If you’re not quite ready to throw your lips into The Great Lipgloss Revival Of 2017, but have grown weary of lipstick-smudged glasses, it’s probably time to commit to a stain.

If my own behaviour recently is anything to go by, you’ll be stage-five obsessed in no time at all. There’s very little that will make you feel ~sexier~ than a fresh slap of lip stain. It’s up there with receiving a bulk Par Femme order or watching Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games video clip on repeat under the influence of many glasses of bubbles.

I’ve only recently started routinely wearing make-up again, after years of laziness-induced abstinence, and the stain has been the perfect accomplice on this journey. It’s quite subtle, easy to re-apply, and reminds me of happening upon my mum’s lipstick stash for the first time when I was young. (Except, instead of using her expensive lipsticks to draw pictures on the walls — sorry, Mum!  — I’ve matured to the point of being able to accentuate my god-given mouth with these nifty beauty prodz. Progress!)

Make sure your lips are properly hydrated – and your face is as dewy as is humanly possible with barely-there foundation – before you begin your journey towards lip stain enlightenment. I’d also recommend using it in conjunction with clear mascara and bold brows for that I-give-the-perfect-amount-of-f***s look.

I road tested some of the best stains on the market, and these are the ones that have gained permanent residency on my beauty cabinet as a result.

Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Colour


Tom, mate. Never stop being the best. The guy is one genius product away from nabbing himself a Nobel Peace Prize – I can feel it. This lip stain goes on a slightly different colour to what you’d initially assume when looking at its exterior, which, in this case, ain’t such a bad thing. Ravageur is a deep red, with the most beautiful, subtle sheen.


Benefit Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain


Benefit’s Benetint Lip & Cheek Stain is one of my top ~desert island~ products. The option to breathe life into either your cheeks or your lips is kind of like Goosebumps’ beloved Choose Your Own Adventure series, but for grown-up, adult girls. *Squeals!* The packaging is super kawaii, and it’s the perfect addition to a natural, dewy lewk. I’m in lip tint heaven every time I put this on.


Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red


I’ve been oscillating between the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red and Cherry Nectar of late, but for my colouring (fair, blonde, and freckled af), the red is perhaps the most #flattering. The price is right, the product goes on super easily, and it’s got a smooth, non-drying finish. 100% down for it.


Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture


i-D’s Fashion Editor, Britt McCamey, already waxed lyrical on the wonder that is YSL’s lip stain in Mauve Glow, but lately, my lips have been craving it in Onde Rose instead. Not only do I feel super luxe touching it up in the club bathroom, but I dig how moisturising it is for my notoriously barren lips, and the fact that it passes the test of time.


The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain


If you’re into cost-effective combo deals, the The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain in Vineyard Peach is the product for you. It’s just as perf as a lip colour as it is for yo’ cheeks — the colour is subtle and natural, and is made to be build-able. If you’re jazzing up your cheeks, this stain will give you a nice rosy glow, and has just the right level of pigment for your soon-to-be-very-thankful lips. Oh, and did I mention that it’s super cost-efficient?


Stila Stay All Day Lip Tint


Stila’s lip tint definitely lives up to its name. It’s long wearing — maybe not quite all day, but “Stila Stay For A Good Portion Of The Day” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “Stay All Day”. The colour and texture are rich and creamy, it’s infused with vitamin E and Avocado Oil, and you’ll wind up with a deliciously matte finish. Love it.


Clarins Lip Oil


This is maybe my favourite lip stain of all time — it was love at first touch, and since I first used it in January, I’ve taken Clarins Lip Oil in Tangerine with me everywhere I’ve gone. First up, it’s super moisturising and juicy. The colour is subtle, but not so much so that you can’t tell I’m wearing it. The packaging is super lush, and the oil itself is infused with 100% pure plant extracts that are v nourishing above all else.



Words, Madeleine Woon.