Women of the 1920s often used lip color to stain their lips. Here is a lip stain review through the eyes of a flapper.
The roaring 20s were a time of great change in all aspects of society, including beauty. Makeup was finally becoming more widely available and though the decade saw plenty of people who had zero desire for this new and colorful look, the painting one’s face was also becoming more socially acceptable.
Lipstick was available in the 1920s but there was a bit of a backlash against it in certain circles. Flappers were the most prominent proponents of lipstick and wore it to shake up the establishment. For those women who weren’t brazen enough to wear lipstick, they would use a lip stain that enhanced their lipcolor but didn’t look as if they were wearing lipstick.
I have noticed a surge in lip coloring called “lip stain” so I decided to go out and see how much this modern lipstain had in common with the products of the 1920s. What I found was the term “lip stain” has essentially become just a different way of labeling lipstick and for the most part, with the exception of how the lipstick was applied, it was essentially the same thing as lipstick in color and texture.
However I did find three products that I feel give very much the same look as to what a women in the 1920s might use to stain her lips.
Let’s start from best to worst:
I only went to two places when looking for lip stain- the drugstore and Sephora. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t purchasing obscure products that could only be ordered online; I wanted everyone to be able to easily buy these lip stains.
It will come as no surprise that the lipstain I liked the best came from Sephora. I have never heard of Josie Maran before, but I adored this lip product. I purposely purchased colors that I thought would look good on me, and I happen to be obsessed with wearing an orange-coral this spring, so this “Coral Oasis” was perfection.
The top, a pen-like applicator is the lip stain part. I found it applied the perfect amount of color and if you let it dry it didn’t come off when I kissed my children. The bottom is a sheer lip gloss that adds a bit more color and a nice shine. However if you use the gloss then this will come off when kissing.
I also had to reapply after eating.
I felt the pen applicator was the most authentic because it actually stains your lips- it doesn’t just cover your lips with something.
This was my second favorite lip stain and it was purchased at my local CVS. Unlike the Josie Maran lip stain, this is essentially a lip gloss. The reason I liked it was because the deep berry color (01 Red Control) looked fantastic on me. I also appreciated the paint brush applicator. But when push comes to shove, this is more of a gloss than a true stain.
This will come off when kissing and must be reapplied after eating. But I felt it lasted a really long time considering it is a gloss which is another reason it is second on my list.
I tried Covergirl Outlast Lipstain when it first arrived on the shelves and was unimpressed. At the time I was specifically looking for a red lipstick that wouldn’t kiss off, and this did not fit the bill. However, since this time I was searching for a lip stain I thought I would try it again. I went with a sort of brownish rose color because this is what a woman in the 1920s would have used to enhance her lips without looking too artificial. Unfortunately I didn’t love the color on me. I find drugstore brands tend to be very muddy when it comes to lip colors, and this was no exception.
The good news is it is definitely a lip stain. However I found the color was very streaky when applied, especially if I didn’t exfoliate my lips before hand. If you are looking to start wearing a lip stain and you don’t have much money, the Covergirl Outlast Lipstain is decent, but not great.
This wont kiss off, but you do need to reapply after eating.
NYC Smooch Proof LipStain 16H
Hated it. If by 16H they meant 16 seconds then this is a wonderful lip stain. But I am pretty sure they are suggesting this will last 16 hours, which wasn’t even close for me. The color was that same dull brownish pink as the Covergirl, and the pen applicator was the same. But this disappeared on my lips in about a minute, as opposed to the Covergirl which lasted an hour or two. I do not recommend this at all.
In this lip stain experiment I purchased and tried at least four other lip products that called themselves a lip stain but were essentially a lipstick, so I left them off of this review because they didn’t meet the criteria I was looking for. With that said, some of them were amazing I will be reviewing them at a later date.
If you happen to be someone who doesn’t normally wear lipstick and you are looking to dip your toe into coloring your lips, I highly recommend using a lip stain to give your lips a bit of a boost without the stickiness of a gloss.
*Affiliate links were used in this post