The 15 Best Liquid Blushes to Give Skin a Healthy Glow — Instantly

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Offering a sheer pop of color, liquid blush is the go-to for a natural flush.

<p>InStyle / Jaclyn Mastropaqua</p>

InStyle / Jaclyn Mastropaqua

Although powder blush formulas have been around forever, liquid blushes have taken the lead in recent years — and they show no sign of slowing down. Instead of kicking off a trend, the rise of liquid blush is actually the end-result of our collective shift to pared-back makeup. “Liquid blush has blown up over the last few years because of the switch we've seen on social media for more glowing, natural skin as opposed to heavier full-glam looks,” says celebrity makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran. “It gives cheeks a subtle flush that looks more natural than powder blush.”

Liquid blush also tends to be more user-friendly than its powdery peers, since you can easily pop it on with fingers wherever, whenever — in most cases, you can just tap, blend, and go. Another plus: It can be better for certain skin types than, say, cream blush. Since a liquid blush is so sheer and lightweight, “it’s ideal for someone who tends to get shiny or oily,” says celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose, who counts Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira among his clients. Its popularity has led to a ton of new options, which vary in their color, texture, and overall payoff.

Best Overall: NARS Liquid Blush

$28 at

$30 at

What We Love: You can find it in bestselling shades of Nars other popular blush shades, like Orgasm.

What We Don’t Love: The packaging is prone to spilling and isn’t travel-friendly.

Nars is known for its blushes (exhibit A: Its Orgasm powder blush, which was a runaway success), so it’s no surprise that the brand would get into the liquid blush game. Naturally, you can find it in the signature peachy-pink shade of Orgasm, as well as a handful of other favorites, like Dolce Vita. Its thin, liquid-y feel is supremely easy to blend, possibly because of the addition of moisturizing monoï and tamanu oils, both of which can be found throughout the brand's entire line of liquid blush. Yet the pigments are what we love the most — they're rich, luminous, and full-bodied enough that they show up on all skin tones.

While the pump format of the bottle makes it easy to dispense either a small drop for a natural flush or full pump for extra drama, that's pretty much all the credit the packaging gets. We’ve found it can be prone to leaking and the cap can be tough to pull off.

Shades: 4 | Finish: Matte, shimmer | Size: 0.5 oz

Most Affordable: Makeup Revolution Superdewy Liquid Blusher

$4 at

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What We Love: It blends seamlessly over other complexion products without streaking.

What We Don’t Love: It’s so pigmented that you can overdo it quickly.

It's tough to get any beauty product for under $10 these days, much less a highly pigmented, easy-to-blend liquid blush — but that's exactly what you've got with this formula. It's packed with pigment, with shades that are rich enough to show up on even the deepest skin tones, and it's also very buildable, so you can dial up the intensity according to your preference.

While the finish is more satin than "superdewy" as the name would suggest, it still leaves a luminous sheen on skin with only a few drops, meaning that a single tube will last you a long time. The only drawback is that we’ve found its scent can be a little off-putting, but if you can get over that, then you’ve got yourself a fantastic liquid blush for the price.

Shades: 8 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.5 oz

Best for Glowing Skin: Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush in Happy

$14 at

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What We Love: You can choose between two finishes to suit your personal preference.

What We Don’t Love: It’s so popular that shades are often sold out.

Selena Gomez’s makeup line has produced hit after hit, from its powder highlighter to its priming and setting mist, but few can top the bestseller that is this liquid blush. It’s hard to find someone who isn’t a fan, because it’s just that good. “It adds pretty color and a fresh glow,” says Barose. “It also reflects light a bit, so you get the blush plus a bit of a candlelit glow.”

It pairs a weightless feel with buildable color, so you can wear it sheer for a natural flush or apply more for added drama. It blends beautifully, Jaikaran says, and is incredibly pigmented. Heads up, though: While that pigment is a plus, it’s "very easy to go overboard,” says Emily Gray, celebrity makeup artist and ambassador for Catrice Cosmetics, who’s a fan of the radiant finishes in particular. So, proceed with caution to get the most natural finish, knowing you can always add more without it ever getting cakey.

Shades: 13 | Finish: Radiant, matte | Size: 0.25 oz

Best Luxury: Giorgio Armani Beauty A-Blush Liquid Blush

$38 at

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What We Love: You can’t overdo this sheer option, making it virtually foolproof.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not buildable, so you’re stuck with a soft wash of color until you wash it off.

Armani Beauty's Neo Nude collection features water-based products that are intended to melt into skin to add radiance and hydration. That's exactly what its liquid blush does, acting like a watercolor on skin and delivering the ultimate no-makeup makeup look. It's easy to blend, but its water-based nature prevents it from being really buildable — you'll still have a softly diffused look no matter how many times you reapply. On the bright side, this makes it pretty much impossible to over-apply, even if you’re heavy-handed. With a built-in doe-foot applicator for precise application, it’s as foolproof as blush gets, making it a fantastic option for anyone new to the liquid blush game.

However, the relatively small bottle doesn’t seem to contain a ton of product, so you might have a hard time getting out enough out of there — and it’s not the kind of liquid blush that’s going to last months without requiring a restock.

Shades: 4 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.13 oz

Best Drugstore: Milani Cheek Kiss Liquid Blush Makeup

$17 at

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What We Love: It has great staying power for a liquid blush and can be used on both cheeks and lips.

What We Don’t Love: It can be tough to blend smoothly over some powder foundations.

While drugstore blushes tend to come as powders or creams, this liquid number stands out not only for its formula, but because it’s just that good, too. “It blends down seamlessly,” says Jaikaran, who counts it among her favorites. The buildable formula can go from sheer to bold in a matter of seconds with additional layers, and even better, it features nutrient-dense ingredients, like pomegranate and watermelon, to nourish skin, too.

It also gets bonus points for versatility, since you can use it on both cheeks and lips for a monochromatic look. However, it may inadvertently lift your complexion products, such as foundation and concealer, depending on their formulation. The general rule is to pair like with like, so a liquid blush will blend best over a liquid foundation. But even if you swear by powder or cream foundations, there's not much harm in trying this one out, given its affordability, to see how it works with your overall routine.

Shades: 6 | Finish: Satin | Size: 0.38 oz

Best Highlighter Blush: Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand

$42 at

$42 at

What We Love: Since it’s built to be a highlighter, it offers unmatched radiance.

What We Don’t Love: The tube doesn’t house much product and some of what it does have gets soaked into the built-in applicator, giving you even less to work with over time.

While the Light Wand is technically billed as highlighter, two shades — Pinkgasm and Peachgasm — offer an incredible (and incredibly luminous) flush. “They were sold out forever for a reason,” says Gray. “They buff out beautifully and are perfect for a radiant, romantic makeup look.”

The Light Wand has light-reflecting particles for a luminizing effect (that highlighter in action), and the formula is infused with oils to help it melt into skin. Worth keeping in mind, though: Those light-reflecting particles can have a shimmery look to them, which might not be everyone’s preference. The other downside is that the sponge applicator can be unwieldy. “Be sure to carefully close the liquid blush so that it doesn't explode everywhere,” warns Gray.

Shades: 6 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 0.41 oz

Best Natural: Saie Dew Blush

$25 at

$25 at

What We Love: It checks all the boxes: It’s blendable, buildable, and lightweight.

What We Don’t Love: It can disappear quickly on darker skin tones.

This formula from clean beauty brand Saie does it all, as far as liquid blushes go. “This gives a fresh finish on the skin that adds a gorgeous soft glow,” says Jaikaran. Its formula has more heft to it than your average liquid — like a cushiony gel — yet it still feels effectively weightless on skin. It also has a plush, doe-foot applicator to help you scale up the intensity. And whether you smooth it in with your fingers, a brush, or makeup sponge, it won't look patchy.

For long-term perks, Saie’s Dew Blush also contains a lineup of skincare-minded ingredients, like moisturizing evening primrose oil and antioxidant-packed elderberry. However, the pigment itself, while rich when you first apply it, doesn’t seem to hold up during the day without a touch-up.

Shades: 6 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.40 oz

Best Matte Finish: Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Liquid Lip Blush & Cheek Tint

$21 at

$24 at

What We Love: This is a true liquid blush that sets quickly and lasts all day.

What We Don’t Love: It can highlight different textures on skin, including blemishes and fine lines.

More of a cheek and lip stain than a blush, Benetint was one of the first in the category (and some millennials might recognize it from their high-school days). Designed for both lips and cheeks, it has a super-light, almost watery texture that feels like nothing on your skin. Thanks to that lightweight nature, it delivers more of a hint of color versus a colorful flush, although you can build it up for more impact.

Unlike its creamier counterparts, Benetint won't move once it sets, so you can rest assured that your pop of color will last all day (and then some). However, because it's a classic and the formula has remained virtually untouched over the years, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles as the newcomers, like skincare benefits or a luminous finish. Also good to keep in mind: It can bring out bumps and creases in skin, so if you’re dealing with a breakout, you might want to skip it.

Shades: 5 | Finish: Satin | Size: 0.2 oz

Best for Beginners: Glossier Cloud Paint

$22 at

$22 at

What We Love: The creamy formula is extremely simple to apply, even with fingers.

What We Don’t Love: The tube packaging makes it a little too easy to accidentally squeeze out too much product.

The magic of Cloud Paint is in the feel: It has a bouncy texture that's both incredibly satisfying to apply (trust us) and just as easy to buff. Like all things Glossier, it's designed to deliver a sheer, natural-looking flush — so while it's buildable, we've found that it's hard to apply too much, even if you’re trying. Cloud Paint is also infused with powder pigments for a blurring effect, giving the cheeks a soft-focus finish that works with or without makeup. It's the perfect option for those with easy, low-key style.

The one catch? It can dry down quickly, and once that happens, it's pretty much impossible to buff into skin and can look patchy, so you have to work fast.

Shades: 8 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.33 oz

Best for Mature Skin: Milk Makeup Bionic Liquid Blush

$24 at

What We Love: It strikes the perfect balance between sheerness and pigment.

What We Don’t Love: If you forget to shake it before using it, you might deal with separation.

For a blush with serious skincare cred, consider this one from Milk Makeup. “These are probably the most sheer and buildable blushes I’ve tried — and probably my most used blushes because of that,” says Gray. “These blushes have added hyaluronic acid to keep you looking hydrated throughout the day. Plus, they are vegan and cruelty-free.” On top of that, it's also packed with two types of mushroom extracts and plant-derived collagen to hydrate and firm skin over time, making it one of the very best options for mature skin.

Each of the four shades — rose, coral, red and plum — are vibrantly pigmented while still offering translucent finish, while the gelée-like texture is a cinch to blend in with fingers. Pro tip: Even though it's easy to apply, we still have to give it a good shake before dispensing, since the formula may separate in the tube.

Shades: 4 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 0.27 oz

Best for Dry Skin: Natasha Denona Puff Paint Liquid Blush

$24 at

$24 at

What We Love: This hydrating liquid blush leaves skin softer than before you applied it.

What We Don’t Love: The shade range is very limited compared to other blushes.

If the name "Puff Paint" alone doesn't get you, then the silk-like texture will. While this oil-free blush (which, by the way, can be used on eyes and lips) offers soft, glassy color in a mere seconds, it also doubles as a serum, courtesy of its skincare-quality ingredients. It's packed with hyaluronic acid, along with a lineup of many other natural moisturizers to nourish skin over time, leaving it feeling softer and smoother all day long.

This blush is brimming with translucent pigments to allow your natural skin tone to shine through. And as its name implies, you'll barely feel the product on your skin. Plus, the chubby applicator makes it easy to apply on the go, too.

Shades: 3 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.23 oz

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Danessa Myricks Beauty Vision Flush Blush, Eyeshadow and Lip Color

$20 at

What We Love: The instant payoff is ideal for anyone who doesn’t feel like applying multiple layers of sheer blush every day.

What We Don’t Love: The formula doesn’t always firmly set and it can lift complexion products.

If your attitude towards blush is to go big or go bare, then you're in the right spot. A sheer formula this is not — rather, the liquid blush is dripping with color, so much so that an initial application will get you a bold wash of pigment. But if you want a more subtle look, a workaround is simple: Just apply it to the back of your hand first to diffuse it or mix it with a makeup primer. Either way you want to style it, you'll find that it's a breeze to blend in, making for an overall more dramatic payoff.

We also adore the brand's diverse shade range in a variety of unique blush hues. Each shade can be applied to the eyes and lips in addition to the cheeks. The only way it falls short is with the tube, which can get coated with extra product and leak.

Shades: 8 | Finish: Matte, radiant | Size: 0.21 oz

Best Blendable: Tarte Blush Tape Liquid Blush

$36 at

$36 at

What We Love: This blush is a nearly universal crowdpleaser, delivering a lit-from-within glow without any glitter or excess shine.

What We Don’t Love: The formula is so sheer that you might go through a tube ASAP and the lighter hues might not show up on deeper skin tones.

The latest drop from Tarte goes big on luminosity without veering into shimmer territory. How? It's a combo of diamond powder and mineral pigments. Like everything else in Tarte's Shape Tape collection, which now includes a concealer and foundation, this liquid blush also features its Tape Technology, an exclusive complex that helps plump and blur skin. It also has legitimate skincare chops, with mango and shea butters to condition skin and licorice root to brighten skin while you wear it.

For easy (and precise) application, it has a built-in cushion tip for you to dot it along your cheekbones — although keep in mind that it can be tough to clean. The only other bummer is that the three available shades are better suited for fairer skin tones.

Shades: 3 | Finish: Dewy | Size: 0.4 oz

Best for Oily Skin: Dear Dahlia Velvet Lip Mousse

$31 at

What We Love: The shade range is huge, allowing you to choose from a variety of fun, interesting shades.

What We Don’t Love: The applicator is meant more for lips than cheeks, which can make it a little awkward to apply.

There’s more than meets the eye with this light-as-air, multi-purpose color. Although it’s sold as a lip mousse, “the formula that can be used on both cheeks and lips,” says Barose. “It’s richly pigmented and easy to blend, with a velvety finish that’s matte, but fresh and not dull.” It blends seamlessly no matter where you apply it, and, unlike some matte formulations, doesn't feel dry or cakey.

While it dries to a stain-like finish on the skin, it’s not as long-lasting as some other liquid blushes, and the angled applicator can make it tough to get enough product out of the tube. But, since all you need is a few dots, it shouldn’t be a huge issue.

Shades: 18 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.21 oz

Best for Light Skin Tones: Ilia Color Haze Multi-Matte Pigment

$32 at

$32 at

What We Love: The pigment offers two finishes in one, depending on where you apply it.

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t have much staying power, so you might need a touch-up.

This hybrid can go just about anywhere you want it, be it the lips, cheeks, or eyes. As a cheek color, however, it layers well and sinks into skin quickly. And although it settles into a matte texture on the lips, it stays radiant on the skin. The color payoff is also impressive — all you need is a small dab for a just-ran-a-5K flush. The metal applicator allows for solid control on how much product we're able to dispense at one time (which is important, since all you need is a dot), and is easier to clean than the built-in sponges.

However, we found that the overall texture is a little tacky, so it helps if you’ve moisturized skin first — versus applying it to dry skin to touch up the color.

Shades: 5 | Finish: Radiant | Size: 0.23 oz

What to Keep in Mind

  • Finish: The four most popular finishes for liquid blush are shimmery, matte, dewy or radiant. “Dewy blushes give the glow, but also can make you look oily — so it’s best for dry skin,” Barose says. “Mattes are great if you have texture like large pores and acne, in which case you don’t want glow or shimmer as it brings out the bumpy textures more.”

    Meanwhile dewy and radiant finishes — radiance being more about brightness than hydration — are a great bet if you’re looking for a more luminous look, ideal if your skin leans dry or dull. “I love blushes with a bit of radiance to them,” says Gray. “I love glow and combining blush and highlight," while Finally, shimmery finishes are in a league of their own. They tend to make more of a statement versus the liquid blushes that impart a natural finish. Liquid blushes with a shimmer are meant to be seen and to add a light-catching sheen to skin. For that reason, they're “perfect for evenings, not daytime,” says Barose.

  • Shade: There are no real limitations to what liquid blush shade is best for your skin tone, says Jaikaran. “You can wear any shade — just choose the right intensity of the shade you’re going for." If you have fair skin and have your heart set on a bold berry blush, then go for it. That said, certain shades may enhance the cheeks or offer better payoff if you choose them strategically. For instance, for those who are fair, “light pinks and corals look gorgeous on lighter skin tones,” says Jaikaran, who adds they'll have the most natural effect, as though you’re actually blushing for whatever reason.

    "Medium skin tones look great with orange-y or deep pink shades,” says Barose. “Make sure the color is rich enough and that once blended down, there’s some punch to it.” These more saturated hues will not only show up on medium or tan skin tones, but will bring out a glow, he says. and for darker skin tones, he recommends reaching for deep plums and burnt coral shades. “It needs to look really deep so it translates on dark skin,” he says. What’s as important, too, is that your liquid blush formula has the necessary pigment needed to pull that off.

  • Blendability: Liquid blushes tend to be super-concentrated, which is why you can usually find them in tiny tubes and bottles. And because a single dab will usually have a ton of pigment, a blendable formula is key. “They have to be easily buffed out with either a dense brush, beauty blender, or your fingers,” says Gray. “I also like when the first layer of blush is sheerer, so that I can build the product up. If there is too much pigment, it does not look as seamless.”

    But whatever you do, don’t let a bright color on the packaging make you nervous. “The thing with liquid blush is that you always want to go brighter in the packaging, because once it’s blended in, it will add the right pop,” says Barose. Plus, liquid blushes tend to be on the sheer side, so the color, as bold as it may look in the tube, will be softened and diffused on your skin.

Your Questions, Answered

What's the best way to apply liquid blush?

First, keep in mind: Less is more, so start with the smallest amount possible and take it from there, especially if it’s your first time using it. “This will help you achieve a natural-looking flush without going overboard,” says Jaikaran.

Then, once you’ve added a dot to your skin, blend it out using your fingers, a fluffy brush, or a makeup sponge. Add more if you want bolder color or stop there if you prefer a more transparent look.

Finally, “if you’re looking for more longevity, set it with a translucent powder or a corresponding shade in powder form,” she says, adding that if you accidentally applied too much, don't sweat it — liquid blush is forgiving. “You can always blend it out with a damp sponge or your fingertips."

Is liquid blush better than cream blush?

Liquid blush isn’t necessarily better than cream blush. Rather, it just has a different, thinner texture that can be watery, cushiony, or gel-like as opposed to creamy. Both offer easy, seamless application and blending. However, liquid blushes may set more quickly and last longer than their creamy counterparts, depending on the formula.

Why Shop With Us

Deanna Pai is a freelance writer and editor who has been covering beauty, health, and wellness for more than a decade. She first started wearing blush in sixth grade and hasn’t stopped since. For this story, she interviewed three pro makeup artists, including makeup artists Nick Barose, Emily Gray, and Jaleesa Jaikaran.

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