Origins Pinch Your Cheeks

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Be careful what you wish for…Origins Pinch Your Cheeks gel blush

Dec 11, 2006
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:beautiful berry color; great staying power; concentrated; fairly inexpensive

Cons:dries quickly; stains fingers; tube oozes product; not for lips

The Bottom Line: This is an old-school cheek stain. The color is great and really lasts, but application is messy, and you must work quickly.

I’ve never tried any Origins products before. I don’t really have easy access to the Origins brand, since I live in a rural area, and the department stores near me only carry 3 or 4 of the most “mainstream” cosmetic brands. And I’ve never had enough of an interest in this line to seek it out online. But I recently opened an account at, and as a “thank you” they sent me a coupon code for free shipping on any order. I saw that they sold the Origins brand, and I’d read a lot of positive reviews for their products, so I thought I’d see what they had. I am pretty satisfied with the skin care products I am using, but I can never have enough makeup to play around with, so I thought I’d check out their color cosmetics. There I found Origins Pinch Your Cheeks, and wondered, where have you been all of my life?! I can remember hearing about this product years ago and wanting to try it, but I’ve tried (and liked) so many other stain blushes that I’d just sort of forgotten all about this one. But even though I have dozens of cheek and lip stains in my collection (one of my many makeup obsessions), I simply cannot resist trying another one, in the hopes it will impress me where the others fall short. While I like this product, I don’t love it. Its simplicity is appealing, both in its purpose and its ingredients, but applying it takes practice and patience.

Here is the product description and shades from

Pinch Your Cheeks® It's enough to make you blush

Were you caught munching cookies at midnight? Is that a new beau you've got? Or do you know something we don't? That's the way you'll look with this gentle cheek color. It gives a radiant, rosy glow that never looks red-in-the-face. Looks like nature made you blush when all along Origins did.


Ingredients (from box): Water, melilotus officinalis (melilot) extract, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower water, butylene glycol, tea carbomer, carbomer, disodium edta, methylparaben [=/- blue 1 (ci 42090), red 4 (ci 14700), red 33 (ci 17200), yellow 5 (ci 19140)]

Origins Pinch Your Cheeks comes in a small, thin metal tube with a black screw-on cap. It contains .10 oz., and while this seems like a tiny amount, a little of this goes a long way. The tube comes packaged in a small cardboard box. I keep the tube in the box in my makeup kit, so it doesn’t get dented. The product is dispensed through a small hole at the end of a narrow applicator tip.

Origins Pinch Your Cheeks is a basic gel stain blush. I chose the Raspberry shade, and I absolutely love the color. It’s a pretty, neutral berry shade that is not too bright or too cool. It looks like my natural flushed cheeks.

To apply Origins Pinch Your Cheeks, I ever-so-gently squeeze the bottom of the tube to dispense a tiny drop of the gel blush (about the size of the tip of a q-tip) onto my fingertip. Then I thin it out with the fingertip of my other hand, and apply to the apples of my cheeks in a circular motion, fading it out towards my hairline. While the color initially looks very dark, it is sheer and it blends to a nice, natural rosy flush.

This all sounds nice and easy, but in reality it takes some practice (and a lot of patience) to get this to turn out just right. First of all, there is the tube. I have issues with products that come packaged in metal tubes, because excess product always seems to ooze out. To get any of the blush out, you have to squeeze the tube, but no matter how gently I squeeze it, the blush just keeps oozing out, even after I’ve used the amount I’ve wanted to. So I have no choice but to wipe the excess on a tissue (otherwise it gets all over the tube, the lid, my bathroom counter). I’ve also tried using the excess on my lips (but that’s another “con” in itself and I’ll get into that more later). So I always seem to end up with some wasted product. And since you only get a tenth of an ounce to begin with, I don’t want to waste any of it.

The second problem is Origins Pinch Your Cheeks dries very quickly and can be difficult to blend if your skin is at all dry. I usually apply moisturizer, then a lightweight liquid foundation before applying Origins Pinch Your Cheeks. But I’ve found Origins Pinch Your Cheeks dries too quickly on top of my regular foundation, and it almost always ends up looking at least a little blotchy or uneven. So I’ve started applying this over moisturizer only, and it does blend more easily. Then I just apply my L’Oreal Bare Naturale Powdered Mineral Foundation over top.

The final complaint I have about the application is that it stains my fingers. Now, I’m not stupid, I realize if it stains my cheeks, it’s going to stain other surfaces, as well. But I don’t know if it’s because this dries so quickly, or what, but even if I wash my hands immediately after applying this, it has already “set” on my fingertips. So my fingers look like I licked them and dipped then into Kool-Aid powder. And to make matters worse, I’m stuck with this for hours, until it gradually fades away on its own. I’ve tried putting a drop of Origins Pinch Your Cheeks onto a sponge makeup applicator and then applying it to my cheeks that way, but the sponge wedge seems to “suck up” the blush. The sponge is also too wide of a surface and the blush ends up going places I don’t want it to go. So even though it’s a little messy, I think applying it with my fingers is more precise and easier to blend.

Now because of all these cons, I don’t use this product every day, and I definitely don’t use it when I’m in a hurry (which is pretty much every work day). So this product is reserved for weekends when I have a little more time to play around with makeup, or lounging around the house at night just for “fun” if I feel like I want a little color. I have applied this after cleansing and moisturizing at night, and I have never had clogged pores or breakouts from leaving it on overnight. I have also not had any other adverse reaction to this product.

When I do use this product, I am always impressed with the natural rosy flush it gives my cheeks (after quick and careful blending, of course). My cheeks look naturally rosy for at least 12 hours. It fades away gradually on its own, but whatever is left at the end of the day seems to wash away just fine with regular facial cleanser (but I think a lot of it has faded away by then, anyways).

Just another word of caution about Origins Pinch Your Cheeks is that is does not work well as a lip stain. (I can see why it is marketed as a cheek stain only). Believe me, I’ve tried, and on more than one occasion, to apply the excess to my lips (especially since the color is so gorgeous). But it dries even more quickly on my lips than it does on my cheeks, and always looks blotchy and uneven. And boy, I didn’t think my lips were dry or chapped until I applied this to my lips. It will cling to every dry spot and soak into every tiny crack or crevice. Even a good dose of lip balm over top does nothing to remedy the dry look. Oh, and it will not fade for hours (too bad it looks like crap on my lips, because the staying power is phenomenal).

The bottom line is Origins Pinch Your Cheeks is exactly what it is, and that’s a true stain. It lasts and lasts, but unfortunately it dries quickly and stains everything it comes into contact with. The results are great and natural and long-wearing, but you’d better not make a mistake with it. I recommend it if you’re looking for a natural looking and long-wearing gel stain blush that is fairly inexpensive, but be prepared to give yourself some time to figure out an application technique that works for you (in other words, don’t try this out for the first time before a big event!) I think of this as one of the “original” cheeks stains that started the lip-and-cheek-stain craze gaining popularity over the last 10 years or so. But I think there are newer formulations of “stain”-type products, Tarte Cheekstain, Delux Beauty Flush Stick, and theBalm Stainiac, to name a few, that are easier to apply and still give a long-wearing and natural flush.

Origins Pinch Your Cheeks is available at Origins stores and larger department stores that have an Origins counter. It is available online at It costs $10 no matter where it is purchased, which I think is very reasonable for a stain-type product.

Recommend this product? Yes

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