In order to make the Best Product list, a blush must:
- Have a smooth texture and even application
- Be easy to blend
- Enliven cheeks with soft to moderate color
- Have a matte to minimally shiny finish
- Come in an array of workable colors for multiple skin tones
Today's best powder blushes have silky-smooth textures, apply evenly, don't fade, and come in a range of pigment density (so you can create either a dramatic or soft appearance with little effort).
For the most part, blush is probably one of the easiest cosmetics to get right because it is nearly impossible to buy a bad blush. Not that there aren't some real losers out there, but there are far more winners. The problem with blush is usually in application, and that is where good brushes come into play.
Using the proper brush is essential for getting blush to go on correctly. With very few exceptions, you should just discard the mini-brushes that come packaged with a powder blush in favor of an elegant, professional-size blush brush.
Powder blush is by far the most popular form of this makeup staple, but for variety's sake many lines offer cream, cream-to-powder, and liquid or gel blushes. Those that proved particularly impressive (or easier than usual to work with) earned our top rating.
Because most blushes in all forms have some degree of shine (clearly, many women must want shiny cheeks), we did not take a true matte finish into consideration as strongly as we have in the past. There are some terrific matte blushes available, but, for the most part, what passes for matte today still has a hint of shine. Please refer to each blush's individual review for comments on its finish (matte, almost matte, or level of shine).
Note: The cream blushes on the lists below are recommended only for dry to very dry skin that is not prone to blemishes. Cream-to-powder blushes, whether in stick or compact form, are best for normal to slightly dry or slightly oily skin not prone to breakouts.