Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to get berry-stained lips

Beautiful stained lips from last year's Carolina Herrera show.
This may be a no-go for those girls who like a super-defined lip line. With stained lips, your lip line almost disappears, and it's the center of your lips that's the focus. But there's something about a berry-stained lip that's both cherubic and sexy at the same time, and I recall spending about 2-3 years where I wore nothing on my lips but lip stain and gloss.
So how would you go about getting it to work on you?

There are 2 ways.

The traditional ink stain:
You get a deep berry/wine colored lip stain (if you want that naturally stung look)
You get a funkier color like hot pink or coral if you just want to have fun. The application method is the same.
Gucci Westman applying Revlon Just Bitten. [Pic source:]

  1. Make sure your lips are completely clean and dry before application. This means no balm, no saliva, nothing. The ink is not going to sink in and stain properly if you don't make sure to dry your lips before-hand.
  2. Apply a LIGHT even layer over the entire lip. If you need to, quickly smooth out with a finger to distribute and even out the color before it sets.
  3. After the first layer is dry, go back in with the product but apply only to the center of your upper and lower lip. Let it set for a while this time before you go in with your finger to smooth out any unevenness or obvious lines.
  4. Rinse and repeat if you need to build up more dramatic color, but usually just 2 coats is enough.
  5. Top with clear balm if you have dry lips, and leave it be if you don't! 
This method can last for hours, but as the center of your lips comes into contact with more moisture (your own, and when you drink or eat), the color will start to wear away in the center after a few hours. This i unavoidable, so just repeat Step 1 (hold a triple-folded sheet of clean tissue between your lips for a couple of seconds) and Step 3 to touch up the center. The action of smoothing it out with your finger will also touch up the border of your lips a little, so don't worry about having to touch up the outer edges of the lips.


There are many products in drugstores that can give you this effect. I used to love the Bourjois lip stains in little pots, but these have long been discontinued. If you don't like these liquid stains, there's another alternative, which lasts very well but takes longer.
Some deeper and stronger-colored red/pink lipsticks also contain colorants that stain your lips so you can use these instead of buying a lip stain specifically. The application is similar, but you need to let the lipstick sit for a couple of minutes to let it stain your lips properly. Then wipe off and reapply in the centers and let it sit again.

Lipsticks that give a good stain: MAC Rebel lipstick (deep berry-pink stain), and Lime Crime Countessa Fluorescent (deep pink-red stain).


Now, the Cheat's way:
Don't we all love this?
The cheat's method is not technically speaking a "stain". It's just getting your lip color to LOOK like a stain.
It's quite easy to do, and much better if you don't have a lot of time in the morning to prepare, but don't mind touching up discreetly through the day.

Step 1: Prep your lips with a little non-sticky, non-shiny lip balm. Color is going to slide right off if the balm is too heavy. Those that come in sticks and tubs and are slightly waxier (as opposed to oily or glossy) are better.

Step 2: Pick a deep colored lipstick (I actually used MAC Rebel, which is a very dark plum but it goes on a deep fuchsia, so be warned that you need to get a much deeper shade than you intend. 
Apply it in a concentrated layer to the center of the lower lip, steering clear of the lip line. You don't need to be neat or precise with it. 
Step 3: Roll your lips together to distribute the color, and use a finger to spread it out just a little if necessary. Then finish by applying another coat of lipstick to the center once more. 
Over the day, you just need to touch up your lips in the center and roll your lips to distribute! If it looks like there is too much pigment being built up and the lip is much darker than you want, just wipe off with a tissue, and re-apply. It usually takes no more than 2 minutes!

Cons? This procedure means your lip color is not transfer proof. You will leave marks on cups, etc, but it's quite low maintenance (you don't really even need a mirror for quick touch-ups sometimes.)


  1. Would you say that stained lips look bigger or smaller? I have smallish lips and I usually feel like staining them makes them disappear.

    1. Definitely slightly smaller, yeah. But I think you can get around it by layering a clear gloss over it to add some sheen. I have small lips too, so that's what I used to do.

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