How to Pick the Perfect Blush

Why department store brands beat out the drugstore options

How to pick the right blush
How to pick the right blush. Digital Vision / Getty Images

The right blush can be an instant face brightener. Adding a pop of color to the cheeks can make you look younger and prettier and gives off the impression of good health.

The best blush makes you look as if you just finished a workout or a run. You want that flush of color.

Drugstore or Department Store Brands?

When it comes to the best blushers on the market, department store brands win hands down over drugstore brands. In all of my research on blush on the major review sites, I've found very few drugstore brands mentioned among the best of the best. Cover Girl, Maybelline, and other drugstore brands all have blushes, but they simply do not have the staying power of a better brand.

If you must buy from a drugstore, CoverGirl Cheekers, Wet n' Wild, L'Oreal, and Milani are your best bets. Maybelline and Almay, in general, don't get great reviews.

You can't go wrong with the following department store brands, all of which are known for their blushers: Nars, BeneFit, Tarte, MAC, Stila, Bobbi Brown and Bare Escentuals.

Just as with foundations and concealers, I always recommend you try out blush before you buy at drugstores, department store counters or Sephora. If you do buy from a drugstore and can't try the blush before you buy, make sure the store has a liberal return policy.

See this full list of the best blushes for every price range.

Your Most Flattering Shade of Blush

You can't go wrong choosing a pink or a peach shade. Stick to lighter shades if you have fair skin and darker shades if you have tanned, olive or dark skin.

The following shades work best with these complexions, according to makeup artist Bobbi Brown.

  • Fair skin: stick to pinks, the lighter the better.
  • Medium skin: browns and roses
  • Tanned skin: deep rose
  • Olive skin: plums, golden browns or deep roses
  • Dark skin: dark bronzes and deep reds

What Types of Blush Should You Get?

So how to pick the perfect blush? Should you try powder, cream, tint, shimmer or gel? There are many different types out there so here I run down the 5 main types so you can choose what kind you need and when (day or night?).

Powder Blush

Powder blush is great for all skin types, but best for oily skin. Because it's the densest of blushers, it provides long-lasting color. It's also super easy to apply because it's very blendable and if it's too harsh, you can correct it by blending in with a clean brush.

Cream Blush

Cream blush is particularly suited for dry and aging skin because it is rich and moisturizing and leaves you with a dewy, youthful look. This type of blush is best applied with the fingers. It's also dense but lets your skin show through.

Gel Blush

Gel blushes provide a sheer glow. They work best on oily to normal skin. One downside: they dry quickly so you have to act fast when applying or you could end up looking blotchy.

Tint Blush

Like gel blush, tints are fast-drying and can look streaky over foundation. If you're going to use it, blend it fast and blend it well. Once it's set, it won't budge until you wash your face.


These are great for giving a light gleam to your cheekbones. These are best for nighttime. The great thing about shimmers is that you can dab them on your forehead, in the bow of your upper lip or in the inner corners of your eyes. But avoid your highly wrinkled spots, since these will accentuate them.

How to Apply Blush Properly

The key to applying blush is to know your own face and its contours. You can apply a pop of color to the apple of the cheek or create a sweeping effect along the fatty part of the cheek to highlight cheekbones.