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Blush Formulas 101

Cream, powder, stain...what’s the diff? Find out here.

All About Cheeks

Cream blush
Cream blush may seem intimidating, but it’s worth trying, especially if you have dry skin.

Its hidden power lies in how well it blends. A cream formula can blend into the skin very smoothly, and also hydrate the skin as you’re wearing it.

The amazing color pay-off is another reason to opt for cream blush. “Creams have slightly more color intensity than powder,” says makeup expert Jose Rivera, “and they blend naturally into the skin for a translucent effect.”

If you desire that “lit from within” natural glow, cream blush is the best way to get it.

A little goes a long way, so start with two little dabs of color on your cheek and blend outward. You can always add more on top, but it’s more difficult to dial it back if you go overboard.

We recommend: Stila Convertible Color, $25 or NYX Cosmetics Cream Blush, $6

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Blush Formulas 101

Powder blush
Powder blushes are the everyman (err, woman) formula when it comes to blush. They’re fantastic for any and all skin types, are easy to apply, and work especially well if you’re wearing foundation underneath, explains Rivera.

“Powders lie on top of the skin,” he says, “and can impart a very natural-looking finish.”

Powder blushes range from matte to slightly iridescent to mega-shimmer. As a general rule, if you’re looking for the most natural look possible, shy away from overly shimmery powders (no one blushes in glitter).

We recommend: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, $26 or Revlon Powder Blush, $10

Cheek stains
No wonder cheek stains are so hot right now—they create a coveted rosy flush and tend to last longer than powder and cream formulas.

Gel stains work especially well if you have oily skin, says Rivera, because the long-wear formula won’t budge. Which is also why you have to act fast when you apply a stain. Dab it on and blend immediately, because once it sets, it’s set.

There are plenty of components to choose from when it comes to picking stains too. A click-pen for portability, a sponge-tip for easy application, a cheek-stick that packs major color—there are loads of options.

We recommend: Tarte Natural Beauty Cheek Stain, $30 or Benefit Cosmetics Benetint, $30

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