Limitless Lip Stain & Color Seal Balm

by Smashbox  
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Makeup > Lip Paints/Stains > Lip Tint/Lip Stain
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This version of what looks like a magic marker–style lip stain comes dual-ended. In addition to the lip stain on one end, you get a lip balm in the same shade as the stain on the other end. This might seem like a good way to combat the inherent dryness of a lip stain, but, unfortunately, using the balm over the stain breaks down the color faster, affecting its longevity, and there goes the benefit of using a lip stain.

We got about 3 hours of wear (nowhere near the 8 hours Smashbox claims) before it started to show significant signs of wear. If you’re willing to compromise on long wear, you’ll find this a very good lip stain that doesn’t grab to dry spots or bleed into lines around the mouth. The shades are all bright or bold (Sangria is a juicy red) and opaque, so your lips really make a statement!

  • Magic marker–style pen has tapered tip for precise application.
  • Color doesn’t bleed or appear uneven on lips.
  • Shades are bright, opaque, and true to the packaging.
  • Double bonus: Balm not only combats dryness when used with the stain, but also works well on its own as a tinted lip balm.
  • Transfer-resistant.
  • Expensive.
  • Despite the 8-hour wear claim, this lasts about 3 hours.
  • Using the balm that comes packaged with the stain breaks down the lip stain faster.
  • Balm packaging exposes it to easy breakage; you cannot wind it down, so keeping the cap on between uses is a must.

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Drugstore Double Alert! For a similar product at less than half the price, check out Revlon’s Just Bitten Lip Stain + Balm, which lasts longer than this product, although the included balm is clear rather than tinted.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Smashbox is that its name refers to the early, accordion-style cameras and that Smashbox is first and foremost a Hollywood-based photography studio. The company's creators, Dean and Davis Factor, have their heritage in makeup—their great-grandfather was the legendary makeup artist Max Factor. However, this seems to be a case where the proverbial apple didn't fall all that close to the tree. It is apparent that Dean and Davis are better at their respective careers as CEO and photographer, respectively, than at creating a cosmetics line. The makeup, which debuted in 1996, began as a collection of trendy and fashion-forward colors coupled with a pleasingly neutral palette of foundations, concealers, and powders. Nowadays, many of the colors are too sheer to register on medium to dark skin tones, shiny products abound, and several of the complexion-enhancing products just don't look as natural on skin as they should. In fact, the foundations and concealers could use some updating; they haven't kept pace with what other makeup artistry lines are launching, and don't demonstrate much longevity under normal conditions, as in day-to-day casual makeup.

Realizing that celebrities sell products better than the product claims themselves, Smashbox steadily capitalizes on its ties to Hollywood and often mentions several famous faces who wear their products. Their counter brochures follow suit, tempting women to sit down with a Smashbox artist to get the star treatment. It's easy to get caught up in the hype, but as a comprehensive line Smashbox doesn't have what it takes to create A-list glamour, at least not if you're looking for cutting-edge textures and finishes.

For more information about Smashbox, now owned by Estee Lauder, call (888) 763-1361 or visit

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