Are you team cream or team powder blush? Or maybe you love to mix and match? Whatever your preferences, blush can actually be a make or break step in many makeup rituals. Designed to make you look gorgeously glowing and lit from within with a healthy flush of cheek-popping color, on the flip side, too much blush, not enough blending, or a formula that doesn’t work with your skin’s needs can lead to many a blush blunder. Whether bright, neutral, or just a hint of hue, wherever you sit on the blush spectrum, this handy guide will help you find your best blush, and learn some new tricks and techniques too.
First up, how do you decide between cream or powder blush? Much like with foundations or bronzers, the simplest answer to this is that it's all down to your personal preference. That said, cream blushes impart a richer, conditioning texture, so they tend to complement those with drier complexions as they add dewiness and radiance to dull skin, have great staying power, and are less likely to cling to any dry patches or imperfections. Powder blushes—especially matte powders are an excellent option if you err on the oilier side, have larger pores, acne-prone skin, or if you’re just generally looking for a more subtle glow. And, of course, you can mix and match using a cream base and powder top, depending on the look you’re going for
“I’m such a fan of blush, I use both cream and powder,” says Anna De La Cruz, Glo’s Master Aesthetician. “I love the velvety, lightweight texture of a cream because it provides such a natural-looking flush of color when done right. All of Glo’s cream blushes contain kaolin clay which is super balancing, so it really helps the color anchor to cheeks and lasts longer than powder alone.”
“Powder blush on the other hand is just so easy to use,” adds Stephanie Scalet, Glo’s Global Aesthetics Educator. “It’s much more buildable, so you can create different effects with just one blush. Glo’s powder blushes are so finely milled they have a silk-like powder effect, and many of them feature a soft shimmer, so you can create that radiant flush with just your powder.”
All of Glo’s blushes—both cream and powder, are mineral, meaning they’re perfect for all skin types, even sensitive skin, and are infused with caring ingredients including antioxidants vitamins A, C, E, and green tea, along with kaolin clay. They’re also talc-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and cruelty-free.
“Cream blushes can definitely look more color-intense in the packaging than powders, so that can be intimidating for some people,” Anna adds. “But don’t be put off, the trick to adjusting the intensity levels is all in the application. Use a light touch with both cream and powder, then build from there. And, it may sound like a no-brainer, but always apply your blush in daylight to ensure you can see properly so you don’t overdo it, and blend it out effectively.”
For cream blush, applying with your fingers is the go-to technique, although some prefer to use a brush. Depending on how you want to wear your blush—on apples, along the cheekbone, under the cheekbone, pat the blush into position with a light touch, then use a damp sponge to buff and blend outwards. “You can also add a little hint of Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+ to the sponge to help create a more flawless blended effect,” suggests Anna.
“My favorite way to use Glo’s Cream Blush is to cocktail it with our Barrier Balm for a super dewy, refreshed glow,” adds Stephanie. “I apply this to the apples of my cheeks, eyelids, and lips for a monochrome flush of color that’s such a popular look right now.”
“When it comes to applying powder blush, it’s good to add a primer first to help boost the powder blush’s staying power,” Anna says. “It’s important to get the right brush too, so you stay precise. You could even have two brushes, one to apply, and then one to blend. For this, our Powder Blush Brush or the super-soft, dual-fiber brush are perfect to just add a soft kiss of color to the skin.”
“A look I’m loving at the moment is to apply a powder blush on my temples, for a subtle pop of color,” adds Stephanie. “I’m seeing this look all over social media, and it’s such a cute way to add some definition to cheekbones too.”
“Crafted to be used solo or in pairs, my favorite Cream Blush to wear on its own is Firstlove. It’s a true berry tone and mimics a natural flush. A light sweep gives such great dimension all on its own. And, our Powder Blush in Melody is a best seller for good reason. This mid-toned rose is a soft matte formula that’s so chic.”
Personalize your look even further by mixing up your blush effects with these perfect pairings...
Pink Paradise: “This pairing is soft and fun, great for summer. Start with Cream Blush in Guava—a beautiful vibrant watermelon, then top off with Powder Blush in Sweet for an incredible peachy pink gold shimmer,” shares Anna.
Sunset Serenade: “For a more robust pop of color, pair Cream Blush in Fig—a warm terracotta, then top with Powder Blush in Spice Berry for a little extra heat."
Rosé Rendezvous: “Such a pretty, romantic pairing, start with Cream Blush in Firstlove—a beautiful berry tone, then lightly tap on Powder Blush in Sheer Petal for a delicate blush effect.”
Getaway Glow: “The perfect warm bronze glow, pair Cream Blush in Warmth with Powder Blush in Soleil starting with Warmth—a neutral mid-toned bronze for light sculpting and depth, then top off with Soleil, a bronze-coral shimmer for added dimension,” she adds.
And, don’t forget to finish your look with a pop of highlighting balm from our Glo Up Highlighter for a sheer, dewy finish.
Powder blushes tend to last longer than cream blushes. Because of their texture and formulation, you can apply your powder blush in the morning and still feel like you’ve got a good flush of blush going into the night. As cream blushes are heavier textures and tend to be more richly pigmented, they can fade faster than powder blushes and will need a touch-up to take you into the evening.
To boost your blush’s staying power, apply your cream blush, let it sit for a moment, then add a dusting of setting powder over the top. You can also then add a layer of powder blush, for a customized blushed look that lasts all day and night.
Powder blushes are more compatible with oily skin types for their mattifying and oil-absorbing properties, but if you have oily skin and prefer the texture and finish of a cream blush on your complexion, then go for it. You can also layer a setting powder or mattifying powder on top to take some of the shine off. If you’re firmly in the powder blush camp but are looking to create a similar effect to the texture of cream blush, try layering your powder with a little Barrier Balm on top for a glossed effect.
Cream blushes are heavier formulations than powder blushes, and like any product that contains oil, this may lead to breakouts or clogged pores, but there are several ways you can avoid this. Look to cream blushes that are non-comedogenic, or check to see what oils the blush contains—coconut, flaxseed, or palm are considered comedogenic oils. It’s also super important to ensure the makeup brushes you’re using to apply your product are regularly cleaned to avoid the spread of acne-causing bacteria—this includes hands too if you’re applying with your fingers.
Careful cleansing at the end of the day is also vital in reducing potential breakouts and clogged pores. Double cleansing here will be your best bet, first to remove makeup, debris, excess oils, and purify skin, then the second cleanse for that deeper clean.
Discover everything you need to know about how to apply blush for every face shape with our guide.