Read the Label: Milk Makeup Cooling Water Jelly Tint Lip and Cheek Blush Stain

This month's Read the Label column reviews the ingredients and colorants that make Milk Makeup's Cooling Water Jelly Tint Lip and Cheek Blush Stain such a hit with consumers. *Image shown is not the actual product; depiction only
This month's Read the Label column reviews the ingredients and colorants that make Milk Makeup's Cooling Water Jelly Tint Lip and Cheek Blush Stain such a hit with consumers.
*Image shown is not the actual product; depiction only
Image by Anna Shelestova at Adobe Stock

This year (2024) is the year of blush and the latest to hit the beauty scene is Milk Makeup’s Cooling Water Jelly Tint Lip and Check Blush stain. The bouncy jelly texture with long-lasting stainability and buildable color has caused quite a commotion in the online sphere.

Launching with four distinct colors, Splash (berry plum), Chill (red), Spritz (coral orange) and Burst (poppy pink), the product line has a bright spring shade for everyone. For the quick no-makeup-makeup lover and on-the-go beauty addict, the mess-free stick allows blush wearers to tap the bouncy jelly stick on the cheek and lips, blend with finger or brush and build up the color to their desired intensity in sheer layers with all-day wear.

Following, we take a look at the ingredients to see how Milk Makeup created the product.*

Ingredient Disclosure

(bolding added for emphasis):
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Sorbitol, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Niacinamide, Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis Flower Extract, Hylocereus Undatus Fruit Extract, Kappaphycus Alvarezii Extract, Tremella Fuciformis Polysaccharide, Chlorella Ferment, Tocopherol, Maris Aqua/Sea Water/Eau De Mer, Allantoin, Agarose, Carbomer, Sodium HydroxideGlyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, PVM/MA Copolymer, Potassium Carbonate, Citric Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzoic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool.

Chill: Red 28 (CI 45410), Red 40 (CI 16035), Yellow 6 (CI 15985)
Splash: Red 28 (CI 45410), Red 33 (CI 17200)
Spritz: Red 28 (CI 45410), Red 40 (CI 16035), Yellow 6 (CI 15985)
Burst: Red 22 (CI 45380), Red 28 (CI 45410), Red 33 (CI 17200)

All About Texture

This product is all about texture, and the question on everyone’s mind is: how did Milk Makeup create a bouncy jelly stick? For those molecular biologists, biochemists and neuroscientists out there who have performed gel electrophoresis, one look at the ingredient list and you’ll instantly discover the answer: agarose. Agarose is a purified version of agar, a popular gelling agent used in microbiology to grow microorganisms in petri dishes. It is a polysaccharide extracted from red seaweed that, when heated and cooled, becomes a solid and squishy gel due to hydrogen bonding.

Carbomer is another gelling agent in this formula. It is unique in its formulation process — when added to a formulation, the gel will reach its maximum gel viscosity once neutralized to pH 6.5-7.5. Thanks to the addition of sodium hydroxide, the pH can be neutralized to these specifications due to its high alkalinity.

See related: Read the Label: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask


Now let’s talk colorants. The following are used in the formulation, depending on what shade you choose: Red 22, Red 28, Red 33, Red 40 and Yellow 6. These colors are considered dyes, which provide intense color in small quantities. The water-soluble dyes are typically dissolved in water and, once dissolved, a concentrated dye solution is created and added in to the final formulation. Dyes are useful in water-based formulations for lip and cheek applications due to their ability to stain the skin — which in this case, makes the blush and lip stain long-lasting; but that’s not the only ingredient providing longevity.

Extended Wear

For extra "oomph" in terms of extended wear and rheology modification with a silky after-feel, this formula has a few copolymers to thank, namely: PVM/MA copolymer and glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer. Separately, PVM/MA copolymer is typically found in oral care, mouthwashes and hair care formulations and provides good adhesion and film-forming properties. Glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer is primarily used as a rheology modifier by increasing the viscosity of products.

These two copolymers can be found combined with humectants such as glycerin and preservatives such as ethylhexyglycerin, caprylyl glycol and phenoxyethanol to create a hydrogel substance. The hydrogel is formed from the complex of the two copolymers creating a gel matrix that can be used for hot- or cold-processed formulations. When ingredients such as glycerin are added to these hydrogel ingredients, they provide moisturization, increased spreadability and a silky after-feel.


Sorbitol is a multifunctional ingredient that boosts preservation and provides in-use functionality for the product. It reduces water activity (the water available for microbes to feed and grow). It’s also a humectant and used in oral care formulations to prevent capping in mouthwashes. In this case, it can help with preservation while also keeping the stick supple, so it doesn’t crack or become brittle throughout the use of the product. The product packaging also helps to keep the stick supple, as it is equipped with a cap and a clear topper for the stick.

Usage Considerations

My advice to consumers using this product would be: Keep the topper and put it back on to prevent the stick from drying out over time. Also, as with any staining product, work quickly and be conscious of where you apply it. There will not be an extended amount of play time as there is with cream products containing high amounts of emollients.

Finally, the product also contains dry skin-feeling emollients such as propanediol and butylene glycol, so they should work quickly and tap out the edges after application with fingertips or a brush. The color will be imparted quickly due to the dyes, and the staying power will be potent. Lightly tapping or bouncing the stick will give them a sheer color, and the more they tap, the more pop of color they'll see.  

*Disclaimer: While the "Read the Label" series provides an overview of the ingredients in a product and their related claims, without use levels or access to clinical studies, the author is drawing conclusions based on speculation — albeit from training, formulating experience and, in some cases, evidence in the literature. The information provided is for your consideration and further investigation; including any patent protections.

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