e.l.f. Studio Lip Stain {Review}

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Rating: 3.5/5 stars ★★★☆☆
Price Tag: $3 USD
Shades Available: 8 shades
Where to Buy: eyeslipsface.com

These lip stains occasionally pop up at Dollar Tree, so keep an eye out if you don’t want to buy them at full price.

I hadn’t read any positive reviews regarding the e.l.f. Studio Lip Stain when I placed my big e.l.f. Studio BOGO order last November. The product had just been added to the e.l.f. Studio lineup so there weren’t too many reviews available, which only served to increase my curiosity. I decided to take the plunge and ordered four.

Update 4/18/2014: I have updated this post to include reviews for two additional shades and new product/swatch photos.


The sleek and shiny dual-sided packaging is visually appealing, albeit a smidge on the bulky side. One end contains the stain colour while the other holds clear gloss. Both sides features a standard doe foot applicator.

Front of the (newer) store packaging.

I find the square tube a bonus, since I don’t have to worry about the lip stain rolling about the counter. Photographing them was much easier without the usual makeup wrangling and me yelling at the tubes to stay put (or using masking tape to fix errant tubes in place).

Back of the store packaging.

The color ends sports the silver sticker with the shade name and company info.

Bottom of the tubes.

My one complaint is that the clear gloss applicator becomes stained after using it with the darker colours, such as Red Carpet. I don’t like seeing the stained applicator in the clear gloss side. It really bugs me. Perhaps it would have been better to have a translucent or solid white side, like that of the e.l.f. Studio Under Eye Concealer & Highlighter.


The consistency of the lip stains is nearly identical to that of the e.l.f. eyeshadow primers. It’s kind of squishy, weird and difficult to properly describe. Definitely not like any other lip stain product I’ve seen before.

The first step is to put the “lip stain”—which applies more like a lip gloss—on the mouth with the sponge applicator. Care needs to be taken when applying the darker shades, because the stain goes on unevenly and is unforgiving. After the stain dries (your lips will feel “tight”), finish by applying the clear gloss. I like to dab the gloss on as opposed to swiping it over my lips to avoid staining the applicator.

e.l.f. Studio Lip Stains

It’s fairly simple to apply the “lip stain”, but I find it difficult to get enough clear gloss on the sponge applicator to be useful. I get tons of tiny bubbles from reinserting the applicator multiple times.

The first time I tried this product, I liked the stain by itself. At least, until it dried. And when I say it dried, I mean it really dried. My lips did not like the tight feeling at all.

Contrary to the claims, this is neither a stain, nor a long-lasting product. While the lip stain itself doesn’t wear off easily, it’s only after the clear gloss is applied that the lip product begins to rub off. Since this isn’t a real stain—and it has to be dry to not come off—the gloss makes the “lip stain” wet and begins to quickly wear off.


e.l.f. currently carries eight shades, of which I now have purchased six. Despite the weirdness of the product, I actually really like most of the shades.

e.l.f. Studio Lip Stain Swatches


I really love this light, neutral pink shade, although it’s probably best suited to those with lighter skin tones. After the initial application, Heartbreaker likes to show off all the line in your lips. However, if you wait a few minutes the clear gloss will soften the stain and even out.

It’s similar to Mysterious, but with more pink. If you’re looking for a neutral shade, but want a little more color, give Heartbreaker a try.


This is the lightest and most neutral of the shades I own. It’s a great colour for getting a “barely there” look. It is a nude colour, but not too bland. Honestly, I didn’t think it would look that great until I tried it, given that it leans towards the beige and browns and I need some colour to avoid looking washed out.

This is one shade I own that has a little sparkle. It’s a subtle pearl, but definitely there. Despite how it looks in the tube, I don’t notice anything on the lips. I have used the e.l.f. Super Glossy Lip Shine in Goddess instead of the clear gloss to get a pinker shade with a shinier finish.

Lucky Lady

Lucky Lady is darker version of Heartbreaker. It’s a very pretty neutral pink and probably my favorite of the bunch.


This is one of those weird e.l.f. pinks, reminiscent of e.l.f. Mineral Lip Gloss in Pageant Princess (my review here). It’s very bright and vibrant with a significant blue undertone. Usually I avoid these types of pinks, but Fashionista has really grown on me.

First Date

A slightly darker and brighter version of Fashionista, with a smidge of coral thrown in. Like Mysterious, there is a slight pearl iridescence to First Date, although it’s not pronounced or noticeable once applied to the lips.

Red Carpet

This is a very pretty red/dark pink, but much too dark for a fair person like me. Dark, red lips may be hot on the runway, but I feel dumb wearing it. And that’s too bad, because I really wanted to it to work.

Sometimes I don’t think this is a red at all, but more of a deep magenta. Reds are fickle things.


Final Thoughts

Pros: Attractive packaging, good value, lots of product for the price, great range of neutral shades, decent colour payoff
Cons: Packaging on the bulky side, wears off easily, doesn’t live up to website claims, not a lip stain, color product is drying when applied alone

If you’re looking for an all-day lip product, this isn’t it. I’m a little surprised that e.l.f. has discontinued it yet.

The lip stains aren’t a bad product, per se, it’s just that they don’t perform as advertised. I do like them, at the very least for the colour selection—although I’m not sure I’d go as far to recommend them. Then again, they are $3 USD, making it a relatively low risk product. Better yet, if you really want to try them, wait for a sale.

The fatal flaw with the lip stains is that they have to be dry to work and applying gloss undermines them. Since it’s too painful to wear the lip stains without the gloss, we have a conundrum and I don’t see how e.l.f. can overcome it without completely scrapping the product and creating a new, true lip stain product (which they ultimately did in the form of the Essential Lip Stains).