Say goodbye to foundation stains and overflowing makeup bags. Makeup sticks are an easy, and mess-free way to streamline your beauty regime, without compromising on quality or finish. And the good news? They’re on the rise.
But what’s pulling us all towards twist-up versions of our favourite cosmetics? A far cry from the old pan-stick days, these sticks offer two things: convenience and portability. They’re ideal for a fast-paced generation that are short on time but who still want to look great. There’s also the no-spillage angle; these solid makeup alternatives can be applied on-the-go without a brush and topped up just as easily throughout the day.
So let’s explore sticks…
If you thought stick foundations weren’t as good as their liquid counterparts, think again. This fresh-feel water-based option from bareMinerals is packed full of high-tech ingredients to get excited about; plus, it has the added benefit of doubling up as a concealer.
What I love about this travel-friendly base from bareMinerals is that it’s mess-free, which means no more annoying foundation spillages. It feels fresh on the skin and has a creamy, cooling consistency that blends like a dream, making it perfect for lazy makeup fans or those in a hurry. Draw it on your face where you need it, buff in with a brush or your fingertips, and you’re done.
Its oil-free, non-comedogenic formula boasts a mineral SPF25 (no flashback here), and a pollution protection complex to shield your skin from environmental aggressors, including blue light. For me, this is a base that ticks all the boxes; it delivers a medium-to-buildable satin finish that doesn’t look cakey or overdone and lasts for up to 12 hours. The fact that it’s completely portable is just the icing on the cake.
To inject a healthy glow into your complexion all year round and create the perfect contour, turn to the beauty icon, Benefit Hoola Stick.
Trust me; once you’ve experienced the natural matte glow of Hoola, you’ll find it difficult to find a better bronzing option. It has a beautifully warm tone that when swiped just under the cheekbones and on the nose and temples gives a naturally sunkissed effect – without the orange undertones often associated with a bronzer.
It melts into the skin so that minimal blending is required and has the added bonus of zero fallout.
The Benefit Fine One One is one of those multi-taskers you’ll want to keep on you at all times. I love the fact that it’s three different products in one. When applied directly to the skin it leaves a peachy hue is left behind on the cheeks, but you can also dab your finger in each separate colour for tints that can be used on both the face and lips. The coral shade is perfect for lips, the pink works as a blusher and as a finishing touch, the pearly shade makes an excellent highlight to dab on the high points of the cheeks, nose and cupid’s bow.
It’s compact, easy to use and its cream-to-powder formula looks beautiful on the skin. If you want a quick and easy multi-purpose makeup item that makes you look as though you’ve spent a lot longer on your makeup than you did, this is it.
The Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Shimmer Stick will forever spark an interest for me. A long-time fan of the original illuminating pen from YSL, I love the radiance this skin-enhancing range gives, and this glow-giving highlighter is no exception. The texture is creamy, yet light and glides onto the skin effortlessly without interfering with your makeup. Available in a range of hues (my go-to is Bronze; it’s a very subtle gold shimmer), it has a gorgeous hi-shine finish that catches the light perfectly, yet looks natural on the skin.
Even when I’m not wearing much makeup, I still take a few seconds to add a little of this to my cheeks, eyelids and lips. It can even be used on the body too – running it down the fronts of my legs and onto my collarbone for a night out makes me feel like J-Lo!
Do you have temperamental skin that gets oily throughout the day? There’s a stick for that too. This handy mattifying cream controls that pesky mid-day shine and instantly blurs imperfections while reducing the appearance of pores. It has a non-oily, lightweight texture that I like to use as a primer before foundation for a smooth and seamless base.
Portability is where this matte stick comes into its own. Instead of using a powder that can smash in your makeup bag, use this handbag-friendly cream to rid the complexion of any shiny patches quickly. Throw it in your bag to ensure your base always looks perfect.
Lancome Ombre Hypnose Stylo Longwear Cream Eyeshadow Stick in Brun Captivant
Eyeshadow palettes are fiddly, messy and time-consuming, especially when you’re in a rush. You don’t want to skip this step, but equally, you’re looking for an easier alternative – this is where I’d recommend a cream eyeshadow in a twist-up form.
The Lancome Ombre Hypnose Stylo Cream Eyeshadow in ‘Brun Captivant’ ( a neutral bronze) is my current go-to. Application time is cut in half because you don’t need to spend ages blending. It glides on and sets almost instantly, so you do need to work with it quite quickly. If I’m going for a natural look, I draw a small amount onto my lash line and smudge out with my finger. If I want something a tad more dramatic, I apply a couple of layers over the lid and pop a little on my lower lash line too, for a smoky effect.
If you urgently need a dash of colour and want to avoid creasing, a stick eyeshadow is the way forward.
The trend for solid and travel-friendly versions of products doesn’t just stop at makeup; recently, I’ve noticed this trend creeping into skincare, too.
Strictly speaking, the Mustela Nourishing Stick is meant for babies, but I love it for tackling dry patches of skin on-the-go. Its nourishing and repairing formula works wonders on lips, face and areas of the body that need soothing and nourishing throughout the day.
Makeup Sticks: Your Questions Answered
How do I apply stick makeup?
Start with a little and build – it’s easy to get carried away when applying makeup directly to your face (you kind of revert back to being a child with a box full of crayons!). My advice is to apply and blend out before adding more. Matte formats can be tricky to work if they’re cold. If you find the makeup is dragging rather than gliding across your skin, try running your finger across the end of the product to warm it up and make it more malleable to work with.
How do I keep stick makeup clean?
Despite all their pros, makeup sticks do have one downside: their not the most hygienic – but it’s an easy fix! Regularly clean your stick, and remove unwanted bacteria by using a Q-tip to lift away the top layer of the formula. If you want an even deeper clean, dip the stick into rubbing alcohol for 30-seconds, and allow to air dry.