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.
In this Post
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...
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.
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.
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!).
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.
The Blush Bombs have a gel-like consistency–more liquid-like but with more substance, a little less watery in feel–that plays better with base products than more water-like liquid/cream blushes. This type of gel texture seems to smooth over base products without lifting them up in my experience. They have buildable coverage with eight to nine-hour wear.
There is, perhaps, a trend to some of my top picks for blushes: formulas that are forgiving, easy to work with, and have less-shimmery finishes (just wait on that, though!). Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes are perfect for anyone who prefer softer coverage that can be built up but is hard to overdo paired with a satin to lightly luminous finish.
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’s Cheek Pop Blushes are some of the earliest iterations of the more baked-powder-gel tribrid formulas that are now more and more common to see. This kind texture is the type that almost blends itself as soon as you start applying and working it onto the skin. The finish became more luminous as I blended the powder onto the skin, but it was never shiny or overly shimmery, so it always looked smooth on my skin and did not emphasize pores or my skin’s texture.
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.
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.
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.
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.