luxury end. The quality here really is outstanding though, and the refills are almost half the price, making this overall good value.
Best Cream Blusher for Oily Skin
Glossier Cloud Paint
Ok, so not strictly a cream blush- more of a liquid one- but still a great product and pretty good value.
Housed in silicone and glycerin formula, Glossier’s line of paint tube-inspired shades are both ridiculously good fun to apply and leave in their wake a really love wash of colour.
While they look super pigmented out of the tube (and seriously, if you spill them on anything just move house), they actually give a really subtle effect on skin which can be built up for more colour.
Natural-looking without being too glowy, oily skin types might enjoy this more than a typical cream blush since it doesn’t offer much of a sheen and its texture is very light too.
Great for: Anyone who still finds finger painting fun (so that’s everyone, yes?), because this is basically what applying this is. Also great for subtle makeup types or anyone who wants a career on Instagram- because these are seriously photogenic.
Not-so-great for: Natural ingredients. Again anyone whose skin doesn’t get on with silicones as this contains several.
And Some Tips for Applying
Since cream blusher generally has a different texture to powder blush, there are a couple of different tips that can really help to ramp up the glow:
- Application is more versatile than you’d think: While I normally use my fingers to apply cream blusher, those more used to using beauty tools will be pleased to know that a normal blusher brush can work just as well, helping to diffuse the product subtly across the cheek (just be aware that cleaning your brushes afterwards is definitely a little more work with cream products). Equally a damp beauty sponge can really help to lock in moisture and even make an already dewy formula seriously glowy.
- For even more glow, you can turn a slightly more matte product into something more wet look my mixing your chosen cream blush with a (very) small amount of facial oil on the back of your hand.
- And finally, if you’re applying cream blusher with a powder foundation, use your blusher first before dusting over it with your foundation layer- this will help both to set your products as well as avoiding removing any layers you don’t want to.
Ideal for those who like a natural glow, or sportier types who need something quick to apply which will stay in place, cream blushers are pretty much my favourite makeup type.
Available from budget buys to luxury prices, there’s also a cream blush to suit pretty much everyone- from dry skin to oily and glow addicts to matte lovers.