Blush is one of the oldest forms of make-up—we’ve been making ourselves look vaguely, albeit prettily, embarrassed for millennia. Its use dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used to mix red ochre with fat to create a stain with which both men and women would paint their faces. Modern versions of the product have come a long way, obviously, but some of my favorite cream blushes keep things almost as simple as our old friends along the Nile: pigment plus natural oils equals a healthy glow. Cream formulations are also incredibly versatile: Dab a small amount on cheeks, lips, and, my personal favorite, eyelids for a minimalist look, or build up layers of pigment for a dramatic flushed effect that never looks cakey. They’re a foolproof way to light up your face and make you feel a little more “done.” Here, a selection of the absolute best, in varying shades and consistencies that work for everyone.
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For Natural Radiance
RMS’s cult favorite natural formula contains ultra-moisturizing ingredients like buriti oil and shea butter, which gives the skin a subtle flush with a dewy finish.
The Best Blush-Highlighter Duo
This Kosas set blends seamlessly for a foolproof “your cheeks…but better” look.
For a Subtle Glow
This creamy formula has a light, whipped consistency and comes in two universally flattering shades. Dab a little on the apple of your cheeks for a fresh-faced flush.
The New Classic
ILIA’s Multi-Stick is a genuine powerhouse product. With a perfectly calibrated concentration of pigment and a smooth application, this eco-friendly blush is a go-to.
The Best Gel Formula
The gel consistency of Chantecaille’s blush makes application a breeze, and the light shimmer delivers a radiant glow.
Best for On-The-Go Touchups
Subtl Beauty’s formula is nicely pigmented and pleasantly hydrating—and it fits in the tiniest of handbags.
The Best Multi-Use Product
This cream dries matte for a natural tint you can rock on cheeks, lips, and eyes.
For a Sun-Kissed Glow
Want to look like you’ve been idly lounging on a yacht all day? Tower28’s tinted balms deliver.
The Easiest to Apply
Like a crayon for your cheeks, this blush is as pretty as it is fun to use.
For That Old-Hollywood Look
This formula changes from cream to powder as it dries, giving your skin a lovely velvety texture and a nice dose of rosiness.
A Tried and True Favorite
You’ve heard it before, but for good reason. Glossier’s sheer gel-cream tint is the perfect, buildable formula.
The Best Hydrating Formula
This vibrant cream blush blends like a dream, thanks to Argan Oil and Vitamin E.