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Aura Fixation — Stuck On Hourglass Cosmetics’ Aura Sheer Cheek Stain and Aura Sheer Lip Stain

In recent years, customers have been clamoring for makeup yielding a natural flush or boasting a melted-on-the-skin finish. Tarte Cosmetics figured among the pioneers of this trend with its best-selling Cheek Stain, a water-based gel stick that can be rolled onto the skin and blended to produce a dewy glow with just the faintest hint of color, as if cheeks had just been pinched. Similarly, brands have been toying with lip colors that produce a just-bitten look, rolling out lip stains (among them Sephora.com range and Revlon’s Just Bitten collection) meant to constitute a longer-lasting, more moisturizing, easier-to-achieve alternative to the traditional practice of applying lipstick and then blotting until the color seemingly sinks into the pout. Few brands, however, have truly mastered the cheek and lip stain realm — some cheek tints are so saturated with color that they produce clown-like, Raggedy Ann-ready orbs of color on the apples of cheeks; other creamier cheek stains can feature entirely too much glitter, producing a disco-esque look that deviates entirely from the goal of a natural flush; and most lip stains dry out lips so severely that color looks flaky, artificial, and altogether unattractive. But now, Hourglass Cosmetics is upping the ante with its revolutionary Aura collection of cheek and lip stains.

By applying her knowledge of skincare technology to the development of this color cosmetics range, Hourglass founder Carisa Janes successfully produced a collection of cheek and lip stains that deliver long-lasting moisturize and keep the skin supple and soft. The Hourglass Aura Sheer Cheek Stain, for example, boasts a water-based formula enriched with Vitamin E, which helps the skin retain moisture and also provides antioxidant protection. A rounded sponge tip, meanwhile, simplifies the application process and minimizes the potential for any messiness. And, since the sleek metal cheek stain tubes feature a twist-and-click dial along one end, you can dispense only the necessary amount for each application. This click mechanism allows the gel-like color within the tube to retain its original formula rather than being oxidized, drying out, or having the chemical makeup of its ingredients be altered via exposure to the pollutants in the air.

When you first apply the Aura Sheer Cheek Stain, it looks like a watery, almost oil-like, cream color but, after properly blending the color onto cheeks, the effect is much more subtle, like a lit-from-within glow. You can blend the color with the sponge applicator itself, use a separate sponge (like the Beautyblender) or simply rub onto the skin with your fingertips. The Aura Cheek Stain is currently available in three shades: Flush, a raspberry pink; Petal, a golden peach; and Rouge, a soft plum.

The Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain, meanwhile, is a bit more saturated with pigment and not quite as sheer, but it too features a water-based formula for a buildable, semi-matte wash of color that can be layered to yield the desired intensity — be it a muted flush or a robust coat. Since lips are so prone to flaking, the formula is also enriched with antioxidant-rich Vitamin E, soothing green tea extract, moisturizing and softening safflower seed oil, and an algae-based extract that stimulates elastin and collagen production. The Aura Sheer Lip Stain, then, works as a lip moisturizer and lip color in one, filling in the lines in your pout, sloughing off small flakes, and creating a smooth canvas while simultaneously depositing the sophisticated pigment. Like the Aura Cheek Stain, the Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain is packaged inside a modern tube and features a twistable dispensation system. Its sponge-like tip, however, is angled so that you can you can trace the natural contours of the mouth, from the slim corners to the heart-shaped peak at the center of the upper lip.

In terms of its performance, the Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain does not disappoint. For one, the color lasts for quite some time (as a matter of fact, when I swatched a shade on my forearm, it took an entire day and two showers for the color to fully disappear from my flesh), so you won’t have to constantly reapply throughout the day. When I’ve worn it on my lips, I’ve gone as long as 6-7 hours without needing a follow-up application. The gel-like formula does moisturize lips, meanwhile, which makes the color look all the more nuance and sophisticated. Still, if your lips are extremely chapped or flaky, I’d suggest exfoliating and dabbing on some lip balm before applying the Aura Sheer Lip Stain since, naturally, the color won’t go on as even if the surface isn’t even, and the tendency will be for the color to migrate to those cracked crevices and peeling flakes. That being said, if your lips are in top form, you’ll be more than satisfied,

The Aura Sheer Lip Stain is also available in three shades, which correspond to the hues of the cheek stains: Flush, Petal, and Scarlet (which is, in essence the same color as the Rouge, but simply with a different name).

I had the opportunity to road test the Aura Sheer Cheek Stain in Petal and the Aura Sheer Lip Stain in Scarlet, so check out the photos after the jump so you can get a better feel for the collection!


Below, you’ll see how the Hourglass Aura Sheer Cheek Stain in Petal looks when it’s first applied onto the skin. Here, the color hasn’t yet been blended, so it looks like a molten section of a cream color stick, moist and intensely pigmented. The color is reminiscent of  peach dahlia flowers and pale coral-colored starfish, with warm pink undertones and a hint of golden shimmer.



Here is a look at the Aura Sheer Cheek Stain in Petal from a different angle that reveals more of the shade’s beachy, California surfer girl feel:



Next, you’ll see just how natural the color looks when it’s blended into the skin. Here, the effect is a sunkissed glow:



Again here you can see how subtle the color looks when blended into the skin. Coral and golden glitter particles help to illuminate the skin without appearing too “done up.”



Moving on to the Aura Sheer Cheek Stain, below you’ll find a swatch of the Scarlet shade. Though it’s dubbed Scarlet, the shade is far from a red tone. Instead, it’s a plum-like, purple cauliflower tone with a hint of berry.



Here’s what the shade looks like after it’s dried a bit. Notice how it has a satin-like finish and only enough pearl particles to give the shade dimension and keep it from looking flat or dated.



Here’s a photo of me rocking the Aura Sheer Lip Stain in Scarlet:



And another one:



And here is an additional image. My lips were pretty chapped and dry when I took this pics so, if you look closely, you’ll notice that the color doesn’t look completely even along my lower lip, since it seemed to migrate to the scalier areas. Once I properly moisturized lips, however, I didn’t face the sample problem again.


Hourglass Aura Sheer Cheek Stain, $45, and Aura Sheer Lip Stain, $26. Available at Sephora.com

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