The quest for the perfect lip color has been going on for centuries. Ancient Egyptians stained their lips with a dye made from iodine and bromine that proved to cause serious illness, while Cleopatra used the pigment of crushed carmine beetles and ants to color her royal pout. Yuck!
Fortunately, modern women don’t have to risk their lives or grind up insects to find the perfect lip color. But because there are so many colors and formulas, finding the right shade can be confusing and costly.
If you already have a selection of lipstick, there is no need to purchase a specific lip stain product. Instead, create and customize the stain on your lips with one or two of your favorite lip colors using these tips.

  • Step 1: Start with clean, dry lips. Then lightly exfoliate with wet cloth (for flaky lips exfoliate lightly with toothbrush). Hold off on lip balm until after staining.
  • Step 3: Blot lips with a tissue. Press firmly and don’t worry about taking too much color off—this is part of the staining process.
  • Step 4: Repeat step two until lip is stained to your preference. Allowing the color to soak in and stain is part of the process and the results will last much longer.
  • Step 5: Clean up lip line with a cotton swab or a lip pencil.
  • Step 6: Add a dab of lip balm to the center of lips and customize the final texture to your liking. Even for a matte look, a little balm keeps lips from looking dry.
Stained lips can be in a variety of colors: red, berry, rose, plum, orange, fuchsia...the list goes on. You can also go wild and experiment with different color combinations, like staining pink on top of purple, or orange with red to create your custom color. For more dimension, press in a deeper shade first then apply a brighter or lighter color on top.
How do you like to stain your lips?