The All Stick Beauty Routine


Indulge me: When you get home, find your favorite place to chill (the edge of your bed, your couch, the top of your fridge...I won't judge!), and empty the entire contents of your makeup bag. After sifting through it, chances are you’ll find at least one product in stick format. I’m no fortune teller! I just get it—using them is a no-brainer. They're user-friendly (no brush needed), ideal for bringing along with you—and the finish is oftentimes moisturizing to the touch. But can they replace an entire beauty routine? Here’s what happened when I took an all-stick beauty routine out for a test run:


Stick skincare leans into hydrating, soothing benefits over highly concentrated, antioxidant-rich ones...which make them great for in-between routines, and for me! Hydrated, calmed skin is my skin’s ideal state for piling makeup on top of.

So I started off with Neogen’s Cleansing Stick. Creamy, foamy, not heavy-handed with the green tea scent, I liked the way that it softened my skin. All in all, a good cleanser for no makeup moments. One thing to keep in mind however...coconut oil is a primary ingredient, and a common ingredient in the cleansing sticks category in general. It goes without saying, but proceed with caution.

Onto Ilia’s toner-in-a-stick which has an instantly satisfying, invigorating effect that sits somewhere between a chilled spoon and an ice cube being rolled over your face. I need a face oil in my routine, so I chose to seal with Acure’s oil serum stick featuring blue tansy, grapeseed oil, and some hyaluronic acid in the mix. Together, my combination skin did look more awake and plumped. And finally, sunscreen. Supergoop’s Mineral Sunscreen Stick fits very nicely here, and didn’t leave a white cast.


Next up, a foundation moisturizing enough to keep my face a creamy-smooth canvas. Gee Beauty’s Multi-Stick Foundation is the most breathable, dewy, stick foundation I’ve come across in a while. It gives you the finish of painstakingly applying concealer over your face, and then sheering it out. And when I need a little more, Lancôme Teint Idole Foundation paired with Marc Jacobs Accomplice Concealer is a great medium to full-coverage counterpart—still moisturizing, but more velvety in finish.


THIS is where things get fun. The cheek arena for stick products is robust, so it's best to figure out your needs before diving in. I’m a blush lady until the day I die, and Make Beauty’s Universal Stick has changed everything about the way I think about it. Once it’s on my cheeks and rubbed in, it increases in intensity and adapts to my skin tone. But TBH, this talk about Make blush is really making me miss the discontinued Bisou Bisou. For those in mourning with me, Bite Beauty’s Multistick in Almond and Brioche may fill the burnt-sienna hole in your heart. And the reigning stick queen, Nudestix, has a number of options for the blush and bronzer inclined: go rosy, go sun-kissed, or go for the straight contour. You got this!

On the flipside of cheek pigment is pure, light-reflecting highlight. I like to go the controlled sheen route with Chanel’s Baume Essentiel, Pat Mcgrath’s iconic Balm Duo and Glossier Haloscope. Hourglass Vanish Highlighting Stick is a little more matte, but melts seamlessly into my cheeks and eyelids as a fresh eyeshadow if I’m feeling fancy.


Laura Mercier’s Caviar Sticks are almost too buttery to be real, and yet they are! Burnished Bronze is a tinge deeper than the color of my eyelids and gives them a radiance that's kind of unbelievable. Other times, I tightline my upper lash line with Laura Mercier’s Kajal D’Orient then smudged it out á la Mimi Quiquine.
NYX’s Microbrow Pencil Stick goes on brows, Ilia’s brick red lip crayon in Transmission goes on lips, and Lash Slick mascara goes on lashes because I need. I know...not technically a stick, but it rhymes with it, and looks like one! Give me this one pass.


And lastly, two crucial sticks for the bod: Megababe Rosy Pits and Kuumba Made’s Persian Garden perfume oil. Together, they make me smell rosy and warm, and they are tubular in shape! Check and check.

Now, you go! Which stick beauty products are your favorites? Let me know in the comments.

—Utibe Mbagwu

Photo via ITG