You know that age-old beauty adage:, If you only put on one thing before leaving your house, make it mascara? Well, I love a good mascara, but I’ve got another contender: Ilia’s Multi-Stick, $36.
I first discovered Ilia (the brand) via a small clean beauty boutique in Brooklyn nearly 10 years ago. I was drawn to its sustainability efforts and removal of harmful skincare ingredients like parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde—but also, quite frankly, the color range of its lipstick. Credit to the salesperson way back when, but she sold me on Ilia’s most universally flattering, moisture-infused lip color that, based on the current offering, looked quite similar to this Wild Aster hue. I was all in after that.
Since then, I’ve tested everything from their liquid powder eye tints to their mascara, but back to the lip and cheek tint that is the Multi-Stick: It’s best-in-class and here’s why.
How Does Ilia’s Multi-Stick Work?
It’s quite simple really: The Multi-Stick (which comes in a chubbier lipstick-like tube) twists up and glides on. No tools—just your fingers or a brush if you prefer it—are required as you swipe and blend the buildable color onto your cheeks or lips.
As for what it’s made of, it’s a mix of hydrating plant-based oils and butters, which makes it that holy grail combo of makeup that doubles as skincare. Like I said, I have dry skin, but this cheek tint goes on almost creamy and makes me feel like I have a natural glow.
I first tested out Ilia’s Multi-Stick after being introduced to the Tenderly hue in spring of 2022. I’ve been wearing it almost daily—on my cheeks, on my lips—ever since. Still, for the purposes of this review, I added a few more tints to the mix: At Last, A Fine Romance and Cosmic Dancer. (FYI, there are 12 shades available in total.)
Why I Recommend It
I’ve long struggled to find the right hue for my cheeks, either in the form of blush or a blendable tint. Often, blush can be a bit drying. (My skin tends to be moisture-deprived.) It also can be hard to get the color balance just right. (One swipe too many and you look like you’re fresh from the beauty counter.)
That’s where the Multi-Stick is unique: It has the consistency of a lipstick, but is packed full of moisture, such that my skin looks dewier whenever I use it. But it’s the buildable color for cheeks that makes it a true stand-out. One swipe and you can see a sheer, yet pigmented color; layer a couple more and the cheek tint gets much bolder. (It all comes down to your touch.)
After that, blending is where the magic happens: The Multi-Stick practically glides on and makes it so easy to adjust to get the exact look that you want.
My skin is fair but with blue undertones, so I leaned toward the rosier hues. Rest assured, there’s a full palette of peachier, brown and berry colors to choose from.
Multi-Stick in Tenderly
Tenderly—which is basically a soft pink—is great for everyday. I love how subtle it is, but also that I can pop it on my lips for a look that shows effort, but takes zero time. Also, the moisture! Altogether, this is a tint that really helps to wake up my skin.
Multi-Stick in At Last
This might be the best transitional Multi-Stick—I felt like At Last could easily work for day or night. It’s a mauve rose, so played nicely with my blue undertones without skewing too pink.
Multi-Stick in A Fine Romance
A Fine Romance is a rich berry—one that feels ready for a night out. Again, it’s all buildable, so what works for day also works for night with every hue, but I like how this color feels a bit more flirty and bold.
Multi-Stick in Cosmic Dancer
Ilia recommends mixing and matching the varying Multi-Stick hues and, I’d say, Cosmic Dancer is just right for that idea. It’s a soft champagne pearl that acts like a highlighter, but one that adds luminosity alone or layered on top of other colors. I swiped it on my cheeks, but also any spot that could benefit from a bit of brightening.
The Bottom Line
The Multi-Stick is a ride-or-die product for so many reasons: The buildable color range, the moisture, the fact that it’s small enough to fit in a tiny purse, just like a lipstick. If I had to make a choice between mascara or Multi-Stick, I’d choose Ilia’s Multi-Stick all the way.
$36 at Ilia$36 at Sephora, RELATED