Certain beauty products are fairly fool-proof to apply. Moisturizer, for example, or even mascara is hard to mess up. And while it may seem like one of the most straightforward beauty categories out there, blush can be divisive: Not only are there dozens of subcategories broken down by color, texture or even application method, but even makeup artists are split on the best way to apply blush. In fact, finding the best blush for you means starting with your goal. Are you looking for a believable flush to open up your face, or more of a bold look that adds dimension? Luckily, we found four experts to weigh in on the best cream, liquid and powder blushes, plus the best techniques for applying them.
How to find the best blush shade for your skin tone
First things first: Know that the best blush for someone else might not be the best choice for you — especially if your skin and undertones are different.
“The easiest way to find a blush best suited for your skin tone is by first figuring out your undertone,” says Sandra Saenz, KVD Beauty global veritas artistry ambassador. “If you’re looking for something subtle, look for a shade that reflects your undertone. If you’re looking for a bolder look, choose a shade on the opposite spectrum of your undertone.”
For example, those with warm undertones who want a believable flush should look for a blush with warm undertones. “Alternatively, if someone with a warm undertone is looking for a bold blush, they should reach for a shade with a cooler undertone,” Saenz adds.
If you’re still not sure, makeup artist Ashleigh B. Ciucci says there’s one shade that’s universally flattering: “If you’re really stuck, pick anything with a peachy feel, from light peach to fair to burnt peach for deeper skin tones,” she says. “This type of flush brightens your face immediately.”
How to apply blush
One thing every makeup artist agrees on: The best technique depends both on the texture of the product, as well as the desired outcome, though there are a few underlying truths. “When applying any kind of blush, start by applying a light layer and then build up to your desired intensity,” says Crunchi makeup artist and product innovation lead Kristen Fortier. “For a liquid or cream blush, I find it best to apply with the warmth of the fingers. This helps melt the blush into the skin and give it the most natural application.”
Both Ciucci and celebrity makeup artist Brittany Whitfield, who works with Ed Sheeran and Jesse Williams, prefer to apply a liquid or cream blush with their fingertips, but Whitfield also loves to layer. “Ideally, I’d use a cream blush, then set it with a powder blush for staying power.”
In the same vein, Saenz also recommends applying cream or liquid blush with your fingers. “You can always buff out with a makeup sponge to blend into the skin for a seamless finish, as well.”
Best cream blushes
$20 at Sephora
Ciucci says she generally prefers cream blush because “it allows the skin’s texture to show through at all times. Even if you have oily skin, you can keep your cheeks glowy while the rest of your skin is more matte. It takes a little more upkeep but it’s so worth the payoff.” Tower28’s is her go-to, and it’s a favorite of Whitfield’s, too.
Ciucci uses this cream blush on clients — and herself. It features dual ends for added dimension to your makeup look.
$40 at Charlotte Tilbury
One of the original cult-favorite beauty lines, this cream blush from Charlotte Tilbury offers a just-been-kissed glow.
$22 at Sephora, Ulta and Fenty Beauty
Another favorite of Ciucci’s, Fenty Beauty’s top-rated blush blends beautifully, according to the makeup artist and many reviewers.
$38 at Sephora
Whitfield’s go-to cream blush offers a two-in-one benefit of a highlighter, too. The dual-ended stick makes it a perfect multi-purpose makeup product for travel.
Best liquid blushes
$20 at Glossier
“Liquid blush is the answer when you’re going for a bare-faced look,” says Ciucci, who loves Glossier Cloud Paint in Eve. “Because it’s best on naked skin, I love it for subtle beach glam or running errands when you want to look alive.”
From $18 at Sephora
“When using liquid blush I like to apply to bare skin — don’t be afraid to go overboard — and then apply my tinted moisturizer and foundation on top,” Ciucci says. “The flush will come from within.” Benefit’s Benetint is one of her favorites, and it also doubles as a lip stain.
Another favorite of Ciucci’s, this budget-friendly pick is highly rated. The creamy, liquid formula is buildable and blendable, making it beginner-friendly, too.
$30 at Sephora
A cult favorite for years, this Nars pick is a favorite of Whitfield’s. It comes in three shades, including the brand’s signature peachy pink Orgasm.
$11.99 From $4.27 at Amazon
Whitfield also recommends this under-$10 option that has hundreds of 5-star reviews.
$28 at Sephora, Ulta and KVD Beauty
“My ultimate favorite blush is the KVD Beauty ModCon Liquid-Gel Blush,” says Saenz, an ambassador for the brand. “It’s just so easy to use and gives an absolutely beautiful finish that doubles as a highlighter thanks to the luminous sheen. I’ve gone through so many tubes of this blush, especially Dewality and Luminairy, which are my top favorite shades.”
Best powder blushes
Doing a full face of photo-ready makeup? Ciucci recommends a powder blush “for a full beat.” She explains, “If you were to use a cream blush on top of foundation, concealer and powder, it would break down the layers of makeup you’ve built. Shimmery powder blushes are my go-to because they’re easier to blend than matte and they still maintain a glow.” Nars’ powder blush is one of her go-tos.
From $2.98 at Amazon
Whitfield’s go-to is this under-$5 pick. It boasts over 4,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, and reviewers love its shimmery finish and easy-to-blend formula.
$28 at Sephora, Ulta and KVD Beauty
“This is my favorite powder blush,” says KVD global veritas artistry ambassador Saenz. “I love shades Foxglove and Rosebud for lighter skin, Snapdragon for darker skin and Poppy is great on all skin tones for a bold finish.”
$32 at Crunchi
“My go-to powder blushes are Crunchi’s Cheekmate Blush,” shares Fortier, makeup artist and product innovation lead at Crunchi. It’s a powder formula that comes in three gorgeous shades that work great for all skin tones.
$45 at Sephora
Another favorite of Ciucci’s, this powder blush from Dior is top-rated. The Poison Matte shade gives a flush of berry color and reviewers love that the powder formula lasts all day.
Sweep this MUA-favorite over your cheekbones for a contoured look. The palette includes three universal shades that work for a multitude of makeup styles.
$42 at Nordstrom
Another favorite of Whitfield’s, this sculpting blush comes in eight shades that deliver a luminous glow.
Best blush brushes
$25 at Sephora
While Whitfield is loyal to a discontinued Morphe Brush, she says the Smith 131 and Anastasia Beverly Hills A23 brushes are solid replacements.
$38 at Crunchi
“For powder blushes, I like to use a structured but fluffy brush like Crunchi’s No. 4 Angled Blush Brush,” says Fortier. “It fits the angle of the cheeks perfectly and blends powder blushes easily.”
$38 at KVD Beauty
“Not only is this brush great for applying blush, but it’s also perfect to set makeup when paired with a setting powder, and even works for bronzer, too!” Saenza says. “As a makeup artist, I love having brushes in my kit that have a dual purpose.”