13 Blushes Perfect for a Rosy Glow

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Nothing against concealer or mascara, but blush might very well be our desert island makeup must. It’s one product and step in your routine that can make a major (and we mean major) difference. According to New York City-based makeup artist Taylor Fitzgerald blush can create so many finishes to the skin depending on where you place it. "Blush on the apples for a natural flush, or above the cheekbone for a lift, or applying it on the nose for a sun kissed finish," she adds.

That being said, not all blushes are created equal, and the last thing you want is a formula that’s going to end up streaking and smearing or a non-blendable version that leaves you with clown cheeks.

Fear not, the blushes below—a mix of silky powders, blendable creams, and more— are the best of the best.

Our Top Picks
This blush flatters all skin tones and gives an amazing flush of color to the skin.
This baked blush has legions of fans, thanks to its affordable price point and blendable formula.
This cream blush is easy to throw in your bag for on-the-go application and can be applied with just your fingertips.
The antithesis of a chalky powder blush, this one combines colored pigments with finely crushed pearls.
It may be the powder version of this blush that’s most well-known, but don’t miss out on this liquid version.
Chock-full of Amazonian clay, the formula helps control oil and shine, while balancing your complexion.
Available in 15 shades, there’s a version of this stick formula for every skin tone.
Best for Fair Skin Tones:
Glossier Cloud Paint at Glossier.com
These luxurious blushes are perfect for porcelain skin tones.
Best for Deep Skin Tones:
MAC Cosmetics Powder Blush at Ulta
This classic comes in more than 42 different colors, including options that are stunning on dark skin.
We’d been hard-pressed to find a legitimately good gel or cream blush from a drugstore brand—until this one.

Best Overall: Nars Blush in Orgasm X

nars blush in orgasm
What We Like
  • Warm, beautiful color

  • Looks amazing on different skin tones

  • Applies smoothly

What We Don't Like
  • Some shades could be more pigmented

"There are tons of great blushes to choose from, but this one from Nars is hands down the best choice since it flatters all skin tones and gives an amazing flush of color to the skin," says makeup artist Aleetha Clanton. "This blush looks good with or without foundation, and can be worn with daytime or evening makeup.”

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Matte, shimmer, satin | Shades: 19 | Size: 0.2 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Budget: Milani Baked Blush

Milani baked blush
What We Like
  • Easy to blend

  • Luminous, pigmented finish

  • Sits well with foundation and under a mask

  • Accessible price point

What We Don't Like
  • Product has lots of fallout

Blendable formula? Check. Silky texture? Check. Range of flattering colors and affordable price? Check and check. The powder is baked on Italian terracotta tiles, making for an ultra-smooth feel, and each of the four shades is multi-dimensional, creating the perfect, natural-looking flush every time.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Shimmer | Shades: 8 | Size: 0.1 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

What Our Testers Say

"I enjoyed my experience with Milani's Baked Blush, as it added a nice pop of color and luminous finish that sat well over my foundation all day long." — Celeste Polanco, Product Tester

Best Cream: Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Crème Pigment

Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Creme Pigment
What We Like
  • Easy to apply

  • Warm, beautiful shades

  • Pigmented

What We Don't Like
  • A little expensive

The brand describes the texture of this product as “dewy matte,” which admittedly sounds oxymoronic—until you actually test it out for yourself. It leaves skin glowy, but not wet or shiny looking, and with a beautiful wash of color.

Speaking of, we’d be remiss not to mention the line-up of 11 shades, which include both standard pinks and peaches, along with a tangerine, deep plum, and surprisingly beautiful mauve. Also nice: It can be applied with your fingertips, sponge, or a brush.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Dewy matte | Shades: 9 | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Powder: Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blush

Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic
What We Like
  • Gives skin a glow

  • Customizable shades

  • Goes on very light

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to build up

The complete antithesis of any chalky powder blush you’ve ever come across, this one combines colored pigments with finely crushed pearls. The end result? Not only a silky smooth texture but a gorgeously radiant finish as well, further amped up by the subtle gold flecks in each shade.

Speaking of, there are eight available though you can’t go wrong with Pillow Talk or Pillow Talk Intense, two universally-flattering options that take their cue from the best-selling lipstick with the same name. Also nice: There are two corresponding colors in each compact, which can be used individually or swirled together.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Radiant | Shades: 9 | Size: 0.3 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Liquid: NARS Cosmetics Liquid Blush

NARS Liquid Blush in Orgasm
What We Like
  • Blends into skin seamlessly

  • Very pigmented

  • Gives skin a glow

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for acne-prone skin

It may be the powder variant of this blush that’s most well-known, but don’t miss out on this liquid take on the classic. Infused with monoi and tamanu oils, it’s beautifully blendable; warm a drop between your fingertips then dab into the apples of your cheek. It has that same beloved, universally-flattering peachy-apricot color, which can also be layered if you want to amp up the intensity.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Shimmer | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.5 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Matte: Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze

Nudestix Matte Blush
What We Like
  • Buffing brush included

  • Range of pretty shades

  • Can be used on eyes and lips

What We Don't Like
  • Could be longer lasting

Prefer to steer clear of shimmer? Opt for this stick, a go-to for Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus. The rosy bronze hue gives you the best of the blush and bronzer worlds combined, though in a totally matte finish. Bonus points for the included buffing brush housed on the other end.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Matte, shimmer | Shades: 12 | Size: 0.3 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Stick: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick
What We Like
  • Range of vibrant, shimmery shades

  • Can be used to highlight

  • Made to suit many skin tones

What We Don't Like
  • Can go on a little streaky

We’ve sung the praises of stick formulations time and time again, and this is one of our favorites. Available in 15 shades, there’s something for every skin tone, not to mention that there are options that can be used as a highlighter and/or a blush. (Plus, the packaging is magnetized so if you buy more than one you can easily keep them together.) The formula is lightweight and creamy, though dries down to a powdery finish.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Shimmer | Shades: 15 | Size: 0.3 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Fair Skin Tones: Glossier Cloud Paint

glossier cloud paint
What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Melts into skin

  • Great everyday shades

What We Don't Like
  • Takes some finessing to apply

Finding the right blush can often prove tricky for those with paler skin; go too bright and you can easily look clownish, definitely not the intended effect. Enter the beauty of both this formula and specific shade. A gel-cream hybrid, it’s just pigmented enough, yet still so sheer that you really can’t overdo it. (And perhaps best of all it’s meant to be dabbed on with your fingertips.) As far as color goes, the cool, pale pink is especially flattering on lighter complexions and never comes across as too bubble gum-like.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Satin | Shades: 8 | Size: 0.3 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Deep Skin Tones: MAC Cosmetics Powder Blush

MAC Powder Blush
What We Like
  • Inclusive shade range

  • Silky finish

  • Applies smoothly

What We Don't Like
  • May irritate very sensitive skin

For darker complexions, more “traditional” blush colors such as pink or peach just won’t cut it. Happily, this classic comes in over 42 different colors, including options like a punchy fuchsia, bright rose-red, and deep raisin that are stunning on dark skin. No matter which shade you choose, you still get a beautifully silky finish from the non-powdery powder; credit the addition of nourishing vitamin E in the formula.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Matte | Shades: 9 | Size: 0.2 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel Cream Blush

Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush
What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Lightweight

  • Natural-looking shades

What We Don't Like
  • Can be difficult to blend

We’d been hard-pressed to find a legitimately good gel or cream blush from a drugstore brand…until this one came across. TBH, it’s a pretty good dupe for the Glossier Cloud Paint we mentioned earlier and rings in at a very affordable price. The oil-free, water-based formula feels delightful and weightless on the skin, has a dewy finish, and comes in an array of six shades with options for all skin tones.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Satin | Shades: 6 | Size: 0.3 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Sheer: Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush

Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Soft Pinch Liquid Blush
What We Like
  • Goes on sheer and smooth

  • Matte and radiant finishes available

  • Pretty packaging

What We Don't Like
  • May cling to dry patches

As Byrdie Senior Editor Holly Rhue so eloquently put it this is, “a blush for people afraid of blush.” A standout from Selena Gomez’s new line, the liquid formula is pretty much foolproof, it’s that sheer, though has such a nice finish that it’s sure to convert even powder blush devotees. It comes in four shades, all of which are available in both matte and radiant finishes, another nice touch.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Matte, radiant | Shades: 11 | Size: 0.3 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multi-Purpose Color: Tower 28 Beauty BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm

Tower 28 BeachPlease Luminous Tinted Balm
What We Like
  • Goes on sheer and smooth

  • Vegan

  • Vibrant shades

What We Don't Like
  • Packaging could be improved

Byrdie Social Media Editor Star Donaldson hearts this do-it-all, which looks equally gorgeous dabbed on lips, cheeks, or lid. The squeaky clean formula is also super hydrating, and it comes in three gorgeous shades. The color payoff definitely veers more toward the sheer end of the spectrum, though can be layered for those who want a bit more pop.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Radiant | Shades: 6 | Size: 0.2 oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Natural: Kjaer Weiss Cream Blush

Kjaer Weiss Cream Blush
What We Like
  • Melts into skin

  • Rich, pigmented shades

  • Dewy finish

What We Don't Like
  • Could be longer lasting

A 2020 Byrdie Eco Beauty Award-winner, you can feel confident this is a squeaky clean product. It’s also a choice pick for Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue, who raves about both the creamy consistency and array of flattering shades. It melts pretty much instantly, sinking into the skin for a truly fresh-faced flush. Plus, there are 11 shades available, an impressive number for a blush.

Coverage Level: Buildable | Finish: Shimmer, satin | Shades: 11 | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

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