The 3 Cardinal Rules to Follow When Wearing a Lip Stain

Lip Stains - Lead
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Rocking that brand-new lip stain requires more though than simply slapping the color onto your pout. Because the formula is different than that of your go-to lipstick, working with a liquid like Stila's Acai Crush ($24; or Benefit's Posietint ($30; require different application techniques, and although the pencil shape of Tarte's LipSurgence ($24; and Revlon's Colorburst ($7; are better for precision, the same pre-application rules still apply. To ensure that perfect, just-bitten effect, we outlined three cardinal rules you should follow when wearing a lip stain.

Thou Shalt Prep Thy Lips Appropriately

Lip stains are drier than your go-to lipstick, and can emphasize any flaws if you don't take the proper steps before layering on your color. Pick up a lip scrub like Sara Happ's Lip Exfoliator—we're obsessed with her Red Velvet flavor ($24;—and work a small amount over your pout to smooth over and remove any dry skin.

Thou Shalt Keep a Lip Balm Close at Hand

The ultimate sin committed when it comes to wearing lip stain? Not applying a swipe of lip balm before sweeping on the color. A protective moisturizing layer keeps that dry skin you worked so hard to remove in the previous step at bay, gives the stain extra staying power, and makes the overall wearing experience much more comfortable. Be sure to tuck it into your handbag as well to top-up the effect throughout the day. We love the classic Smith's Rosebud Salve ($6;

Thou Shalt Abide By the "Less Is More" Mindset

One of the beautiful things about a lip stain is that you don't need a great deal of product to impart that sexy flush. Some may get thrown off at how sheer the formula is, especially if you veer toward the opaque end of the spectrum, but resist the urge to pile on a ton of product at once. Since most stains tend to be pretty fluid or translucent, too much can slide around and make a mess, so use a light hand and apply the color in workable layers. Once you've reached your desired intensity, top it all off with a sheer lip balm.

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