The nature of trends is that they come and go, but blush has really ridden the rollercoaster of what’s in style in the last decade. In 2016, beauty gurus avoided it at all costs, opting for a heavy contour and highlight instead. Then last year it turned into a blush gold rush—sunburned, ombre, and cold girl makeup, being just a few of the nicknames given to application techniques. As a blush girly, I am thrilled—a colorful cheek is a must-have in my routine and just looks happy. It’s the cherry on top of any look.
All this attention to cheek color has caused some of the biggest names in beauty to launch formulas to meet the demand. This month Tarte and Charlotte Tilbury both released new liquid formulas with sponge tip applicators. We put every shade of Tarte’s Blush Tape and Charlotte Tilbury’s Blush Wand to the test to compare the similarities, differences, and give our full review.
Tarte Blush Tape Liquid Blush
Shop now: Ulta, $35
Shop now: Tarte, $35
Shop now: QVC, $39 (Glow Tape & Blush Tape)
What We Like:
- 3 shades
- Glowy finish
- Buildable color
What We Don’t Like:
- Some shades are out of stock
- The lighter shades are better suited for fair to medium skin
On the heels of the viral Sculpt Tape Contour in January, Tarte released an accompanying Blush Tape in March. Each shade starts off sheer, but can build to full opacity. The formula is easy to blend and nearly impossible to overdue: Just dab with a bit of leftover foundation on your brush or sponge to diffuse the edges. The colors all have a super glowy finish—no additional highlight required—unless you really want to bring the shine. The sheer formula is pretty on its own for a no-makeup makeup effect or as the topper to a full glam look.
The two lighter shades are better suited for fair to medium skin tones, with berry being a more universal color that can be built for a wider range of skin tones. While this speaks to the popularity of the product, some shades are already sold out and hard to get your hands on.
Size: 0.4 oz | Shades: 3 | Finish: Glowy
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Beauty Blush Wand
Shop now: Sephora, $42
Shop now: Charlotte Tilbury, $42
Shop now: Nordstrom, $42
What We Like:
- 4 shades
- Matte finish
- A dab is all you need
What We Don’t Like:
- Need to blend quickly
The Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand in shade Pinkgasm sold out again and again in the last year thanks to going mega viral on TikTok, and fans have anxiously waited for restocks. Charlotte did one better and launched a whole collection of new blushes using the same easy to deposit squeeze tube. The matte formula is long-lasting without looking flat or overly dry. The four shades suit a range of skin tones and the formula—which is a cross between a liquid and cream—can be applied with fingers, a brush, or a sponge.
While you only need a dab or two of product on each cheek—Charlotte herself says one for day, two for party—you will need to blend quickly, once the formula dries down it can become patchy if you try to distribute it.
Size: 0.4 oz | Shades: 4 | Finish: Matte
Formula and Finish
There isn’t a winner because these formulas are incredibly similar—and by the same token, different. Let me explain: The mechanism to apply is identical. A squeeze tube with a sponge tip on the top that the product flows through and is dabbed on the cheeks. There even is a twist on both to close it off to avoid it continually squeezing through and leaking. Both formulas are also vegan.
The Tarte formula is sheerer and made to build up to your desired intensity, whereas the Charlotte Tilbury wand is super pigmented—a single, or double if you’re feeling bold, dab will do you. Blush Tape brings the radiance—a finish so glowy that it serves as a highlighter, too. The formula also has hydrating ingredients infused in the formula, such as porcelain flower, shea, and mango butter. Blush Wand is a matte formula, however natural matte or satin is a better descriptor. There’s zero shimmer particles or obvious shine, yet it’s not as flat or powdery looking as a true matte. It contains blurring polymers for an airbrushed effect. The appearance is more skin-like, a realistic post-gym flush in a tube.
With the formulas being so similar, the product you choose in the finish department all comes down to personal preference. Those looking to cut out the highlighting step or are wanting a radiant finish would opt for Tarte Blush Tape. Whereas those who are afraid of looking shiny, or like adding a more pinpointed highlight would want to buy Charlotte Tilbury Blush Wand.
When it comes to shades Charlotte Tilbury has a slight edge since her product comes in four shades versus Tarte’s three. Blush Wand is sold in Peach Pop, Pink Pop, Dream Pop (a cherry red), and their iconic Pillow Talk (a rosy mauve). Blush Tape is available in Pink, Peach, and Berry.
The Charlotte Tilbury formulas are also more pigmented, which shows up on more skin tones. Tarte’s shades are pretty, but the pink and peach may be best suited for fair to medium skin tones. Berry is a more universal shade for a larger range of tones. That said, the colors are buildable—a thicker layer will amp up the color level, too.
Cream and liquid blushes have a reputation for fading on combination and oily skin (or in hot weather), but I found that both of these formulas had longevity. For context, I have combination-oily skin that is especially greasy on my cheeks, and I usually opt for powder blushes for this reason. My face “eats” blush—it gets slurped into the void of my skin and many formulas are gone without a trace by noon. It is often the first product I reach for to retouch.
I was impressed when I looked in the mirror throughout the day that not only was the color still there, but I didn’t have that oil slick effect either. Each formula was just as pigmented at 5 p.m. as when I put it on at 7 a.m. I also went on a run after work while wearing each formula—and I didn’t remove any makeup beforehand, for science. After 45 minutes, my cheeks were extra flushed, but the makeup was still visible, and dare I say, pretty. The heat and sweat also didn’t cause either product to run.
Each of these formulas are stellar solo, but like a peanut butter and chocolate combination, some things are better together. I, a makeup maximalist, loved to layer the finishes. Peach Pop and Peach as well as Pink Pop and Pink are perfect pairings. Pillow Talk looks beautiful with a dab of Pink or Berry on the apples of the cheeks. Dream Pop is an outlier without a direct match, yet my experimentation found that Pink or Berry on top changed up the final look. Berry amplifies the red tones and Pink mixes to create a strawberry hue. One dab of Charlotte Tilbury’s with one to two dabs of Tarte’s was the ratio that performed best for me and gave me the desired result.
Buying, and layering, two blushes is a bit extra, yet I found it doubled the shades and makeup options. There isn’t a formula that is better than the other—Tarte Blush Tape and Charlotte Tilbury Matte Blush Wand are both excellent in their own right. This is just another way to experience the formulas and their finishes.
What You Can Expect to Pay
Liquid blushes run from $10 for drugstore formulas to $20-$45 at beauty retailers. Tarte and Charlotte Tilbury are on the higher end of that range. However, the unique applicator and quality of the formula, justifies the cost in our view. If you know you use blush often and like liquid formulas, this is a worthy investment for a high-performing product.
Why Trust Byrdie
Shannon Bauer is a beauty journalist with seven years of experience, as well as a certified makeup artist. She is a beauty tester extraordinaire and has (too) many thoughts about those products. Shannon tested all the shades of both of these blushes before writing this story, plus considered skin tones, skin types, and makeup preferences when making her recommendations.