Gimme some Lip

Brooke Shields :: Pretty Baby 1978

It seems like everyone wants a little more lip. I have been asked a million times over for product recommendations that can add volume, moisture, gloss and the most common request, color that looks like a natural lip tone, but better. Think Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby. I have been using lip stain pens on the job for a few years now, first with a little known brand called Palladio, which I found on one of my drugstore/ beauty supply hunting expeditions. They look a lot like a thin magic marker and I liked the subtle color in the natural shades— Not too pink or red with a great range of fleshy pinks to deeper pinky-browns. Then along came Bourjois, with their version called Bon Baisers de Paris/Lip Stain Pen . Unlike some other brands who were introducing gel-based lip stains at the time (namely Revlon who have just re- released their Just Bitten lip gel stain ) that settled into the crevices of the lip and caked at the corners of the mouth, Bourjois’s lip Pens gave a smooth, vellum-like coverage that stayed put and colors that were perfect for creating a ‘Natch’ makeup look. My love-fest for lip pens had begun and they became a staple in my makeup kit.

Left to right: Tarte : Stila : Revlon : Bourjois : CoverGirl : Maybelline : Revlon

Fast forward to the present. You know something is a Big Trend when the Beauty industry big boys come to the table: Maybelline, MAC Cosmetics and Revlon have all rolled out their own version of lip pen stains. The best of the pack? I have to say that Revlon is the winner here. The pen is similar to the other heavyweight offerings ( Outlast by CoverGirl, Maybelline’s Color Sensational Lipstain and MAC Pro Long wearing lip stain ) but with one very important addition: Moisturizing balm. While I wish I could say that lip pen stains can be worn alone, in reality, if you want lips that you won’t have to constantly rub together or self hydrate with a little tongue smacking, then you NEED some kind of moisturizing topcoat. It can be in the form of a balm, or gloss— both will work well and won’t compromise the long lasting effects of the stain but the important thing to note here is that YOU WILL NEED IT! For my test drive, Just Bitten Lip satin and balm won hands down over the rest. The slim tube has a lip pen on one end and a smooth and emollient lip balm on the other. It’s easy to use and carry around and lasts all day.

The only lip stains from my test drive that didn’t require a moisture treatment after color application, were Tarte Cosmetics’ Lip Surgence and Stila’s Cherry or Mango Crush lip & cheek stain. Now I adore both of these brands and many a product from both have permanent spots in my makeup kit. Tarte Cosmetics may have a slight leg up over Stila as they appeal to my love of “clean cosmetics”; beauty products without all those nasty chemicals like Parabens, Sulphates, synthetic dyes GMOs and the like, but I have to say that Stila takes care to include free radical fighting, nourishing ingredients to their product as well. Tarte says that their Lip Stain with LipSurgence is clinically proven to increase the lips moisture content by 6000% and it definitely does keep them hydrated. I have been using LipSurgence in Charmed and Lively and Stila’s YummyBerry Crush lip stain recently on photo shoots, and comparing to the other type of lip stains, my models preferred the way Tarte and Stila product felt going on as well as the wearability during the course of a day over a straight lip pen stain from any other brand. Tarte’s lip stain comes in a nice range of color from subtle to bold and now they offer a velvety smooth matte version that makes the lips look like the inside of a rose petal. Truly gorgeous.

Like Tarte Cosmetics, Stila has stayed away from the magic-marker pen idea and while their stain is also housed in a slim and portable case, instead of a marker tip, this one has a built in lip brush as applicator. It goes on well and like the other lip stains gives a beautiful, stain-glass sheer finish to the lip. As it contains vitamin A,C and E, it has a softer texture once its set and it doesn’t require a topcoat . This product can also be used on the cheeks as a sheer blush so its great as a multi-tasking beauty item.

In the end , I continue to use all the lip stains listed here, with exception to Revlon’s Just Bitten lip stain, for the aforementioned reasons. I like them all for different purposes and would suggest that you do a mini test drive of your own to see what suits your beauty style. You won’t go wrong as there will be a lip stain in this mix sure to please.

Tarte Available at:
Stila available at:
Just Bitten, Outlast and Color Sensations available at select drugstore retailer nationwide
MAC available at
Bourjois available at www. and
Palladio available at


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