Nail the monochromatic look with these multi-tasking makeup sticks.
A full glam moment is always appreciated. But when you're after a more effortless approach — whether that's to save time in your routine or space in your makeup bag — a multi-use product, like a lip and cheek stick, is the way to go. The best lip and cheek sticks are made with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, vitamin E, and plant-derived oils, which not only contribute to their creamy feel and smooth glide, but offer moisturizing and conditioning benefits for your skin, too.
You can pretty much swipe a lip and cheek stick directly onto your face and blend the color out in seconds by simply using tapping motions with your fingertips (and that's part of what makes them so great). But you can also use a brush if you're someone who prefers a mess-free approach, or if you have a thing about germs. If you're using a brush, opt for a synthetic fiber brush like the Sigma Beauty Flat Kabuki Brush (or you can use a Beautyblender) when buffing the color onto your cheeks, and a lip brush to diffuse the color on your lips. While they're typically advertised as blush sticks or lip and cheek sticks, you can even use the multi-tasking products as eyeshadow for a full-on monochromatic look. No matter how you choose to use a lip and cheek stick, you always want to start with less product and build up the color if you prefer a more pigmented finish.
Shop The Best Lip & Cheek Sticks
In a hurry? Here are the best lip and cheek sticks:
- Best Budget-Friendly Lip & Cheek Stick: e.l.f. Monochromatic Multi Stick
- Runner Up: Palladio I'm Blushing 2-In-1 Cheek & Lip Tint
- Best Lip & Cheek Stick With SPF: Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm SPF 50
- Best Natural Lip & Cheek Stick Under $20: HAN All Natural Multistick
- Best Natural Lip & Cheek Stick From A Prestige Brand: ILIA Multi-Stick For Lips & Cheeks
1. Best Budget-Friendly Lip & Cheek Stick
This mini cream stick blends into skin effortlessly thanks to ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E, but it dries down to a powdery finish. Each shade from the e.l.f. Monochromatic Multi Stick collection gives you lightweight color that's buildable, and the sticks have a slight shimmer to them for a glowing finish. Plus, they're cruelty-free and vegan.
Available Shades: 7 Beneficial Ingredients: Shea Butter, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: "This is exactly what I wanted. It goes on so nice and gives just the right amount of glow. My skin looks moist and dewy, whether I wear it over foundation or just a swipe over moisturizer. I love it."
2. Runner Up
Another budget-friendly (but not quite as cheap) option, Palladio's I'm Blushing 2-In-1 Cheek & Lip Tints are infused with botanically derived ingredients like aloe vera, green tea, and ginseng root extracts to soothe and moisturize dry skin. The tints have a hint of shimmer to them, and the non-greasy formula will work nicely on all skin types. For anyone who likes a sheer wash of color, this range of soft pinks and peaches will give you plenty of shades to play with.
Available Shades: 6 Beneficial Ingredients: Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Chamomile Flower Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Safflower Seed Oil, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: "Love this so much! Use it For cheeks, eyes and lips. Glides on and gives good coverage. Beautiful, sheer and dewy looking on the cheeks and lips. [...] I love how quickly and evenly it applies and how versatile it is. Going to keep this one in my makeup bag for as long as they make it!"
3. Best Lip & Cheek Stick With SPF
Extra SPF is always a good idea, but if your go-to lip balm doesn't have any sunscreen in it at all, a stick like Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm SPF 50 is essential. All three shades give you a sheer wash of shimmery color that's easy to reapply on-the-go. But the best part about these mini sticks is that they provide maximum, water-resistant protection from the sun, pollution, blue light, and infrared radiation courtesy of the mineral sun filter zinc oxide. Hydrating ingredients like squalane and jojoba esters also keep skin moisturized and smooth throughout the day. And the lip and cheek sticks are sensitive skin-friendly thanks to the hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and noncomedogenic formula.
Available Shades: 3 Beneficial Ingredients: Jojoba Esters, Squalane, Bisabolol, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: "I use this a lot on the weekends when I am outside. I love that I can use this on my cheeks, eyelids, and lips. Adds some color and extra sun protection. I even wear it when I go running."
4. Best Natural Lip & Cheek Stick Under $20
Yes, words like "natural" and "clean" are hard to define in the beauty space, but HAN has made it their mission to create products that are more sustainable and free from potentially irritating ingredients (all at a reasonable price point, too). The brand's All Natural Multisticks are free from parabens, phthalates, silicones, and artificial colors. Instead, HAN uses plant-derived and mineral-based pigments to create a range of colors, and a blend of certified-organic ingredients like shea butter and argan oil to keep your lips and cheeks hydrated. In addition to being cruelty-free and vegan, the lip and cheek sticks also use packaging made from recycled materials.
Available Shades: 9 Beneficial Ingredients: Shea Butter, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Acai Fruit Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Vitamin E, Vitamin C Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: "I cannot say enough great things about this blush - my first cream blush that I actually LOVE. Looks so much better than powder blush. Beautiful lip color too. Smells amazing. The perfect, natural glow that leaves you radiant and beautiful. I'm hooked and can't wait to try more from this awesome company. I'm only interested in clean beauty these days, and this is a big winner!!!!"
5. Best Natural Lip & Cheek Stick From A Prestige Brand
ILIA’s high-end, all-natural makeup products have gained quite the cult following since the brand’s launch about a decade ago. They make high-quality makeup meant to rival luxury beauty brands, but focus on using naturally derived ingredients, sustainable sourcing methods, and eco-friendly packaging whenever possible. If that sounds like a brand you’d like to support (or maybe you’ve tried, and loved, their other products in the past), pick up their multi-use lip and cheek stick that’s packed with nourishing, good-for-skin ingredients, many of which are certified organic. This award-winning product melts into skin of all textures and leaves behind a slightly dewy, natural finish that lets your skin shine through. It’s surprisingly pigmented upon application, but can be easily blended out with your fingers or a brush (and built up for an even bolder finish).
Available Shades: 6 Beneficial Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Cocoa Butter, Vitamin E Cruelty-Free: Yes
Relevant Review: "Purchased Dreamer. It’s a gorgeous universal shade. It’s a perfect 3-in-1 for me, on cheeks, eyes and lips. It’s blendable, and doesn’t crease. Love that I can step up my makeup game, but with little effort and only one product. This stick will last me forever… 10 out of 10."
About The Author:
Marissa DeSantis has worked as a beauty writer and editor for nearly 10 years. Her pieces can be found across print and digital publications like Bustle, Evening Standard, Teen Vogue, and InStyle.