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Cream Blush vs. Powder Blush: Which Should You Use?

Cream Blush vs. Powder Blush: Which Is Better?

11 Jul 2024

When you want to wake up your complexion and give your skin a natural-looking flush of color, blush can’t be beat. But before you liven up your base, you’ll have to choose between using cream blush vs. powder blush. Both of these types of blush can be used to achieve a soft (or statement-making) glow, but they have slightly different benefits and uses. If you’re unsure what the best type of blush for your needs is, keep reading. Ahead, we’re sharing the need-to-knows on different types of blush and offering tips on how and when to use them.

What Is Cream Blush?

Cream blushes are typically semi-solid formulas that have a spreadable, balm-like consistency. They may come in tubes, jars, or sticks, and can be applied with your fingers, a brush, or a beauty sponge. Cream blushes often have a dewy or skin-like finish and are ideal for those seeking a natural-looking glow. They’re also a great option for those with drier skin.

If you’re looking for a cream blush to add to your routine, try the WONDER™ STICK BLUSH. This dual-ended blush stick features two coordinating hues that you can use separately or together for a sculpted yet natural-looking flush. Use the darker shade for a bolder look or the lighter shade for a softer flush of color, or try using them together for a contoured blush look. However you use it, you’ll enjoy creamy, buildable color with a natural-looking finish.

What Is Powder Blush?

As the name suggests, powder blushes are solid powders. This popular type of blush usually comes pressed in a compact and can have a matte, satin, or shimmery finish. The application requires a tool—typically, a blush brush (though you can use a fluffy powder brush, too). In general, powder blushes are versatile, buildable, and tend to be a great pick for those with oilier skin types.

If you’re interested in adding a powder blush to your lineup, we suggest checking out our Buttermelt High-Pigment Powder Blush. Each of the 12 pigment-packed shades (in soft matte and glowy finishes) that blends seamlessly onto the skin, delivering a bold pop of color that wears for up to 12 hours. Plus, the almond, mango, and shea butter-infused formula feels buttery-soft on the skin. If you’re not sure what shade to choose, check out our article How To Choose a Blush Color For Your Skin Tone.

Other Types of Blushes

Cream and powder blushes are the most popular types of blush, but there are other options available, as well. Each type has its own set of advantages and can be suitable for various skin types and occasions.

Liquid blush

Liquid blush is fluid in consistency and usually comes in a tube with a doe foot applicator (think lip gloss) or a pump. Like cream blush, you can apply and blend it with your fingers, a brush, or a makeup sponge. Pigmentation can vary—some formulas are intensely pigmented while others provide a sheer, subtle wash of color.

Gel blush

Gel blush is more akin to a stain than a cream or liquid. They may come in a tube (like lip gloss), a bottle, or a jar, and tend to offer a sheer-but-buildable and long-lasting flush of color.

What Is the Difference Between Cream Blush and Powder Blush?

When comparing powder blush vs. cream blush, the main differences lie in their texture and composition. Cream blushes are, as the name suggests, creamy, and may be formulated with skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. They often (but not always) offer a dewier finish and melt onto the skin for a natural-looking glow.

Powder blushes, meanwhile, are pressed or loose powders that are swept on top of the skin for a wash of color. They tend to be fairly buildable, and come in a range of finishes, from matte to shimmery.

How they’re applied differs, too. As mentioned above, cream blushes can be applied with your fingers, a brush, or a makeup sponge, while powder blushes are typically applied with a blush brush.

When to use powder blush

Anyone can use powder blush anytime: The buildable nature of these formulas lend themselves well to a variety of looks. It layers well over both cream and powder makeup and helps provide a smooth, velvety finish—ideal for those looking for a more matte makeup look.

When to use cream blush

Like powder blush, cream blush can be used by anyone, anytime, though its dewier finish lends itself particularly well to natural and no-makeup makeup looks. Keep in mind that cream blush should only be applied over liquid and cream products—layering cream formulas over powder can result in a patchy or uneven look.

How to Apply Blush

Deciding between powder vs. cream blush is only part of the equation—it’s also important to apply your chosen formula properly. We’ll break down the how-to for both formulas ahead.

How to apply cream blush

Step 1: Prep your skin

To help ensure a smooth, long-lasting base for your blush, we recommend starting by prepping your skin with a makeup primer. Use our Plump Right Back Primer + Serum if you prefer a glowy look, or opt for a matte-finish primer (we love the Marshmelllow Smoothing Primer) for a more velvety finish.

Step 2: Apply base makeup

Next, apply your foundation and concealer as usual. Keep in mind that since you’re using cream blush, you’ll want to opt for a liquid or cream foundation, as well—powder foundation won’t work too well here.

Step 3: Swipe blush onto your cheeks

Uncap your WONDER™ STICK BLUSH and use the lighter shade to draw a line along your cheekbone, from the apple of your cheek toward the outer corner of your eye. If you’d like a more sculpted look, do the same with the darker shade, applying it just beneath your cheekbone rather than on top of it. (For a more detailed breakdown of the blush contouring technique, check out our blush contouring guide).

Step 4: Blend

Next, blend your blush toward your temples to help diffuse the color. You can use a dense blush brush or your fingers for this step—the former will provide a bolder look, while the latter will sheer out the color a bit for a softer finish.

Step 5: Set your blush

Complete the rest of your makeup routine, then mist your face with a setting spray to help lock everything in place.

How to apply powder blush

Step 1: Prep your skin

Again, you’ll want to start by priming your skin to help ensure your makeup stays put. If you’re after a natural matte look, try our BlurScreen SPF 30 Primer. It blurs imperfections, grips makeup for up to 18 hours of wear, and offers SPF 30 protection against the sun’s rays. Plus, it’s suitable for all skin types and tones and dries down beautifully with no white cast or greasy residue.

Step 2: Apply base makeup

After allowing your primer a moment or two to set, apply your foundation and concealer as usual. Any formula you like will work here, but we’re fans of the Bare With Me Blur Tint Foundation. The hydrating formula comes in 24 medium-coverage shades and provides a soft matte finish.

Step 3: Dust blush onto your cheeks

Next, grab our Pro Powder Brush and lightly sweep it over the Buttermelt High-Pigment Powder Blush shade of your choosing. Sweep the brush across your cheekbones, blending upward and outward and diffusing any harsh lines. If you want an even bolder blush look, add another layer.

Step 4: Set your blush

To finish your makeup look, mist your face with a long-lasting setting spray, such as the Marshmellow Matte Setting Spray.

Blush FAQs

Is cream or powder blush better?

Both cream and powder blushes have their merits. So, when it comes to deciding between types—like liquid vs. cream vs. powder blush—you’ll want to consider your skin type, the look you’re going for, and personal preferences. And keep in mind that you don’t have to choose: You can layer powder blush over cream blush to help set it for a more vibrant and long-lasting flushed look.

What type of blush is suitable for all skin types?

Cream and powder blushes can work well for every skin type, so long as you prep your skin properly. That means cleansing and moisturizing your skin (and wearing SPF, if it’s daytime) and applying a makeup primer to help ensure a smooth finish. That being said, if you have extremely oily skin, you may get better results with the slightly more matte finish of a powder blush. Similarly, those with very dry or textured skin may prefer the smoother texture of a cream blush. Ultimately, though, it’s your preferences that matter most.

Can you put cream blush over powder makeup?

Generally, you want to avoid applying cream blush over powder makeup: doing so can result in an uneven or patchy finish. If you’re mixing powder and cream products, apply the cream-based products first, then the powders.

How long does powder blush last?

The longevity of a powder blush depends on various factors, including your skin type, the weather, what other makeup you’re wearing, and, of course, the formula you’re using. Our Buttermelt Blush, for example, offers up to 12 hours of wear. To help ensure you get the most wear out of your blush (and other makeup products!), we recommend prepping your skin with makeup primer and locking in your look with a long-lasting setting spray.

Next Up: How To Apply Blush and Flatter Your Face Shape

Got a blush look you love? We’re dying to see it. Share a pic on social and tag us @nyxcosmetics!


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