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Monday, 24 September 2012

How To: Cream Blush

how to use cream blush

I love me some cream blush, I really do! I know most of you reading this will be up to speed with them and already know how to use them, but I’ve realised that a lot of non-makeup nerds aren’t sure how to use them. I love them and think they look beautiful so I thought I’d write a guide to them for anyone who wasn’t so sure. It’s a bit long, so grab yourself a cuppa and a biscuit first!

The product:

cream blushes

L-R: Silk Naturals Cream Blush in Tickle, NYX Blushables Crème Stick in Pink Flash, Darling Girl Sweet Cheeks Blush in U*SA*HA*NA, Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 80, Max Factor Soft Touch Creamy Blush in Soft Pink, MAC Cremeblend Blush in So Sweet, So Easy

Cream blushes are made by SO many companies these days –  you can see from above everyone from indie companies to higher end brands produce them.  If you click to enlarge the picture, you can somewhat tell than the formulas all vary; some are thicker and creamier than others, some may feel greasy, some have more shimmer, etc., so they’re just like powder blushers in that they differ so much from each other. They come in all type of packaging, from tubs to sticks to typical blush pans.

They are what it says on the tin – blushes with a creamy formula as opposed to powder blushes or cheek stains. While my particular favourites are the Inglot AMC Cream Blush range, in the UK street you can pick them up from Topshop, Max Factor, MAC, Bobbi Brown and Revlon as well as the pocket friendly Collection and MUA. So they’re very easy to get hold of these days!

cream blush alternatives

L-R: Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Emerge, MAC Cream Colour Base in Move Star Red, Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Rose Hip

Above are a few multi-purpose products that aren’t billed as blush but can easily be used as one! I had to include a lipstick because most lipsticks that aren’t matte will make a great cream blush! If you’ve never used cream blush and are not sure if they’re for you, pull out one of your lippies and give it a try.

Why use a cream blush?

Cream blushers melt into the skin as opposed to sitting on top of it, like a powder. For this reason they look can give a much more natural look and a lovely “skin-real” finish. Because they are creamy, they often give a nice dewy glow as well because they don’t dry down, so they’re perfect if you’ve got drier, older or dull-looking skin that needs some help radiance-wise. They’re best applied with (CLEAN!) fingers in my opinion as the heat of your skin really helps to work the product in to your face, so they’re great for travelling or if you know you’ll need to touch up as you won’t necessarily need to take a blush brush with you. Just as lipsticks can double up as cream blush, cream blushes can double as lip product too!

Is a cream blush right for me?

Sadly cream blushers can suck in that they often don’t wear as long as powder blushers because they often don’t set or dry down fully, so if you have particularly oily skin, they may not work for you – they’ll slip off your skin. It sounds obvious, but if you can test the product in store, do! If the blush is more of a cream-to-powder type, that may work better for oilier skins as it will set somewhat. If the blush feels very sheer or greasy, you know probably it’s not going to last well on you no matter what your skin type! Conversely, if you have very dry skin, a cream-to-powder formula may highlight any dry patches as much as a regular blush might, whereas while a more creamy one still may not last well on you, it may look better on your dry skin.

If you’ve bought cream blushers that don’t do it for you on thier own, I’d suggest setting them with different powder blushes or highlighters to get new colour combinations. They’re normally natural enough that you can do this without clownface happening.

How to use a cream blush:

First, get your foundation on. I’d recommend a foundation that wears pretty well and that will set on your face. If you’re using something like a BB cream or a tinted moisturizer that you have to set with powder because it feels tacky on the skin, I wouldn’t recommend wearing a cream blush with that foundation. It’s just going to mix up on your face, not blend in very well and make a gross mess.

Apply a small amount of your blush. I’m not an ‘apples of the cheeks’ person and prefer to apply my blush more on the backs of my cheeks, but put it directly on where you want your final flush to be!

cream blush application

NYC Blushables Crème Stick in Pink Flash.

When it’s on, start blending it in with your clean fingers until you’re happy with the colour:

cream blush application 2

The colour level is about where I want it, but the edges look a little bit harsh.  Take your foundation brush that you used to put your foundation on, and start to blend out the edges of the blush so there are no harsh lines. The foundation that’s left over on your blush is going to make blending it in super easy. If you’ve applied a bit too much colour, don’t panic! It can take a little bit of practice to determine how much you’ll need, so just pick up the excess with a clean sponge and carry on blending.

And you’re done!

wearing cream blush 2
wearing creme blush

This is why I love cream blush – it just looks so natural and slightly glowy. (It showed up a little brighter in real life – i was hard to capture on camera!) While I’m all about crazy eye and lip makeup, I want my skin to look good and I really think cream blushers make it look awesome.  Whether you powder or not is entirely up to you – it will make it last much longer, but it will take away the dewiness:

powdered blush

Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 81.

I’ve powdered over the swatch on the left – you can see none of the dewiness is coming through at all. I do often powder over cream blushers because you will still have the natural-looking flush and I don’t always mind sacrificing the dewiness – just make sure you pick a powder that is nice and light and not cakey (Which, you know, I recommend doing generally :/ Illamasqua’s Loose Powder in 010 is really awesome and smells like sweeties). If you want a little shimmer, try mixing a tiny bit of sparkly loose, pigment in with your powder when you’re setting it – something finely milled and not chunky. It won’t have the same natural glow but it won’t look flat either.

I realise not everyone will want to apply makeup with their fingers. Lots of makeup artists don’t like to use fingers on clients for hygiene reasons, some people might be germophobes or not want to get product on their hands.  Personally I keep a little bottle of hand sanitizer on my makeup desk, so I’m not bothered at all. But of course if you prefer, you can use a brush! Make sure you use a synthetic brush – they’ll soak up less product than a natural bristle brush so you’ll use less and it will be much easier to wash your brush! You can even use the brush to transfer the product to your face and then blend it in with your fingers so you’re keeping your hands from contaminating your product.

cream blush with a brush

It’s even harder to tell how much to use when you’re using a brush, so just touch it to the product like I did above. That gave me this result, so it was plenty for this particular product:

mac ccb

MAC CCB in Move Star Red

What NOT to do:

cream blush over powdered foundation

Inglot AMC Cream Blush in 81.

See that? That’s a cream blush that I’ve blended in. It looks gross, right? What’s happened here is that I’ve put it over my foundation and powder. All this is going to do is make a nasty paste that won’t rub in any further! I’ve heard lots of tales from MUAs and online of people doing this, and I’m guessing it’s because they think it will last longer. If you must use powder, do it after you’ve applied your blush.  If you prefer a powder foundation, cream blushers may not work for you, although you can apply your blush first and then your foundation if you’re so inclined. If you’re not sure, make sure you’re hygienic when you’re testing your blush at home and then if it doesn’t work with your skin or preferred foundation routine, you can at least give it to a friend or women’s shelter instead of binning it!

Any questions, please just ask! I hope someone out there found this helpful and sorry to everyone who knew all this already ;p


  1. I'm just getting into cream blushers, after being put off when I used a brush in one and it got loads of fluff in it. They look fab on mature skins :)

  2. Thank you! I was SOO lost on how to apply!

    1. You're welcome! Glad it was useful ^^

  3. Wonderful post! I love cream blushes too, but having very dry skin I don't use any powder over mine.

    1. Luckily my skin mostly behaves now and isn't as dry as it used to be so what I put on my cheeks isn't really problem any more but sometimes I get the dreaded flakies still so thank god for cream blushes.

  4. This is such an awesome post! I think cream blushes look lovely, your post is really useful.

  5. What an AMAZING post Robs. I can't even pick a best part. I think some of us avid makeup fiends forget that not everyone reads 50 beauty blogs a day, watches youtube videos, etc. These types of posts are extremely helpful. I would have loved to read this when I was first starting out in makeup. In fact, I used to not understand makeup brushes AT ALL. I read a really detailed post about the different types and what they were used for and it opened a whole new world for me. So, I request brush posts! Like maybe separate ones one eye and face?

    PS- I've learned so much from you! You were the one who made me start wearing blush on the backs of my cheeks and it looks so much better than the way I used to wear it.

    1. Definitely going to do a brush post, people do ask me about that sometimes! I think the eye one could be the longest one ever!

  6. Wonderful tutorial! I used to use cream blushers very frequently, but I fell out of the habit... I just bought two NYX ones today, and I will have to use some of your tips! I wish I had found this before I started wearing cream blush, it took me a lot of trial and error to figure out some of the things you've mentioned here. I haven't tried using my foundation brush to blend my blush out, I usually just use fingers (for both foundation and cream blush), but I will have to give this a try!

    1. Let me know what you think of the NYX ones, I've been eyeing them up! And sometimes if I don't use a brush for my foundation I'll just do it with my fingers as well.

  7. I will have to try using a cream blush sometime soon. I felt like when I first tried using them I would always get too much and could never blend it out enough.

  8. I actually DO wear my cream blushes over top of my foundation and powder and then powder over the cream blush with a bit of powder blush. Perhaps I shall try putting them on between my powder and foundaton next time.

  9. Just bought the Sleek blush by 3 california palette so will be using ur tips to try it out as I haven't used cream blushes before. Thanks!

  10. I have a makeup forever creme blush that is too dark but would make the perfect bridal berry lip. I seems to set a bit which goes against what you say here but I'm really searching for confirmation that it will be okay to use as a lip product.


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