Not exactly off-the-scale performances from any of these, score-wise – but interesting to see that a new ‘cult’ brand scoops joing Gold. Here’s an application tip, meanwhile: although one of the virtues of cream blusher is that they can be smooshed into skin with fingers, we’ve actually found that you get more long-lasting results from using a synthetic foundation brush to apply many of them. You’ll need to keep it for blusher only (otherwise there’s the serious risk of pink streaks as you blend your foundation!), but this technique delivers a great, natural result. (Perhaps DON’T do this with the Glossier product, however, as it’s more of a liquid cream. But worth experimenting.)


GOLD AWARD (JOINT) Glossier Cloud Paint

Glossier – founded by beauty blogger Emily Weiss – is on the make-up wishlist of every ‘millennial’ girl we know. But our testers for this were somewhat more mature, and professed themselves impressed by the pillow-y, gel-cream formulation, with its sheer and buildable texture. ‘It’s hard to accidentally apply too much,’ Glossier promise. (Important, that, in a blusher.) There are blurring powder pigments within the formula, plus skin-plumping collagen – and i cute, oil paint-esque tubes, you can choose from six shades; our panelists trialled brownish-nude Dusk.


‘The product goes on really smoothly and doesn’t drag the skin at all. You need to work fairly quickly with the colour as it dries down fairly swiftly to obtain the best blending. If you dot it on the cheeks and get distracted it starts to stain the skin in a blob. This is easily rectified with a brush and the tiniest bit of moisturiser but better to do one cheek at a time and work fast’ • ‘On first appearance the cheek colour looks very pigmented and scarily dark. However once you apply the product it becomes almost translucent with a beautiful veil of colour that is really natural and lifts the face completely. It's the most natural, healthy looking blush I have ever used but I found it needed reapplying after a couple of hours’ • ‘I absolutely love the effect of this blush on the skin. It is a real game- changer as far as natural-looking make-up that flatters my skin tone - no streaks or caking. However its staying power isn’t the greatest, therefore I have decided that I will wear this product on the weekend or for the school run because I can’t bear to not have it in my make-up bag but will have to use my old blush for the days when I’m working all day and don’t have time for reapplication’ • ‘I really like this product – it’s reasonably priced when compared to other blushers in the marketplace. A joy to use; no need to attend a master class to effectively apply this product. It looks great and gives a lovely healthy look - I would definitely buy it in future’ • ‘It gives a very natural glow like you've been for a brisk walk. A neat little addition to my make-up bag – reasonably priced too’ • Went on smoothly and blended out perfectly with my fingers without dragging. An amazing product with the perfect balance of colour and texture.’

£15 for 10ml - click to buy


GOLD AWARD (JOINT) Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

Oh, we love a Chubby. Crayons for grown-ups. Goof-proof beauty at its best – and the testers who trialled this (in the gloriously-named, suits-all-skintones Roly Posy Rosy) clearly agreed. All you do is dot the tip of the fat crayon onto apples of the cheeks, and blend out with fingers towards the hairline. You can then layer, for a more intense flush.


‘I do love chubby sticks, I have some lip ones that I use already so was over the moon to try a cheek chubby stick and I wasn’t disappointed! As with all Clinique products, the packaging was minimal and modern, the formula was nice and creamy without being greasy and the colour was subtle but lasted all day. Overall a very nice blush ideal for every day use’ • ‘The stick was quick and easy to use with no mess. It was easy to rub in to the cheeks to get the amount you wanted - you could put as much or as little as you wanted by building it up. Very good to use when in a rush and easy to pop in your handbag to take out without having to take an additional brush or worrying about it making a mess in your bag. Blended very well and gave a glowing, very natural look’ • ‘This was very easy to use. The product was very creamy so it went on really smoothly and was extremely easy to blend. It gives a really subtle pop of healthy colour, but is also buildable if you want a more dramatic look. I had to reapply after approx 5 hours so not bad!’ • ‘I love this. It’s matte and smooth but with a slight shimmer if you look under the light. It can rub off during the day but it does last if you don't touch it. It is super simple to top up the colour anyway as the container is nice and portable and you don't need brush. A very good cheek colour balm and I would buy it. I am now hooked!’ • ‘You can use this as a lip colour as well; it worked with a brush for that but you can use your finger too’ • ‘It’s highly pigmented so you only need a little. I like that I can apply a small amount and then add to it if I need without it looking caked on’

£20 for 6g - click to buy


SILVER AWARD  Cosmetics à la Carte Bare Cheek Gel Blush

From a long-established make-up name which really deserves to be more firmly on women’s radar, this isn’t strictly a cream, but more of a solid, jelly-like texture that is enriched with vitamin E and natural plant waxes. It’s very translucent and was designed as a ‘you-look-well’ blusher, we’re told (and boy, is that what we love blusher for). Bare Cheek Gel Blush can also be used on lips, and comes in a very chic (and useful) little mirrored compact.


‘Just dabbed my finger in the creamy gel, which comes in a silvery compact, and it blended effortlessly on to cheeks and lips. It looked like I had gone for a bracing walk. Versatile and easy to use’ • ‘When I first opened the flip open compact (with a mirror which is practical), I thought no way am I wearing that colour. I tried it and found it was a lovely colour, which you can build if you want a stronger look. This product didn't clog on the skin like some blushers, blended in straight away and looks nice on the lips’ • ‘This gave a very natural glow, a delicate hint of colour. I normally use another cream blush and this one is a lot lighter and easier to apply. I found I needed to reapply at lunchtime. But I am happy to reapply as I like my blush delicate with a soft finish and don’t want heavy make-up. This product has a lovely finish and looks really nice on my lips as well’ • ‘Looked natural and seamless on my skin, sheer ad glowing finish. I only needed to reapply once during the day. It's a lovely product that would make a fantastic gift as it looks really expensive and modern. Great to use this product in winter months when skin is a bit dry and also in the summer when you don't want to layer on loads of make-up’ • ‘I love this product, it achieves a very natural look - it looks as though your skin is glowing. I didn't mark it a full 10 as it wasn't as long lasting as I find my powder blusher, but it’s a super product by a company that I wasn't previously aware of and am keen to seek out other products they make. I now use this blusher as part of my everyday make-up regime - I’m impressed!’ 

£30 - click to buy