The A to Z Guide to Coral Blush — Peachy-Coral to Coral-Red! Leave a comment


If I had a weakness in cheek color, it would be coral.  Whether it’s a lighter coral with lots of shimmer or intense coral that borders on copper, I have a weakness for all of them. I could probably write a dissertation on all things coral (I don’t know about having the energy for that, though!). We’re entering another hot week here in Arizona, which always puts me in a summer mindset and leads me to think about my good friend coral blush!

So, I thought I’d share some of the best performing, permanent shades I’ve tested and reviewed… I would love to hear about your favorites in the comments, but don’t forget to chime on the official Best Coral Blush page!

Lighter Corals

Light corals can sometimes get into a peachier territory, and for some skin tones, they end up more as brightening or highlighting shades. I’ve tried to include an assortment of options across price points, shimmer-levels, and both pinker and more orange-leaning hues. I often use these types of shades as highlighters or as a highlighting blush (something that highlights and adds color — not something that’s necessarily sheer!).

Pro tip: If you have an arsenal of highlighters, you can easily layer a highlighter over a darker coral blush to get the effect of a lighter coral! For the lightest effect, apply the highlighter first and then use a fan brush to delicately apply a coral blush slightly lower (and then blended into the highlighter). This creates the definition of a blush while marrying the two together.

Blushes like Make Up For Ever B302, Hourglass Diffused Heat / Incandescent Electra, Essence Satin Coral, and Persona Georgia are stellar picks for those who like more of a skin-like finish–not flat and not quite matte. Dior’s Hologlam has more contrasting shimmer, so it can be a way to wear a coral base without it reading as warm-toned (alternatively: layer a lavender, purple, or cooler pink highlighter over a coral blush you already own!).

Sydney Grace’s highlightersSun Kissed Peach, Cantata, Peach Kisses shown here–are intensely pigmented and shimmery, and they tend to read true-to-pan but a little brighter.

NYX Magnetic Illuminator ($9.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a light-medium, peachy-coral with warm undertones and a frosted, golden sheen. It had good…

NYX Magnetic Illuminator ($9.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a light-medium, peachy-coral with warm undertones and a frosted, golden sheen. It had good…

Natasha Denona Alba Duo Glow ($38.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a light-medium pink-coral with warm, golden shimmer for a luminous sheen. It had good…

Natasha Denona Alba Duo Glow ($38.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a light-medium pink-coral with warm, golden shimmer for a luminous sheen. It had good…

Persona Georgia Super Blush ($22.00 for 0.18 oz.) is a brighter pop of medium coral-orange with strong, warm undertones and a semi-matte finish. It…

Persona Georgia Super Blush ($22.00 for 0.18 oz.) is a brighter pop of medium coral-orange with strong, warm undertones and a semi-matte finish. It…

MAC Springsheen Powder Blush ($24.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a medium, pink-coral with golden shimmer. It had medium, buildable pigmentation–and it was…

MAC Springsheen Powder Blush ($24.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a medium, pink-coral with golden shimmer. It had medium, buildable pigmentation–and it was…

Medium Corals

I have another 15 picks for more light-medium to medium-depth coral highlighters and blushes (though, most of these are officially blush shades).  Again, I’ve tried to provide a list of high-performing options across price points, finishes, and undertones so that you can rediscover a favorite you already own (or something similar!) or narrow down to something on your wish list.

Pro tip: For those who feel they’re too heavy-handed, try a less-dense brush–a highlighting brush, fan brush, etc.–to pick up and to apply color.  It is always easier to build up color than it is to take down, but if you ever go too heavy, here are two tricks: 1) use leftover foundation (on a brush or sponge) and gently dab over the edges to soften, 2) dust translucent or flesh-toned loose powder to soften.

Blushes like Make Up For Ever B308, B210, and B314 offer really skin-like finishes with really nice vibrancy and true-to-pan color.   Cream blushes like Fenty’s Strawberry Drip along with ColourPop Totes / Sidewayz have both brighter color paired with almost dewy finishes that are perfect for getting all the summer vibes.

theBalm Hot Mama Shadow/Blush ($20.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a medium, pink-coral with warm undertones and a golden shimmer. It had good pigmentation–just…

theBalm Hot Mama Shadow/Blush ($20.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a medium, pink-coral with warm undertones and a golden shimmer. It had good pigmentation–just…

Colour Pop Totes Blush Stix ($8.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a rich coral with warm undertones and a barely-there pearl paired with a dewy finish. The blush…

Colour Pop Totes Blush Stix ($8.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a rich coral with warm undertones and a barely-there pearl paired with a dewy finish. The blush…

Colour Pop Sidewayz Blush Stix ($8.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a medium coral with warm undertones, but leans pinker, and warmer, coppery-gold pearl. It had…

Colour Pop Sidewayz Blush Stix ($8.00 for 0.33 oz.) is a medium coral with warm undertones, but leans pinker, and warmer, coppery-gold pearl. It had…

Rich Corals

The deeper a coral gets, the closer it gets to orange, copper, or red! I’ve included a mix of medium-dark to deep coral hues (a few that are officially categorized as copper or red, actually!).

Pro tip: A color can look less and less like it does in the pan when applied with a lighter hand or is really blended out (e.g. applied more sheerly). It’s important to assess what color you want on your cheeks and not just what a blush might look like heavily swatched or in the pan.

Heavy swatches are great for showing color payoff, undertone, and finish, but you will want to look at an as-applied or really blended out swatch to see how the base comes out.  A good example is with red blush: bluer-based reds can look pinker when sheered out instead of true red!

Products like Flower Beauty’s Melon and ColourPop Mic Drop offer a cream/liquid format, which can be more forgiving when working with a deeper hue.  I also find that cream formulas can look a bit truer-to-color even when sheered out.

I’m a huge fan of MAC’s Extra Dimension Blush range for a blush that offers a luminous finish with color impact (Cheeky Bits, Telling Glow, Faux Sure).  These also work well as highlighting blushes (depending on your skin tone).

Dior 999 Rouge Blush ($44.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a rich coral-red with warm undertones and cooler, pink pearl that gives it a luminous sheen when applied…

Dior 999 Rouge Blush ($44.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a rich coral-red with warm undertones and cooler, pink pearl that gives it a luminous sheen when applied…

Taos is a rich, coppery plum with warm undertones and a pearly sheen. The blush was intensely pigmented, while the texture was soft, smooth, and just…

Taos is a rich, coppery plum with warm undertones and a pearly sheen. The blush was intensely pigmented, while the texture was soft, smooth, and just…



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