One of the few things we like about icy winter weather? The flushed, beyond pretty cheeks we get from being exposed to frigid temperatures—we like to think of it as being touched by nature’s very own blush brush. But since we can’t pop outside for the sake of a rosy glow (and really don’t suggest it), we turn to cream blushes to mimic that après-ski look. In fact, makeup artists also love it for this particular reason—Kim Bower, who’s worked with Kerry Washington and Christina Ricci, says it’s her favorite way to go for the glow.
Though it can be a little daunting to ditch the traditional powder blushes, there are tons of reasons to make the switch. Whether you apply it with your fingers or a brush, cream blush is blendable, buildable, and long-lasting. Also, many formulas can be pretty hydrating, which is a definite plus considering indoor heat and snowstorms gang up on us to sabotage our skin every year.
MORE: Makeup Tricks for Girls with Acne-Prone Skin
Now, we know it can be tricky to figure out what color will work best with your complexion. To help you put your best—and most beautifully flushed—face forward, we asked Bower for guidelines on how to find the right cream blush for your skin tone.
“The best way to choose your color is to imagine a flush on your cheek when you’re feverish or excited,” she says. Can’t picture it? Bower also suggests looking at the color of your inner lip to help direct you to the right hue. In case you’re still stumped, use the guide below (and the product recommendations above—we picked some of our favorites!) to help you find your new blush best friend.
Light skin tone: Soft pinks, peaches, or corals
Medium skin tone: more saturated versions of soft pinks, peaches, or corals (so build up the color a bit)
Olive skin tone: medium orange, true pinks
Dark skin tone: rich corals, deep oranges, deep reds, plums, shimmering browns
Find out which of our favorite cream blushes will work best for your skin tone.
This blush is beyond easy to use and gives you a really natural flush—perfect for the days when you need just a hint of color. Bonus: it contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect your skin, so you’re nourishing your face with every application.
Becca Beach Tint, $25, Sephora.com
Thanks to Shea Butter, this cream blush is one of the most hydrating options out there. The one and only downside? It’s only available in three colors—though each of them is completely lovely.
Korres Cheek Butter, $25, Korres.com
Smooth, easy to blend, and so fun to apply (we were always big fans of finger painting), this cream blush will give you the dewy glow of your dreams.
Yves Saint Laurent Crème de Blush, $38, Sephora.com
We can always turn to MAC for a super dependable product, and this cream blush is no exception. Slightly thicker in consistency (though still so easy to blend) than some of the others on our list, it requires less product to achieve a more defined glow.
MAC Cremeblend Blush, $21, maccosmetics.com
For a subtle but sublimely pretty flush, sweep on some of this two-in-one product. Made with nourishing argan oil, it’s super smooth and will make your skin look and feel incredibly healthy.
Josie Maran Argan Color Stick, $22, Sephora.com
One of Bower’s favorites, this long-lasting cream blush comes in 14 amazing shades, so finding the perfect match is pretty much a given. It goes on uniformly and leaves your skin looking radiant.
Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Cream Blush, visit makeupforever.com for pricing and store locations
Though technically considered a cheek stain, this genius product imparts the same fresh-from-outside glow as a cream blush, though slightly more subtle. Its silky texture really melts into your skin, and it also has anti-aging and skin-protecting ingredients. Plus, we can’t help but love the ridiculously cute packaging.
Tarte Cheek Stain, $30, tartecosmetics.com
Easily the most affordable one on our list, this blush is a total standout. Highly pigmented, easy to blend, and budget-friendly? Sounds like a winning combination to us.
E.L.F. Studio HD Blush, $3, eyeslipsface.com