Face, Reviews

Review: Josie Maran Cheek Gelee in Poppy Paradise

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Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

I’ve had my eye on the mini version of the Josie Maran Cheek Gelee ($13) for a while, because every time I wander by the checkout at Sephora it just catches my eye for some reason. I try to resist getting too many liquid/cream blushes because they expire sooner than powders, and I’m a little uneasy buying something that I know will probably expire before I even come close to using it all. But travel size = better chance of using it. One of the many reasons I’m a sucker for just about anything in those bins around the checkout lane.

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Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

Not gonna lie, the packaging was a big part of the reason I wanted this little guy. I’m a sucker for travel size things and something about it just called to me. It was adorable right up to the point that I tried to use it. Dip a cheek brush in it? Nope, way too small. Dip my finger in it? Ok, but only if my nails are short – I’m not sure what assumptions people would make if I went around with some red substance embedded under my fingernails, but I don’t think I want to find out.

On the less gripey side of things, I did take this on my last trip because it’s super tiny. Great for travel! (insert big cheesy smile & thumbs up) It’s even small enough to throw in my purse if I really want to. The container itself seems rock solid; source: dropping it multiple times by accident. Basically you can take it with you anywhere, if you’re willing to fuss with getting the stuff out of the jar.

Color & Finish

Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

If summer were a color, it would be Poppy Paradise. Seriously. It’s a bright reddish-coral that looks like it should be in an underwater photo of a tropical ocean with super-model divers swimming by. Or at least, somewhere more glamorous than the vanity in my walk-in closet. It isn’t overwhelming on the skin, so what you end up with is a nice, healthy flush that doesn’t look like ruddiness. There are no sparkles at all, just a slight sheen. The opacity is just about the blush equivalent of a sheer lipstick.

Texture, application & wear

Josie Maran Cheek Gelee Poppy Paradise

The blush does leave a stain, which is good for the wear time but kind of a pain if you apply with your hands. If fingers are your favorite makeup tool then just be aware you’ll need to go wash them ASAP, or be ok with the fact that you now have bright pink fingertips.

How to actually apply & blend the blush had me scratching my head a bit. The blush has a thick balmy texture that takes a bit of work to spread around. I eventually came up with a system that works. It involves using a small paddle brush to pick up the blush and dot it on my cheek. Then I use a short/dense stippling brush in a patting motion to spread it over my skin. In case you’re wondering, the concealer brush is from some little set I got at the grocery store – I don’t know the brand, sorry. I use the Wayne Goss 04 as my stippling brush, but I think the Real Techniques one would work well too since it’s not as dense. My skin flushes like crazy when I use really firm brushes on it, so the first couple times I thought I over-applied because my cheeks got so pink. It is really sheer though, so after my skin had a few minutes to calm down I realized I actually needed to add a bit more.

The wear time is pretty ok – about 6-7 hours before it starts to fade a bit, but it’s still visible even after that. It’s been holding up under lots of humidity and sweat, and even survived an hour-long nap without getting all over my pillows. I haven’t gotten to the beach this summer (#sadface) but this would be my pick for a swim day.


Packaging: The travel size pot is great for saving space, but the tiny opening makes it really difficult to actually get out of the container (arguably the most important part of any packaging).
Color/Finish: Poppy Paradise is a great summery red-coral color. The finish is fairly sheer so it works really well for a natural glow, not so much for dramatic looks.
Texture: The consistency is similar to a waxy lip balm, or maybe strawberry preserves.
Application: The best way I’ve found to apply is to pick it up on a small/flat brush, dot it onto your skin, and pat it out with a dense stippling brush. If your skin is prone to flushing check after a minute to make sure you didn’t under-apply.
Wear Time: About 6-7 hours over foundation before it started fading, but even then it didn’t disappear completely.
Overall: I’m pretty happy with the product itself but I suggest springing for the full size – the little one is a recipe for frustration.


Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee ($13-22) is available at sephora.com


  1. Joyce | bronzer bunny

    July 25, 2015 at 12:14 am

    i’ve always had my eye on this but i’m not 100% convinced of the formula. It is cute though! and it does look nice on you :)

    1. Nikki

      July 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks! It’s pretty nice but I can see how the formula wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Definitely wouldn’t hurt to get a sample/try it on in the store first.

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