If you're looking to achieve that fresh-looking, lit-from-within glow, cream blush is a must. Buttery-smooth formulas make it easy to add a natural-looking flush, and unlike their powdery counterparts, they're hydrating, often nourishing, and super blendable. Many can even be applied with your fingers, making them ideal for on-the-go glam.
Byrdie Tested & Approved
According to our testers, Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Cream Blush was the best overall product they tried—they loved its hydrating formula and buildable pigment. For a more budget-friendly alternative, we recommend Milani's Cheek Kiss Cream Blush, which our testers thought was lightweight and dried down quickly.
You can find cream blushes in stick form, as well as options that come in little pocket-sized pots. Then there are sheer, long-wear, and cream-to-powder formulas in just about every color. "Just like with foundation, you need to tailor it to your own needs," says makeup artist Andreea Ali. "You can have different finishes like matte, satin, or slightly shimmery, so it all depends on your preference."
To help you find the right option, we researched today's top-rated, bestselling cream blushes. After putting nearly 30 to the test, we narrowed it down to the most flattering formulas with blendable textures.
These are the best cream blushes tested by Byrdie.
Best Overall: Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Cream Blush
We tried lots of great formulas, but Anastasia Beverly Hills is in a league of its own. The brand's Stick Cream Blush feels smooth and hydrating on both your face and fingers. Our tester said it was "creamy from start to finish" and appreciated the non-sticky texture. She found it to be super blendable, even with just her fingers, but you can also use the handy built-in brush to buff it in near your cheekbones.
This blush melted into our tester's skin and felt comfortably lightweight. Once blended, her cheeks had a nice glowy radiance and a natural-looking flush. There are five colors to choose from to flatter a range of skin tones. Our tester said the radiant finish gave her fair complexion "a little oomph" without looking too shimmery for everyday use.
Since the formula is somewhat sheer, you won't get a ton of pigment with a single swipe. However, it's very buildable, so you can achieve the exact level of color you want without accidentally overdoing it. The price is steep, but if you ask us, it's worth it.
Shades: 5 | Finish: Radiant | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"There was a nice radiance on my cheeks, so the finish was very natural, glowy, and beautiful."—Gibreel Martinez, Product Tester
Best Budget: MILANI Cheek Kiss Cream Blush
Lightweight and slick
Almost too pigmented
Milani is a go-to for high-quality, budget-friendly makeup, and you can expect nothing less from the brand's cream blush. Our tester said that Cheek Kiss has a slick, lightweight consistency that dries quickly without feeling tacky. Made with natural moisturizers and antioxidants, the super-smooth balm offers nongreasy hydration and a brightening boost.
Since it absorbs quickly, and the four shades are pretty intensely pigmented, we recommend starting with one small dab so you don't overdo it. And although Cheek Kiss blends well, our tester used a damp sponge to eliminate blotchiness.
Shades: 4 | Finish: Dewy/natural | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel Cream Blush
Lightweight and smooth
Leaves a dewy glow
Not super noticeable
Coming in hot from the drugstore category, Maybelline Cheek Heat was a hit with our testers. They loved how the lightweight formula glides effortlessly onto the skin, making it easy to get a smooth layer. This jelly cream blush feels slightly wet when it goes on, but it doesn't dry sticky, and it leaves a nice dewy glow in its wake.
Although the shades are vivid, Cheek Heat is a lightly pigmented blush. We found it very easy to blend, but since it's a sheer formula, it's not super noticeable unless you build it up with a few layers. One tester said that she could see herself running out quickly, since you need a substantial amount of product, but for a few bucks per tube, it's still a great value.
Shades: 6 | Finish: Natural/sheer | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
What Our Testers Say
"The gel is very lightweight and glides onto the skin."—Siobhan, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Clé de Peau Beauté Cream Blush
Melts into skin
Easy to blend
Almost too sheer
Contains PEGs and paraffin
If you like the top-shelf stuff and have the budget for it, we highly recommend treating yourself to Clé de Peau Beauté. This cream blush glides on smoothly and melts into the skin when you blend it out with your fingers or a sponge.
Once blended, our tester said it felt like there was nothing on her cheeks. This high-end blush is available in four flattering shades. Since the pigment is somewhat sheer, our tester said you'll need a few swipes to get the color to show up. But in the end, you'll be left with a natural-looking flush and a hint of luminosity.
Shades: 4 | Finish: Radiant/sheer | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Lightweight: REFY Cream Blush
Almost too sheer
Not long lasting
If you prefer non-sticky formulas that look and feel like you're not wearing makeup (or hardly any), Refy is your best bet. Our tester said this cream blush is incredibly lightweight and feels great on the skin.
One thing to note is that it's not the longest-lasting and may come off easily on oily complexions. And although you'll need multiple layers to get the sheer pigment to show up, our tester appreciated how buildable this blush is.
Shades: 3 | Finish: Dewy/sheer | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Full Glam: Makeup By Mario Soft Pop Blush Stick
Not ideal for everyday wear
Soft Pop is perfect for special occasions and full-glam looks. Our tester said that this blush stick has a light, non-sticky formula that feels moisturizing on the skin. It blends beautifully without blotches or streaks, and the built-in brush makes it easy to buff across your cheekbones. (You can also apply a dot to each cheek and blend it with your fingers.)
Our tester reported that it's strongly pigmented, so you won't need much more than a dab or two. Once blended, it wasn't as intense, but the bright color and radiant finish aren't as natural-looking as others. Still, this is a great option for a night out or anytime you're going for a statement makeup look.
Shades: 6 | Finish: Dewy/radiant | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"After blending into the skin, it doesn't feel as intense, but I would not say this is a natural-looking finish. It would be nice to use for a night out."—Gibreel Martinez, Product Tester
Best Natural Finish: Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Melting Cream Blush
Potentially too sheer
If you want a natural-looking flush, Rare Beauty is where it's at. The brand's Stay Vulnerable Blush has a super creamy, buttery-smooth consistency. Our tester said that it glides on effortlessly and melts beautifully into the skin.
The satin finish has a hint of dewiness. And considering how creamy it is, our tester was surprised by the lightweight, non-sticky feel. Just a heads up: You might need a few layers to get the sheer formula to show up, but it's buildable and easy to blend.
Shades: 5 | Finish: Satin/natural | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
What Our Editors Say
"Aptly named, this blush quite literally melts into your skin."—Shannon Bauer, Senior Commerce Editor
Best Stick: Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick
Easy to blend
We love a good stick blush, and this one doesn't disappoint. Our tester liked how the lightweight, ultra-creamy formula felt on her skin. It's conveniently buildable and easy to blend with your fingers or a makeup sponge.
Perfect for everyday looks or special occasions, our tester said that the pigment is just right and that the finish is glowy, fresh, and natural-looking. As the name suggests, this portable, multitasking product can be used on your cheeks or lips.
Shades: 8 | Finish: Natural | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Cruelty-Free: Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush
Easy to blend
Excellent shade range
We also love Fenty's Cheeks Out Blush. Our tester found that the super-smooth and creamy formula was easy to apply and even easier to blend. And since it didn't settle into her pores, she could build the pigment without worrying about a patchy look.
With a wide range of skin tones in mind, this cruelty-free cream blush comes in 10 colors, including a couple of orange- and violet-leaning hues. Our tester observed that it plays well over foundation and other cream-based products but also looks lovely on bare skin.
Shades: 10 | Finish: Natural | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"It was pretty easy to work the product with my fingertips into my skin and blend it around my cheekbone."—Gibreel Martinez, Product Tester
Of all the options we tried, Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Cream Blush is undoubtedly our favorite. The pigment is buildable, and the smooth, hydrating formula blends beautifully with your fingers or the built-in brush. For those on a budget, we recommend Milani's lightweight, non-tacky Cheek Kiss Cream Blush.
How We Tested
We selected nearly 30 cream blushes to try in The Lab, Byrdie's product-testing facility in Manhattan. After inspecting, dabbing, buffing, building, and blending them out, we let the formulas sit on our cheeks for a few hours. Each blush was then given a score from one to five for texture, feel, blendability, pigment, and finish. The most flattering, user-friendly formulas with the highest scores in all categories were ultimately chosen for this roundup.
Other Options We Tested
Nars The Multiple
Our tester said that the cream version of Nars's famous Orgasm blush was lightweight yet slightly tacky, almost like lip balm. The stick makes it easy to apply, but you'll need a few swipes to get the sheer formula to show up. And although it looked a little patchy on the first swipe, she was able to blend it out with her fingers. We had high hopes for this product, but in the end, we prefer its powdered counterpart.
Tower 28 BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush
We're big fans of Tower 28 but found the brand's cream blush to be a bit too sticky and thick. Our tester said it sat on top of her skin and didn't absorb very well. This made it hard to blend, which isn't ideal, considering how intensely pigmented the colors are.
Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator
We liked the weightless feel of this cream blusher. The glowy formula has a substantial amount of shine, which is great if you like a dewy look, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Our tester said that it's exceptionally easy to blend and offers a sun-kissed effect when you blend it with the built-in illuminator.
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in a Cream Blush
When selecting a cream blush, the most important thing is to find a flattering shade. Some people like to switch up their blush color, depending on their outfit or mood, but most have a go-to color. "Get a cream blush that complements the skin tone," says makeup artist Kemi Kings. "The darker the skin, the deeper the cream blush."
Another important aspect of cream blush is the finish. When choosing from different textures and formulas, consider your skin type, as well as the look you're going for. It's important to choose a formula that's suited to your skin's particular needs. "If you have oily skin, I suggest you use formulas that are a bit more intense in pigment," says Ali. "This is because oily skin tends to 'melt' all cream products."
You'll also want to opt for a buildable formula. Even very highly pigmented blushes can go on sheer for those who prefer a subtle effect and allow you to add product slowly for a more vivid flush.
How do you apply cream blush?
You can dab it on with your fingers, tap it on with a makeup sponge, or use a traditional blush brush. Many come in sticks, which makes them super easy to apply to your cheeks.
Can you apply cream blush over powder foundation?
Generally speaking, cream blushes should be paired with liquid foundations, and powder blushes should be paired with powder foundations. However, if you're using a powder foundation or a setting powder, it's best to apply your cream blush first, to avoid caking and creasing.
How do you make cream blush last longer?
While we don't recommend applying a cream blusher on top of a powder foundation, you can apply powder blush in a similar hue over your cream blush. Similar to setting powders, this will help lock in the color and provide you with a long-wear finish.
What Is Byrdie Verified?
Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? It means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list, using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers really want to know, and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.
Why Trust Byrdie
This story was written by Theresa Holland, a commerce writer and cosmetics enthusiast specializing in makeup and skincare. She has extensive experience researching, testing, reviewing, and writing about beauty products and has tried a wide range of cream blushes, including many of the products featured here. You can find more of her work on People, Travel + Leisure, The Spruce, and MyDomaine.
Sarkar R, et al. Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available? J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2013 Jan-Mar; 6(1): 4–11. doi: 10.4103/0974-2077.110089.