I have dry lips and for that reason, I usually avoid lip stains, because most of them settle into lip lines and dry out my lips even further. I also usually avoid twist-pen packaging and showerhead applicators. But I threw that all out the window for this. Just so you know.
I bought the Hourglass Aura Sheer Lip Stain (another mouthful, sigh) in Flush, which is advertised as a "berry pink" on Sephora's website. I think it leans slightly coral and isn't quite what I'd describe as "berry pink," but it's definitely a cooler shade - it didn't go with my warmer orange blush (Illamasqua Libido - review soon. As in, maybe next month.).
Let's hit the packaging first, shall we? It comes in a click-pen that feels weighty. There is a clear panel toward the showerhead applicator end of the pen that shows you the color of the product. I found it helpful when I first opened the pen, as it actually showed product moving up toward the top of the pen after I twisted.
And, you can see the color rising through the showerhead tip so you have an idea of when the product will flow out. It's not perfect, of course, but it's better than nothing.
|Sorry for the blurry photo - just trying to show the product rising out of the showerhead.|
Now, on to the formula.
It is super duper lightweight - it's a traditional water-based stain, in the style of Benefit's Benetint. When you apply it, it feels pretty much just like water - cooling and wet, though not slippery or oily. My lips have been in okay shape recently, thanks to the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment, so I didn't bother to exfoliate - I just applied it to dry, bare lips (no balm or anything). The lip stain went on just fine, even without that extra step. Color smoothed onto my lips like a watercolor, and I was surprised by how easy it was to even it out! Sometimes, with lip stains, you can see where you applied it unevenly because the color just sort of stacks on. Not the case here! It's so lovely and practically fool-proof. Bonus: after it dries, it doesn't budge - you can run your hand against your lips and it will not come off. The shade is also lovely: a very natural, cheery pinky coral color (strawberry? Okay, so maybe it is "berry pink." I don't know). It's buildable, though, so if you keep going with it, you end up with a much brighter, punchy lip color. It's quite fabulous. The darker it gets, the more it borders on red, as well.
|Flush applied to bare lips (no prior exfoliation or balm), and no balm afterward.|
|Flush, with clear balm applied over it.|
Skip it if: You want a glossy or creamy finish; these are traditional stains and leave a more translucent effect. Also, lip stains take a bit more prep (i.e. exfoliation/balm) so this isn't a spur-of-the-moment type of product.
These retail at $26 for 0.1 oz, at Sephora or hourglasscosmetics.com. I want the dark, plum color as well (oddly named Scarlet) and will have to take another look at the lighter shade. I love the formula, though, so I predict that I will end up with another one of these very soon. Probably Scarlet. Eeep.