October 25, 2021

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Best Blushes (2021) | Editor’s Top Picks

Pat McGrath Divine Blush  
Pat McGrath Divine Blush  

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 be “featherlight, long-wearing” that “build effortlessly from sheer to subversive.” The blushes are available in two finishes–demi-matte and satin pearl–and range from more muted to more vivid in color. The biggest “downfall” of the formula was that it was rather pigmented than buildable, so one could use a lighter hand to get more buildable coverage, but I found I had to use a light to moderate hand to ensure I didn’t over-apply each shade. Read more…

The formula is supposed to have “sheer, buildable coverage” with a “healthy and radiant” finish. If a truly dewy finish is something you love, the formula might be right up your alley; if dewy is your arch nemesis, move along as this very much lived up to its “radiant” claim. There wasn’t a real dry down, so it wasn’t all that transfer-resistant, though it didn’t slide off my face too readily either–most shades lasted between seven and eight hours on me. Read more…

Availability

SephoraSephora

The formula is supposed to blend “effortlessly” and “build” to a “luminous matte” finish and “any intensity with ease.” In general, they had medium, buildable coverage that easily built up to mostly opaque to opaque coverage. Read more…

The formula is supposed to be “mistake-proof” with “easy and even blending” that is “buildable” and “can be layered” for greater coverage. Per the brand, it can be applied with a “fluffy brush or using your fingers.” The pigmentation was semi-sheer to medium, buildable coverage that was easy to work with using a stippling brush or fingertips. Read more…

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.

Availability

ColourPop

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.

Availability

Sydney Grace

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.

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.

The formula is supposed to have “buildable watercolor payoff” with a “silky-smooth” texture that lasts for “10 hours.” The formula has the feel of a gel-powder hybrid, so it is firmer, denser in the pan but has no powderiness and is extremely blendable. It melted slightly after being applied and buffed on the skin, though the original formula seemed more luminous and seamless (by a touch). Read more…

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.

Availability

UltaColourPop

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.

Our Methodology

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.

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