The 13 Best Powder Blushes For a Healthy Flush, According to Makeup Artists

The famous Nars blush is a makeup artist staple

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best powder blush

Chanel Beauty/ Nars/ InStyle

When your complexion is in need of a pick-me-up, a trusty blush has your back. And no, we’re not talking about the chalky, shockingly pink blushes your mom may have used in the ‘80s. Powder blush has come a long way and evolved into a wide range of finely-milled, blendable, and shade-inclusive options that offer something for everyone. With the right blush, you can add dimension to your face, a hint of healthy color, or an all-over natural flush that melts into skin and gives you a beautifully rosy glow. Pick a shimmery coral shade for added warmth, or go for a mauve tone for a romantic and feminine finish. Truly, blush is one of the more underrated makeup bag heroes. Unlike liquid or cream formulas, powder blush gives you buildable color and lots of control, so you can customize your look with a simple swirl and tap of your brush.

To narrow down the best powder blushes on the market, we looked at their shade range, finish, blend-ability, and longevity. Among the ones we researched, Nars Cosmetics Blush stood out for its unmatched color range and velvety smooth finish. Plus, it was the most-recommended pick by the pros. 

Here are the best powder blushes worth adding to your arsenal.

Best Overall: Nars Blush in Orgasm X

nars blush in orgasm

Nars

What We Love: It comes in a wide range of colors and finishes for many skin tones.

What We Don't Love: Some shades are more pigmented than others.

According to multiple pro makeup artists, this blush is a true staple in their kits — and has been for years. Shandy Ross, a professional makeup artist and beauty editor at Primetime Beauty tells Instyle she favors this formula because “it’s nicely pigmented, so you don't have to work too hard to get it to show up on the skin. This means less product is applied and you get more overall usage.” 

You can’t go wrong with any of the 19 colors because each one features a strategic, subtly pink undertone that’s flattering on numerous skin tones. However, professional makeup artist Alexa Persico highly recommends the color Orgasm X, a peachy pink formula with gold shimmer that looks beautiful on all skin types. We’re big fans of the silky, buildable formula and micronized powder pigments that make application nearly fool-proof — even for beginners. 

Size: 0.16oz | Finish: Shimmer/Matte/Satin | Shades: 19

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Best Value: Milani Baked Blush

3.5
Milani baked blush

What We Love:  The color lasts throughout the day.

What We Don’t Love: Some shimmer shades are too glittery.

This cult-favorite blush from Milani packs a pigmented punch for a reasonable price. Gently swirl your favorite blush brush onto the terracotta baked dome surface to deliver a radiant pop of color to your cheeks. The line consists of 11 peachy to rose-hued shades in a range of satin and shimmer finishes that allow you to experiment with your look. Users love the rich color payoff, silky texture, and long-lasting wear. Fair warning: a few of the shimmer shades lean toward the glittery side, so those with large pores or textured skin may want to steer clear. 

Size: 0.12oz | Finish: Radiant/Shimmer| Shades: 11

Best Drug Store: Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Blush

Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Blush

Amazon

What We Love: The buildable pigment and included applicator.

What We Don’t Love: The scent may be off-putting to some.

If you love Physicians Formula Murumuru Bronzer, this blush is a worthy companion for achieving that coveted all-over sun-kissed glow. Thanks to a blend of Murumuru, Cupuacu, and Tucuma butters, the texture of the powder is ultra creamy, allowing for one of the smoothest blends we’ve experienced with a blush. The addition of moisturizing ingredients in each compact means it also won’t settle or separate on top of your skin. It comes with a unique sponge-like applicator which is great for on the go, though we still prefer using a classic blush brush for the most natural finish. This blush does have a coconut beach scent to complement the glow, which may not be to everyone’s taste.  

Size: 0.24oz | Finish: Radiant/Shimmer | Shades: 2

Best Splurge: Chanel Contraste Powder Blush

Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush

Amazon

What We Love: It provides a natural, matte finish.

What We Don’t Love: There is not much product for the price.

Rich and luxurious in its classic Chanel packaging, this no-fuss blush is ideal for enhancing your features without going overboard. The matte finish and soft color start off sheer and allow you to layer up and customize your look, making it great for everyday wear. It’s an iconic formula that’s been around since the ‘80s (and has since expanded to include many more shades), and although it's slightly drier than some other powder blush formulas, when applied by dabbing the product onto your cheeks (versus sweeping), it still delivers beautiful, natural color that is suitable for any occasion or time of day. 

Size: 0.21oz | Finish: Matte | Shades: 15

Best Matte Finish: Lawless Make Me Blush Talc-Free Velvet Blush

Lawless Make Me Blush Talc-Free Velvet Blush

Amazon

What We Love: The formula is talc-free. 

What We Don’t Love: There’s a fair amount of product fallout during application.

As is proven with this clean blush from Lawless, matte doesn’t have to mean flat. Instead, the addition of hydrating ingredients like squalane and shea butter allows this formula to complement (not compete with) your skin's natural oils for a smooth, suede-like finish that’s anything but one-dimensional. The pressed powder is easy to pick up on a fluffy brush, and the color can be built up from subtle to striking. 

 Size: 0.18oz | Finish: Matte | Shades: 4

Best Shimmer Finish: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush

4.3
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush

What We Love: It can be used as a blush and highlighter in one. 

What We Don’t Love: The shade range could be more inclusive for darker skin tones.

Makeup artist Shadi Malek, whose clients include Remi Bader and Danielle Campbell, praises this blush as her “new go-to” for its champagne and gold undertones and gorgeous sheen. Almost like a highlighter and blush in one, the marbled pressed powder is finely milled to deliver a lustrous, ethereal glow that catches the light just so. Each handmade palette is crafted with photo-luminescent technology that adds tons of depth and dimension to each pigment while still allowing for a seamless blend. Start with a small amount for a soft lit-from-within color, or build up the product on the tops of your cheekbones for a megawatt glow. 

Size: 0.18oz | Finish: Radiant/Shimmer | Shades: 9

Best For Fair Skin Tones: Bare Minerals Bounce & Blur Blush

Bare Minerals Bounce & Blur Blush

Sephora

What We Love: The color is multidimensional and feels weightless on the skin. 

What We Don’t Love: Application can be tricky since it is meant to be applied with your fingers.  

For a natural wash of color that won’t look overdone on fair skin tones — especially the Coral Cloud and Pink Sky shades — reach for the Bounce & Blur blush from Bare Minerals. The cushion-y powder won't show texture on your skin, instead the superfine pigments blur and diffuse. This blush is made with Color Smart Pearls that reflect light for a touch of luminous glow. We like that the formula truly goes on weightless and the color won’t budge. To apply, gently tap your middle finger into the bouncy powder, then dab it onto the apples of your cheeks, blending as you go. 

Size: 0.18oz | Finish: Radiant/Shimmer | Shades: 4

Best For Deep Skin Tones: Juvia's Place Juvia’s Place The Saharan Vol. I Blush Palette

Juvia’s Place The Saharan Vol. I Blush Palette Place The Saharan Vol. I Blush Palette

Amazon

What We Love: A little product goes a long way in terms of color payoff. 

What We Don’t Love: It can be a bit patchy on drier skin types. 

For too long, traditional blushes have catered primarily towards those with fair and medium skin tones — but not anymore. The Juvia’s Place multi-shade palette is specially formulated to add a pop of rich, sumptuous color to melanin-rich skin. Complete with six vibrant, highly pigmented colors that go on smooth and blend well, this versatile palette can be used as contour, blush, and even eyeshadow. 

Size: 0.63oz | Finish: Matte/Shimmer | Shades: 6

Best Pigment: Pat McGrath Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush

Pat McGrath Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush

Sephora

What We Love: The shades are vibrant and rich.

What We Don’t Love: The embossed surface can make it difficult to pick up an even amount of product. 

Rarely does iconic makeup artist Pat McGrath let us down with her eponymous brand’s supreme formulations, and if you’re a fan of her luscious eyeshadow palettes, it's time you check out the blush, too. These micro-fine powders are used on runways for their ability to show up under bright lights thanks to the intense color payoff. Yet somehow don’t look garish in real life wear either. Each of the luxurious, silky-textured pressed powders glides on to cheeks and imparts superfine pigment particles that appear to melt into the skin. The shade range is unique and inclusive, featuring everything from a vibrant electric coral to a soft beige pink.

Size: 0.34oz | Finish: Matte/Shimmer | Shades: 8

Best For Everyday: Mac Cosmetics Mineralize Blush

Mac Cosmetics Mineralize Blush

Ulta

What We Love: It goes on sheer and allows you to build up as needed.

What We Don’t Love: The packaging could be improved. 

“This is the best everyday blush, perfect for someone that doesn’t think they love blush,” Malek tells Instyle. She’s a big fan of the color ‘Warm Soul’ for its ability to amp up any bronzer while also adding just the right amount of subdued flush. This formula is a classic for a reason. The minerals softly diffuse onto the skin for a sheer wash of color that’s beginner-friendly and easy to apply. It then blends seamlessly so your look never ends up looking too harsh or extreme. 

Size: 0.12oz | Finish: Radiant | Shades: 8

Best Sculpting: One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio

One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio

Sephora

What We Love: It contains three products in one and very little product is needed for a high color payoff. 

What We Don’t Love: It can be difficult to blend properly.

With three separate finishes: a matte powder, a sheer shimmer, and a dewy cream, this palette is great for creating a multitude of looks. Each finish is highly pigmented (so less is more here) and the addition of dragon fruit extract helps the product grip to your skin for long-lasting wear. Pop on each color on its own or layer them up for added drama. Or opt for a monochrome look by using the powder on your cheeks and the cream formula as a matching lip color.  

Size: 0.38oz | Finish: Matte/Shimmer | Shades: 6

Best Long-Wear: Buxom Wanderlust Primer-Infused Blush

Buxom Wanderlust Primer-Infused Blush

Sephora

What We Love: It has a smooth, silky texture that lasts for up to 12 hours.

What We Don’t Love: Using too much will cause it to pill.

From sweaty subway rides to long days in the office, this blush won’t budge — seriously. It’s infused with a primer, so like foundation, it creates a smooth canvas for color and locks the formula to your skin. It also provides true color payoff in one fell swoop. Each pan contains multidimensional pearls for a luminous, brightening finish and hyaluronic acid for a healthy-looking glow.

Size:0.12oz | Finish: Satin | Shades:

Best for Mature Skin: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Blush

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Blush

Amazon

What We Love: It doesn’t settle into pores or look heavy on the skin. 

What We Don’t Love: The color can go on dark.

Infused with anti-aging ingredients, like collagen and silk, this formula proves blush to be a timeless and age-agnostic makeup product. Antioxidants and peptides also ensure that the powder won’t sink into pores and fine lines. Instead, the silky smooth optical-blurring pigments offer a diffused, airbrushed finish that won’t cake over foundation. The result is a vibrant and youthful flush meant to enhance your best facial features. 

Size: 0.12oz | Finish: Matte | Shades: 4

What to Keep in Mind

Pigment

The level of pigmentation, or impact, you want your blush to have depends on the look you’re trying to achieve. Some blushes are much more sheer, offering a soft wash of subtle color, while others go on more saturated. The more saturated the blush, the more skill it can take to blend it out, but also the less amount of product you’ll need to use, so they can last longer in your makeup bag. Most blushes are buildable from more sheer to full impact, if the correct application method is used. 


Blendability

For a natural flush, blending is the name of the game. Look for blushes with finely milled textures as these will typically be easier to diffuse on the skin. If you wear a full coverage foundation, it’s especially important to choose a blush formula that’s not heavy or cakey because that can create more texture. After you apply your blush, take a bare fluffy brush to buff the edges and diffuse the color so it looks seamless and natural. 

Longevity

To avoid unnecessary touch-ups, you’ll want to choose a blush that’s long-lasting and, ideally, transfer-proof. Keep in mind that some blushes may require a setting powder or setting spray for maximum longevity. And some skin types, like oily skin, may struggle to find a blush that doesn’t seemingly disappear from the cheeks.

Your Questions, Answered

How do you pick a blush color? 

The first thing to do when picking out a blush color is to find out your skin’s undertones. To do this, turn your hand over and look at the veins on your wrist. If they appear to be blue then you will be in the cool range, if you see a tint of green, or a mix of both, then consider yourself in the neutral/warm undertone range. Per NYC-based makeup artist Judi Gabbay, “Choosing a blush with the same undertone as your skin will look soft and complimentary depending on how you build the shade.” 

If you’re fair-skinned and cool-toned, try blushes with a rosy or light pink undertone. If you’re fair or medium and warmer toned, try a peachy blush for a natural flush of color. If your skin tone is deeper, try out a berry-toned, true coral, or magenta-toned blush. Ross explains that deeper, pigmented shades work best on deeper, pigmented skin tones.

How do you apply powder blush? 

For powdered blushes, Gabbay recommends using a natural bristle brush and employing a light hand at first. Start by swirling the brush in the pan, then tap off any excess product before applying. Achieve a more flirty, youthful look with a pop of blush placed on just the apples of your cheeks. To apply, Gabbay says, “smile, look in the mirror, and apply the blush in the center of the cheeks.” 

If you’re looking to create a lift with your blush, she recommends placing it between the cheekbone and slightly under the eye, and blending upwards.” Perisco loves applying a dusting of blush over the nose, too, “to give the face a more naturally flushed appearance,” she says. It’s also one of the steps to achieve the trendy sunburn blush aesthetic. Avoid applying blush on the hollows of your cheeks or anywhere underneath the apple as the bright colors can give a sunken, fatigued appearance.

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