Cream Blush: Why It Should Be Your New BFF

cream blush

My favorite beauty You Tuber, Lisa Eldridge, posted a new video last week with a makeup tutorial on a luminous, glow-from-within blush technique requested by her audience. (The video also had genius guidance on how to conceal a pimple that’s sprouted up in the middle of your cheek when wearing blush that’s super helpful.) This video inspired me to dig into my gel and cream blush stash, as well as my liquid highlighters. It’s an especially good time to be looking at cream blush with summer well on its way (and that Sephora sale looming).


Cream blush is great anytime of year for dryer skin types and older skin. It tends to look more lifelike, and if your cheeks are dry at all, it tends to not cling to or accentuate that.

If you have oily or combo skin, you may be sitting there thinking, ‘pump yo’ brakes’ … but I promise that you, too, can benefit from cream and gel formula blushes, even in the summer.

Types of Cream Blush: Cream

There are a few varieties in the cream blush family (or cream blusher, if you’re from the U.K. I don’t know why, but I hate the word blusher. It’s not at moist level, but still. I can’t get on board). The first, and moist obvious, is a … wait for it … cream blush.

cream blush
Ta da … one of five million different cream blushes on the market.

These come in a pan and can be applied with fingers, a brush or sponge (or any combo thereof). You want to apply them, and every other cream blush product, before any powder products. That’s a general rule of thumb for all cosmetics, or as Elle Woods would say, ‘every Cosmo girl would have known’: liquids before powders.

cream blush
… unless you have curls.

Start with a little and build (unless you like looking like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show, you do you), tapping it into your skin. Give it a little tap-tap-tapperoo. These products will typically never fully set on their own, so you have time to make sure it’s blended out properly.

This summer, reach for Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+. Now at NORDSTROM.
Types of Cream Blush: Gel
cream blush
Shake, shake, shake, señora …for reals, many of these need shaking before using, including this one.

The next type is gel blush. Often these will come in a tube and be more liquid than cream blush in a pan. They often will claim to be waterproof (generally true to a point). These will fully dry down, unlike a cream blush, so don’t require setting to be budge proof, but the dry time is generally slow enough they’re easy to blend (but you don’t want to let it hang out–work quickly). Again, start with a little on your finger and apply, blending outward.

Types of Cream Blush: Stain
cream blush
One of a zillion different cheek (and lip) stains … this one is from a popular Korean company, Etude House.

The last type is a stain. These are the most liquid of the bunch and can come in a variety of containers: nail polish-looking things, tubes, lip balmy-tubes. These were popularized stateside by Benefit’s Benetint and are a popular type of blush in Korean cosmetics. The upside to these is they are long lasting (like many of these products but especially gels, they can also be used as a lip stain, which looks really pretty under lip balm or gloss for summer). The downside is they dry fast AF, so you need to be on your A game, or risk a streaky slap face look.

How The Hell Am I Going To Wear a Cream Blush in the Summer?

Aha. Yes, for oily folks or people who live in a sauna (me), the thought of any of these will sound like pretty pink rivers running down your face within minutes.

The key, if you want them to last (and this is for everyone, really) is to set.  If you’re only a bit into blush, or you accidentally went overboard with your cream blush, you can set with your regular powder (remember that you haven’t applied powder yet before putting these on, right?) and then a setting spray. If you want a bit more multi-dimensional look and had a light hand with the first product, you can set with a light dusting of a powder blush. I mean it, go easy. This will take away a bit of the lit-from-within look that cream blush on its own provides, but makes up for it in lasting power.

So … that’s it! It’s super easy really, the easiest blush to apply because you can totally use your fingers … no fancy brushes required! Do you use cream blush? If so, which one is your favorite?

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