Blush is my kryptonite. I own more single blushes than eyeshadow palettes. As you can expect, I can’t reasonably choose just 7 different singular blushes, so I’m bringing you my seven blush formulas that are currently available and not limited edition.
This post was very frustrating to do. I kept looking at my favourite blushes and finding myself not able to talk about half of them because they have been discontinued (Marc Jacobs Air Blushes, that was a knife to my heart) or they were limited edition. I never knew I had so many blushes I can’t replace.
And even if the blush line is still available, some of my favourite shades are now gone. So annoying. That’s how I ended up with only seven formulas (yes, only is the appropriate word here, and you can’t make me feel ashamed about it).
MAC Extra Dimension Blushes
MAC Extra Dimension blushes were my first experience with a powder gelée formula. And it was love at first swipe. These blushes melt into the skin like a cream, but’s it’s really a powder formula, so you get all the benefits without any of the hassle: the shine, the smoothness and the natural finish are all there, but they’re also easy to apply and blend out. You do need a denser brush to pick up product because they’re the furthest thing from powdery that you can find, but that also means that these blushes will be hard to overdo.
I’ve realised I only have one shade from MAC’s permanent line, Fairly Precious, and I thoroughly recommend it, but if you find a limited edition shade that you love, sure, go for it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed (I certainly wasn’t).
Clinique Cheek Pop Blushes
Keeping with the powder-gelée theme, the Clinique Cheek Pop blushes are a winner formula as well. I got the chance to try them in 2019 and the collection escalated quickly. It helps that Clinique usually launches a Cheek Pop palette for holiday season, with full size blushes from their permanent line (so I recommend paying attention to those releases).
Just like the Extra Dimension blushes, these are hard to overdo, blend like a dream, and look so natural on the skin. It’s also in this line where you can find a rarity in the current makeup world: a lilac blush, Pansy Pop.
Sidenote: can we take a second to notice that damn hair that made it into the picture and that I’ve only noticed when I was editing it? This is when my OCD and laziness went into war with each other, and I was debating between how much that hair annoyed me and how much I didn’t feel like taking another picture. Laziness won, obviously (it always does).
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes
Let’s move on to another type of formula: baked blushes. Most of mine are limited edition, but Hourglass’ blush line has quite an interesting shade range and they’re all baked, beaming and beautiful. The glow in this formula is like no other: subtle, but luminous, like it comes from within instead of stemming from reflecting light on the surface. Also, baked blushes have this transparency to them that gives this ethereal look to the skin, and Hourglass blushes are the epitome of that effect.
Baked blushes traditionally have a shorter wear time, but I don’t have an issue with Hourglass’ formula. My favourite shade, and the one I used on my wedding, in Sublime Flush.
Dior Rouge Blushes
Dior Rouge blushes are well made powders: creamy but not powdery, soft but buildable, and easy to work with. I think Dior stepped up their game with their blushes, because their previous line used to be more powdery and harder to blend. The Rouge Blush line has different finishes and I’ve had limited experience with them, but the shade Charnelle that I’m featuring here (blush on the left) has a satin finish that gives off a really soft sheen on the skin. It’s my favourite shade from their permanent line.
I also have a full review on the Atelier of Dreams Hologlam blush (on the right).
NARS Powder Blushes
I think NARS’ pressed powder blushes are starting to fall into oblivion within younger makeup lovers, but they were a cult favourite for a really long time for a lot of people, and I still love them. They are super pigmented and there are quite a few interesting shades, which is something that you don’t usually see from higher end brands that are not geared towards makeup artists. Exhibit A (matte bright orange red) and Taj Mahal (rusty orange) remain some of the most unique shades in my entire blush collection.
NARS blushes do have a bit of a stiffer formula, which is actually a good thing, in my opinion, because it allows for better control of the pigment. And even though they are stiffer and thinner than what you’d expect for a high quality blush, they blend easily and don’t get patchy on the cheeks.
MAC Powder Blushes
Yes, MAC made it into the list twice, and you know what? It’s very well deserved. For a traditional powder formula, if I had to stick with just one brand, I would choose MAC. The shade range is outstanding, the blushes blend easily, they are not extremely pigmented but they are buildable (which works great for a pale pasty person like me), they last well on the skin and they have a myriad of different finishes. With such a big shade range, there are going to be some differences in performance from shade to shade, but in general I find them very reliable and easy to work with.
Some of my favourite shades are Melba, Peaches, Gingerly, Blushbaby and Full of Joy. But even if you are blind purchasing any blush from their permanent line, regardless of the finish, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Illamasqua Powder Blushes
Last, but not least, Illamasqua blushes. The most pigmented of them all. So much so that they feel like eyeshadows. I think this could be a trickier formula because they are powdery, so you have to use a light hand in order not to overdo your blush. The best thing about them though is that the colour is very much true to pan, even the lighter tones. I’ve raved about the shade Katie before and how that’s a light pink that doesn’t darken when in contact with foundation or natural skin oils. These blushes don’t deceive or disappoint, and the only sad part is that the permanent range seems to be getting smaller and smaller, so I’m suspecting these are moving to the discontinued lane. If you want them, I suggest getting them sooner rather than later.
If you are wondering why there are no cream blushes in this list, with me being such a blush lover and all, is because I don’t like them. Most of them lift and move my foundation when I apply them. Or, if I try to apply them over powder in order to prevent that, I have to be super careful for them not to blend with the powder and look patchy and cakey. And in the rare occasion where I find a cream blush that performs really well and doesn’t do any of that, it goes bad relatively quickly, like any cream product in a large, non air-tight pan would. So it’s not that there are no good ones out there, it’s that I just don’t bother.
Anyway, lots of powders. Feel free to indulge.