The 12 Best Blushes for a Rosy Glow

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·12-min read

Blush is finally getting the recognition it deserves and we’re here for it. If it wasn’t for new trends (hello, cottagecore and dolphin skin) and TikTok coining the ‘soft girl’ (aka the girl who loves pastel colors, a natural look and a hint of shimmer), blush might still be the beauty product you overlooked. Hey, we get it. Apply blush the wrong way, and suddenly you look like a birthday party clown. It’s tricky, we’ll admit. But with a little practice, some inspo and the right product, blush can bring a lovely flush of color to your face for a natural rosy glow. If you need a refresher, here’s a helpful guide to get you started. Then, shop our tried and tested blush recommendations below.

When to Wear It:

If you’re looking for a natural, healthy look, reach for a blush to give you a hint of color. It’ll do wonders to brighten your face and give your everyday makeup look the pick-me-up it might need.

How to Wear It:

When it comes to application, your cheeks are your money makers. The purpose of blush is adding warmth where it would naturally occur if you went for a light jog, specifically the apples of your cheeks (the moment you smile you’ll find this). For a face-lifting look, we suggest also applying it across the tops of your cheekbones to your temples and blending it in at the hairline.

What’s My Perfect Shade:

It all depends on your complexion. Essentially, you want to match closely to the color your cheeks turn when you literally blush. While skin tones are much more nuanced than this, here’s a generalized breakdown of how to determine the right hue for you:

  • If you have light to fair skin: Reach for a pale pink or peachy pink shade.

  • If you have medium to tan skin: Reach for a rosy mauve or orangey peach shade.

  • If you have dark skin: Reach for a plum or berry shade.

RELATED: The Best Highlighters of 2020, According to Friends, Coworkers and Me

1. Kosas Creme & Light Palette

Best Overall

  • Value: 20/20

  • Functionality: 20/20

  • Quality: 20/20

  • Aesthetics: 20/20

  • Glow Factor: 20/20

  • TOTAL: 100/100

Ariel P., senior manager of brand strategy at PureWow, said, “I love this palette because it’s a dual blush & highlighter and it's the perfect bright pink and rose-hued highlighter. I love cream blush because it's really easy to apply and build on. I also love that it has a dew to it which I feel like you don't get as much from a powder blush,” she said.

The apricot kernel, rosehip and jojoba oil blend together to brighten, soothe and define the skin for a natural glow. Ariel P. even expressed how it played a major role in her decision to give it a perfect score: “I love that Kosas as a brand is very clean but also performs so well (aka it’s long lasting and pigmented). Not to mention, the price is great considering the amount and ingredients. The packaging is also really sleek and compact, and it has a perfect mirror sp you can take it anywhere with you. So durable!”

Buy It ($34)

2. Heaven's Glow Radiant Veil Blush

Best Everyday

Value: 20/20

Functionality: 20/20

Quality: 15/20

Aesthetics: 17/20

Glow Factor: 17/20

TOTAL: 89/100

This powder blush is great for a subtle, everyday look. The vegan product comes in two shades—Magic Hour and Faded Clementine—to work with all skin tones. But it’s the peachy-pink shade that Nicole R., content creator, loves for a buildable and sheer look. “This blush blends like a dream and gives the most beautiful glow! So much that I don't feel the need to use a highlighter,” she said.

Buy It ($34)

3. Gucci Westman Baby Cheeks

Best Luxury

  • Value: 15/20

  • Functionality: 18/20

  • Quality: 19/20

  • Aesthetics: 19/20

  • Glow Factor: 18/20

  • TOTAL: 89/100

Aside from giving you a bright look, this five-shade blush collection also contains skincare ingredients like botanical oils and vitis vita grape extract to soothe and balance moisture. For Dena S., fashion director at PureWow, the packaging and shade have secured its spot as an all-time favorite. “I am a total sucker for nice packaging and this clean blush stick comes in a gorgeous soft grey case with gold details (and the most satisfying magnetic closure ever),” she said. “It's also just the right shade to add a light flush to my cheeks without looking over-the-top or super obvious, which hasn't been the case with most other blushes I've tried. Not to mention, it blends in super easily.”

But before you check out, consider this: “It is pretty pricey (but a little goes a long way, so I'm sure this tube will last me for years) and it doesn't smoothly apply to lips or eyelids, as the description promises!” she explained.

Buy It ($50)

4. NARS Blush

Best for Dark Skin

  • Value: 20/20

  • Functionality: 18/20

  • Quality: 15/20

  • Aesthetics: 15/20

  • Glow Factor: 20/20

  • TOTAL: 88/100

While the NARS Orgasm Blush is a fan favorite (you’ll find it lower down on the list), it's the LoveJoy shade that Dionaise C., CEO of The Beauty Boss, uses all the time—especially for her clients with dark skin. “LoveJoy is absolutely my favorite blush to use because it has just enough color without being too pigmented or red. It was one of my favorites to use when I did makeup on black women because of the warmth and richness that it adds, yet it's very subtle,” she said. “I think it works for me because I've never been a ‘blush’ girl, so this product allows me to add color without looking like I did too much.”

$30 at Amazon

5. House of Colour Blusher

Best for Fair Skin

  • Value: 18/20

  • Functionality: 20/20

  • Quality: 20/20

  • Aesthetics: 19/20

  • Glow Factor: 20/20

  • TOTAL: 97/100

This UK blush is just the product Kara C., assistant commerce editor at PureWow, needed to give herself a healthy glow. Since taking up a recommendation on this one, she hasn’t looked back. “Before my color consultant introduced me to this blush during my color analysis process, I was convinced that blush just wasn't for me,” she explained. “It always made my complexion look red and blotchy—not exactly the look I'm usually going for. But this blush is expertly matched to my skin's undertones, resulting in a natural, flushed look when I apply it.”

Buy It ($22)

6. ILIA Multi-Stick

Best Multi-tasker

  • Value: 18/20

  • Functionality: 19/20

  • Quality: 20/20

  • Aesthetics: 20/20

  • Glow Factor: 20/20

  • TOTAL: 97/100

Sometimes you just want one product to do it all, and this product is it—just ask Erica C., sales planner at Gallery Media Group. “This creamy and very pigmented blush stick stole my heart for its ability to double as a lipstick that gives me an effortless monochromatic look!” she said.

Its creamy texture blends easily for a fresh complexion, but Erica C. does note one thing that the blush is missing. “The only downside is that it doesn't stay all day, but I don't mind reapplying because the dewy, natural look it gives is unmatched!”

Buy It ($34)

7. Glossier Cloud Paint

Best Cream

  • Value: 18/20

  • Functionality: 19/20

  • Quality: 17/20

  • Aesthetics: 19/20

  • Glow Factor: 20/20

  • TOTAL: 93/100

With over 2,000+ reviews, it’s safe to say this unique gel-cream formula has won over hearts everywhere. The cloud paint comes in six shades (inspired by NYC sunsets, how cool is that?) and Sarah S., editor at PureWow, can attest to why it can’t be beat. “I adore this blush. It's a cream, so it's super easy to apply with your fingers (I can't be bothered with brushes). The only thing is that it's super, super pigmented, so it's easy to get carried away and end up with fully pink cheeks. [But] once you get the hang of how much products your cheeks can handle, it's smooth sailing—literally,” she said.

Buy It ($18)

8. Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick

Best Stick

  • Value: 20/20

  • Functionality: 20/20

  • Quality: 19/20

  • Aesthetics: 19/20

  • Glow Factor: 20/20

  • TOTAL: 98/100

The Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick has by far the most shades in any blush collection (15 to be exact!) but it's the applicator that draws makeup gurus in. For Jiya P., social media coordinator at Color of Change, the makeup stick is a multi-tasking, long-lasting beauty tool she uses for any occasion. “This was my go-to blush for going out to brunch or drinks pre-COVID. It's so easy to use and isn't cakey and never smudges while I'm wearing it,” she said. “The Confetti shade keeps me glowing and fresh-faced throughout the day. It's also very easy to layer with and can be used as an eyeshadow and lipstick for versatility. I tend to wear it on my eyes and use it as a blush to give me more radiant tones.”

Buy It ($25)

9. Wander Beauty On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator

Best for Dry Skin

  • Value: 18/20

  • Functionality: 20/20

  • Quality: 20/20

  • Aesthetics: 18/20

  • Glow Factor: 20/20

  • TOTAL: 96/100

The clean ingredients (aka vitamin E) found in this blush-illuminator duo is a win for people with dry skin. Cristina G., senior editor of branded content at PureWow, relies on this blush for long-lasting glow and hydration. “I wore this blush on my wedding day. It’s the perfect rich (not sorbet), slightly orange-tinted tone for my skin and it always makes me feel like a million bucks. I absolutely love the formula, it’s so creamy and smooth and is very buildable,” she said. “It’s really hydrating which is important for me because my skin tends to be dry, and this one melts right in. I like to dab a little on my nose and lips to warm up my face after I’m finished with my cheeks, and it always looks so natural. It’s also lasted me forever.”

Buy It ($42)

10. Patrick Ta Major Beauty Headlines Double-Take Creme & Powder Blush

Best Powder-Cream Duo

  • Value: 18/20

  • Functionality: 19/20

  • Quality: 18/20

  • Aesthetics: 19/20

  • Glow Factor: 18/20

  • TOTAL: 92/100

I’ll be the first to admit, blush was never my thing but after trying this blush duo, I’ve changed my tune. It has powder and a cream blush (which can be perfect for combo skin) to use alone or layered for a bolder effect. Since I gravitate towards a creamier texture and a subtle glow, I decided to try the ‘Patrick Ta’ technique—where you apply the powder then the cream on top.

The powder is pretty pigmented, but with a little blending it gave me the subtle look I’m after. At first glance, I thought the cream blush was too pink, but again, a nice bit of blending and I can see why Patrick really includes both. I enjoyed the layering, but the powder blush is definitely a fave.

Plus, can we talk about how editorial the packing looks? It’s small (which is good for on-the-go), it closes tightly (so I don’t have to worry about any spills or cracks) and it’s super shiny, to the point that I basically have a second mirror to check out my makeup.

Buy It ($34)

11. Milani Baked Blush

Best Drugstore

  • Value: 20/20

  • Functionality: 18/20

  • Quality: 17/20

  • Aesthetics: 15/20

  • Glow Factor: 18/20

  • TOTAL: 88/100

If you’re looking for a NARS’s Orgasm blush dupe, this is it. There are four shades to choose from, and Mimia J., group creative director at VaynerMedia, doesn’t leave the house without hers. “This Milani Blush is my absolute go-to because it's available at any drugstore for less than $10 and this girl LOVES a deal. I have one in my makeup bag, one in my purse and one in my desk at work (remember when we used to leave our houses?!),” she said. “Additionally, I'm super fair-skinned and this shade provides just the right amount of natural ‘glow’ without giving that 1980s, caked on blush look to my extremely pale skin.”

Buy It ($9)

12. NARS Blush

Best Powder

  • Value: 18/20

  • Functionality: 18/20

  • Quality: 19/20

  • Aesthetics: 20/20

  • Glow Factor: 19/20

  • TOTAL: 94/100

OK, so we have two NARS picks on the list. But this one is the OG of blushes. Just look at the 17,000+ on Sephora. Jeanny P., VP of media at VaynerMedia, says, “This is a classic and iconic blush that has been around for quite some time, and I love it because it looks very natural, goes well with most skin tones, and it's totally worth the investment,” she said. “I don't get an overpowering punch with the first swipe, so I can build up the color if I want to.”

Jeanny P. also noted that it is a shimmer blush, which she uses on her eyelids to give her a monochromatic, illuminating look. “It has very fine gold pigments that give a beautiful and healthy glow! I see it as a 2-in1 product: a blush and a highlighter,” she said.

Buy It ($40)

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