Weekly Cheap Find:

I am a fan of lip and cheek stains. In the summer these are my beauty “secrets”. I apply the same stain to both cheeks and lips and sometimes I’ll even wear mascara. It’s perfect for those icky summer days. I was skeptical of these Covergirl lip stains at first. I don’t know why. I think in my mind I thought they were too expensive for a drugstore product, about $8. This is funny. If NARS offered an $8 lip stain, I would think it was a deal. Anyways, I must confess that I am completely in love with this product despite the really poor reviews elsewhere. I love its range, application, and lasting power. And the price is right, even for a drugstore item.

First off, I have been a vandal since day one. Keep Sharpies out of sight. So, I love this marker like application. It really defines the lip line plus it is so fun. It’s like I am drawing on my lips. Avon mark made one of these lip stains years ago. It was awesome and like so many of their products discontinued in like 2 months.  Second, it comes in a wide range of colors. At first I did not get this. Well, these babies aren’t so sheer. They are sheer but they do pack more pigment than what I am used to from a lip stain. This is good, I guess. I have many friends with dark complexions that don’t do many lip stains because they don’t show. This line has a color for everyone. I just wish they would offer testers at the store (that’s the problem with all drugstore cosmetics). Third, it wears for hours and hours! I’m talking like 6 hours with no touch-ups. But, you must let it set first, just like any lip stain. The fragrance/flavor isn’t bad. It’s faintly “fruity”. And the price isn’t bad. I still haven’t been lucky enough to get them on BOGO.

I have three but my goal is to have them all because I am a lip stain freak. The first two I did not try. I was looking for a red and plum lipstain, something that looked berry kissed. I bought 425 Plum Pout. To my surprise this had lots of pigment. It looks very sheer when blotted. However, I am used to a bold lip. I like it’s reddish plum stain. It seriously looks like the inside of a plum. The other is 440 Wild Berry Wink. This is a pretty bold pure cherry red. It is sexy. I don’t mean to sound gross but it is a bloodstain red. So, it’s a “fresh” goth and vampire look. Both colors are pretty bold in comparison to my skin tone. I like them but they are a bit bright. I love the application and formula but wanted something a bit “my lips but better”. I purchased 420 Sassy Mauve. This is it. It’s a perfect mauve lipstain. It’s a perfect blend of pink and brown. It’s super natural flush of the lips. Well, at least for me.

OK, so to the complaints. Many people say that the results are not consistent with this product. I agree. It does fade with time. It’s the applicator. To be honest, there is not much product in the pen. If you want a lip stain for a bargain, you should probably purchase something larger and more liquidy. It will be from the department store but you should consider the cost per use. This Covergirl product is “portable” unlike Benetint so you are getting less product to fit into the portable pen. People do not like the finish. This is a stain. It will not provide shine or moisture. This being said lips must be healthy and not chapped. I really think Covergirl should put that as a “warning”. This product will clump on flakey lips and look awful like that makeup on that chick in Sweeny Todd. Any lip stain will do this on battered lips. Even that Avon mark one had a warning on it. I don’t remember the verbiage exactly but it was like “product will bleed if applied to chapped lips. Do not apply to peeling lips.” I have not tried this product with gloss because I find the purpose of lip stain is to look “natural” and I love its matte finish. I’m sure gloss could be added but from my makeup artist experience with lip stain, just try a balm. If you want shine, wear lip gloss and not lip stain. You can’t have it all.Words like long-wearing, moisturizing, and glossy do not go together. It is an unspoken rule.

I say this is a product to love or to hate. It all depends on expectations. If you are a lip stain fan, you may like this but these carry more pigment than what you may be used to so go a shade lighter than what you desire. If you like hyper-glossy lips then stay away from this. If you want a “base” to wear under your retro gal red lipsticks, then this stuff is perfect. It “holds” matte lipsticks. Anyways, I like it and I’m going to have to pick a few more up before this product gets discontinued. I predict it won’t be around too much longer because of the awful reviews and it’s an expensive product for Covergirl.

I feel that this color is such a huge seller because it is so dark in the tube. Women want to feel daring and bold. They want to feel like they would actually wear a dark lipstick even though they most likely wouldn’t. Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is that middle of the road shade. It looks dark and daring but it is really pretty sheer and can be worn anywhere. It comes in a slender and sleek tube. The formula is not a lipstick and not a gloss. Well, so it claims. In my eyes it is a sheer and somewhat sticky and not as long wearing lipstick or a non-sticky and  long-wearing lip gloss! The color is a beautiful deep wine “stain”. It looks fresh and it is truly seasonless. It really adjusts to most skintones. It can look a bit more berry than wine. It plays with your skin’s undertones. It has worked with every color that I have ever dyed my hair. It retails $14. I am never without a tube. I love the way it feels and I love the flawless, everyday shade.


I have a thing for dark lipstick. It is a bit tricky and intimidating but that is why I love it. It’s dramatic. I would like to say that I wear it during the cooler months but to be honest, I like to be taboo and sport it in the warmer months as well. I love a deep, dark, berry stained pout. I love to feel vampy like Theda Bara’s image. I like to feel a bit “runway”. And frankly, I am a closet goth. This is my way of saying I’m OK with the cruel, cruel world.

Dark lipsticks and lip colors are so tricky because of skintone. However, I think that anybody can get away with it if you possess enough attitude. I don’t care if you are dark with gold undertones or ghostly pale with a visible vein road map. It works. It just takes some playing around and lots of confidence. Dark lips create a “harsh” look and you must be able to deal. It does show more imperfections. Lips must be smooth and healthy. Dark lipsticks will cling to dry spots resulting in an unattractive splotchy look. So keep lips moisturized. It is good for them anyways. I’m not going to create any other rules with the rest of the makeup when you wear darks. I like it with a perfectly matte face, sheer nude eyes with or without mascara. I like it with kohl rimmed eyes like Miss Bara’s. I like it with dewey cheeks or matte cheeks. It just doesn’t matter. Just make sure lips are moisturized.

For the Ballsy: I’m talking deep, dark, and dramatic. These colors are rarely for the meek. These are the colors for maximum drama. I’m talking you would wear black lipstick. None of this YSL glamour black gloss. I’m talking something like NYX Lipstick in Penelope, a rich angsty shock your Christian mother black. It retails for $3.50 so that you will even have enough money left to purchase black nail polish and a pentagram necklace 🙂 from Hot Topic. Lips need to be smooth. Coat this stuff on, a lip primer does help from keeping this stuff smooth. NYX also has a wonderful deep burgundy called Almost Black. It has a bit more depth than the straight up black stuff. I also like Egg Plant for a dark purple look. All retail for $3.50. MAC has a nice Lipstick in Cyber which is a black purple with a satin finish. It is a bit hard to work with because it has too much “slip”. It retails for $14. Make Up For Ever has a lovely glimmery navy lipstick in Pearly Blue Black and it retails for $19. I also like their Blueberry which is a deep berry. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry is a deep blood wine lipstick with a bit of sheen. It retails for $7.99.

For the Closet Goth: For a deep lip with a bit of color, try YSL Rouge Volupte Silky Sensual Lipstick in Forbidden Burgundy, a rich deep berry. Plus, the packaging will make you feel like a queen. As it should with its $34 price tag. One of my favorites is MAC Viva Glam III which is a matte deep plum. It is dark but it looks “classic” and not a bit like a purple crushed velvet cape. It retails for $14. Another one that is nice is the new Revlon Matte Collection Lipstick in Wine Not. It is a deep, classic matte wine that retails for $7.99. Max Factor Lipfinity 3D Maxwear Lipcolor in Violet Vamp is a nice medium wine with a purple shimmer topcoat that retails for $8.99 (no longer available in the US). Lipstick Queen Wine Sinner Lipstick is one of my favorite blackberry wine shades. It retails for $18. Also I love Chanel Creme Lipstick in Vamp which retails for $28.

For the Wusses: Go for something dark but really sheer. It makes you feel edgy without getting strange stares from your co-workers. I like Urban Decay Apocalypse which is a sheer blackberry in killer packaging. It has a soft vanilla fragrance and retails for $22. One of the best for this category is Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It’s so popular for its edge but wearable factor. It feels great on the lips and retails for $14. Black Radiance has a sheer deep-red  brown Radiant Lip Gloss in Mocha Madness. It retails for $2.99 and looks great over other colors to “deepen” them. A lip stain is always a way to get color without harshness. Try something like Urban Decay Lip Envy in Greedy which retails for $17. Lipstick Queen Big Bang Theory Lip Gloss in Black Hole is a lovely deep wine shimmer. It is buildable for more or less drama. It retails for $20. Or for the daring, wouldn’t you love to bust out a black lipstick during a board meeting or something? Try Lipstick Queen Black Tie Optional Lipstick for $18. It is super sheer, and yes black. It just adds a tiny bit of darkness.

This color is very sheer but very pretty. It looks healthy and “ripe”. The color in the tube looks much darker than it appears in real life. On, it is a very sheer and satin reddish plum. It adds a healthy tint. It looks like wine stained lips with a layer of sheer glossy lip balm. I really love the color because it really makes my complexion look healthy. It has a little sheen buy zero shimmer. It is the classic Eight Hour formula. It has an odd herbaceous odor. If you are familiar with the original Eight Hour cream, this is the same medicinal, herbaceous odor. That really doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that it burns my lips after a day’s wear. I don’t know if it is the added SPF 15. My lips don’t take kindly to sunscreens. Sunscreens usually cause them to burn, itch, and become extremely dry. This is what wearing this does to my lips. By the end of the day my lips feel really chapped. I still use it because I like the color. Stupid, I know. I just won’t repurchase. Alot of people rave of this, I would too if it didn’t irritate the crap out of my lips. It retails for $17. It is available at drugstore.com.

If you are scared of wine lips but like the look, I suggest you start with something like Alba Terra Tints Natural Tinted Lip Balm in Garnet. This is a traditional lip balm packed with a minty tingle and flavor. It is very sheer. Burt’s Bees Lip Tints have a ton more pigment than this. Garnet is a super sheer plummy, reddish wine. It is a little darker and more red than my natural lip color. The texture of this is kind of thick, which is a bonus. It doesn’t need applied frequently. It is not crumpley or lumpy. The color looks pretty natural with a hint of “wine stain” and very faint sheen. It is great for people that want to try color but are just scared. Alba Garnet makes for a nice pair of training wheels. It has a SPF 18 that doesn’t cause my lips to become irritated. This is rare, most SPF lip products cause me to have itchy burning lips. This product is like a lip stain but it actually mositurizes and protects the lips. It retails for about $3.99 and is available on drugstore.com and most drugstores and health food stores.

I love lip stains. They look fresh natural and just like you’ve had a glass wine sans the headache. I like to wear them alone or with gloss or under my deeper lipstick shades to make them last longer. They are very easy to wear. You just fill in your lips and go. They are meant to be you lip shade but better. Just remember to wash your fingers if you use them with finger tips. You don’t want those berry stained. There are a ton on the market and I am going to review a few that I have used or use.

Benefit Benetint: This is the rose scented and rose colored liquid that I use on my cheeks frequently. I have used it as a lip stain many times before. Let me just say I do not love it as a lip stain. It is too liquidy and will run into fine lines around the lips. I am 24 years old and this should be the least of my worries when applying makeup. I can’t get this stain to apply evenly and it will appear darker in lines on the lips. Plus it is too rosy tasting for my liking. The Benetint Lip Balm is not much better. It is a balm/gloss infused with Benetint. I find it messy and runny too. Benetint sells for $28.

Vincent Longo Lip & Cheek Gel Stain: This stuff comes in a lip gloss like container with a sponge doe foot applicator making it easier to apply to the lips. It has a thicker texture (gel) and doesn’t run like Benetint. It stays put and comes in numerous shades from deep burgundy to brown. Personally, I like Apollonia which is a deep plum that really adds a wonderful berry stain and I like My Sunshine which is  a deep warm red. I find that this stuff works great as a lip and cheek stain. Sells for $22.50.

NARS Lip Stain Gloss: I love the shades in these because they are more red and more my speed. This has a sponge tip applicator and looks like the other tubes of NARS lip gloss. Some of these have shimmer. These are pretty moisturizing and take a bit longer to dry but they are easy to use. I love the shades Indian Red (bright classic red), Daredevil ( a deeper classic red) and Victoire ( a plum brown). These sell for $24. There are also duo sets available where one end is the stain and the other is a gloss.

Urban Decay Lip Envy: This stuff comes in a cute container with a sponge applicator. It has a vanilla scent which is yummy and dries fairly quickly which I think is a plus in this case. I like Greedy the best which is a deep wine stained merlot.These sell for $17.

LORAC Sheer Wash Travel Size Sheer Wash: This formula comes in a gloss container with a roller ball tip. It is very liquidy and I think hard to use on the lips. Plus, I remember it smelling metallic or perfumey or something that I didn’t like. I could be wrong. It was a while back. Since it is so liquidy it has all the problems of the Benetint that I described above. These go for $19.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Lip Stain Duo: This is a duo lip stain where one end is a stain and the other is a clear gloss. I like the fragrance and the texture of these. Cherry Stain is a bright sheer red that looks really fresh. It sells for $20.

Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Makeup Lip Stain: OK I hate Victoria’s Secret for a multitude of reasons. Mainly because one of their bras was so poorly constructed that on the initial wear the underwire poked through and stabbed my boob viciously, but anyways… This stuff comes in a felt tip marker package like the Stila and the shades range from brown to red, all with names that are trying to be sexy but come across as cheap. The formula is pretty nice and wears a long time. The packaging is portable and easy to use. I like the shades Unzipped which is a berry plum and Muse which is a soft rose. Retails for $12 and may or may not stab your boob viciously.

I’ve tried a few more and I don’t think they exist anymore. I had one from L’Oreal, Lancôme, and Borghese and those were nice. And Avon had one that was tasted like metal. I know they are plenty more on the market to try: ModelCo, TheBalm, Sephora Brand, Revlon, heck even American Eagle have one. Definitely try one but if you plan on using them on the lips I’d stick to a gel or a formula that is in a “pen”.