They’re fuss-free and zero mess - and perfect for getting an instant flush of colour to your complexion

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Blusher is the makeup artist-approved secret for a year-round, healthy, radiant glow. Just ask celebrity MUA Caroline Barnes, who tells us she uses the pink stuff to bring an "instant pop of radiance" to famous faces including pop princesses Kylie Minogue, Kelly Rowland and Pixie Lott. And cream blusher in particular, thanks to its consistency, sinks into the skin creating a natural finish. While we love cream blushers with all our heart and soul, they can feel a bit icky from a hygienic POV . You’re dabbing in your fingers to apply it onto your face, then going back in with your fingers or maybe even a brush. Potentially a bit of a germ magnet. But that’s where blush sticks come in to their own. These chunky crayon, lozenge style or dome-design blushers reduce the number of steps involved. They can be applied directly to the skin and all that’s left for you to do is buff the colour in with fingers, a brush or a sponge.

Unlike powder formulas, they tend to contain oils or have added skincare ingredients so you can make the most of moisturising and other skin benefits. "Creams add life to your skin rather than deadening it," notes Barnes. "The skincare benefits mean they don't irritate dry spots or highlight textured areas of the skin.” Scroll on to discover our favourite blush sticks.

Best for a true-to-you tone: Pixi On-the-Glow Blush pH Reactive Cheek Tone, was £18 now £12

Shade range: 1 (but there are 3 regular blusher shades)
PH beauty is a huge trend for this year . These products contain a specific type of dye that reacts with the pH level of your skin creating a bespoke colour just for you. This one starts as a fairly sheer pink shade and will get warmer or cooler depending on you.

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Best for longevity: Milk Makeup Cooling Water Jelly Tint, £22

Shade range: 4
This is more of a wash of tint than a densely pigmented blusher, but a handy one to have in your makeup kit nonetheless. The formula feels instantly cooling on the skin - lovely for hot days - and has a slightly bouncy, jelly-like feeling. A word of warning: be quick when you work as it really does stay put, there’s no time to lose between application and buffing into place.

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Best for shade range: Merit Flush Balm Cheek Color, £32

Shade range: 9

These cleverly domed blushers are the perfect shape for quickly drawing onto cheeks and the creamy texture sinks in almost immediately requiring very little blending and buffing. All the shades are very wearable and you can pop them on the lips too.

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Best for glow: Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick, £30

Shade range: 3

A chunky domed crayon that not only makes applying to cheeks a cinch, but it’s also ideal for taking across the eyes, lips and anywhere else you want a flush of colour. It has a very creamy, hydrating texture so a few pats of a finger to blur any harsh lines is all that is required for a flawless finish. All three shades have a slight luminosity to them so if you prefer a flat, matte finish, these are not for you.

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Shade range: 4
One of the OG blush sticks, this chunky crayon delivers a punchy wash of colour with one application but it can easily be built up if you prefer a more obvious look. As you would expect from Clinique, it comes in wearable shades with options for all skin tones.

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Shade range: 5

Known for her use of vibrant pigments, these blusher sticks come in five bright shades but go on sheer allowing you to build them up to the intensity you prefer. They have quite a dewy, glossy finish and work really well on lips too.

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Best for teens and parents: Made by Mitchell Blursh Balm, £14

Shade range: 6

A product with a slightly annoying name, but one worthy of your attention and the type of product that you and your teen (should there be one in your house) will fight over. Made by Mitchell is the brainchild of UK content creator and makeup artist, Mitchell Halliday. This blush stick has a creamy consistency and blends in really well.

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Best budget option: Essence Baby Got Blush Blusher Stick, was £3 now £2.55

Shade range: 3

For under £3, this is an excellent, dinky-sized blusher stick. It doesn’t have the staying power of pricier versions but it only takes seconds to swirl it on and blend it in, so really what more could you ask for?

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Shade range: 1
Another pH adapting lip and cheek option but this blusher stick is shaped like a heart, and not any old heart but the yellow emoji heart which apparently means best friends forever (who knew?). Again, the colour will adapt the second it meets the skin to form a unique pink hue and works on all skin tones.

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Best for applying on the go: Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Blush, £35

Shade range: 6
Not only does this gorgeous creamy blush stick blend like a dream and feel hydrating on the skin but it comes with a genius brush at the other end meaning you can swirl on the colour and buff away to your heart’s content really easily. Perfect for travelling.

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Best for seamless blending: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush, was £38 now £34.20

Shade range: 4

If it’s a second skin feeling you’re looking for, then this is an absolute winner. The velvety finish really does mean whichever colour you choose, it will look like you’re glowing from the inside out. Sadly, there are only four tones to choose from; a soft pink and coral, a shimmering bronze and a punchier pink but fingers crossed for more in the future.

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Best for bright shades: Glow Hub Buff Blush Glo Up Colour Stick, £12

Shade range: 4
Bright, vibrant shades may seem offputting at first, but please give them a go as they are less intimidating than you think, really flattering and look gorgeous on a sunny day. They all come in ergonomic packaging (the top is very easy to get off thanks to the slightly bulbous base), feel very creamy and contain skin-loving ingredients such as calming niacinamide, nourishing vitamin E and hydrating hyaluronic acid.

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Best for sheer colour: Ilia Beauty Multi-Stick Cheek-to-Cheek, £36

Shade range: 8

This award-winning clean formula isn't new but it's hard to make a blush hit list without including it – it's a makeup bag staple for beauty editors and MUAs alike. Why so many fans? The buttery texture blends into skin with minimal blending giving cheeks (and lips!) a pretty pop of colour. It's also a pretty great makeup skincare hybrid thanks to a host of moisturising ingredients, such as avocado oil, organic shea butter and orange peel wax.

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Best for oily skins: Nars The Multiple, £33

Shade range: 7
Whether you opt for world-famous Orgasm, a limited edition shade or any peachy, pinky, mauvey hue of this lightweight, foolproof multitasker, there's a blusher here to suit you, and the finish will be seamless. Some shades contain more sparkle than others, but the velvety formula glides on, melts in and, thanks to its powdery finish, will stick around all day without looking shiny. It's also fragrance-free, can be layered for more of a 'pop' and doesn't feel remotely greasy.

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Best for all skin tones: Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh, £39

Shade range: 7
Blush at the beach? If Victoria Beckham says it's a thing then it's a thing. The inspiration behind these five pretty pink blush sticks was "the effortlessly gorgeous woman who’s spent the day at the beach". Gel-cream in texture, the sticks glide on easily and while not mega-dewy they leave skin with a very natural veil of colour.

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Best for a sheer effect: Jones Road Lip and Cheek Stick, £34

Shade range: 8
No makeup-makeup is the Jones Road brand MO, and if that's on your agenda then these Lip and Cheek sticks will do the trick. The sticks are so soft that you can build them up without it ever looking too obvious and they deliver a lovely dewy effect that makes cheeks look supple. The colours range from punchy pinks to muddy mauves but the colour payoff isn't the greatest - fine if super subtle is your thing but if you're looking for more vibrancy then founder Bobbi Brown recommends dotting on top of powder blush.

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Best for dry skin: Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick, £44

Shade range: 6
A veil of radiant colour over the apple of your cheeks can make skin look smoother and your entire face a bit brighter, and that's what this chunky blusher stick does. The pearly cream blusher dots on and blends out evenly to warm up even the most sallow of complexions. This probably isn't the one for oily skin (slightly too much shimmer going on), but otherwise, it's a quick-simple glow-giver. Loaded with moisturising ingredients such as jojoba oil and grape extract it's easy to blend and is a good option for drier skins, plus it doesn't slip away by lunchtime. Undeniably an investment but you won't have to buy another for a long time.

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Best for sparkle: Elf Monochromatic Multi Stick, £5

Shade range: 4
If you like your blush to sparkle then this one is for you. There's a whole load of metallic pigments going on in this ultra-buildable blush – it's basically a highlighter and blush in one. Matte this is not but if you want to add some sheen and shine to your cheeks, eyes, lips and even nose or cupids bow you can't go wrong.

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Best for warmer skin tones: Huda Beauty Cheeky Tint Blush Stick, £23

Shade range: 5
Huda Beauty’s creamy blush sticks have orange-red undertones which look particularly striking on warmer ones. The buildable formulas are infused with skincare goodness, like lychee extract and vitamin E, that melts into the skin and delivers a shot of hydration, as well as a glossy glow.

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Best luxury option: Sisley Paris Phyto-Blush Twist, £60

Shade range: 4

A personal favourite of GTG's editorial director Victoria Woodhall, Sisley’s Phyto-Blush in Petal is a worthy investment for your makeup bag. Very highly pigmented and packed with hydrating ingredients like camellia and shea oil, this a nourishing formula which makes a great lip tint too, while the rounded tip is handy for on-the-go scribbling onto cheeks. The shades range from a bright fuschia to peachy papaya, while petal, is a non-shimmer rosy hue.

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