by Jessica Teas
For thousands of years, women colored their cheeks and lips with rogues made from crushed flower petals, berries, beets and bugs. Geishas reddened their lips and the corners of their eyes. At one time, applying rouge to ear lobes was fashionable. During the Victorian era, when makeup was associated with immorality, a quick pinch of the cheek and a few nibbles on the lips brought blood to the surface and flooded the face with a flush. Fads have come and gone, but the desire for a healthy, ruddy complexion persists.
A new class of lip and cheek stains offers a previously unknown choice of colors in formulations that are easier to apply, blend and coordinate. The new stains last longer and offer better coverage and skin-tone matching than stains of the past. They make great lightweight and long-lasting alternatives to lipstick and blush, especially during makeup-melting humid summer weather.
More Colors for Better Matches
For centuries, lip and cheek stains came in a single blood red shade that produced the same pink flush on every user. Those with light complexions could wind up with too-pink lips and cheeks that made them look juvenile. Dark-complected users often saw the stain disappear upon application.The standard-issue red lip and cheek stain could make teens look overly made up and more mature women look too childish.
You can now find lip and cheek stains in colors that suit every skin tone, season and occasion — lightest pink deepest coral, purplest plum, toasted beige, neon orange, mulberry, garnet, pale pink and cherry red. Check out Josie Maran, Tarte, Liptini, LORAC, Revlon, CoverGirl, Pixi and theBalm for some of the best lip and cheek stain colors on the market.
Easier Application, Better Results
Until recently, lip and cheek stains were watery and runny in their bottles, so they dripped off their badly designed applicator brushes and spilled easily. Worse, the stains dried on contact, so users had difficulty blending them without leaving telltale spots or sharp borders between rouged and unrouged areas.
Now, stains dry slower, drip less and don't leave unwanted spots if blended thoroughly. They come in a range of formulations — powders, gels, markers, sticks, pencils and rollerballs. The new applicators give you more control over how the tint turns out, making applying lip and cheek stain as foolproof as getting made up can be. Notably user-friendly lip and cheek stains include theBalm Stainiac, Beaute Liqui-gel Stains, Covergirl Outlast lip stains and Vincent Longo lip and cheek gel stains.
Many of these brands come in packages that, unlike the screw-top glass jars of yesterday, don't open or break easily. This improvement makes the newer lip and cheek stains convenient to slip into your purse without worrying that its contents will get dyed red.
Using the New Stains
Apply lip and cheek stains sparingly — you need just a few drops to get lasting color. To go from day to evening, give your color more pop by adding another layer of stain over the one you applied in the morning.
If youre not sure which colors and formulations of lip and cheek stains are for you, head to a makeup counter to try out several products. Ask the counter makeup artist to teach you how to use different formulations. Before you buy, walk around the mall and do some shopping to see the color in different light. Even better, head outside to see yourself in sunlight too.
Beauty writer and consultant Jessica Teas contributes to national and international beauty publications. InStyle Magazine's UK edition named Jessica's website, www.beautywoome.com, one of the 50 best style websites.