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We’ve touched on our love of cream formulas in the summer, but there’s one cream product that wins out year round: blush. It’s easy to use (and blend), lets your skin shine through, looks natural, and often doubles as lip color in a pinch. That said, formulas vary dramatically by brand. Some provide a velvety powder finish, while gel versions give off more of a sheen. In search of the perfect blush, I tested eight popular versions, discovering along the way that some are more foolproof than others (Stila and Revlon are perfect for new converts). And fear not the hot pink tube! The color of each formula in its packaging doesn’t always correspond to how it looks on your skin. Whether you want shimmery or subtle, dewy or matte there’s a cream blush with your name on it—here’s the scoop on each.
Revlon’s Cream Blush ($13)
Revlon’s new collection is easy to apply with your fingertips and the sheer shades offer just a hint of color—the perfect answer to anyone searching for a subtle flush. (If you do want more color, just layer.) To help you find your ideal shade, the Revlon website features four models with different skin tones sporting each of the four hues.
Flower Win Some Rouge Some Crème Blush ($8)
Drew Barrymore’s Flower collection offers the most matte cream blush on this list, with a powder-like finish that comes in six shades. The mini compact makes it easy to pop in your purse—or pocket—for a night out. (And it's a steal!)
Stila Convertible Color ($25)
This is the answer to that ‘I just worked out’ glow—minus the actual workout. Nine translucent hues deliver a natural and dewy rush of color. The two-in-one formula is designed to work for both lips and cheeks, but the three shades I sampled looked much better on my cheeks than my lips.
Josie Maran Argan Cream Blush ($22)
Favor a fresh-faced, sun-kissed look? These bronzy shades are for you. Though infused with Argan oil, the matte finish requires a little extra blending upon application. The extra effort is worth it though—the just-got-back-from-vacation look lasts for hours.
NARS The Multiple ($39)
While these multi-purpose sticks are designed for eyes, cheeks, and lips, the color really dictates where you use the product. For example, I loved Na Pali Coast on my cheeks and layered it under gloss on my lips, but it was too red around my eyes. The foolproof formula gives off a sexy glow with just the right amount of sparkle that’s perfect for night—and wonderfully easy to blend.
Maybelline Master Glaze By Facestudio Blush Stick ($9)
Master Glaze can also be used on eyes and lips; the six glistening shades are much sheerer on the skin than they appear in the tube. The sparkling wash of color doubles as illuminator.
Tarte, Cheek Stain ($30)
Tarte’s bright cheek stains feel more like a gel than the others. They’re slightly sticky, making them more difficult to blend, but the intense color promises a girly, rosy-cheeked look. Natural makeup junkies will love that the line is formulated without parabens, phthalates, and sodium lauryl sulfate.
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge ($27)
Out of the three multiple formulas on the list, this was the only line where the colors looked equally great on both lips and cheeks. The 10 natural-looking shades impart just-got-off-the-slopes radiance and a mirrored-compact makes on-the-go application simple.
(Disclaimer: Bobbi Brown is the editor-in-chief of Yahoo Beauty.)