To be honest, a little part of me died when Becca went out of business. I think Becca was the best in town when it came to highlighters. Liquid or powder, they were 100% on point. I used to turn a regular blush into a glowy one with a single swipe from Becca’s liquid highlighter. My blush would look smooth, streak-free, and glorious! They set the bar so high! But when they were no longer available, I started experimenting with shimmer blushes. So instead of reaching for two different products, one of which is very unlikely to fit my Becca standards, I tried shimmery blushes from my favorite makeup brands. And I love the fact that you can have the best of both worlds!
A shimmer blush is basically a combination of a blush and highlighter. It comes in powder, liquid, cream, and anything in between. But the shimmer aspect is just as various. Some shimmer blushes have downright blindingly glowy finishes whereas others are more subtle.
Shimmer blushes combine a nice flush of color with a nice dash of glow. You get to have those rosy cheeks and a glistening effect at the same time! So keep an open mind and don’t assume that these are pigments dipped in glitter and that they give you shiny, greasy skin.
Plus, some of them have more sophisticated formulations like a blush made with light-reflecting particles or pearls. These babies are fancy and nothing like what we used to paint ourselves with in middle school.
And as someone in her mid-30s, I know we’re “supposed to” go easy on shimmer products. Well, I agree if you call pink chalk with a pinch of glitter a blush! And trust me, there are shimmer blushes like that. But some of these babies or so subtly dewy and shimmery that I over blush intentionally, unapologetically and I don’t even care!
So if matte blushes seem too dull for you right now, or you want to look the part in summer, or want your cheeks to really pop, you’re in the right place!
The Best Shimmer Blushes
Below are some of the best shimmer blushes out there.
1. Nars Blush
I mean look at that glow! Am I right or am I right? Nars has a whole line of blushes with various shades and different finishes. When shimmer blushes are concerned, they’re all just lovely. If you have no idea where to begin, the shade Orgasm (see below) is one of their best sellers and a true representation of what they have to offer. It’s a lovely pink with golden shimmer. I haven’t seen the sun in a while and I’m like a ghost at the moment. But I tan easily. And trust me, I can comfortably use this either way. The shimmer doesn’t look out of place. It’s pigmented but not so much so that things get out of control quickly. You can just build things up easily depending on how bold you want to go.
Pros: Beautiful shimmer, great shade range Cons: Not very long-lasting Size: 0.16 oz Shades: 13
2. Milani Baked Blush
If you’re a proud over-blusher, it’s advisable to use something more affordable so you don’t feel guilty about spending your hard-earned money on makeup. I don’t, but I’m not a good example. Either way, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly way to get a rosy glow on your cheeks with a nice flush melted into shimmer, Milani has one of the best shimmer blushes. Luminoso, being the most popular of the bunch, is a soft peachy coral with a golden shimmer. There aren’t bold pinks or reds in the range. But these are great for summer vibes when you want to blur the lines between a bronzer and blush too.
Pros: Beautiful finish, affordable, amazing for summer skin Cons: None Size: 0.12 oz Shades: 11
3. Shiseido Minimalist Whipped Powder Blush
This has such a unique texture that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it! The blush looks like a powder but when you dip your finger into the pan, get a little product, and start applying it, it feels like a cream. I don’t know, maybe it’s something between a compressed powder and a loose powder. But still, it applies like a cream blush without the emollient feel. And I swear that this baby does not budge! It lasts long. And it has a nice soft feel to it and a very light shimmer to instantly wake up a dull, flat complexion. Looks like Shiseido is discontinuing this product. I have no idea why! I say stock up wherever you can find it!
Pros: Unique texture allows easy, comfortable application Cons: Being discontinued Size: 0.17 oz Shades: 8
4. Natasha Denona Mini Bloom Blush
This is a mini, singular blush from one of Natasha Denona’s cheek palettes. Even if it’s mini, you get a high-end blush with a high-end glow and a more reasonable price. This is a perfect combination of a highlighter and blusher. The glow is impossible to miss and the pink shade tickles your inner cheerleader. It’s just lovely for summer when you want a healthy flush of color with a healthy dose of glow on your cheeks. It’s super soft and settles down to a nice, velvety finish.
Pros: Very elegant pink shade with a radiant finish Cons: It’s only 1 shade Size: 0.14 oz Shades: 1
5. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush
OK, this one has the best buildable formula. And you might think to yourself why that would be important. Here’s what I do with it. I do a couple of swipes across my cheeks when I just need a soft shimmer blush. But when I slowly build this layer by layer, the color reveals its true potential and I end up getting a bolder, more defined face. It almost helps me contour with a blush! The shade range includes corals, pinks, and summery peaches. But the mini one, the one I show below, only has 1 shade called Seduce. Either way, the shimmer is very subtle with this one. So when you build the pigment, you don’t end up looking like you’re dipped in glitter.
Pros: Buildable, long-lasting Cons: None Size: 0.2 oz Shades: 14
6. Kosas Color + Light Creme: Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo
If you prefer a palette to be able to play with the product, this is such a satisfying formula. First of all, this is a very pigmented cream blush accompanied by a cream highlighter. And because of that creamy, oil-infused texture, it already has a really nice, radiant, dewy finish. And that’s also why this one is great for people with dry skin or mature skin that can’t work with powder blushes because they look patchy. The highlighter allows you to build your glow intensity but also complements the actual shade of the blush. You can also make it work double duty and use it to highlight the inner corners of the eyes or the brow bone or to make your lipstick glossy. Palettes come in regular and what they call High Intensity if you prefer the shade of your choice to be more pigmented and higher impact.
Quick Tip: I say don’t buy this before you test out the swatches in store. Because if you can make one of the High-Intensity shades work for your skin tone and preference, you’ll be able to have the benefit of a bronzer from your highlighter too.
Pros: Multi-purpose product, creamy formula, also comes in powder Cons: None Size: 0.32 oz Shades: 5
7. Honest Beauty Creme Cheek Blush
A more budget-friendly cream blush with a nice dewy finish you can find at the drugstore is Honest Beauty’s cream blush. And this is just as multi-tasking because you can use it on your lips too. It’s a really skin-friendly, emollient blush where there’s no added shimmer but the moisture sure makes it look like there is. The shade Coral Peach is one of my favorites because it’s such a warm color that it allows you to bring the blush closer to the under-eye area too. If you’ve never tried that before, it’s the perfect way to fake a sun-kissed look where you look neither red nor brown but look like you have had a healthy dose of sunlight.
Pros: Creamy moisturizing formula, natural dewy finish Cons: None Size: 0.1 oz Shades: 4
8. MAC Sheertone Shimmer Blush
The shimmer blush shades are not as extensive as matte blush shades. But they do have an impressive formula. It’s MAC and you can’t go wrong with it. The powder blush colors up the cheeks with one single swipe and you do see how well the color and the shimmer are blended together seamlessly. So if you don’t know where to apply your blush or your highlighter, you’ll know instinctively! On a side note, an honorable mention is their Glow Play Blush, especially the shade Heat Index. It’s like a cream blush without the cream. And that specific shade, a bold popping fuschia, would look amazing on deeper skin tones. The shade shown below is Peachykeen.
Pros: Gorgeous colors, seamless shimmer Cons: Small shade range Size: 0.21 oz Shades: 3
9. Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blush
If you’re looking for a truly pigmented formula, almost like a cheek tint, you guys, Soft Pinch is the best liquid shimmer blush. It also comes in matte shades but the shimmery formula really, truly tints your cheeks and leaves a radiant finish on the skin. So the focus is more on the colors with this one and less on the shimmer. In that sense, this can be great if you have mature skin or aging skin and are not comfortable with very luminous blushes. So consider this a dewy blush as opposed to a shimmer blush to get that dewy skin look. I love the shade Joy because it’s a really cute, youthful peach.
Pros: Very pigmented, dewy finish Cons: None Size: 0.25 oz Shades: 7
10. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
Similarly, this is another blush with a very subtle shimmer. Again, this can work great for you if you’re intimidated by bold highlighting blushes. And it won’t draw attention to skin texture or pores either. It’s just a seamless formula where you get a blush with a nice glow from within. The shimmer blush, just like their shimmer bronzer, is not too pigmented. But the soft colors are buildable and great for both full glam looks and soft no-makeup looks.
Pros: Great for seamless multi-dimensional looks Cons: Pricey Size: 0.15 oz Shades: 8
So these are some of the best shimmer blushes out there. If you like that glowy, radiant summer skin, remember to check out shimmer bronzers to complete your look.