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Tarte Relaunches Its Iconic Cheek Stains — And Gives ‘Em Pretty Party Dresses — For Spring 2014



Before Tarte Cosmetics earned its now massive following, before founder Maureen Kelly appeared on QVC regularly to discuss the newest brand launches and exclusives, before makeup artists were using Tarte cosmetics exclusively when creating red carpet looks for stars like Julie Bowen, before all the press and accolades, there was one genial product: Tarte’s Cheek Stain. Packaged in a cylindrical tube reminiscent of a travel-sized deodorant, the very first cheek stain had a gel-like consistency and could be rolled right on the apples of cheeks, then blended in with fingers, leaving behind a natural-looking tint that infused life into the complexion. I remember buying my very first Tarte Cheek Stain and being amazed by how rosy my cheeks appeared, as if they’d just been pinched lovingly. The product was particularly useful in the summer months, when any powder blush seemed to melt right off after only a few hours whereas the cheek stain’s formula adhered to skin perfectly, lasting for six-hour stints.

Now, fifteen years later, Tarte is relaunching its best-selling Cheek Stain ($30 each at TarteCosmetics.com or Sephora.com) and dressing it up in its Sunday best. Eight shades are available, each packaged in a distinctive, artistic, fashion-forward tube that you’ll want to display on your vanity table or bureau.The formula, similarly, has been improved even more so as to incorporate more soothing, moisturizing, brightening natural ingredients. Each Cheek Stain, then, features the brand’s T5 Super Fruit Complex, a blend of  the following five natural extracts: maracuja oil, which is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin C, helping to brighten and tighten the skin; açai berry, which is rich in anti-oxidants and therefore helps to fight free radicals and promote cellular regeneration; acerola, a cherry-like fruit that has a high vitamin C content and therefore helps to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of any dark spots; goji berry, another antioxidant-rich superfruit known to soothe and protect the skin; and pomegranate, which is rife with antioxidants and vitamin C. Now, the original Cheek Stain’s formula incorporated many of the aforementioned botanical extracts but, since then, Tarte has made some important discoveries in the realm of natural beauty — among them maracuja oil, which it even sells in 100% pure form since it harbors such potent anti-aging and luminosity-boosting properties.

The eight shades available are the following: Flush, the original sheer berry shade that won me over (and every other long-time Tartelette); True Love, a sheer watermelon shade; Exposed, a beach-worthy, slightly bronzed nude pink; Tipsy, a sheer, orange-tinged coral; Natural Beauty, a classic rosy red with a glistening finish; Blissful, a warm peach; Blushing Bride, a subtle honeysuckle pink; and Fearless, a pink coral hue. And, as always, the application is goof-proof — you can use your fingers (my preferred technique) or a sponge to blend the product into the skin, from the apples of the cheeks all the way along the cheekbones and up to the temples. And, of course, each cheek stain is soothing and moisturizing the skin while also adding a believable rosy glow.

Below, you’ll find close-up photos of each cheek stain — in its fancy new party dress — and swatches of the color both before it’s blended and after it’s massaged into the skin. Let’s get started!






Pictured above are the Blushing Bride and Natural Beauty Cheek Stains. The Blushing Bride Cheek Stain comes in a lovely tube with a white backdrop and an all-over damask print, each icon a mauve tone outlined in a golden peach shade. Its consistency is a gel and cream hybrid, and its color is fresh and playful, a honeysuckle pink with warm undertones and a perky feel. The Natural Beauty Cheek Stain, meanwhile, comes in a tube with a white backdrop and a fun-loving floral print with purple, pink, indigo, and teal blossoms. Unlike the Blushing Bride Cheek Stain, this one has more of a gel-like consistency. As for its color, it’s billed as a classic rosy red, but it looks much more potent when first applied (before it’s blended it), resembling a cherry Italian ice treat.

Here’s what the cheek stains look like when first applied to the skin:


Next, check out what the cheek stains look like once they’re blended into the skin. As you can see, Natural Beauty retains its red tonality, but looks significantly more sheer and it retains this dewy, glistening finish. Blushing Bride, meanwhile, looks totally innocent and coquettish — exactly as if one were blushing.


Below, you’ll find photos of the Flush and Tipsy Cheek Stains. The Flush Cheek Stain comes in an island chic tube with a stylish chevron print incorporating magenta, orchid purple, sapphire blue, mulberry, purple, and violet stripes. As for the actual product, it boasts a gel-like consistency (without being sticky or tacky) and it’s a sheer, blue-toned raspberry red.  When you massage it into the skin, the color becomes demure and understated, the hue your cheeks would get if you were out in the cold for a bit and came back inside. The Tipsy Cheek Stain, meanwhile, comes in a Bohemian-flavored tube with swirling stripes in shades of coral, peach, cream, and bright violet. This stain has more of a cream-and-gel hybrid consistency and, when applied to skin, the color is a really warm, peach-y coral shade with a subtle dewy sheen.



Here’s what the Flush and Tipsy stains look like when applied to skin:


Next, check out what the colors look like when blended in. As you can hopefully see, the Flush color stays relatively matte whereas Tipsy has a hint of shimmer:



Moving on, next we have the Blissful and Exposed Cheek Stains. The Blissful Cheek Stain’s packaging is stunning — painterly and lush — combining a jungle-worthy green with splashes of red and cobalt blue and hints of pale yellow. It has a dirty, tawny, ripe peach tonality and a sheer finish. The Exposed Cheek Stain, meanwhile, comes in a tube with asymmetrical horizontal stripes that look like layers of colored sand, the deepest shade (a mulberry hue) at the bottom and the lightest hue, a carnation pink, at the top. When blended in, the shade is a light, sun-kissed nude hue with warm, coral pink undertones. It also has a bit of a shimmering finish, making it great for summer days when you want to get your glow on.



Below, you’ll find swatches of these two shades when first applied to skin:


Next, you can see how they appear when blended in:


Moving on to the final two shades, below we have the True Love and Fearless Cheek Stains. The True Love Cheek Stain comes in a perky tube that incorporates magenta, watermelon red, and peony pink tones as if  hectic, horizontal, paintbrush strokes had been layered atop each other. The True Love Cheek Stain has a gel-like texture and the hue is a fun-loving watermelon red. It’s a pigmented as the Flush shade but has warmer undertones as opposed to the latter’s berry undertones. The Fearless Cheek Stain, meanwhile, comes in a tribal-flavored tube with a peony pink backdrop and arrow-shaped lines in shades of aqua blue, deep magenta, and bright orange. Its consistency is slightly creamy while its hue is a seashell-worthy pink coral that’s clean and sunny.



Here’s what the Fearless and True Love Cheek Stains look like when first rolled onto the skin:


Next, check out how the hues soften when blended into the skin:



If you’re going for that elusive no-makeup look, the Tarte Cheek Stains are an absolute must-have. And, if you want a slightly more potent look, you can always apply the Tarte Cheek Stain of your choice and then brush a bit of the Amazonian Clay Blush in the corresponding color atop it for a punchier effect.

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