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Cream Blush vs. Powder Blush: How to Spruce Up Your Cheeks With Color


It’s not that blush has ever gone out of style, but it is having a major moment right now. From TikTok to the trend cycle (think Barbie, summertime, and Hailey Bieber’s new strawberry makeup fad), blush is everywhere. In fact, it’s even overtaking bronzer, highlighter, and mascara at the moment. When it comes to must-have beauty products of 2023, blush is your best bet. And makeup lovers aren’t using swipes of one particular shade. They’re often layering powder formulas over cream formulas and, in some cases, multiple powders over multiple creams. Some moments may call for a dewy finish (or natural flush), while others may call for something bolder than a slight flush of color. It’s all about personal preferences, and the good news is that blush is one of the easiest makeup products for beginners. So whether you’re an old pro or an amateur, as long as you own a blush brush and can locate the apples of your cheeks, you’re good!

“Blush is, by far, my favorite product,” decade-long makeup artist and Për Në skincare founder, Adriana Bena, tells IPSY. “It’s the item that goes the furthest in my kit. If I'm feeling tired or in need of a pick-me-up, blush is my savior. When it comes to placement, I’m very particular. I like it right on the apples of my cheeks with a dash across my nose. I tend to reach for pinks and corals, but I love how I can play with other shades and achieve a subtle yet total difference.”

If you’re curious about how to layer properly or what the best blush for your skin type is, keep reading for our pro tips below—and prepare to stuff your makeup bag.

About the Expert:

Adriana Bena is a decade-long Los Angeles-based makeup artist who has worked on photoshoots with Disney, Snapchat, Adidas, and Google. She’s also the founder of Për Në all-natural skincare.

What You Need to Know About Powder Blush

When we think of classic blush, a powder consistency comes to mind. And it’s still a big hit among our IPSY community. Our members love the PIXI BEAUTY Fresh Face Blush in DeepRose, for example—thanks to its satin-like powder consistency that’s perfect for building and blending. In the spirit of the Barbie-pink trend, we’ve personally been loving the JASON WU BEAUTY Beautiful Earthling Blush Trio, which features three silky powders that are feminine and flirty. And if you’re looking for something both physically effective and cost-effective, you can’t go wrong with BEAUTY CREATIONS My Favorite Blush, a cool-toned pink that’s perfect for lighter complexions.

“Powder blush is finely milled and pressed, usually best applied with a brush,” Bena explains. “They’re available in a wide range of finishes, from matte to satin to shimmer.”

  • Pro: A Little Goes a Long Way: “Powder blush is very buildable, making it easy to start with a little and layer up for more intensity,” Bena says.

  • Pro: Longwear: “When it comes to longevity, powders outperform creams,” Bena says. “They tend to have impressive staying power and require fewer touch-ups.”

  • Pro: Great for Oily Skin: “For oilier skin types, powders can provide two jobs in one application,” Bena says. “They can provide a matte finish while giving the skin a hit of color.”

  • Con: Not As Great for Dry Skin: “If you’re prone to dryness, powder can cling to dry patches, making them more noticeable,” Bena explains. “It can also sometimes accentuate pores.” 

What You Need to Know About Cream Blush

If you’re looking for lightweight formulas perfect for that no-makeup-makeup look, cream blushes are it. “Cream blush is balm-like and gives a fresh, radiant glow to the skin,” Bena says.

While you can certainly build up the color to make it more vibrant, it can also be used for a natural flare. Bena is big on the TikTok-famous MAKEUP BY MARIO Soft Pop Plumping Blush Veil in Perfect Pink. We’re personally fans of the buildable, blendable CIATÉ LONDON Velvet Skin Cream Blush in Cheeky.

  • Pro: Sets With a Glowy Finish: “It’s hydrating and nourishing since it often includes moisturizing oils or plant extracts,” Bena says.

  • Pro: Easy to Blend: “Cream blush is easy to blend seamlessly, and there are more options for application,” Bena says. “Use a sponge or brush to diffuse all over, or use your fingertips to melt the product into the skin.”

  • Pro: Multipurpose: “One of the biggest pros of using a cream blush is versatility,” Bena explains. “In addition to the cheeks, you can dot it on the lips or eyes to create a monochromatic look.” 

  • Con: Not Great for Oily Skin: “If your skin is on the oilier side, cream blush can add to the overall shine, or slide around more than a powder,” Bena says. 

Cream Blush vs. Powder Blush: How to Pick

There are a few factors that play into whether you should opt for cream blush vs. powder blush (and don’t forget—you can use both!).

“Choosing the perfect blush formulation is personal,” Bena says. “It all comes down to your unique style, preferred look, and, of course, your skin type. Cream blush tends to be heavier than powder, so if you’re prone to breakouts, it could clog your pores. But dry skin types may find that powder doesn’t blend as well, and it might even draw attention to texture.”

Bena also bases her preference on morning or night.

“During the day, I lean toward cream blush,” she says. “Its velvety texture blends effortlessly into my skin, leaving it looking dewy and nourished. I love how versatile it is. Dabbing some on my lips or using it as an eyeshadow is my secret for the perfect no-makeup, makeup look. This is all while feeling lightweight and comfortable, like a second skin. The evening is when I turn to powder blush. The pigmentation and buildable coverage allows me to amp up the intensity for a night out or special occasion.”

Regardless of preference, she says owning both cream and powder plush are absolutely key.

“I love having the flexibility to choose depending on my client's needs, mood, or desired look,” Bena says. “Over the years, I’ve picked up some fun tricks, like layering powder over cream for a flawless finish that lasts twice as long. It's all about finding the perfect balance between the two textures and using them to create looks that enhance your natural beauty.”

Want in on all the best blushes and more? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already a member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira is a Los Angeles-based beauty writer, who has a passion for hair, makeup, and skincare. She contributes regularly to Mane Addicts and her blog, Skyelyfe. Her work has also appeared on Glossy, People, E!, Sweety High and more.
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Article Last Updated August 28, 2023 12:00 AM