Best Blushes (2021) | Editor's Top Picks

Pat McGrath Divine Blush
Pat McGrath Divine Blush

Welcome to my updated guide to the Best Blushes — 2021 Edition!  These are the absolutely to-performing formulas I’ve come across for blush, and I continually update this list as new formulas are released and are tested!

Each product recommended below has been tested and reviewed by me (and we’ve made looking up reviews and swatches for individual shades easy with drop downs!), so they’re high-performing and well worth considering if you’re on the hunt for a new blush. Below, you’ll find the most up-to-date list of best cream and powder blushes that are currently available for purchase.

Here are the characteristics I’m looking for in a great blush: it’s all about formulas that are easy to work with; they need to be blendable and give me the ability to dial down or up the pigmentation based on the need at the time. They should sit well on bare skin as well as over foundation and have good wear throughout the day.

Pat McGrath Divine Blush

The formula is supposed to be "featherlight, long-wearing" that "build effortlessly from sheer to subversive." The blushes are available in two finishes--demi-matte and satin pearl--and range from more muted to more vivid in color. The biggest "downfall" of the formula was that it was rather pigmented than buildable, so one could use a lighter hand to get more buildable coverage, but I found I had to use a light to moderate hand to ensure I didn't over-apply each shade. Read more...

Makeup by Mario Soft Pop Blush Stick

The formula is supposed to have "sheer, buildable coverage" with a "healthy and radiant" finish. If a truly dewy finish is something you love, the formula might be right up your alley; if dewy is your arch nemesis, move along as this very much lived up to its "radiant" claim. There wasn't a real dry down, so it wasn't all that transfer-resistant, though it didn't slide off my face too readily either--most shades lasted between seven and eight hours on me. Read more...

Availability
Sephora

Lethal Cosmetics Magnetic Face Powder (Blush)

The formula is supposed to blend "effortlessly" and "build" to a "luminous matte" finish and "any intensity with ease." In general, they had medium, buildable coverage that easily built up to mostly opaque to opaque coverage. Read more...

Natasha Denona Puff Paint Liquid Blush Serum

The formula is supposed to be "mistake-proof" with "easy and even blending" that is "buildable" and "can be layered" for greater coverage. Per the brand, it can be applied with a "fluffy brush or using your fingers." The pigmentation was semi-sheer to medium, buildable coverage that was easy to work with using a stippling brush or fingertips. Read more...

Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush

The formula is supposed to give a "fresh wash of color" that is "effortless" to blend with a "natural-looking" finish. The coverage is designed to be "sheer, buildable" with a "sweat- and water-resistant formula." The brand recommends to apply with fingertips or their 125 brush (which is a fairly dense, angled brush). Read more...

ColourPop Blush Stix

One of the best launches in 2019 was ColourPop’s Blush Stix, which features a dewy, luminous finish that lasts all day long in an assortment of shades. The formula offers buildable coverage that can be applied with fingertips or a brush, over bare skin or on top of base products, and it’s just nearly effortless to work with.

Availability
100% Pure

Sydney Grace Pressed Blush

It's a more pigmented blush, so it favors those who need or want richer coverage achieved with less product or in one layer, but those who prefer sheerer, more buildable blush may find there is a learning curve. The formula was very blendable and easy to work with, so I think it is more forgiving, particularly shades with some shimmer in them. The matte shades can be slightly powdery but do not look dry or dusty when applied, though they can darken a bit if not applied over drier or more matte skin (or a base). They wore between eight and 10 hours on me before fading noticeably.

Availability
Sydney Grace

Make Up For Ever Artist Face Color - Blush

If you love matte and satin finish blushes but don’t like powdery or drier formulas, this is a formula you’ll enjoy. There are three distinctive finishes–matte, shimmer and pearl–but matte here means more “natural matte” where the powder almost “melts” onto the skin for a skin-like effect (but no overt shimmer!).

Availability
100% Pure100% Pure

Cover FX Monochromatic Blush Duo

Cover FX developed an unexpected winner with their Monochromatic Blush Duos! They released to much fanfare and many shades were out of stock for quite awhile (hence the unexpected descriptor!), and I can attest that they are worth the hype. Each duo features a natural matte blush and luminous blush in coordinating hues. The formula has a smoother, dense feel but never feels powdery. The pigmentation ranged from semi-opaque to opaque and could be built up as desired.

MAC Extra Dimension Blush

MAC’s Extra Dimension Blushes are fantastic for anyone who loves shimmery blush that is noticeable, glowy, and blendable without worrying about the shimmer emphasizing the natural skin.  They’re pigmented with a soft, smooth texture that’s firmer in the pan but not difficult to use, and they have no dustiness or powderiness in the pan.

Clinique Cheek Pop Pearl

The formula is supposed to have "buildable watercolor payoff" with a "silky-smooth" texture that lasts for "10 hours." The formula has the feel of a gel-powder hybrid, so it is firmer, denser in the pan but has no powderiness and is extremely blendable. It melted slightly after being applied and buffed on the skin, though the original formula seemed more luminous and seamless (by a touch). Read more...

Chanel Joues Contraste Blush

Chanel Joues Contraste Blush is a classic with a variety of shades and finishes, though most are more matte to natural with very being moderately shimmery or metallic.  They’re a softer, silkier texture that has a touch of dustiness compared to several other picks here, but they’re blendable, easy to work with, and last well on my skin.

ColourPop Super Shock Cheek

For ultra-long wearing cream-to-powder blush, ColourPop Super Shock Cheeks reign supreme. There are lots of shades and finishes with the more matte shades having an almost watercolor effect on skin, while the more shimmery shades give a dewy sheen that isn’t actually tacky or wet to the touch.

Availability
UltaColourPop

Surratt Beauty Artistique Blush

For those with higher gifting budgets, Surratt’s Artistique Blushes offer a supremely silky texture, buildable semi-opaque coverage, and a delightfully luminous finish that sits well on skin.  For a permanent, high-end range, there’s a nice diversity in shades from light to dark, cool to warm.

Our Methodology

The way I approach my guides is by focusing permanent formulas that have stood the test of time–they are high quality, consistent, and all formulas that have performed well. Every shade is thoroughly tested and reviewed, and these are formulas where I’ve often tested every shade in the line of, so I really grasp each formula’s strengths and weaknesses!

More product guides: Best Highlighters, Best Eyeshadow Palettes, Best Single Eyeshadows, Best Lipsticks, Best Lip Glosses, Best Blush Brushes, Best Eyeshadow Brushes, Best Highlighter Brushes, Best Makeup Products of 2019.

Top Rated Blushes from 2021

Check out the current top 10 highest-rated blushes (individual shades) reviewed by the editor in 2021–this list will update automatically! This list includes limited edition and permanent blushes — individual shades, not formulas — reviewed in 2021, so it primarily includes newly-released products, whereas the first list in this post is focused on top-performing formulas that have proven to release consistently highly reviewed shades and are currently available.

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21 Comments

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Again, this round up is very useful for anyone in the market for a new blush. I like a lot of them, but feel that I would need to see and swatch in person to be able to tell whether or not it works for me.
Those that I am interested in are the Clinique’s Cheek Pops, the MUFE blushes and Cover FX duos.

I need to give the Marc Jacobs blushes a try; the only thing stopping me is that I have so many blushes and blush (unlike eyeshadow or liner) isn’t my big weakness. I do love MAC’s Extra Dimension blushes too – they have the loveliest finish.

I hope MAC will release some new (and permanent) singles to the Extra Dimension blush range – I was so happy they made them permanent!

I almost don’t know if I want them to release new shades or not. As I was typing my first reply, I was thinking the same thing – wouldn’t it be nice if MAC released a few new shades – but then I thought I’d probably want them and I really don’t need them…

I love trying new fórmulas but my all time favourite is still Illamasqua’s cream blush. I get asked what I’m wearing all the time.

It’s still quite unusual/unique for a US-centric brand (I know that slurry texture is more popular in Asia) – surprisingly!

Again, my favorites are well represented. I love the Cover FX duos, the Clinique Cheek Pops and Chanel Joues are among my favorite formula’s. Back in the day I really loved the Tarte formula but after trying other’s they are just way too powdery for me. “Exposed” is still a favorite shade along with the little gift “Parrrrty” or some such spelling, LOL! I just wouldn’t buy anymore.

I haven’t found one. I am sure that there is likely one out there but my preference for a more satin/shimmer formula has changed my blush choices. I am not really looking anymore. I checked to see if Christine has reviewed it and it comes up under the formula review but I don’t see that she has actually really reviewed that particular shade. I thought if she had there would be a dupe list but see one. Sorry, I couldn’t be more helpful.

is it my imagination or did you manage to get this list up earlier this year? in any case, thank you! i appreciate the best of lists arriving as the 20% sales are starting to happen and how comprehensive they are in regards to formula & price point. i’ve always thought you run a site with useful functions and great content but this year you’ve dialed that up 5 notches! a really amazing job, christine!

For the blush one, last year’s went up on October 21st so it’s slightly earlier! I usually time then based on sale cycles, so with Ulta having 20% off coupons (that include prestige), I wanted to make sure I didn’t wait too long!

This year, I’m also trying to keep it as more of a general guide, since I already focus on permanent formulas so it seems like it could be useful year-round vs. solely as a gift guide – but obviously, getting them updated around the holiday sales cycle is imperative!

Some of my favs made the list. I would have to add Honest Beauty cream blush. They are buildable, don’t accentuate texture and last 12-hrs on me. I have oily mature skin.

Wow, there are so many of these brands that I haven’t even tried yet. I just own so many blushes, and I went crazy on blush palettes last year, so I haven’t been trying a lot of new ones. I put the holiday Hourglass quad on my Christmas list, so I’ll be getting to try them soon. I tried Dior Diorskin Nude Luminizer formula for the first time this year, and I love the effortless formula and beautiful finish. Chanel Tweed Beige (140) Les Tissages de Chanel Blush Duo was my first Chanel Blush, and WOW! It takes nude blush to whole new level. Both brands are too pricey for me to buy unless I absolutely fall madly in love with something, but I’m very happy with them.

These are all tried and true best blushes that many of them have stood the test of time. I have Clinique’s Melon Pop and it is stunning. I really wanted to get the Cover Fx Monochromatic Duo in Soft Peach but it is sold out just about everywhere. Hopefully it will be restocked.

Wow…I still haven’t bought Cover FX Warm Honey? Whaaat? And now there are those richly pigmented, very gorgeous shades from Sydney Grace, too!

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