We've Tried Hundreds of Blushes—These Are the 19 That Give Us the Perfect Flush

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@erin_jahns

I know saying we've tried "hundreds" of blushes sounds a bit dramatic, exaggerated, and completely blown out of proportion. Alas, in all sincerity, my fellow beauty editor Courtney Higgs and I truly have tried hundreds of formulas—many of which have left us completely underwhelmed. Sad but true. Finding your It blush, if you will, is a pretty magical experience. In fact, blush is one of the easiest, foolproof ways to look far more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with relatively minimal effort involved. Of course, tracking down the best blush to match your beauty MO and complement your skin type and skin tone can be annoyingly difficult. But that's where we (and our compiled years of testing) come in! 

Photo:

Courtney Higgs

From creams, gels, and balms to sticks, powders, and liquids, the industry has a lot to offer on the blush spectrum. From there, you have to choose a color and a finish (many offer matte and/or dewier or shimmering finishes), which just makes the whole process a tad daunting. How to choose? Luckily, Courtney and I wholeheartedly believe in the instantaneous witchcraft a damn good blush can bestow on a lackluster complexion. (Trust us—it's the perfect jolt to accent your morning coffee.) So we put our heads together and came up with a pretty epic list featuring 19 of the best blushes money can buy. From affordable options you can find nestled in your nearest drugstore to loftier investment pieces you'll cherish with skincare-grade ingredients, we have a blush-inducing treat to satisfy every type of color craving, budget, and beauty aesthetic. Keep scrolling! All of the best blushes, according to beauty editors, are just below. 

The Best Powder Blushes

Here it is, folks. If I could only wear one blush for the rest of my life, I would happily settle on this iconic compact from Hourglass. Flecked with light-catching shimmer, the mosaic-like pigments create an ultra-flattering, super-glowy result that reads believable and natural. If you're someone who likes a bit of color and radiance, this will be your jam. 

No best-of-the-best blush roundup could ever be complete without Nars. Its cult-classic shade Orgasm is probably the most famous beauty product in history, and no matter how many blushes have launched since its birth, it remains the omnipresent gold standard as far as amazing blushes go. And really, you can't go wrong with any of the brand's famous blush shades. Exhibit A is magic for deeper skin tones, and the soft, peachy shade Sex Appeal is a natural complexion enhancer for those with ultra-fair skin. 

Annoyingly, there are too many blushes on the market that don't have enough oomph and pigment to really make darker skin tones pop. We're making sure the blushes on this list aren't one of said blushes, but as far as supersonic pigment goes, it doesn't get much better than these dreamy, ultra-blendable blushes from Mented Cosmetics. You'll find stunning shades to naturally suit all skin tones. 

Truth be told, both Courtney and I run a little fanatical when it comes to all things Charlotte Tilbury. (We have yet to be disappointed in a single launch.) So of course, we have to give a special shoutout here to the brand's Cheek to Chic Blush. Unlike so many blushes that seem to vaporize into thin air two seconds after you apply them, Tilbury's dual-tone compact promises hardy, long wear with supreme buildability so you can achieve the perfect dose of color. Try dusting the outer shade across and around your cheekbones to sculpt and shade, then use the inner color right on top of the apples of your cheeks for a pop of glow and color. 

TheBalm Hot Mama! Shadow, Blush, and Highlighter
TheBalm Hot Mama! Shadow, Blush, and Highlighter

TheBalm is one of my favorite dark-horse beauty brands that no one seems to know about but absolutely should! Adorable packaging aside, the brand's blushes offer impressive, long-lasting stamina and plenty of cheek-flattering hues. There are so many great options, but Hot Mama is a standout and is very similar to Nars's Orgasm if I'm being honest! It's that same peachy-pink vibe with a subtle tinge of shimmer. 

Until these stunning blushes launched last year from cool and clean beauty brand Lawless, I just couldn't find a natural powder formula that met my standards of gusto. But I have to say, this selection is good, and whether you're a clean-beauty enthusiast or not, you'll absolutely fall for the velvety, talc-free formula, which comes in both radiant and matte options. (Personally, we're big fans of the matte over here!) Plus, skin-loving ingredients like shea butter, squalane, and sweet almond oil will do the work to help keep your cheeks flushed, plump, and hydrated. 

I discovered this blush from Tarte way back in high school, and to this day, it's remained one of my all-time favorite formulas. It's infused with lush, natural ingredients to keep your skin happy, and the color payoff is just so damn satisfying. Not to mention, it lasts and lasts and lasts, so you don't have to worry about retouching throughout the day. (That "12-hour" claim is not bologna!) I love using it as eye shadow as well for a pretty, monochromatic makeup vibe. It might look a little scary in the pan, but trust me—Natual Beauty (a versatile shade of rose-bitten red) is a nonnegotiable in our blush book.  

Last, but certainly not least, on our powder blush agenda is this blush and highlighter duo from Cover FX. Honestly, I think its sheer beauty speaks for itself, but the combination of color and cheekbone-enhancing luminosity is out of this world. It's talc-free, and the featherlight texture is an absolute dream for blending and sculpting purposes. 

The Best Cream, Gel, or Balmy Blushes

Within the beauty space, RMS's organic makeup formulas have a legion of extremely devout followers (from makeup artists to celebrities to beauty editors), and the brand's indulgently creamy blush is a definite standout. As the name suggests, feel free to use it on your lips and your cheeks, and you'll benefit from a hearty helping of pigment and high-wattage hydration. That said, if you're someone who breaks out easily, you might want to avoid this one—some of its secret-agent moisturizers (like cocoa-seed butter and shea butter) can cause congestion if you naturally run oily or are more acne prone. 

Glossier Cloud Paint will live on forever as one of the best blush formulas of all time. It's like applying a pillow to your face! I'm so obsessed that I own every dang color, and oddly, they're all equally flattering depending on the look I'm going for. I blame it on the brand's signature Special Blurring Pigments, which deliver a super-wearable soft-focus effect. I'm also a big fan of Courtney's trick of putting it on your lips and cheeks. (She demonstrates this beautifully in the above photo!) Fun fact: The brand has also just introduced two new colors to its lineup—Eve and Spark. 

There is a lot to love about Riri's Cheeks Out Freestyle Blush, but the range of colors—from a true Barbie pink to a bold, juicy orange to a balls-to-the-wall purple—just might be our favorite perk of this best-selling blush. 

Chantecaille Cheek Gelée Happy Hydrating Gel-Cream Blush
Chantecaille Cheek Gelée Happy Hydrating Gel-Cream Blush in Vibrant

Is it a gel? A cream? A stain? Truth be told, it's kind of all three. We love how glowing and radiant this makes our complexion look, but the sheer, long-lasting build is top-notch, too. 

Kosas has this super-special knack for giving us the best of all worlds thanks to its brand-wide commitment to making makeup so well crafted that it will actually improve your real skin, too. The brand's blushes are some of the best, and I love that you can choose your formula since it offers both cream and powder options. That being said, I'm especially infatuated with its creams, which melt and blend effortlessly into your skin for the perfect ratio of hydration and "I just jogged a mile like it's no sweat" color payoff. What's more (yes, there's more!), you'll also get a handy-dandy color-coordinated highlighter right alongside it. This shade, Tropic Equinox, looks more like a bronzer, and it is, indeed, bronzey, but it also gives the best natural-looking flush. You'll be hooked—promise! Try the High Intensity version if you have deeper skin and the regular if you are lighter. 

The Best Liquid Blushes

If you're a thrifty beauty shopper who loves a steal but never wants to sacrifice prestigious results, I highly recommend these liquid Blush Drops from Drew Barrymore's line, Flower Beauty. My mom is a bit of a beauty savant, so when she told me I had to try these super-affordable drops from Flower, I didn’t hesitate. Sure enough, this $10 drugstore find has quickly become one of my favorite blushes of all time. The colors are satisfyingly punchy with even heftier staying power. 

You've likely noticed a trending theme throughout this article. Courtney and I almost always agree on the exceptional nature of certain brands and products. Anything and everything Rare Beauty is yet another example. We're big fans of the foundation, concealer, and eye shadow palettes, but this liquid blush is really something else. The consistency is pillowy and completely weightless, but it somehow manages to stay put all damn day. It's soft and pretty, and you can pick your poison with finish since Selena Gomez did us a solid by launching matte and dewy options.

Perricone MD is such a dark horse when it comes to makeup. The brand creates truly exceptional skincare products, so you can bet its makeup formulas are equally ingenious—specifically tapping into the no-makeup makeup aesthetic that inspires the natural-looking flush of this liquid blush while simultaneously packing in a one-two punch of skincare-grade ingredients (like vitamin C and Chinese ginger) that will help even out and brighten your complexion over time. 

The Best Blush Sticks

Merit Flush Balm Cream Blush
Merit Beauty Flush Balm

You've maybe already noticed all of the Who What Wear editors shouting from the rooftops about this aptly named balm, but I'm here to yell about it some more. (Even my 73-year-old mom is hooked!) Unlike lots of clean and nontoxic blush formulas on the market, this one from Merit is noncomedogenic, so in other words, it won't clog your pores. The colors are downright drooly, and the transparent hit of color the stick deposits melts and blends seamlessly into your cheeks for a practically ethereal finish. It's so damn good, and I'm currently having a pretty mad affair with this hue, Cheeky, in particular. 

Okay, these divine blush sticks from legendary makeup artist Gucci Westman are, indeed, an investment. That said, if you have the bandwidth to really treat yourself, you won't regret this purchase. Courtney and I promise! The color range is so punchy and glorious. (I mean, I specifically dare you to apply this shade called Poppet and not immediately feel a lift in your mood!), and better yet, the ingredients are deliciously creamy, clean, and good for your skin to boot. 

Courtney and I routinely gush about all things Nudestix, but the brand's iconic blush sticks are really next-level when it comes to delivering the perfect ratio of dewy, multifunctional color. (You can use these puppies anywhere on your face!) Back in the old days when I used to have the pleasure of seeing Courtney IRL, she always used to say these do-it-all sticks were responsible for her lit-from-within complexion. Naturally, I adopted her routine, too. We both use this shade, Poppy Girl, on repeat.

Up next, The Internet Has Spoken, and These 8 Beauty Trends Are Already Winning 2021

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