From left: Sunny, Bloom, Poppy, Rosy, Scarlet, Petal.

From left: Sunny, Bloom, Poppy, Rosy, Scarlet, Petal.

Jillian Dempsey’s cheek tints are brilliant. I was already a fan of her eye khols and lid tints, but was over the moon to discover her impeccably cool aesthetic was applied to (clean!) cream blushes.

The icing pink mirror compacts are super lightweight and portable. And unlike the goopy cream blushes we often see, these finger-friendly pigments veer on the drier side. Coconut oil, yes, but also sunflower, shea, and olive oils nourish with a light hand and understated gleam. Velvety color - not high wattage shine - is what you’re getting here.

Each of the six shades are compelling enough to warrant a place in your blush wardrobe and each deserve a deep dive introduction:


A limited edition shade, created exclusively for Violet Gray. It’s both the coolest and the most transparent of the six shades. There’s a very slight iridescence to it, but zero sparkle. A dainty pale violet pink that can be used to soften a stronger blush, tone down too much warmth, use as a highlighter (anyone who’s a fan of Kjaer Weis’ Radiance highlighter will be thrilled with this one.) But also, it’s been popular used as a cream eyeshadow.


The closest I’ve ever seen a product get to capturing the heat – the color – a face gets when warmed by the sun. There’s the obvious browning component, but there’s also a muted red flush that makes it a more believable tan. However, I’m happy to report there is no orange here. Dempsey described this as a something of an uncolor, a blush to reach for if you don’t want to complicate things, but instead tie everything together. Think afternoon gardening in the sun versus poolside tanning. It’s more realistic, particularly important if you’re not sporting a tan already.


Probably the warmest, palest pink blush I’ve ever come across. Think soft roses painted on a porcelain teacup . It’s so light, it becomes almost a retro statement. Definitely a must-have if you find inspiration in 60’s chanteuses but find mod blushes too icey. It’s also the color my youngest daughter fancies, and the one I’m less embarrassed about leaving the house with her wearing.


Clockwise from left: Bloom, Sunny, and Petal.

Clockwise from left: Bloom, Sunny, and Petal.

Clockwise from far left: Poppy, Rosey, and Scarlet.

Clockwise from far left: Poppy, Rosey, and Scarlet.


This one was the biggest surprise for me. I thought it would be too dark, too red and just wear me versus the other way around. But even when at my palest, I found this to be really complementary both when dabbed lightly on the cheeks in judiciously small circles, and blotted onto lips. The staying power for this one is also something to be praised.


When I say this is the most unusual shade, I don’t say that lightly, given how much thought clearly went behind creating this range of unique shades. Dempsey herself said that she only wants to create products that folks don’t already have in their makeup bags, and I’d bet you have nothing like this one in yours. It’s an upbeat muted tang, a wearable retro peach that would make a believer out of anyone who doesn’t think they can pull off coral (and that would be me.). Peach often rings false on me, it looks odd on my my pale olive skin, and sucks the life out of me. But this playful sweet coral, breathes. If you’re going for a clean eye, it looks incredibly modern. You could wear it with a cat eye and go for a Bardot look. Or you could wear it with a navy and robin egg blue shadow and go for a 60s high street vibe. In fact, it was from a vintage blush that Dempsey found the inspiration for this color. She had held onto to it for years before taking it to a chemist to have it recreated. While she didn’t specify what brand the original shade was, I get strong Mary Quant vibes.


If you don’t know what color to get, this one is going to be your safest bet. It’s a classic pretty pink that has enough undertones to complement a broad range of skin tones. A lively pink that stays in its lane, and pressed onto the lips gives a soft almost powdery and pigmented effect.

To see the shades in action, check out Jillian herself applying Rosey to actress Leslie Mann for Violet Grey.

$28 each, available at Credo, Violet Grey, Goop and Jillian Dempsey’s website.


The OG of traditional lipsticks in the clean beauty space, ILIA Beauty (established 2011) has been holding court ever since. The colors are complex, unique, flattering and modern — a rare combo despite the increase of make up branding touting non-toxic formulas. Named after music from the 70’s and 80’s, Sasha Plavsic’s original shades were offered in either a traditional lipstick, or its slightly dewier iteration: her classic tinted lip conditioner.

Not sure sure to start? Bang Bang is your best bet if you’re after a red, the bright berry Arabian Nights is the founder’s personal favorite, and Nobody’s Baby looks fantastic on everyone.

However, in the summer months, I’m a sucker for her peachy pink nudes. Funnel of Love, pictured above, was created to capture the exuberantly gamine lip color worn by Bridget Bardot in her hay day.