Blush comes in a huge variety of colors – whether you are looking for a rosy glow, sun-kissed hue or just a hint of peach. However, while the color choices may seem endless, there are really just two basic formulas available. Let’s take a look at these two formulas to see which one may be best for you.
Whether liquid or powder, all blushes include a carrier (a way to deliver the color). Typical carriers include talc for powder blushes and silicone, water or humectants for creams and liquids. All blushes also use colorants and preservatives. Since adding color to your skin is the main function of blush, many formulas use two types of colorants (this is true for powders and creams, not so much for tints). One colorant provides the color and the other actually masks your natural color. Ingredients like mica and titanium dioxide can block out your natural color, which allows the cosmetic color to be more noticeable and keeps it truer to the color you see in the package. Additionally, most powder and cream blushes contain feel enhancers, oil absorbent, binding agents and spreading agents.
Powder blushes usually come in a pressed compact form, though some mineral makeup brands sell loose powder versions. These are pretty simple formulas with talc, colorants and oil absorbers as the main ingredient. In the case of pressed powders, a binder is used to “hold” the product together.
Pros: They look more natural, are easier to blend, do a better job of absorbing oil and I think they are easier to apply (you are less likely to go overboard with the color!)
Cons: They don’t last as long as liquids and the color can change as the product absorbs the oils from your skin.
Best for: Women looking for a more natural look and women with more normal skin types (not too oily or too dry).
Liquid blushes are sold under a variety of names such as creams, gels, tints and stains. The only real difference between these forms are the carriers used to deliver the colorant. Creams tend to use humectants or silicones to deliver the colorants while gels, tints and stains are often water based. Creams are usually sold in a small pot or stick and are quite thick, while gels, tints and stains are usually in a tube or bottle (almost like a nail polish bottle) and range from medium thickness to the consistency of water.
Pros: Longer lasting than powders and they tend to stay truer to their intended color.
Cons: Less natural looking and often more difficult to apply. In particular, tints and stains are not very blendable which can result in an “overdone” look.
Best for: Cream blushes are great for women who have drier skin since the humectants provide a hydrating benefit. Gels, tints and stains are good for women with oilier skin since these products are water based and generally have better staying power than powders (less likely to melt away!). One more note on liquids – if you like the natural look of powders but the feel of liquids than try using a tint. Tints just use a lower concentration of colorant than stains or creams, so you can get a more-natural look. However, many colors are not compatible with water (tints are just water and colorant) so the variety of colors is much smaller than you find among powders and creams.
Both formulas function similarly and the differences are mostly in how the product feels and applies, which ultimately comes down to a case of personal preference. Depending on your skin type, you may find that a particular formula lasts longer or looks better than another. Also, as seasons change, so does your skin. Just because you like how something feels in the drier winter months doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be happy with that product in the dog days of summer. I mostly stick to powders but I do like to mix things up with a tint in the summer. You’ll just have to do a little experimenting to discover the best hue for you!