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Cream blushes are by no means a new makeup category, but they're getting a little more love lately, and we're here for it. Unlike their powder counterparts, you can apply cream blushes using just your fingers. Plus, creams offer a more dewy, hydrated look—a primary component of nailing a natural glow.
According to London-based makeup artist Kemi Kings, "Cream blushes are such an essential part of a makeup routine." She explains that while foundations and powders correct and even out skin tone, they can make your face appear flat and washed out. "Blush application brings back life, dimension, and color to the face." These days, a wide range of drugstore brands carry cream blushes—and great ones, at that. From sticks, gels, and liquids to buildable, highlighting, moisturizing, and cheek-tinting formulas, we rounded up the top affordable finds.
Here are the best drugstore cream blushes available today.
Best Overall: Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush
For a dewy, natural-looking finish, look no further than Revlon’s Cream Blush. The formula is incredibly pigmented but blends into a subtle flushed hue. All you need is a little dab to get a perfect subtle tint. Want a bolder effect? This cream blush is conveniently buildable, too.
Best Budget: Wet n Wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick Blush
This pocket-sized stick blush from Wet n Wild will only set you back a few dollars, but when you swipe it onto your cheeks, you'll feel like a million bucks. We appreciate the convenient, on-the-go design and the formula's glowy, naturally flushed effect. The two shades are flattering on a range of skin tones—and with such a budget-friendly price tag, you might want to grab one of each.
Best Gel Cream: Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel Cream Blush
If you're partial to gel formulas, we recommend Maybelline's Cheek Heat. This oil-free, water-based blush glides onto your cheekbones, leaving behind a soft, sheer flush. And don't worry—it doesn't actually heat your skin. The gel-cream creates the effect of the type of ever-so-slightly warmed complexion you might get after enjoying a cocktail or sitting by a fire.
Best Liquid Cream: L'Oréal Paris Visible Lift Blur Blush
We're also loving L'Oréal Paris' Blur Blush. It comes in a little tube and has a soft, lightweight liquid formula, similar to the consistency of a BB cream. As the name suggests, this product blurs imperfections and livens up dull skin for a smooth, radiant finish.
Best Stick: Julep Skip the Brush Creme to Powder Blush Stick
There's no denying the convenience of makeup sticks. They're easy to apply and generally more sanitary than dipping your fingers into a container. But these aren't the only reasons Julep's blush stick stands out: The cream-to-powder formula beautifully pigments your cheeks in a single swipe, and it moisturizes them, too. Also nice? The streakless shades are easy to blend and build for a more dramatic look.
Best Dewy Finish: Etude House Berry Delicious Cream Blusher
K-beauty products are all about hydrating the skin for a dewy glow, and this cream blusher from Etude House is no exception. It comes in four juicy colors, all inspired by the natural hue of strawberries. When you apply this compact blush, the soft and creamy formula will melt into your cheeks. The colors go on sheer, but you can add more for a richer effect.
Best Matte Finish: NYX Professional Makeup Sweet Cheeks Creamy Powder Blush Matte
NYX Sweet Cheeks is technically a "creamy powder," but powders are typically the name of the game for achieving a matte effect. This ultra-smooth blush goes on silky-soft and leaves a strikingly pigmented, truly matte hue in its wake. We like that it comes in all the classic blush tones (like corals, pinks, and berries), as well as less common (yet underrated) purple and yellow hues.
Best Shade Range: Danessa Myricks Beauty Vision Flush
Vision Flush is a multi-purpose makeup product with a lot going for it. The creamy liquid creates a satiny, semi-matte effect and can be used on your cheeks, lips, or eyes. It comes in 12 highly pigmented colors, including shades of pink, red, orange, purple, brown, and gold.
Best for Dark Skin: HAN All Natural Multistick Cheek and Lip Tint
This multi-stick from HAN comes in a range of rosy, berry-inspired shades that flatter darker skin tones. Thanks to its compact design, this stick is easy to apply and perfect for on-the-go use. Plus, it's formulated with lots of nourishing ingredients, like shea butter, argan oil, acai oil, coconut creme, beeswax, and sea kelp extract.
Best for Olive Skin: Honest Beauty Crème Cheek Blush
Honest Beauty's take on creme blush is lightweight and cushiony soft with blendable hues that glide on seamlessly. It comes in a few different colors, most of which complement olive skin tones. And like all Honest products, it's dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free.
Best for Medium Skin: NYX Professional Makeup Sweet Cheeks Soft Cheek Tint
For a flush that flatters medium skin tones, we recommend NYX Soft Cheek Tint. Reminiscent of a tube of lip gloss, this creamy liquid blush comes in a range of vivid yet notably blendable colors. The doe-foot applicator makes it easy to apply, and the vegan formula melts into your skin for a soft, weightless finish.
Best for Fair Skin: Covergirl Clean Fresh Cream Blush
Covergirl's Clean Fresh is an excellent choice for fair-skinned folks. It comes in a few lightweight, pigmented shades and is formulated to hydrate and plump your cheeks. The result? A flattering flushed look and a dewy complexion.
Best Highlighting: IMAN Cosmetics Luxury Highlighter
IMAN Cosmetics Luxury Highlighter adds a hint of color to emphasize your cheeks, but it doesn't stop there. The illuminating, slightly shimmery formula doubles as a highlighter. After dabbing it on your cheeks, you can use it to sculpt your cheekbones, accentuate your lips, or make your eyelids glimmer.
Best Palette: e.l.f. Cosmetics Powder Blush Palette
If you like switching up your blush colors or combining multiple shades, you'll love this palette. It comes with four show-stopping shades, which you can use individually or blend for a customized burst of color.
Best Clean: Physicians Formula Organic Wear Dewy Blush Elixir
If you prefer clean beauty products, you'll appreciate Physicians Formula Dewy Blush Elixir. A staple from the brand's Organic Wear line, this cream blush contains minimal ingredients. Organic superfruits, aloe vera, and jojoba oil help create a plump, hydrated complexion. And the natural fruit-inspired shades add the perfect kiss of color to your cheeks.
If we had to pick just drugstore cream blush, we'd go with Revlon's Photoready Cream Blush. The extra-silky formula creates a dewy, natural-looking flush, and it blends effortlessly. That said, if you only want to spend a few bucks, you can achieve a glowy, rosy effect with Wet n Wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick Blush.
What to Look For in a Drugstore Cream Blush
First and foremost, you'll want to select a flattering color. While some people like to switch it up from day to day, most have a go-to blush shade. "To achieve that fresh-looking, lit-from-within, 'I'm at peace with life' face, get a cream blush that complements the skin tone," says King. "The darker the skin, the deeper the cream blush."
Not sure which tone is right for you? "A cool trick is to smudge a pigmented sheen lipstick on the back of your hands, sheer it out, and apply it on the cheeks," she says. You can then typically find a shade of cream blush similar to your most flattering lipstick color.
Another important factor of cream blush is its ability to blend. You want something that goes on smoothly and effortlessly blends into your skin—and any other makeup you might be wearing—without leaving streaks behind.
You'll also want to select a buildable formula. Even the most highly pigmented cream blushes can go on sheer for a subtle effect, allowing you to add more product to achieve the perfect flush.
Who should wear cream blush?
Anyone can wear cream blush, but it is superior for those who have dryer or aging skin. Cream blushes add more moisture than powders and don’t sit into fine lines as powders can.
What skin type is cream blush best for?
Cream blush is best for mature or dry skin types. It adds a creamy youthful sheen with more moisture than a powder blush. Generally, oily skin types will do better with powders, but all skin types and ages can wear cream blush as long as you find one that works for you.
Is cream blush better than powder?
Cream blush is not necessarily better than powder. It is a different option that may work better for some skin types, such as dry or aging skin. Some cream blushes may look more natural than powders and last longer.
Is powder or cream blush better for mature skin?
Cream blush is better for mature skin most often. Cream blushes add a bit of extra moisture and do not settle into fine lines. They can add a natural, youthful, dewy glow to the skin that can liven up dull skin.
Why Trust Byrdie
This roundup was written by Theresa Holland, a professional writer and cosmetics enthusiast specializing in beauty and skincare. She has substantial experience researching, testing, and reviewing makeup products and has tried out her fair share of cream blushes. You can find more of her writing on The Spruce and MyDomaine.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough drugstore cream blushes from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.