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These Five Cream Blushes Won't Ghost You

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Erin Eliopulos photographed by Tom Newton. Makeup by Juan Jaar. Hair by Yukiko Tajima. Styled by Carolina Orrico and Maria Montane.

It’s so hard to write about blush without falling on, well, prissy cliches. A blushing bride, a post-coital glow, an embarrassed flush… especially dissonant considering that when it comes to wearing blush, I want something a little less delicate. My ideal blush is cream, for easy application and blending, and beet red like my skin’s been left to the elements. More burn than blush, you know? But so many good cream blushes inevitably fall victim to the 3PM dip out—I put on what feels like more than enough blush in the morning, and by the afternoon it’s nowhere to be found. Where does all the blush go? Hiding with the socks and hair ties, perhaps?

There are just as many cream blushes around as there is hearsay. I often tested two at a time, one on each cheek, just to get through them quicker. Among the lot, I noticed a few patterns: the waxier, more solid formulas tend to hold up best. Stick formulas seem to be a safe bet across the board, while ones poured into a pan can be hit or miss. The water-based gels are OK, and oil-based blushes, while the most beautiful, disappear the quickest. After testing for a month, here’s my final edit: the five cream blushes that lasted the longest on me, with the best shade options. If you’re no shrinking violet, there’s no reason for your blush of choice to be a disappearing rose—read on to find a new favorite.

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Nudestix Nudies Blush

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As the name might suggest, Nudestix's Nudies Blush offers the best range of nude, tonal blush. For the first look, Juan created a wash of tonal, peachy browns. The bottom end of the blush stick holds a dense, flat brush, but Juan chose to apply it with a small fluffy one instead. (When I used it on myself, I applied straight from the stick and blended with the pad of my ring finger—easier!) He brought In The Nude up to Erin’s cheekbones, and then went back in with a tiny bit of a brighter, pinkier shade—Sunset Strip—making short, downward strokes on the apples of her cheeks for a take on monochrome that’s equally chic and wearable.

Juan also used MAC Shape and Shade Brow Tint in Taupe to fill in Erin’s brows, with a little bit of Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara on curled lashes. He used MAC lipstick in Kinkster, a weirdly flattering brown-gray, on her lips, and finished with balm on the high points of her face.

Erin wears a white Michael Stars turtleneck under a sleeveless button down and khaki layered trench coat from The Frankie Shop. She also wears pants from Michael Stars.

Honest Beauty Crème Cheek Blush

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For the second look, Juan used Honest Beauty Crème Cheek Blush in Plum Berry. It looks like a deep merlot in the pan, but diffused on cheeks it has a warm glow that’s flattering on light and dark skin tones. Juan tapped it into the apples of Erin’s cheeks, and then applied more concentrated blush on her lips. With an intense color, tapping keeps the look soft and makes it easier to control the product—tap a little on at a time, and if you need more, add more.

Juan also used MAC Coffee eye pencil smudged into Erin’s top and bottom lash lines.

Erin wears a black button down, black leather pants, trench and shoes all from Proenza Schouler.

Jillian Dempsey Cheek Tints

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The Jillian Dempsey Cheek Tints were the ones I was most excited about, yet had the lowest expectations for. The eye version, albeit impossibly cool, slipped and slid all over my lids! I’m happy to report that the blush formulation is wonderfully waxy, and actually great—they also offer my favorite color range of the bunch. Using a medium-sized angled blush brush, Juan swirled Rosy from the top of Erin’s cheekbones to the middle of her lid and up past her brow. Then, he concentrated Scarlett, a bright strawberry red, at the corner of her eyes, blending up and out for dimension.

Juan finished the look with a blue-red lip using MAC’s Cherry pencil.

Erin wears a ribbed tank and olive blazer from The Frankie Shop layered under a Tibi tweed blazer. She also wears olive bermuda shorts from The Frankie Shop, and Proenza Schouler shoes.

Nars The Multiple

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My personal preference skews towards matte blush, but shimmery Nars The Multiple is a classic for a reason. The shades are flattering and glowy, lending themselves well to hot summer nights lit by fairy lights. Of course, you can wear them to work, too—they’ll hold on from day to night. To make a pink a little unexpected, Juan used a fluffy brush to apply Portofino under Erin’s eyes and on the apples of her cheeks. A softer take on that editorial sunburn blush you’ve been seeing everywhere. For extra concentrated color in the center of the cheeks, Juan finished with a tiny bit of Maui—and more Portofino as a lipstick.

Juan also defined Erin’s eyes with a little bit of MAC’s Teddy pencil on the upper and lower lash lines.

For the final look, Erin wears a beige sleeveless top from The Frankie Sop under a Ganni cable knit sweater. She also wears belted trousers from The Frankie Shop.

Danessa Myricks Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color

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The last product on this list, Danessa Myricks Colorfix 24-Hour Cream Color, is also the most potent. It’s an artistry line, meaning it was made by and for makeup artists, so it’s trickier than the others to use. If you’re familiar with Cloud Paint, Colorfix has a similar consistency—but, and I mean this seriously, the tiniest drop is all you need. These are extremely pigmented, and set quickly, so you need to work quickly too. Juan applied Rustic in a C-shape from Erin’s cheeks to temples with a damp sponge. It’s a warmer, unexpected alternative to a bronze and highlight contour.

Juan also used the Teddy eye pencil from MAC, and finished the look with clear gloss on Erin's lips.

Erin wears an ivory ribbed tank from The Frankie Shop under a 3.1 Philip Lim oversized sport jacket.