While there's no problem with shimmer and shine, most of the blushes and bronzers on the market are packed with things beyond pure pigment for an added glow. But if you're looking for something more subtle—such as when striving for that no-makeup makeup look—matte blush is about to be your new best friend.
Chances are your makeup bag is missing this staple beauty product, as it can be difficult to track down a blush free of light-reflecting additives. But once you've experimented with a matte blush in a shade that suits you, you'll be sold on the understated finish. Matte blush provides a natural flush that re-creates that healthy look you have shortly after exerting yourself—i.e. that post-workout glow. It's more muted than its shimmery cousins, yet the effect can be just as striking. We've rounded up the 10 best matte blushes with the help of professional makeup artists Robert Sesnek and Nydia Figueroa.
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Most Universal: MAC Powder Blush in Coppertone
MAC is one of the best brands for a range of blush colors that come in a matte formulation. As the name suggests, Coppertone is a shade that gives you that natural-looking, sun-kissed glow and can stand in as a blush and a bronzer. "I have had this blush in my kit for years and I love how it looks stunning it looks on a variety of skin tones and textures," notes Figueroa. "It adds warmth to the face without the need of a bronzer."
Best Blush/Highlighter Duo: Natasha Denona Blush Duo
If you're not ready to go all-in on the matte blush look, Natasha Denona's duos provide you with a matte blush shade plus a shimmery highlighter you can sweep on together. And if you're worried about a matte blush making your skin appear cakey, Sesnek says to consider your pre-application routine. "Always wear a moisturizer under a hydrating foundation, as this will allow for a smoother application for dryer skin types without looking dry or cakey," he says.
Best Color Range: Maybelline Fit Me Blush
You won't have to worry about chalkiness with this matte blush that earned the stamp of approval from both Sesnek and Figueroa. "This formula has a beautiful and creamy texture with a great color payoff," says Figueroa. "I like to apply this blush with an angled blush brush, perfect for hugging the apples of the cheek."
Best For a Natural Look: Dior Backstage Rosy Glow Blush in Pink
A matte blush provides the perfect opportunity to play around with high-impact color and Dior's pink iteration is anything but shy. "This blush formula adds beautiful color while still creating a soft and natural glow to the skin," says Figueroa. "I love to apply this formula by stroking the tops of the cheekbones with a blush brush towards the temples of the face." The formula comes in two stunning shades—a coral and a pink—though we'd love to see it in a shade suited for darker skin tones.
Best For Contouring: Serge Lutens Blusher Compact
This matte blush comes in a moodier hue, to create a look that's similar to contouring. Try using a tapered angled blush brush for application—Sesnek says the angle makes for easier application for most people since the shape follows and shapes the cheeks while applying.
Best Cream Blush: Physicians Formula Natural Defense Triple Defense Multicolor Stick in Natural Rose
Looking for a multi-purpose product? Go for this cream blush from Physician's Formula, which allows for all the fun of a stick product—for cheeks, lips, and even eyes. Its matte colorway is decidedly modern and can be worn as a sheer wash of color or built up for a bolder look.
Best Value: Catrice Blush Box in Burgundy
Looking for a matte blush with an under $10 price tag (and a seriously long-wearing formula)? Sesnek is a fan of this matte pick from Catrice for its velvety texture and high pigment. "I love to layer the matte and shimmering shades, and I love that they're water- and sweat-proof for incredibly long-wearing looks," he says.
Best Clean Blush: Cover FX Monochromatic Blush Duo in Rich Berry
Cover FX's blush formula is free of the nasties (think: fragrance, mineral oil, parabens, talc, and sulfate). What you are left with? A flattering, opaque monochromatic duo that applies smooth, rich, and seamless. We love that because this is a duo, you have the option of topping your matte blush with a shimmery formula that's in the same colorway.
Best For Travel: Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze
No brush? No problem. This dual-sided product offers a soft color balm on one side, and a blending brush on the other—resulting in easy, feather-free application. "The way you apply blush does vary on the face shape and also the desired look you are trying to achieve," notes Figueroa. "The best way I like to apply blush is on the high planes of your cheek bones to create more of a lifted look to the face."
Most Customizable: Make Up For Ever Artist Face Color Highlight, Sculpt and Blush Powder
Make Up For Ever allows you to switch out different colors in a plug-in palette that accommodates three swatches. Test out a matte blush among your trio and we guarantee it will be one of the first colors you finish. Apply it to the apples of the cheeks to give the appearance of a soft, fresh-faced look.