The Best Cream Blushes

From hydrating, easy-to-apply gels to ultra-pigmented sticks, these are our favorite formulas on the market.

by Eleonore Condo

a closeup of a woman wearing pink eye shadow, pink lipstick and blush
Photographed by Alasdair McLellan for W Magazine, 2021

Blush is one of the oldest forms of make-up—we’ve been making ourselves look vaguely, albeit prettily, embarrassed for millennia. Its use dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who used to mix red ochre with fat to create a stain with which both men and women would paint their faces. Modern versions of the product have come a long way, obviously, but some of my favorite cream blushes keep things almost as simple as our old friends along the Nile: pigment plus natural oils equals a healthy glow. Cream formulations are also incredibly versatile: Dab a small amount on cheeks, lips, and, my personal favorite, eyelids for a minimalist look, or build up layers of pigment for a dramatic flushed effect that never looks cakey. They’re a foolproof way to light up your face and make you feel a little more “done.” Here, a selection of the absolute best, in varying shades and consistencies that work for everyone.

We only include products that have been independently selected by W’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

For Natural Radiance

RMS’s cult favorite natural formula contains ultra-moisturizing ingredients like buriti oil and shea butter, which gives the skin a subtle flush with a dewy finish.

The Best Blush-Highlighter Duo

This Kosas set blends seamlessly for a foolproof “your cheeks…but better” look.

For a Subtle Glow

This creamy formula has a light, whipped consistency and comes in two universally flattering shades. Dab a little on the apple of your cheeks for a fresh-faced flush.

The New Classic

ILIA’s Multi-Stick is a genuine powerhouse product. With a perfectly calibrated concentration of pigment and a smooth application, this eco-friendly blush is a go-to.

The Best Gel Formula

The gel consistency of Chantecaille’s blush makes application a breeze, and the light shimmer delivers a radiant glow.

Best for On-The-Go Touchups

Subtl Beauty’s formula is nicely pigmented and pleasantly hydrating—and it fits in the tiniest of handbags.

The Best Multi-Use Product

This cream dries matte for a natural tint you can rock on cheeks, lips, and eyes.

For a Sun-Kissed Glow

Want to look like you’ve been idly lounging on a yacht all day? Tower28’s tinted balms deliver.

The Easiest to Apply

Like a crayon for your cheeks, this blush is as pretty as it is fun to use.

For That Old-Hollywood Look

This formula changes from cream to powder as it dries, giving your skin a lovely velvety texture and a nice dose of rosiness.

A Tried and True Favorite

You’ve heard it before, but for good reason. Glossier’s sheer gel-cream tint is the perfect, buildable formula.

The Best Hydrating Formula

This vibrant cream blush blends like a dream, thanks to Argan Oil and Vitamin E.