Copyright © 2003-04 Kleinman.com Inc. and Cosmetic Connection. All rights reserved.


February 17, 2003

This week I am pleased to share Chandra's brand new lip stain report. Enjoy!

Chandra is a 28-year-old editor from Long Island, New York. Her prime beauty concern is straightening her curly hair, but she always finds time to try new cosmetics. Chandra's favorite beauty item is lip stains of any form. She is half Italian and half Jewish and has very fair skin, medium brown hair and dark brown eyes. Her skin goes from normal to combination, and her goal is to need foundation or concealer as little as possible. Have a question for Chandra? Email her here.

Take it away, Chandra!

Lip stains hold appeal because they are long-lasting and natural-looking. But most need to be applied with your fingers, leaving you with a smudgy lip line and reddish stains on your fingertips that get you odd "are you an axe murderer?" looks from strangers. Hence the appeal of the lip stain pen.

Lip stain pens have a nib that provides controlled coverage. They do need to be followed by a balm or gloss as they are drying, but it's a small price to pay for a great product.

The first lip stain pen I saw on the market was Stila Lip Rouge ($26). A sleek silver pen with come-hither names like Smooch and Pout, it was a quick favorite. I tried all the colors but Peck, which seemed too dark for me.

Smooch is a pretty pink with a touch of brown. It's not too sugary that it can't work for everyday use and it fades to a soft, pretty pink that doesn't come off until you wash. It has been a makeup bag staple of mine for years.

Moue is a darker pink with the slightest hint of purple. It's a more obvious color than Smooch but is still a natural look that can work at the office or in the evening.

I had high expectations for Pout. The colored plastic tip at the base of the pen indicated it's a Bordeaux color, which I thought would make for a nice red stain without being too bright, but it was an unattractive brownish purple when applied.

For a long while I have remained faithful to Lip Rouge, as I did not come across any similar products. But I recently discovered an intriguing alternative from agnés b. Her Expert Liquid Lip Liner ($9) is housed in a thin plastic case reminiscent of those multicolored Le Pens from the 80s that were so perfect for writing notes to grade school crushes. It comes in six colors, of which I tried Pink, Natural Rose, and Hazelnut.

Pink is a supersweet color that's perfect for spring but is bold enough to be saved from bland innocence.

Natural Rose provided the most lush lip look of all the lip stain pens I tried. My lips were a totally believable shade and looked incredibly plump. The faded color was also exceptional - it didn't leave a bright pink stain that would have been incongruous when the rest of my makeup had worn off but it still accentuated my lips.

Hazelnut, a light nude with the slightest hint of pink when applied, is perfect for the office or for those outfits you can never decide what color lipstick to wear with. It's like your own lip color but just more...there. The only problem is that it disappeared much faster than any of the other stains I tested.

Urban Decay is the newest entrant in the lip stain pen arena with Ink ($17). It comes in a fat, clear magic marker-esque tube. While it has a thicker nib than Stila Lip Rouge or agnés b. Expert Liquid Lip Liner, which is a plus in terms of speed, it can deliver too much product too quickly. Not a good thing as lip stain sets immediately and there is no chance to dab up any excess. Ink comes in three colors, all named in the edgy Urban Decay style: Naked, Spank, and Bitten.

Naked is meant to be a "your lips but better" look, but with my fair skin it was too brown. And instead of my usual line-and-fill method with lip stain pens, I had to swipe the side of the pen over my upper and lower lips, otherwise I was left with a much too dark outline.

Spank went on as too purply a pink. I looked positively clownish with it and it was a struggle to remove enough to not look ridiculous.

Bitten is a bright red, and by the time I tried it I held out little hope as red stains have never worked with my coloring, and since I was not too impressed with Ink. But it came out a nice cherry red that was very flattering and it faded gradually to a cute Popsicle stain look.

The one thing I have to mention with Ink, though, is the taste. The Stila Lip Rouge and agnés b. Expert Liquid Lip Liner were tasteless and scent-free, but Ink had a pleasant sort of smell (the company says it's strawberry, though it did not smell like it) that somehow morphed into an acrid taste once applied that did not fade. Not a product to be enjoyed by kisser or kissee. And after all, what is the point of making your lips look alluring if they can't be kissed?

Stila can be found at Sephora stores, department stores such as Nordstrom and Barneys New York, Sephora.com, and Gloss.com. Agnes B is available through CCB-Paris.com. Urban Decay is sold at Sephora stores, department stores such as Nordstrom, UrbanDecay.com, and Sephora.com.

Thanks, Chandra! I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Cosmetic Report!

Until next time,




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