If there’s one type of makeup product that truly divides the beauty community, it is blushes. For some, it’s the key to waking up the complexion – while to others, it’s an outdated way to make yourself look like a clown. And it’s true – blush can be hard to get right. When applied in an overly vigorous manner, blush can quickly make you look flustered, sweaty, or just plain silly. But when done right, I firmly believe that blush is one of the best makeup products around. And with a sheerer, more natural formulation, blush is more foolproof than ever!
The undeniable queen of the sheer blush has to be the Glossier Cloud Paint. These little tubes of creamy liquid pigment introduced the world to an easier way to wear blush. By smudging on a drop using your fingertips, you can achieve the sheerest flush of colour on your cheeks. All the shades are great, but if you just want to try one, Dusk (a true nude) is my standout.
The Cloud Paints launched a million dupes – and the good news is, many of them are good! If you’re looking for a bargain, the MUA Blushed Liquid Cream Blusher is a pretty great Cloud Paint imitation. For just a couple of quid, you get a reasonable approximation of the juicy cheek look – although the shade range is a little more limited.
Another similar product is the Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush. These have a thicker, more gel-like consistency, but when applied with fingers they almost melt into the cheeks leaving a slightly dewy stain. And a new contender to the throne is the Flower Beauty Blush Bombs. I find them to have the dewiest finish of the four, which gives cheeks a beautifully plumped-up, cherubic look. The shade Bubbly, a pastel pink, is my summer go-to.
If you favour an even more liquid formulation, though, I point you instead towards the Daniel Sandler Watercolor Blushes. These are suspensions of pigment in a liquid, so need shaking up before applying. A couple of drops pressed into the cheeks gives the most incredible natural blushing glow. The shade Flush is a brilliant suit-all pink.
While liquid blushes are perfect for creating a barely-there finish, many find them way too messy and annoying to apply. If this is you, a creamy stick product might be your best bet. The Milk Makeup Lip + Cheeks are some of the best for creating a sheer look, as they’re fairly lightly pigmented and impossible to mess up. For an even juicier finish, the Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek Glow Oils combine a wash of colour with a glaze of super-flattering dew.
Another standout cream stick formula is the Make Beauty Universal Stick. What’s especially ingenious about this formula is that it changes colour depending on your skin’s pH – so it should naturally suit your skin tone. It looks intimidatingly lilac in the tube, but blends into a soft terracotta that looks beautiful on the eyes, lips, and cheeks.
I’m also a huge fan of the Noto Botanics Multi Benne Stains. They come in mini sticks or a larger pot and smudge onto cheeks amazingly with fingers. They melt into the skin and have a lightly cooling feel, making them the perfect summer blush. The shade Ono Ono is the most beautiful earthy orange that warms up the complexion without looking stark or obvious.
My final recommendation is for those who love a natural look but also prefer a powder. If that’s the case, the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes will be your best friend. They’re naturally sheer and extremely finely milled, giving them a soft and hazy look. They also come in every shade under the sun – although I far prefer the mattes to the ones with glittery particles.