Makeup Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Lip and Cheek Stain

Rachel Adler


As a kid, we can all remember times when we dug through our mom’s makeup (and strands of pearls, high heels, and anything else we could get our little chubby hands on) to smear lipstick on our faces. As we grew older we eventually learned to “color in the lines” and not look so much like a clown. But unfortunately at that young age our mothers didn’t let us start delving into the more skillful products like lip or cheek tints–this was something we had to pick up as we grew. So, below are the dos and don’ts behind the product to help you become an expert.


Do Prep Your Lips Before Applying:

The first step to applying a lip tint is prepping for that tint. You’ll want to use an exfoliation product on your lips before you apply, since a stain can be very drying due to the dyes and alcohol that are in the stain. Try Smashbox Cosmetics Emulsion Lip Exfoliant, $18, at


Don’t Use If Your Lips Are Already Chapped:

The one thing about stains and tints are that they will bring out any little malformation in your lip–so if you have dry skin, staining it is not the best idea. Wait for your lips to heal before you start to play with different tints. Pamper your lips with Jurlique Love Balm, $15, at


Don’t Apply With Your Fingertips:

A tint or stain can look amazing on your lips or cheeks because of the intense color and staying power, but it dries quickly (hence the reason that it is a challenge to learn how to apply). So, avoid any unnecessary mishaps by applying with the included stain brush or a makeup sponge. This will allow for even coverage, and leave less of a mess behind on your fingers. Mark KissInk Lip Tintmarkers has a great felt tip that helps to make lip application really easy and precise. Mark KissInk Lip Tintmarkers, $7, at



Do Swipe Gloss Over Your Lips:

Many stains look really good just as they are–with a matte lip, but some need that extra swipe of gloss. Don’t be afraid to swipe over a clear gloss to intensify a good red stain; the base of the stain will still last all day, even if the gloss wipes off. You can even try just applying chapstick to your lips to give it a little bit of an extra sheen. For a gloss, try CoverGirl Wetslicks Lipstick in Clear Radiance, $5.49, at and for a great balm, try Korres Lip Butter in Guava, $9, at


Do Use Moisturizer To Help Blend:

Cheek stains tend to dry very quickly, you have only a couple seconds during application to blend them exactly how you want before you end up with clown makeup. To avoid this, apply a moisturizer before the stain, which will leave your cheek a bit dewy and help with an easier application and blending process. And again, use a brush or sponge to apply to make sure there is an even application. A great moisturizer to try is Biore Dual Fusion Moisturizer + SPF 30, $14.99, at


Do experiment with shades:

Tints and stains are very similar to lip colors (when talking about shades appropriate for your skin) so feel free to experiment. For those of you first testing out their luck with a tint, neutral tints may be the best bet. For the risk takers out there, try a great red stain or a deep plum. Since Pomegranate is a great fall flavor and rich berry color, Stila’s Pomegranate Crush Lip and Cheek Stain is a great option. Stila Pomegranate Crush Lip and Cheek Stain, $24, at

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