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Beauty Solutions

Creamy, Dreamy, Long-Lasting, Eco-Cheek Colors and Top Tips for a Healthy, Rosy Glow

Eco-Cheek Stains

image by Meredith Farmer

The latest wave of eco-cheek stains are brilliant. They give me a healthy, rosy glow that lasts all day. Unlike their predecessors, which left no room for error, they’re much easier to apply. And unlike most powder and cream blushes that easily fade as the day wears on, they stay put. I can look like I have a healthy flush of color even when I’m feeling wiped out and not particularly rosy.

They’re also perfect for special occasions when long-lasting makeup is key. Last year I used a single Tarte Cheek Stain (the shade Tickled) when doing makeup for my sister’s bridal party. We maintained perfectly pink cheeks even after posing for picture after picture in the sweltering summer heat – and I do mean sweltering.

Since I’ve been looking to use more natural cosmetics, I’ve been investigating “green” stains and have found some amazingly easy-to-use stains that deliver great results. I have some product recommendations: stains from 100% Pure, Suki, Tarte, and Terra Firma. I also have tips from eco-conscious makeup artist Christy Coleman, who works with models and celebrities, like Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen.

Beauty Bonus: Cheek Stains on the Lips

Every cheek stain I’ve run across does double-duty and can also be used on the lips to save you money and space in your purse. I’ve found that they don’t last as long as they do for cheeks. I’m sure that’s because it’s just harder to keep color on the lips as we eat, lick our lips, etc. But a stain is still more likely to say on longer than a traditional lipstick or gloss. They don’t stay on as long as most traditional, liquid stains. But they also don’t dry out lips, which is often the case with liquid stains.

Top Tips

Eco-conscious makeup artist Christy Coleman prefers working with “green” cosmetics, because there aren’t any “chemicals that seep into the skin, in turn causing harm down the line.” She says she likes stains, because they’re less drying than powder blushes. When working with stains. Here are a couple recommendations from her followed by a couple of my personal recommendations.

  • Apply color with fingers, instead of a brush. Christy says, “I always use my ring finger to apply a cream blush, as it’s the weakest finger and won’t pull on the skin.”
  • Smile and blend well to get the most natural look. She recommends, “Apply to the apple of each cheek by patting three to four times in the center. Then diffuse the edges by feathering outward.” She says a common mistake that people make is that they don’t blend well enough.
  • Don’t overlook darker shades. When choosing a color, keep in mind that a cheek stain that looks bright in the tube will most likely look very natural on the skin. Whereas a lighter shade may not give enough color.
  • A word of caution… be careful to keep stains away from cloth. Like any other makeup, it will be hard to get out, but even more so than most makeup.

Recommended Stains

I recommend cheek stains from 100% Pure, Suki, Tarte, and Terra Firma. I consider these the next generation of cheek stains. They’re so much easier to use than traditional liquid stains and contain safer, eco-friendly ingredients. I’ve listed these in alphabetical order, because it’s tough to rank them. Each has a unique formula with its own merits – different textures, color intensity, length of wear, etc. Choose what works best for you, according to your personal preferences and needs.

100% Pure Lip & Cheek Stain

100% Pure Lip & Cheek Stain100% Pure Lip & Cheek Stains are 100% natural and vegetarian, and have the sheerest, most moisturizing, dewiest formula. Because they’re so moist, they’re pretty clutz-proof and don’t last as long as the others. These would suit someone with dry skin very well, because they have a fresh, dewy finish. But they’re good for any skin type and look especially nice in warmer weather when a dewier look looks really good.

These are made with pure fruit pigments, skin-softening shea and cocoa butters, anti-aging vitamins and antioxidants, and are free of synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins. All 100% Pure products are cruelty-free. I’m a fan of the shade Shimmery Cocoa Berry, which is a dark, burgundy color in the tube but looks very natural on the skin, even on my light-to-medium complexion. Available directly from 100% Pure, and from QVC, beauty.com, eco boutiques like The Chocolate Lotus, and at some health food stores. $15.

Suki Pure Cream Stain

Suki Pure Cream StainSuki Pure Cream Stains are very creamy and hydrating without feeling heavy or oily. They have excellent staying power and feel the most similar to a traditional cream blush. They have lots of pigment, giving a nice color intensity while being very easy to blend. It’s easy to customize how much color you want. Apply a little for a sheer tint. Add more to build up the intensity. They recommend using a puff to apply.

These contain moisturizing organic jojoba oil, softening organic fair trade shea butter, purifying kaolin, and soothing organic chamomile extract. Suki formulas contain 100% pure natural, organic, and food-grade ingredients, and are free of synthetic ingredients like parabens and phthalates. Suki refuses to test finished products or ingredients on animals, and never engages with suppliers who do so. Dahlia is a beautiful earthy red that should be flattering on just about anyone. I love the way they describe it: “a filthy rich, yet ultra-natural red with brown undertones.” Available directly from Suki, at eco-boutiques like skinbotanica.com, and at Whole Foods and some other natural and organic stores. $40.15.

Tarte Natural Cheek Stain

Tarte Perfect Whirled Natural Cheek StainTarte Natural Cheek Stains are water-based gels that provide lots of pigment and really stay put. You’ve got a good amount of time to blend but don’t slap it on and forget about it. I applied this stain in a car one day, was chatting away, and forgot to blend one side. Yeah, that was nice. I had a tell-tale line where I initially applied. But that wasn’t the fault of the product. That was total user error. Clang.

Tarte has long made award-winning, eco-friendly cheek stains. But they’ve recently introduced a natural version. These contain natural mineral pigments and fragrance, and are rich in antioxidants and free of preservatives, petro-chemicals, parabens, phthalates, glutens, synthetic fragrances, and GMOs. No Tarte products are tested on animals. I used the original stain for my sister’s wedding but I can’t tell any difference in the performance of the original and natural stains.

I think the rosy shade Natural Beauty would work well on anyone. I like to layer the new limited-edition shade for spring A Perfect Whirled, on top, because it provides a nice touch of highlight. It’s a swirl of a cotton candy pink and shimmer, and can easily be worn on its own for a subtle mix of color and shimmer. Available directly from Tarte, at Sephora and beauty.com. $28.

Terra Firma Longevity Lip Stain

Terra Firma Longevity Lip StainTerra Firma Longevity Lip Stains work very well for cheeks. They have lots of pigment to give a nice pop of color and last a long time without budging or fading. These dry the fastest but don’t feel dry or dry so fast that you have to race to blend.

I love that they’re 88% organic, that the first ingredient listed is certified organic aloe vera gel, and that they get their color from fruits and veggies. Terra Firma Cosmetics are not tested on animals, and are free of parabens and potentially carcinogenic, toxic ingredients like mineral oil, petroleum, propylene glycol, and other harmful preservatives and additives. I like the shade Primrose, which is a pinky rose with a healthy dose of shimmer. Available directly from Terra Firma and at eco-boutique TheSimpleBody.com. $14.99.

Do Tell

Do you wear blush every time you wear makeup? What kind of blush do you wear? Have you tried cheek stains? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals from companies like beauty.com, skinbotanica.com, and spalook.com.

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Discussion

6 comments for “Creamy, Dreamy, Long-Lasting, Eco-Cheek Colors and Top Tips for a Healthy, Rosy Glow”

  1. Gosh….reading your articles is a education for me. I am learning so much since I did not get much info in my earlier years. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Patti Lee | April 10, 2009, 11:45 am
  2. ❤ Patti, so glad that you found this helpful. I don’t think most people realize how incredible cheek stains are, especially now that there are these great ones that are so easy to use and give such a gorgeous look. They beat traditional blushes by a country mile. :)

    Posted by Sonja | April 10, 2009, 3:57 pm
  3. Oh yes - without blush I look insanely pale. I wear Stila’s convertible colour in Lillium. I hear the company’s in bad shape (restructuring) and I do not know what I’ll do without the stuff. Can you tell me if there’s something just like it by a different brand.

    Posted by K-Line | April 10, 2009, 7:38 pm
  4. ❤ K-Line, I think the Suki stain would be your best bet as it would probably have the the most similar feel and look to Convertible Color. Although Suki’s would last longer, since it’s a stain. I checked out the Lillium color and would suggest the Suki Cream Stain in Sandstone, which is a subtle beigey-peachy-pink that looks very, very similar to Lillium, or the Clay shade, which is described as a “natural, comfortable bronze-pink.”

    Should be interesting to see what happens with Stila. I see the beauty.com is still selling Lillium so you may want to stock up. If you do, be sure to keep it in the fridge to help it stay fresher longer. Good luck!

    Posted by Sonja | April 11, 2009, 11:07 am
  5. Thanks for your great feedback, S.

    Posted by K-Line | April 11, 2009, 3:14 pm
  6. ❤ You’re very welcome, K-Line! And thanks for the tip about Stila. I haven’t used their products for awhile and thought their Barbie products were a big hit so I didn’t know they were possibly in trouble. Although I’m certainly not surprised in this economy. However, I’d think the beauty industry should weather the economy pretty well, because people like to buy little beauty pick-me-ups in times of trouble. They’re a whole lot less expensive than splurging on a fancy bag!

    Posted by Sonja | April 11, 2009, 3:35 pm

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