Makeup artists are busy bad-mouthing the matte lip looks of the early '90s. Edging out the trend are a few fabulous stains.
"Matte is becoming old and dated," explains Jocelyn Zayco, creative director and senior makeup artist for Sebastian International, based in Woodland Hills.
The new stains are hybrids of matte and wet looks achieved by using a variety of products and tools. Most come in the form of brush-on lip color or in lipstick tubes. They are more sheer and far less drying to the lips than a matte lipstick, but have greater staying power than a gloss.
Though this trend is new, antiquity is responsible for its early origins. Cleopatra was among the early advocates of staining. When she wanted luscious-looking lips, she reached for her henna dye to achieve the desired orange shade popular with Egyptian women around 3000 BC, according to Lynn Schurnberger, author of "Let There Be Clothes," (Workman, $19.95). But the commercially prepared stains on the market now are entirely new, says Eugenia Weston, makeup artist and owner of Senna Cosmetics, based in Valencia.
"These new products should not be confused with vegetable or berry dyes or with those lipsticks from the '40s that had the indelible ingredients that the FDA later proved to be carcinogens," she explains. The new stains provide a translucent glaze along with deep, sheer colors.
"You want to see the texture of the lips when you are doing makeup in the natural mode. The idea is to create a look that is a part of you. You can't get the translucency for this look that you need with matte products," says Weston, whose boutiques are in Tarzana, Woodland Hills and Encino. She has developed a line of semi-gloss lip creams ($12.50) applied with sponge-tip applicators designed to achieve the stained look.
Bobbi Brown Essentials Lip Stains, available for $15 per tube at Neiman-Marcus Beverly Hills, are a good choice for women who want to wear bold colors but desire a natural look not possible with ordinary red lipsticks.
Fortunately, women don't need to discard all their old lipsticks. But they will need to adapt them, advises Zayco. She suggests outlining the lips with a standard lip pencil and then dabbing Vitamin E stick or some gloss to blend, for just a touch of shine. Weston recommends applying lip color with a sponge applicator or brush, and blotting with a tissue to remove any excess coating.
Manipulated or prepared stains are more than trendy. Beauty experts agree that each application lasts longer than other lip-color products.
As women begin to accept the stained look for lips this summer, Sebastian is planning to unveil a similar look for cheeks this fall: sheer, intense color with a subtle glow not possible with the current crop of powder blushes.