I still remember last Spring when YSL launched their “revolutionary” lip product called glossy stain and shortly after it seemed like it was the only thing everyone in the beauty community was talking about. So of course, I had to try it. I also remember going into a Sephora store not really knowing what it was at the time but somehow I ended up walking out with five colors. Ugh. That's so me.
YSL boasts the glossy stain a “revolutionary” lip product because it combines the lightweight texture and the glossy shine of a gloss with the long wear of a stain. And honestly, to this day I still think they are still a revolution. I have seen and owned a lot of lip products but nothing performs the same way as these glossy stains. They are the most unique and truly innovative. The idea is this: imagine apples having a protective wax coating on the outside to protect them from loss of water and to maintain their crisp texture, these YSL stains, well, will do just that too on your lips. First they deposit the bold color onto your lips and next, seal them with a shiny protective “film” so that the color stays on as long as the film is intact. Genius, huh?
Now, let's get on with the review. First and foremost, the packaging! :)
These come in a square tube: a shiny gold top with a slanted, heart-shaped applicator attached on the inside of the cap and a black bottom with a transparent window showing the color of the product inside. The window is on both sides of the tube while the YSL logo is only on the front of the cap. The shade number is printed on a sticker under the tube (there is no name listed, just the number). The applicator may feel awkward to use at first and it definitely needs some getting used to but with a little practice, the application will be fairly quick and easy. The center of the applicator is like a reservoir for the product so apply flat on the middle of the lips first, then use the thin edges to distribute the color, line and perfect the shape. The pointy tip is good for reaching into the corners of the mouth and lining the Cupid's bow. See, even the applicator is unique!
The consistency feels watery and cool at first but turns thick and slightly tacky once dry. So if you really need to press your lips together, do so quickly when it's still watery. If you do it later when it has become thick, the application will be patchy and uneven. Despite the formula being thin and watery, these glossy stains pack a bunch of bright pigments and will literally deliver opaque color and extreme shine in one swipe. From my experience, I find that it is best to apply one coat at a time: apply first coat, let dry completely, and then apply the second coat, and so on. The color will become bolder and the gloss glossier with each additional coat. I wouldn't recommend any more than 3 layers though since it can get too thick and sticky. The finish is almost like a lacquered lip — plumped and glossy — absolutely stunning. I also find that it is best to apply on moisturized, bare lips, and without lip balm underneath so that the glossy stain can adhere better and stay on longer.
And as a side note, these are highly fragranced. They smell almost like … wine? It's really sweet and fruity but the ripe kind of sweet and fruity. It did bother me at first but I got used to it over time and now it doesn't bother me anymore. The scent doesn't stay on long so it shouldn't be too problematic. The other thing I noticed is the color itself. It seems to darken over time. The color that you see on the lips later in the day will be slightly darker than when first applied. Not by much, but enough to see the difference.
In terms of longevity, with 2 coats on, I find that the glossiness stays on all day even after meals! That totally blew me away the first time I saw that. It only starts to fade just a tiny bit at the end of the day, leaving lips with gorgeous soft stain that does not feel drying at all. They aren't the most moisturizing lip product to begin with but they are reasonably comfortable enough to wear and I don't find them to be heavy at all even with multiple coats on.
Now, shall we get on with the swatches of the 5 colors I walked out of the store with? :)
- N°7 Corail Aquatique – bright coral – goes beautifully with soft brown eye makeup
- N°15 Rose Vinyl – warm rose / mid tone pink – lovely as a pop of color to a fresh-faced makeup look
- N°17 Encre Rose – cool rose / neutral pink – everyday pink that goes well with any makeup look
- N°18 Rose Pastelle – extreme pale pink – the hardest color to work with for me since it's extremely pale and looks stark against my medium skin tones (I tend to only wear this with a black/dark brown smokey eye)
- N°19 Beige Aquarelle – pale pink with a hint of beige – perfect companion to a dramatic smokey eye
I actually love all 5 colors that I have. The brighter colors (N°7, N°15, and N°17) apply extremely well and the formula distributes fairly evenly. The paler colors (N°18 and N°19), on the other hand, take a little work to get even application since they can settle into lip lines especially when applied in multiple coats. All 5 colors stain with varying intensity and even the N°18 and N°19 do stain too, that's completely unheard of for such light-colored lipstick.
N°7 Corail Aquatique
N°15 Rose Vinyl
N°17 Encre Rose
N°18 Rose Pastelle
N°19 Beige Aquarelle
Overall, I am completely in love with these glossy stains. They are truly fantastic. They deliver amazing color payoff, extreme lasting power, and insane shine, plus they come in a variety of shades ranging from brights and bolds, to mid-toned colors, to the palest pinks, and more. There is sure to be a color for everyone and every skin tone. They are high-end products with a hefty price tag but I do think they are worthy considering how much they can do and in fact, they are not that much different in price compared to other high-end lipsticks that don't perform even close to these glossy stains. I'm thinking of picking up a few of the new colors soon — they are starting to look more and more gorgeous every time I swatch them at Sephora! :)