“Which Lip Stains Actually Work?”

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“I would love to know which lip stains actually work. The few that I have tried dry out my lips, or don’t pack enough pigment. Help!” — Erika

Lip stains are a category of lip product that you hope will be the answer to all of your lip color prayers, but unfortunately — in my experience, and clearly yours — they leave much to be desired. Most that I’ve tried over the years are drying or lack pigment, which you point out. There are very very few I have ever used a second, third or even fourth time. I honestly think you can often create a better stain using a highly pigmented lipstick. I do this often. I dab it on gently with a finger tip and later add a tad of lip balm on top to keep lips hydrated. This way, you can at least create the level of color you want and have a ton more shades to choose from. But, if I had to recommend ones to try (without knowing which ones you’ve already tested and tossed), I would suggest the following:

Stila Cherry or Pomegranate Crush Lip & Cheek Stain, $24 (comes in five other shades as well) — it’s not as drying as some of the others and the pigment is pretty good as well, not as intense as I’d always like, but acceptable.

mark Kissink Lip Tintmarker, $7 — great price and it packs more of a pigment punch, but will be a tad bit more drying and only comes in two shades. Just carry lip balm with you and reapply constantly.

It’s ironic that I decided to write about this today because TotalBeauty.com — my former and fabulous employer — just tweeted a link to a lip stain story that we had written while I was there. It’s definitely worth checking out. Their readers also loved the Vincent Longo Original Lip & Cheek Gel Stain, $22.50, which I totally approve of.

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