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Mascara, lipsticks, and eyeshadows have forever and always been exciting makeup staples. But the best blushes? They never *really* got their time in the spotlight—until now. Thanks to viral TikTok trends and application techniques, amazing new formulas, and the fact that pros have unanimously declared rosy cheeks and bold blush one of the top makeup trends for 2022, a not-so-subtle rosy glow is finally having a moment. When it comes to achieving your desired look, though, there are two main factors to consider: texture and placement.
Powder, cream, and liquid blushes all have their purpose. And in our opinion, at least one of each deserves a spot in your bag. Powders are ideal for a soft-focus finish, matte look, or to help build intensity. Cream blushes blend like a dream, are super easy to apply, and are a go-to for a natural tint. Liquid blushes on the other hand are best for dry skin types and typically give a lit-from-within finish. That being said, layering different textures is also an option. As for the color? We’re firm believers in picking whichever shade is calling your name—be it a baby pink, deep purple, or a peachy-nude.
When it comes to application, the options are truly endless. Dusting the apples of your cheeks with a fluffy brush is the typical method, but placing product higher on the cheekbone can give a more sculpted and lifted look. A little swipe across the nose goes a long way in creating a sun-kissed vibe too. Oh, and don’t be afraid to use a decent amount of liquid blush under your foundation for a natural-looking flush. Trust us, it works.
Now that you have the down-low on what to look for—and how to apply blush—read ahead for the best blushes of all time. From cult favorites from NARS and Rare Beauty to newer but equally fabulous formulas from the likes of Saie and Makeup by Mario, these are the top blushes out there.
The Best Powder Blush
There’s over a dozen shades to choose from, but you’re crazy not to reach for Orgasm. The shimmery peachy-pink is iconic. Since its 1999 launch, it’s become a staple in makeup artists’ kits. The formula never looks cakey and is flattering across the board. While it has a more natural finish, a decent number of the shades (including Orgasm) have a soft sparkle that adds a little extra oomph.
The Best Blush Stick
Don’t let these intense-looking colors scare you: they’re some of the most flattering shades on the market. Plumberry is straight up stunning on warm and olive undertones, Raspberry is gorgeous on cool undertones, and Earthy Pink looks good on just about everyone. If you’re a little hesitant about going directly in with the stick, warm the cream formula on your fingers first. Then, dab and blend.
The Best Gel Blush
If glowy and dewy makeup is your M.O., adding this blush to your cart is a no-brainer. Its gel-like texture makes the product completely buildable, so depending on how much product you use, you can have a soft and subtle situation or a bright and bold look. In my experience, finger application works best. Just make sure you have freshly-washed hands.
The Best Liquid Blush
This product is always sold out, so I urge you to act fast if you want to experience its life-changing glow. The Pillow Talk and Peachgasm shades are the ultimate two-in-one: they act as highlighter and blush. While dabbing a little on top of foundation will give you a stunning sparkle, try applying the formula under your foundation too for a more impactful flush. Trust us on this one.
The Best Drugstore Blush
With a completely weightless feel, this is a summer staple. It works great on bare skin, with foundation, and has multiple uses. I’ll swipe it on my cheeks, my lips, and even my eyelids for a monochromatic look. While the six shade offerings check off all the boxes, don’t be afraid to blend them together to create a hue that’s just for you.
The Best Cream Blush
Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, and Anne Hathaway are among the celebs that swear by this creamy blush. It’s no surprise why—the pigment stays on all freakin’ day. The formula is also infused with tons of skincare ingredients like jojoba seed oil to help skin stay hydrated and supple from morning to night. While you can apply this with your hands, a brush is going to give a more natural and diffused finish.
The Best Blush a Bold Look
A word of warning: a little goes a loooooong way. Use half the amount you normally would because this liquid is crazy pigmented. But that’s why TikTok loves it—the blending is genuinely magical. The newest trend on the platform? Cover your cheeks in the formula (it’s going to look wild) and then apply the Rare Beauty Tinted Moisturizer over top for a lit-from-within look.
The Best Blush for a Soft-Focus Finish
If you avoid powder blushes for fear of a cakey or heavy finish, I challenge you to take this formula for a test run. The pigment gives the skin an airbrushed finish that looks as light and airy as can be. What’s more, the range in colors ensure that there’s something that works with every skin tone.
The Best Two-Tone Blush
Ta previously told Marie Claire that this is one of his favorite products from his entire line, as it has the power to “bring your entire look to life.” Not only does a two-in-one palette allow you to experiment with different finishes, but the complementary tones take all the guesswork out of the equation.
The Best Blush for a Sunburnt Look
Take a cue from TikTok and go for the sunburnt blush look—sans the actual sunburn. Layer this tinted balm across the bridge of your nose, across your cheeks, and under your eye contour for a rosy look. This is also a great option for anyone with sensitive skin thanks to soothing ingredients like aloe vera and green tea
The Best Blush for Layering
To lean into the bold blush look, this formula is superior. It has a great color payoff, holds up to the 12-hour claim (trust me, I’ve put it to the test), and most importantly, plays well with other products. After you brush this onto your cheekbone, choose one of the liquid formulas from this list to intensify color and add a dewy sheen.
The Best Blush for a Subtle Pop
If you tend to lean towards more subtle, barely-there washes of color in the blush department, makeup artist Jamie Greenberg has you covered. Her blush-highlighter combo delivers a soft wash of color that perks up the skin *just* enough. And if you are feeling a little more adventurous, building up the pigment is no big deal. While all of these shades are stunning, The Coral One deserves an extra round of applause.
The Best Blush for a Monochromatic Look
When I want my makeup to look like a second skin, I without fail reach for this creamy formula. It’s been in my bag since high school and remains one of my all-time faves. First, I’ll warm up the product with my finger and then tap it toward my temple for a more sculpted look. The buttery texture melts right into the skin. I’ll wipe the remaining product onto my lips and I’m good to go.
The Best Blush for All-Day Wear
The lighter peach and terracotta shades are nice, but it’s the darker hues from this range that won me over. Never did I ever think I could pull off something so dark with my fair skin, but just a little, itty-bitty bit of product instantly breathes life into my complexion. And because I’m always on the go, I love how well this holds up throughout the day.
The Best Blush for Dry Skin
If the summer sun is making your dry skin feel tighter, picking a blush that’s going to nourish and hydrate is a key. With argan oil as a star ingredient, this creamy formula will give your skin an extra dose of moisture. While it feels silky, smooth, we’d recommend avoiding this product if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin as there is fragrance in the makeup.
Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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