Readers often ask about the best drugstore makeup or affordable cosmetics, and a previous syndicated post on the best drugstore mascara has been rather popular here on the site. So,welcome to the first installment of series on drugstore makeup. Today, I take a look at some of the best drugstore blush items. Plus, I will tell you a few I thought were duds. Over the coming weeks I will write more on the best affordable makeup in other categories.
When it comes to finding the best drugstore blush, there area few key considerations. The best powder blush will have good pigment concentration for lasting color, be finely milled for good blending, and have a pleasing shade. The best cream blush will also have good pigment and will be soft and creamy. Where drugstore makeup brands often fail is in using little pigment and more fillers. When that happens, the product might look quite lovely in the package, but won’t actually wear well when applied. It will either be too light, wear off too fast, or both. Also, don’t get fooled by the name “mineral blush.” Some mineral makeup products are wonderful because they pack in mineral pigments with few fillers, but others will dilute the blend with fillers to the point that the product is not very well pigmented. Most mineral makeup items will also contain bismuth, which is an irritant for some people. That is true both at the drugstore and premium levels of cosmetics.
Below are a few drugstore blushes that do particularly well in terms of pigment and long wear. Although I have provided some affiliate links to the products, you should also be able to find them in drugstores or big box stores.
Best Powder Drugstore Blush
There is no need to spend extra for a good cheek color. Several companies make highly pigmented blush that rivals, or is even better than, many higher end and luxury cosmetics brands. I particularly like Milani Mineral Blush, despite that it includes bismuth as an ingredient.
Milani Mineral Blush is the best pigmented drugstore blush that I have found. It is also talc free—something rare for a drugstore blush. However, a word of warning, instead of being cut with talc, it uses bismuth, which some people are sensitive too. It is very well pigmented and comes in a variety of lovely shades. At just under $6, you can’t beat Milani for value. Milani’s Mineral Blush is honestly better than a number of high end items that I have tried. If you are a Nars Orgasm fan, look in stores for the shade Luminous (which I linked to). It is essentially the same as Nars Orgasm with perhaps slightly more shimmer, but much more affordable. By the way, also check out Milani eye shadows, they too are highly pigmented and are top on my list of best drugstore eye shadows.
Jane Blushing Cheeks is very affordable at $3.69 and has decent pigment, wears well, and comes in some nice shades. Jane also has a Nars Orgasm clone. Look for the shade Blushing Earth, which is almost a dead ringer for it. Jane cosmetics are pretty good all around, but their blush is my favorite item from them. For more see my previous review: Jane Cosmetics Blush.
Revlon ColorStay Cheek Color Mineral Blush is at the higher price range for a drugstore cheek color. At around $13, it comes in cheaper than higher end lines, but frankly, I recommend Milani and Jane before it because of their incredible prices. regardless, Revlon Mineral Blush is a darn nice blush. Although not talc free like Milani, it is still high in pigment and it blends and wears very nicely.
Best Cream Drugstore Blush
I have not fared as well at finding a quality affordable cream blush. Many seem to lack pigment or simply don’t wear as long as some of my favorite department store brands (Estee Lauder and Nars are a couple of favorites). I do, however, particularly recommend Maybelline Dream Mousse, which I prefer over many of the higher end brands. The entire Maybelline Dream Mousse line is rather nice. My other recommendations from Revlon and Sally Hansen Natural Beauty also fare pretty well
Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush is one of my all time favorites. Dream Mousse has a light texture (hence the mousse name) that makes it blend incredibly well. It is also seriously packed with pigment. If you want a good cream color, this it the way to go. At around $6 it is also an incredible value. For yet another Nars Orgasm look, check out the shade Peach Satin.
Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Blush (link is to previous review) has a good texture and decent pigment. It also comes in some particularly pretty shades. I like the Sally Hansen line as a whole and their powder version is also pretty good.
Revlon Cream Blush blends nicely and lasts pretty well. It is not as highly pigmented as some higher end brands that I have tried, but then again, I prefer my cream blush to be on the sheer side anyway. It builds fairly well for extra color and usually lasts all day. Revlon also leaves out the shimmer, which I appreciate. For more see my previous review: Revlon Cream Blush
A Few Duds
Just as there are some good drugstore makeup bargains, there are some items that just don’t cut it. A few that I didn’t care for were Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Blush (the one with loose powder and built in brush) which, although easy to use, took the word “sheer” to a whole new level by being barely visible on the face and wearing off quickly. Almay and Physician's Formula blushes have also not fared as well with me for the same reason—there simply is not enough pigment.