There's a reason why you see cream blush on every makeup table backstage during fashion week and behind-the-scenes at photo shoots. Its balm-like texture creates a more natural finish on cheekbones, imparting both color and a dewy sheen that gives the illusion of glowy skin every time — plus, it gets bonus points for being wearable on lips and eyes, too. The best cream blushes should easily blend into your skin, meaning you shouldn't ever feel like you're pulling at your face to diffuse the color.
To get the best wear out of your cream blush, moisturize your skin and apply your foundation first (I find that liquid foundation or BB cream works better than a powder formula when using cream blush).
Undoubtedly, the easiest (and most fun) way to apply cream blush is with your fingers, as the warmth from your fingertips softens the blush for smoother blending. It also gives you more control over how much color ends up on your face, and it's more convenient when you're on the go. But, if you prefer not to get your hands messy, opt for a synthetic stippling brush instead.
No matter which method of application you choose, start by applying the cream blush on the apples of your cheeks and work it upwards and outwards (almost in a C shape). And always start with less blush than you think you need so you don't have to spend extra time blending and buffing away excess color. Oily skin types can set their cream blush with a powder or makeup setting spray to ensure it doesn't budge, but otherwise, it's completely fuss-free.
Find five of the best cream blushes on the market, below.
1. The Overall Best Cream Blush
Canmake Cream Cheek in Clear Red Heart
This Japanese makeup brand combines cute packaging with an unbeatable formula at a price point that's widely accessible. CanMake's Cream Cheek has more of a gel-like texture that melts into the skin while imparting a hint of color that's easily buildable. The blush is also formulated with squalene, which helps your skin retain moisture and provides a dewy finish. While this comes in eight poppy colors, the Clear Red Heart shade gets my pick for giving that your-flush-but-better finish.
2. The Cult-Favorite
Stila Convertible Color in Peony
Before cream blush became mainstream, Stila's Convertible Color was winning beauty awards for its two-in-one use as a cream blush and lip color. Easily blended onto cheeks with a brush or fingertips, shade Peony is a rosy-brown color that's suits every skin tone, leaving a warm, earthy flush behind.
3. Best Drugstore Pick
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush in Plum Wine
True to its name, Maybelline's Dream Bouncy Blush has a malleable texture that bounces back when you touch it. Its light formula melts right into skin and allows it to be layered on for a more intense finish. The drugstore range comes in 10 different shades to experiment with — from pale pinks to bright corals and a few deeper colors, like Plum Wine (shown here).
4. Best Natural Formula
Honest Beauty Crème Cheek Blush in Coral Peach
For a natural formula, actress Jessica Alba's Honest Beauty Crème Cheek Blush gets rave reviews for being free of potential skin-irritating ingredients like phthalates and synthetic fragrances. Instead, it's formulated with fruit extracts like apple, raspberry, and grape, that leave skin feeling hydrated. Though this bright orange color might look intimidating, it actually blends out into a soft, peachy hue for a healthy, sun-kissed effect.
5. Best For Travel
NARS The Multiple in Orgasm
Chances are you've used the brand's cult-favorite Orgasm blush in its powder form (or at least you've read about it a million times). The cream version comes in a stick compact that makes it easy to swipe directly onto cheeks while you're on the go, but it still produces the same pink-gold shimmer that makes skin look rosy and lit-from-within. The Multiple comes in 10 other shimmery options, plus, there are even matte formulas for anyone who prefers their flush sans sparkles.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.