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Beach Bag Beauty Essential: Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée

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Summer tends to be the season for minimalist makeup, a phenomenon that’s as based on practical considerations as it is  on runway looks and magazine editorials. For one, when it’s steamy and humid outside, most women don’t want to wear a heavy foundation or powder-based eye shadows and blushes that, however beautiful, could potentially melt off with just a hint of sweat. And because the warm weather can leave skin feeling extra dry, it’s important to rely on long-lasting and hydrating makeup that will make skin feel good while providing lids, lips, or cheeks with the desired amount of color. For all of these reasons, I’m beyond smitten with the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée ($22 for 0.18 oz. at Sephora.com), a long-lasting, coconut water-infused, gel-based blush that’s easy to blend into skin, deliciously natural-looking, and manages to moisturize and soften skin while coating it with glistening color.

Each paraben-free cheek gelée is formulated with 50% pure coconut water, a great source of hydrating electrolytes, as well as argan oil, which is rich in essential fatty acids that nourish and soften the skin.

And, since the formula is gel-based, it feels remarkably cooling and soothing, plus it blends into the skin with minimal effort, leaving behind a veil of color that will give the complexion a youthful, lively energy. It also doesn’t melt off your visage or lose its intensity and luster but, instead, stays locked in place for hours and hours at a time.

The Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée is available in six shades: Getaway Red, a classic, blue-toned, berry red; Poppy Paradise, a reddish hot pink with warm undertones; Coral Oasis, a vibrant tangerine orange; Pink Escape, a cool-toned fuchsia pink; Berry Bliss, a deep aubergine shade; and Honeymoon Moon, a neutral brown.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been rocking hard with the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée in Poppy Paradise, wearing it absolutely everywhere. It can easily be applied atop your favorite BB cream, CC cream, or tinted moisturizer, or it can be smoothed onto bare skin. When skin starts feeling so dry that it actually aches (which, yes, happens to many a woman when exposed to extreme temperatures — whether it’s winter cold or summer heat), this gel-based blush actually provides some relief, moisturizing the skin and making it feel cool, as if your skin itself had taken a sip of refrigerated coconut water and were letting out an inaudible “Ahhhh.” And, while that initial cooling sensation will subside rather quickly, the hydration itself lingers for hours, so that your skin feels more supple and comfortable. I’ve even worn the Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée to the beach, and it’s lasted during my entire time basking in the sun. Granted, I didn’t go for a swim in the ocean since the water was way too cold, so I can’t speak to its waterproof quotient, but it did manage to stay on my skin even as I perspired rather profusely in the sun.

In terms of its performance as a blush, the final result is as natural-looking as what you’d experience when applying one of Tarte’s Cheek Stains and, since the gel-based blush comes in a round container with a twist-off cap, it’s beyond portable, so that you can toss it in your makeup bag and carry it anywhere.

Here’s what the color looks like when you twist off the cap:

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Doesn’t it look like there’s cherry Jell-O in there? I love it! Now, to use, all you have to do is dip your finger into the jar and then smooth the color onto the apples of your cheeks, blending it in using an upward, angular movement. One word of advise though: the Watercolor Cheek Gelée comes in two sizes — 0.095 oz. and 0.18 oz. — and while the new mini size is adorable and cheaper ($13 instead of $22), it’s also a little more difficult to use since the diameter of the container is nearly half the size of the original, making it harder to dip an index finger into the jar and remove a bit of color without it ending up stuck underneath your fingernail (which is really yucky). Since it’s a great product, I strongly advise opting for the larger size since this is the type of product that looks best when applied with fingers rather than brushes (and its tactile qualities are part of the allure).

Below, check out swatches of the Poppy Paradise color. As you can see, it’s the type of sheer, reddish pink that gives cheeks a just-pinched look, while the lustrous finish adds a dewy youthfulness to the complexion.

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Bottom line: this is a summer beauty must!

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