Blush is one of my favorite things. It makes me look and feel more alive, and it’s a great multitasker for eyes and lips too! My 5-minute morning makeup routine involves a touch of pink blush on my cheeks, eyelids and lips, with a little mascara and brow gel.
Although its popularity has wavered over the years, blush is one of the most enduring trends in beauty. As Lisa Eldridge states in her book Face Paint, “Rouge is the longest-standing makeup item in existence and the most multipurposed, having been used to color lips and cheeks for thousands of years…from traditional powder blush to liquid stains, and creams and gels for lips and cheeks.”
Throughout history blush has been made with a number of toxic and poisonous ingredients like cinnabar and lead, as well as more natural ingredients like red ochre (clay) and cochineal (a bright-red color obtained from cochineal insects). Fortunately with time we’ve found ways to make blush with safer materials, but cochineal, otherwise known as carmine, is still one of the most commonly used pigments in makeup.
Because of this, finding vegan blushes can be a challenge. That being said, there are some amazing options out there! Below are 12 vegan blushes complete with full ingredients lists (sans carmine), divided into 6 affordable drugstore options ($5-$15) and 6 luxury high-end ones ($20-$40) from the following cruelty-free brands:
- 100% Pure
- Clove + Hallow
- Cover FX
- Ere Perez
- Milk Makeup
- Nabla Cosmetics
6 Affordable Blushes
1. elf Primer Infused Blush
“This long-wear, matte blush is infused with lock on primer powder to ensure a full day of perfectly placed blush. [It] grips your cheeks like second skin.”
One of my favorite blushes also happens to be the most affordable option on this list. It comes in 7 matte shades, all vegan. My favorite is “Always Cheeky”, a brightening peachy pink. I love it because it doesn’t fade throughout the day, and it has incredible color payoff so I’ve barely made a dent. You can find them at elf, Ulta and Target.
2. Milani Baked Blush
“These richly pigmented, highly buildable [baked] blushes feature satin and shimmery shades…for the ultimate pop of cheeky color for any skin tone.”
The cult classic Milani Baked Blush in “Luminoso” is actually vegan, along with 10 other stunning shades! Like its name, it has a very luminous finish. This is my go-to blush when my skin is feeling a little dull. It brings instant light to the face; no highlighter needed. Other than Milani, they’re sold at Ulta and Target.
3. Flower Blush Bomb Color Drops for Cheeks
“Each drop of this silky, lightweight formula blends seamlessly. Buildable and natural looking for a perfect flush every time.”
A great vegan cream blush from the drugstore is the Flower Blush Bomb. They have a lightweight gel formula that blends out beautifully and lasts all day. It comes in 7 vegan shades, and because of their cream formula, they’re really easy to mix together for a custom hue. My personal favorite shade is “Pinched”, a radiant nude pink. Find em at Flower, Ulta and Walmart.
4. Colourpop Pressed Powder Blushes
“A rich blush that glides on smoothly and leaves cheeks with a natural and healthy flush. This formula contains silky powders that adhere to the skin, providing long wear and colour that stays true all day.”
These blushes are incredibly well-loved for their buildable formula, pigmentation and cute packaging. As of now, all of Colourpop’s many pressed powder blush shades are vegan except for “Why, Hello”, “Enchanted Mirror” and “I Need Space”. When in doubt, look for the vegan leaf symbol (pictured below) on the product page before you order. The largest selection is on the Colourpop website, but they also sell some at Ulta.
5. Pacifica Cheeky Cherry Cheek Stain
“Blur the lines of no-makeup makeup with our versatile liquid cheek stain that is buildable and can be easily applied with your fingers. Infused with skin-loving naturals including sweet cherry, sappan bark extracts and vitamin E.”
A new affordable cream blush on the market, the Pacifica Cheeky Cherry Cheek Stains are perfect for a subtle “no-makeup makeup” look. They come in 3 sheer cherry-infused shades that look flattering on a multitude of skin tones. They’re available at Pacifica, Ulta and Target.
6. Nabla Cosmetics Blossom Blush
“Blossom Blush gives you a natural and healthy look that revives your complexion and recreates the effect of a cheek that is fresh and naturally flushed into different shades.”
The Blossom Blushes come in 12 versatile vegan shades. My favorites are “Daisy” and “Nectarine”, and I keep them in my huge magnetic palette for everyday use. Nabla’s magnetic refill system allows you to choose between putting the pan into a custom pallete or compact. I find these blushes have a high-end velvety texture and a they blend in flawlessly for a natural, second skin effect. Aside from the Nabla website, you can find them at Ulta.
6 Luxury Blushes
7. Clove + Hallow Hydratint Blush Serum
“Get a hydrated, healthy flush with this lightweight blush serum infused with meadowfoam oil and hyaluronic acid.”
A perfect option for dry skin, the Hydratints give cheeks a hydrating, lightweight flush of subtle color. Its formulated with skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and meadowfoam oil to hydrate and plump the skin. In addition to the Clove + Hallow website, you can find it at Petit Vour, The Detox Market and Amazon.
|Brand||Clove + Hallow|
|Buy||Clove + Hallow|
8. Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek
“Two-in-one stick doubles as a sheer blush and hydrating lip tint. Color payoff builds as you swipe.”
The Milk Lip + Cheek is a two-in-one hydrating cream blush stick with mango butter, peach nectar and avocado oil. It comes in 5 sheer vegan shades. My favorite is “Werk”, a dusty rose. I absolutely love the stick format because it’s really easy to use for a quick makeup look. Plus, you get a huge amount of product which is enough to last a lifetime. They also come in a mini size perfect for travel. Lip + Cheek is available at Milk Makeup, Sephora and Amazon.
9. Ere Perez Beetroot Lip & Cheek Tint
“Long-lasting tint for cheeks and lips. Water-based formula featuring beetroot extracts to nourish and hydrate skin. Rich in antioxidants, this healthy tint acts as a natural stain and lasts all day.”
If you’re looking for a fun clean option, the Ere Perez Lip & Cheek Tints deliver a vibrant pop of color derived from beets! While I can’t verify whether the beets are sourced from Schrute Farms, I can verify that they produce incredibly vivid shades of pink and red, perfect for a natural stain. Other star ingredients include rosehip oil and blue agave. You can find them at Ere Perez, The Detox Market and Amazon.
10. Kosas Color & Light: Crème Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo
“An ultra-blendable cream blush and highlighter palette in versatile duos of balancing, brightening, foolproof, clean, and skin-conditioning formulas—each duo is available in two levels of intensity for color that complements every mood and every skin tone.”
Kosas makes beautiful clean blush and highlighter duos made with apricot, rosehip and jojoba oils. They come in 8 different coordinated colorways, all vegan. Kosas also makes a powder version if cream blush isn’t your thing. The duos are available on the Kosas and Sephora websites.
11. Cover FX Monochromatic Blush Duo
“Consciously formulated without talc for a weightless texture and seamless application, these richly pigmented duos deliver an airy, breathable veil of color. Use the matte and shimmer shades individually or layer them together to customize your finish.”
This is the perfect option when you can’t decide between matte and luminous blush. The pigmented duos give you the flexibility to create a variety of looks with a multidimensional finish. They come in 6 striking shade combinations, all formulated without parabens, gluten, mineral oil, fragrance, talc, sulfates and phthalates. In addition to Cover FX, they’re available at Sephora and Ulta.
|Finish||matte and luminous|
12. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Blush
“Gorgeous shades of fruit pigmented blush give cheeks a flush of healthy, natural color. Our antioxidant-rich formula softens skin while you wear it, with anti-aging rosehip oil and nourishing cocoa and avocado butters.”
These luxurious clean blushes get their color from natural pigments like cherry, pomegranate, peach, plum, cranberry, and strawberry, and are formulated rosehip oil, cocoa and avocado butters. The finely pressed rice powder in the formula makes them feel extra smooth to the touch. The 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Blush is available in 12 vegan shades at 100% Pure and Amazon.
Another great way to expand your options for obtaining the perfect rosy flush is to use your bullet lipsticks as blush. Lipstick can be applied to cheeks with your fingers or with a stippling brush. I prefer using my fingers because it helps warm up the lipstick to blend it seamlessly into the skin, but I also love the EcoTools “Sheer Finish Blush Brush” ($8) for a more airbrushed effect.
As an added bonus, it can create a lovely monochromatic look if you use the same lipstick you’re wearing on your lips. For a more natural look, stick to shades without shimmer. A few of my favorite vegan lipsticks for this technique are the Flower Petal Pout Lip Color in “Berry-More”($8), Lisa Eldridge Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour in “Love of My Life” ($28) and 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Pomegranate Oil Lipstick in “Foxglove” ($30), but any bullet lipstick will work!
Like I said in the beginning, blush is one of my favorite things. So naturally, I’d love to hear about your favorite vegan and cruelty-free blushes in the comments!
Other Vegan Guides
If you’re looking for more vegan guides, start here: