The creme de la creme of drugstore brands, E.L.F Cosmetics’ Camo Concealer has a creamy formula and perfectly designed applicator, plus two different finishes—hydrating and matte—that puts your favorite high-end one to shame.
Vitamin E, antioxidants, chamomile, and soy work to brighten and depuff those pesky bags under your eyes, while the flow-through brush applies the perfect amount of product for flawless coverage.
Wet n Wild Mega Last Incognito AllDay Full Coverage Concealer
The sorcery this concealer does makes it hard to believe it’s only $4. This drugstore staple is full-coverage, so it can be used without foundation to conceal impurities and blends seamlessly with your other makeup players.
L.A. Girl HD Pro Concealer
Everyone has had a LA Girl concealer at one point in their life because it’s just that good. A little goes a long way with this concealer. Plus, it has an expansive shade range so you’ll be able to highlight, concealer, and contour with multiple shades.
Milani Conceal + Perfect Longwear Foundation + Concealer
To be a regular full-coverage concealer is one thing. But Milani conceals while nourishing the skin with hyaluronic acid, shea butter, olive fruit oil and more.
L’Oréal Infallible Full Wear Waterproof Concealer
If you’re a fan of the foundation, the concealer will be your new favorite. The applicator is large enough to help you sculpt all over your face. You don’t have to worry about it separating because it’s also water-resistant and transfer-resistant.
Revlon PhotoReady Candid Antioxidant Concealer
A concealer with anti-blue light ingredients? Revlon spoke to the social media influencer in all of us. No need to worry about dark circles or puffiness, this concealer erases it all.
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer
This concealer hides blemishes but allows for the real you to shine through with it’s light-but-effective coverage. Reviewers suggest using a darker shade as contour and a lighter shade as a highlighter because the formula works so well together.
NYX Professional Makeup Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand
Photoshop in a tube. The full coverage formula can cover the worst of breakouts and rivals Nars’ cult-favorite concealer, but at a fraction of the price. It goes on smooth without caking under your eyes, which is a major indicator of a great concealer.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer
Dark circles disappear with this concealer thanks to Gogi berry that brightens the under eye area and leaves your face illuminated for up to twelve hours. Tip: Spend the other twelve hours in the day sleeping to get rid of those dark circles for good.
Revlon ColorStay Concealer
The salicylic acid in Revlon’s ColorStay concealer is a pimple’s worst enemy as it eliminates blemishes in no time. Treatment plus coverage equals happy skin. Cover up now then say goodbye to your zit for good.
Without a doubt, fashion’s greatest accessory is a glamorous beauty look.
There’s no denying that when New York Fashion Week rolls around that statement couldn’t be more true. Between the Alice + Oliva, Christian Siriano and Tommy Hilfiger shows (among many, many others), the spring/summer 2023 collections have ushered in a new era of beauty trends.
We’re talking huge clear beads adorning braided hairstyles, which created the illusion of bubble crowns, neon-colored wigs that showcased individuality and bright eyeshadows in electrifying shades of red-orange, pink and indigo.
Plus, designers like Jason Wu proved that simplicity in the glam department doesn’t equal boring. In fact, his show featured models with effortless bobs and buns that made a powerful statement, especially when paired with the right outfits.
It’s safe to say that everything from the hair and makeup to the nails brought NYFW’s collections to life, making the beauty looks just as swoon-worthy as the pieces displayed on the runways.
Best Overall: Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain
There’s nothing better than a multi-use product that looks incredible no matter how you wear it — and few compare to Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Rose Lip Blush & Cheek Tint. Not only does it act as a stain for your lips, it also adds a gorgeous flush to your cheeks, too.
Upon application, the liquid formula looks pretty glossy, but as the color soaks into your lips and sets, the end result is very natural, leaving a tint that looks like you just finished a cherry popsicle. The best part is that the pigment won’t fade or budge — it’ll stay in place for up to eight hours, even if you’re eating and drinking. The swipe-and-go formula is ideal for those no-makeup makeup days to instantly add a pop of color to your face.
We do wish we could change the tiny applicator, though, because the brush is a bit flimsy and sometimes causes the stain to feather along the lip line. To avoid this, it’s helpful to use your fingers to blend out the formula.
Shades: 5 | Wear Time: 8 Hours | Finish: Natural
Price at time of publish: $30
Best Value: e.l.f. Glossy Lip Stain
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a quality lip stain. Case in point: The e.l.f. Glossy Lip Stain. The lightweight, glossy formula glides onto lips leaving behind a juicy, long-wearing sheen that’s completely buildable. One swipe gives you just a hint of color, while two coats increases the opacity — this customizable finish makes it a great lippie to transition your look from day to night. If you’re like me and need to have a lip product in every purse you own, this is one you’ll wish you had on hand in every single color. And at $6 a pop, it’s completely attainable to own each of the eight hues. The only downside is that the glossy finish is prone to fading, so to maintain a glazed look, you’ll need to reapply every so often.
It’s one thing for a product to have pretty packaging, but when the formula inside is just as impressive, it’s truly a winner. That’s the case for Dior Addict Lip Tint. The velvety tint feels and looks luxurious, making it worth the extra pocket change. While the lip stain has a semi-matte finish, it’s still incredibly hydrating and keeps lips comfortable for hours thanks to its key ingredient, cherry oil.
As much as we love the formula, the color payoff isn’t where we want it to be. The product is actually quite sheer in comparison to other lip stains. Keep this in mind, especially if you decide on a darker hue because it won’t be as bold as you would expect it to be.
Best Color Payoff: FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain quickly went viral on TikTok shortly after its release in June, which ultimately led to the product selling out by the beginning of July. Luckily, the product is back in stock, and you’ll want to grab it stat.
The application differs from other stains because you actually want to wipe it off after you apply it — this removes the glossy excess, but you’re left with a beautiful, natural-looking pigment that makes your lips look like you just enjoyed a juicy popsicle. The shade names are just as delightful as the color payoff, too: Strawberry Sangria, Berry Banger, Mai Type, and Zesty Bestie are odes to the feelings and flavors of summer.
If your lips are prone to drying out, make sure to exfoliate before applying this lip stain. The formula tends to cling onto dry patches, and can make the overall finish appear splotchy.
Shades: 4 | Wear Time: 7 Hours | Finish: Natural
Price at time of publish: $24
Best Matte: L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain
If you’re always on the go and looking for a lip stain that will get you through an entire day, this is the one for you. While lip stains are designed to stay on longer than other lip products, the Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain from L’Oréal Paris creates the ultimate transfer-proof look. Personally, I usually opt for more matte lip stains, and this is one of my favorites because I don’t have to worry about reapplying during long work days — even after lunch or a coffee break. The pointed applicator allows you to precisely apply the product, and makes it easy to line as well as fill in your lips. The formula feels heavy when you first put it on, but rest assured that once it dries you won’t be able to tell that you have anything on your lips.
Shades: 37 | Wear Time: 10 hours | Finish: Matte
Price at time of publish: $6
Best Shade Range: Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Always Red
It’s not common to find a lip product that’s available in over 20 shades, let alone nearly 100. But Sephora is here serving variety and quality with their Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick. When testing the product I couldn’t help but fall in love with the color range, which includes everything from trending colors like Coral Sunset (a brick red), to all-year staples like Honeymoon (a nude pink). The best part is that once you apply the product it truly does not budge — I even tried Dare To Be Pink, a hot pink, and it stayed for hours without fading, feathering, or transferring. If you do choose a darker hue, you may need to swipe on an extra layer on the center of your lips because I find it to be a little sheer after just one swipe.
Shades: 79 | Wear Time: 10+ Hours | Finish: Matte
Price at time of publish: $15
Best Plumping: Buxom Serial Kisser Plumping Lip Stain
If you want an extra boost in the pout department but are wary of getting fillers (we get it, needles can be scary), Buxom Serial Kisser Plumping Lip Stain is a great alternative and immediate solution that doesn’t require long term commitment. The serum-like formula features hyaluronic acid (an ingredient used in fillers) to hydrate and plump, and it coats your lips with a juicy, glossy color. You won’t experience the uncomfortable tingling sensation that you get with other lip plumpers, making it very comfortable to wear, too. Though the color payoff lasts for about four hours, you’ll probably need to reapply if you grab a bite to eat.
Shades: 7 | Wear Time: 4 Hours | Finish: Gloss
Price at time of publish: $22
Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick
While this product is technically marketed as lipstick, it acts just like a lip stain, earning itself a spot on the list. The precision applicator is shaped like an arrowhead, which allows you to have the utmost control when applying — this is key, especially since matte finishes are more difficult to correct once dried. And once it’s dry, you best believe it’s not going anywhere. Like the name suggests, it has super staying power and is completely budge-, transfer-, and kiss-proof for up to 16 hours. I even went out for pasta with a friend after work, and there was minimal fading after the meal. Keep in mind that the formula does take a little bit longer to dry. As a result, it may feel stickier compared to other products on this list, but once the lightweight formula sets, you’re good to go.
Shades: 40 | Wear Time: 16 Hours | Finish: Matte
Price at time of publish: $7
Best Moisturizing: Clarins Water Lip Stain
Lip stains have a tendency to feel more drying than other lip products, but this one from Clarins could double as a lip balm thanks to ultra-hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and raspberry. The four shades initially apply bold and bright, but as the day wears on they sheer out and look more natural. The watery consistency of the formula can be hard to control with the included applicator, so we recommend applying it with your fingers for the best results.
Shades: 4 | Wear Time: 8 Hours | Finish: Natural
Price at time of publish: $29
Best Sheer: Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint
Sure, Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint looks gorgeous, but what makes it stand out is what it does for your lips behind the scenes as you wear it. Not only does it keep lips hydrated with ingredients like squalane, but it also subtly plumps lips thanks to sodium hyaluronate and mustard sprout extract, which also work to soothe the lip area so you won’t experience that irritating tingly feeling that comes with some plumpers. If you prefer a more sheer lip, this is the perfect product for you because it provides a very low-key, natural look — but if you prefer more dramatic color payoff you may want to go with something else.
Shades: 4 | Wear Time: 10 Hours | Finish: Natural
Price at time of publish: $36
What to Keep in Mind
Similar to lipsticks, lip stains also come in a range of finishes. Although it’s more common to find matte or satin formulas, some lip stains can be glossy, too. While finish is totally a personal preference, matte and satin lip stains tend to wear longer than those with glossy ones. For a matte formula, we recommend Dior Addict Lip Tint, but if you’re after a more satin or natural finish opt for our best overall pick Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Rose Lip Blush & Cheek Tint. As for a glossy option, you can’t go wrong with Buxom Serial Kisser Plumping Lip Stain.
While you can’t really turn satin or glossy products matte, professional makeup artist and founder of Beia Beauty, Brittany Lo, says that you can make matte products glossy by swiping a clear lip gloss on top.
Not only do lip stains look more natural, but they were also invented to be long-lasting. Most formulas will stay put for four to eight hours, but there are others that can last upwards of 10. (Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick can last up to 16 hours!) Keep in mind, though, that how you prepare your lips will impact the longevity of your lip stain. Lo recommends grabbing a lip scrub, then swiping on a layer of lip balm to give your lips a boost of hydration before applying your stain.
Typically, a lip stain can dry out your lips much more quickly than other lip products, so it’s important to look for ingredients that maximize the hydration factor. Lo says to look at the label and opt for formulas that contain oils, beeswax, or humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. All of these will help lock in hydration so your lips stay comfortable all day. We find Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain to be one of the most comfortable, non-drying lip stain formulas.
If the formula doesn’t have these ingredients Gloria Lu, Cosmetic Chemist in Residence at Revela and creator of Chemist Confessions suggests “layering a lip balm over top to keep lips moisturized.”
What’s that you hear? Beauty vloggers around the world shaking as Jonathan Van Ness enters the YouTube arena. Van Ness, the grooming expert on Queer Eye and host of his very own podcast “Getting Curious,” is joining the ranks of the mascara-wielding and palette swatching elites with the debut of his new YouTube channel entitled JVN Beauty. The industry vet (he’s been doing hair professionally for over ten years) will do what he does best— chop, curl, dye, and braid his hair and that of his family and friends. But, Van Ness wants to ensure us all that it doesn’t stop just there. The channel will cover all types of beauty, from skincare to wellness, with the ultimate goal of each viewer feeling seen in the content.
Ahead of the launch, JVN sat down with ELLE.com to share a few of his beauty commandments. Plus, take an exclusive first look a the new channel above.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #92 series on my blog.
Always Have a Mantra Moment
As an added rite to combine inner and outer beauty, Van Ness turns to mantras. “You want to be present when you’re putting on your skincare. Often, it’s going into a positive affirmation, mantra moment where it’s like, I’d just be saying like, ‘Thank you body. Thank you for getting me through. Thank you for doing everything you’re doing.’“
For Van Ness, celebrating skincare or hair rituals is more than just the end result. “Part of what makes you look beautiful is when you’re experiencing life and connected to your joy and your passion,” he says. “Sometimes, that’s not all skincare and haircare and makeup. Sometimes for me, it’s a lot of cats. It’s a lot of gardening. It’s a lot of figure skating and a lot of gymnastics.” Paired with therapy, a soothing beauty ritual works wonders for JVN’s mental health. “It’s a time where I’m giving myself a look over and just getting into gratitude and clearing my mind.“
Go Back to Your Roots
Though Van Ness has become a pioneer in every sphere he enters, his background is behind the salon chair. “I want to share what I’ve learned. I did hair full time from the time I graduated from hair school in October of 2006 until April 2018. That five and six days a week for 12 years.” So be prepared for some high-quality hair content coming from JVN’s channel. “It’s been such a long time since I had my hands in hair. I was like, I miss doing hair, and I miss salon life. I miss talking about hair and thinking more about hair.“
Slather On SPF
No UVA or UVB rays are allowed in this house. Van Ness’ best skincare advice? Wear sunscreen every day. “The sun does not come into play anymore,” Van Ness warns. “I really, really, really love a gorgeous mineral based sunscreen because I just love that thick protective vibe that mineral sunscreen can give me. I love them. I also just got really into the powder sunscreen to refresh, so I don’t have to go over my skin with a cream every few hours outside, which I really wish that I would have used sooner.”
Invest In A Good Haircut
While some people may be horrified about a three-digit price tag on a haircut, for JVN a good haircut is like a wise investment. “I think that people that aren’t hairdressers do take for granted and don’t realize that especially if it’s a long layer haircut, like this 150 bucks, you shouldn’t need to get another haircut for six months. Really, it ends up being 150 divided by six. It’s like 30 bucks a month. Honey, it’s a fire sale.”
“Everyone Is Gorgeous”
Though he’s known for giving off-the-cuff beauty advice in his Instagram comment section, Van Ness hopes that this new medium will become a reference guide for all things haircare, skincare, and self-care. “I can’t wait to share it with everyone,” he tells ELLE.com. “Whether you’re like a brand new beauty beginner or you’re someone who has been into this for decades, I want there to be something that’s in there for everyone and a place for everyone to feel welcome and to learn.”
JVN’s channel is dedicated to making sure everyone feels welcome and beautiful for anyone who feels like the beauty community has often had a narrow focus. “Everyone is gorgeous. I want everyone to know that they’re gorgeous.“
The best cream blush can do it all, whether you’re going for a natural flush or want to take the sunburnt-blush trend for a spin. (Blame it on BlushTok—and Billie Eilish.) With all these trends popping up, cream blush is especially versatile compared to its traditional, powder-based counterparts.
After all, the beauty of a good blush is that it can be whatever you want it to be—which might explain why the multitasker appears in a ton of recent beauty hacks—and a hydrating, creamy formula makes the options endless, whether you’re mixing it with undereye concealer (for a lifted effect) or sculpting with it for a backlit look. Here, what you need to know.
What is cream blush?
Cream blushes have a, well, creamy texture. “They melt into the skin more easily, and, in my opinion, look the most natural,” says celebrity makeup artist Katrina Klein. “They are also more hydrating than powder blushes.” They usually leave skin with a dewy finish, and often the best cream blush will have moisturizing properties. They also tend to be buildable, too, so you can get more or less pigment, depending on how much you apply.
How to apply cream blush
You can use a brush to apply cream blush, which can give you more precision and help you control the intensity. For a more natural-looking flush, “use your fingers and melt it into the apples of your cheeks,” Klein says. Whichever way you prefer to apply, don’t forget: More isn’t necessarily better. “Cream blush is buildable, so start light and go from there,” she says.
Cream blusher also plays well with other products—for instance, you could mix it with a highlighter for an extra-glowy finish, or blend it with a creamy bronzer for a sun-kissed, back-from-vacay makeup look. You can also pair it with other types of blushes. “Powder will give you the best pop of long-lasting color, especially if you place it over a cream blush,” Klein says. You’ll also get a more matte finish, if that’s your thing.
While Rare Beauty’s liquid blush having gone viral, don’t sleep on this cream formula from Selena Gomez’s makeup line. It has the weightless feel of liquid blush in a cute, easy-to-pack compact and also offers skin-care benefits: The formula pairs pigments with a blend of botanical oils (think meadowfoam and sunflower seed) to nourish and hydrate.
We love a multipurpose beauty product, and this blush-lip tint doesn’t disappoint. It offers an impressive amount of color payoff for a cream blush formula, and glides onto cheeks and lips to help skin look lit from within. Even better? It also gives skin a moisturizing boost with avocado and apricot oils, as well as mango butter.
Best Blush Stick: Makeup by Mario Soft Pop Blush Stick
Going somewhere? This clever dual-ended blush stick offers sheer coverage and comes with a built-in blusher brush for precise application whenever, wherever. And if the reviews are any indication, the Pale Petal is far and away a fan favorite.
Best for Dry Skin: Nars Liquid Blush
For those dealing with dryness, look no further than this liquid formula. It’s packed with pigment for a rich, immediate payoff, but what makes it stand out is the combo of monoï and tamanu oils, which moisturize the skin while you wear it. It also comes in the brand’s best-selling (and universally flattering) Orgasm shade—just saying.
Best for Oily Skin: E.L.F. Cosmetics Putty Blush
Lightweight? Check. Buildable? Check. This unique formula starts as a cream and dries to a matte powder finish, making it a winner for anyone prone to oiliness throughout the day—and ensuring it won’t slide off in the heat. It’s also infused with argan oil and vitamin E for a hit of hydration.
Best for Deep Skin Tones: Glossier Cloud Paint
This isn’t just a cream blush. It’s a gel-cream blush, not to mention a previous Glamour Beauty Awards Readers’ Choice winner from 2021. And its versatility, easy application, and buildable formula have kept it in the mix—not to mention the pigment payoff, which makes it ideal for those with darker skin tones. “The formula holds super well—only a tiny drop is needed for both cheeks, and you can apply as needed to get more of a vibrant look,” says one Glamour staffer.
Best Clean: Tower 28 BeachPlease Lip + Cheek Cream Blush
Tower 28 made waves as a sensitive-skin-friendly makeup brand, and this tinted balm does not disappoint. It contains a blend of green tea and aloe vera extracts to calm skin, and the formula is pigmented enough that a little goes a long way. “I’m making an exception for this lip and cream blush—it’s that good,” says a Glamour editor. “The shades blend in flawlessly with a Beautyblender on bare skin for a natural look, and when I dab a little on my lips, it gives that just-bitten look that I really love.”
Best Drugstore: Maybelline Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush
For some reason, it’s historically been hard for drugstore brands to get cream blushes right, but this one checks all the boxes. This gel-cream blush uses an oil-free, water-based formula to impart color without shimmer or shine. It goes on so sheer that you can apply it all over the cheeks without overdoing it—a boon if you tend to have a heavy hand while applying.
Most Versatile: Lilah B. Divine Duo Lip & Cheek
It doesn’t get more multipurpose than this formula, which works for lips, cheeks, and eyes alike. Inside you’ll find coconut oil, aloe, and algae to back up its skin-care chops, leaving skin better than when you applied. (The sculptural compact is also a nice touch.)
Biggest Shade Range: Fenty Beauty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush
While most blushes offer five to seven shades (if that), Fenty Beauty has, once again, broken the mold with 10 shades. Even though the formula is superlight, it’s both sweat- and water-resistant—leaving behind an all-day wash of color. Yet again, we have no choice but to pay our respects at the altar of Rih-Rih.
Best for Contouring: Kosas Color & Light Crème Cream Blush & Highlighter Duo
This duo of a creamy blush and highlighter is a great option to throw in your purse (or luggage) and go. Thanks to a mix of apricot, avocado, and rosehip oils, these creams are particularly lush and blendable, and the wide range of shades has something for everyone.
Best for Face-Lifting: Saie Dew Blush
If you’re not yet familiar with the face-lift hack, which involves not a scalpel but strategically placed cream blush, take notes: It involves placing blush directly on top of the cheekbones (instead of the apples of the cheeks) for a lifted look. And this dreamy formula was practically made for it. According to a Glamour contributor, “It goes on like softened butter and smooths right over your cheeks, leaving you with the most natural-looking wash of color—the same flush you’d get when Gran pinched your cheeks.”
The GXVE Community lets consumers share make-up looks while benefitting from a commission rate that is above the industry average.
GXVE Beauty, the colour cosmetics brand of musician Gwen Stefani, has launched The GXVE Community, a digital platform that lets consumers share unique make-up looks.
It also allows users to benefit financially through a commission rate claimed to be above the industry average.
The former No Doubt frontwoman said The GXVE Community came from a desire to interact with make-up fans in the digital age in a way that was not available in the early years of her career.
GXVE Beauty specialises in ‘clean’, high performance make-up and launched in March this year, backed by New Theory Ventures.
“GXVE Beauty is the next chapter of my life,” said Stefani.
“It’s an extension of my passion for being creative, for finding identity and being artistic. Make-up gives you the freedom to play the roles you want to play.”
She continued: “I’ve dreamed about the day of launching The GXVE Community and now it’s here.”
“I wanted to partner up with the people who have been my partners all along. We’ve always had this exchange of love, whether it be through the music I’ve written or fashion and now beauty.”
“If you love make-up and you love to be your own individual, you’re going to love this community and I can’t wait to see what everyone creates.”
To apply to The GXVE Community, consumers can visit the ‘Ambassador Program’ at the GXVEBeauty.com site. Selected ambassadors, known as ‘GXVERS’, will be granted access to the proprietary brand platform.
The platform offers both discovery and financial incentives.
Those selected as GXVERS gain exclusive access to videos from Stefani, as well as product education, application tutorials, social content, product images and the ability to share and engage in brand polls and chats.
GXVERS also receive 30% commission on any items sold via their ambassador link, one of the highest standardised rates in the industry.
According to the brand, there is no minimum social media following required to become a ‘GXVER’, simply a passion for make-up and a positive outlook.
“I always say that beauty is a feeling,” notes celebrity makeup artist Sir John on his beauty philosophy. “The way we make people feel is a destination—you become a destination of energy when you can do that.” While the pro is most known for his work with Beyoncé—including her glam at the 2022 Oscars and her BritishVogue cover—he has garnered quite a Rolodex of star clientele. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Serena Williams, Zendaya, and Naomi Campbell (who happened to be his first celebrity client), to name a few, have all sported his glam on endless magazine covers, music videos, and red carpets. Not to mention a slew of brand partnerships with L’Oréal, Barbie, and MAC.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #91 series on my blog.
And the sought-after makeup pro doesn’t have any plans on slowing down anytime soon. “One thing I know about life, especially at this big, grown age of mine, is that the finish line continues to get pushed back,” he continues. “There’s a Roman saying: never rely on past glory. Yesterday’s win is yesterday’s win. No matter what I did yesterday, that’s cool, but I’m really obsessed about what’s next.” Following two decades of experience, he’s adding another role to his ever-evolving resume: chief creative officer of Ctzn Cosmetics—driven by his commitment to building equity and diversity in the industry.
Founded in 2019 by a trio of sisters, the brand seeks to create products inclusive to people of color, inspired by their South Asian heritage. “I loved how authentically compelling they were when it came to what [they] want to champion for people who don’t always get invited to the party,” he says of his appointment. Sir John’s decision to join a promising up-and-coming brand, to him, is a reflection of the evolving beauty landscape.
He continues to say that he’s seen so many shifts in the industry throughout his career—noting specifically the emergence of men’s makeup. “I love the fact that we live in an era of exploration, where everyone can have a vehicle to make them feel better about who they see in the mirror,” he says. So, it’s clear Sir John is eager to create safer, more inclusive spaces and share the wealth of knowledge he’s learned—from normalizing Botox and filler to dishing his best makeup tips.
“I love making the eyes look like different shapes with liners,” he explains. “Liners would be my favorite thing to do if I didn’t have any other makeup on me.” He’s particularly enjoying how people are playing with colored, whimsical liners on TikTok. “Also, my ultimate hack is making sure you set concealer with loose powder—never pressed powder. It’s too heavy under the eyes and drying.” Otherwise, he has a penchant for what he dubs invisible sculpting: “I love the way I sculpt and contour; you’re not supposed to see it but rather offer structure.” To do this, he will do a cream sculpt, then buff in a taupe or cooler colored tone to create dimension on the face.
Sir John’s approach to makeup has transformed in tandem with the industry and his clients. When asked if he thinks Beyoncé’s look has evolved over time, his response is “abso-fucking-lutely.” Though he admits she certainly knows what she wants, he has learned how to not only have conviction but consistently soak in new knowledge. His biggest advice? “Have faith in your eye, in your references you’re pulling. Where do you want to take this person?”
With that, Sir John gave Vogue a sneak peek into his makeup kit—including his five must-have products.
1. Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick
Key Benefits: “These are the best for sculpting,” says Sir John. “I sculpt and bronze with everything that looks like this. I’ll take a tiny bit on the back of my hand, and I’ll start to buff wherever I want that shadow.”
More to Know: A lychee fruit extract-infused dual-ended contour and highlight stick to illuminate and shape the face.
2. Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick
Key Benefits: The Fenty Beauty Match Stix is another top pick of his for his signature sculpted contour. For a lasting lifted appearance, he sets the cream contour with a cool-toned powder to keep everything in place all day or night.
More to Know: A buildable cream-to-powder contour stick that delivers a matte finish.
Key Benefits: “This is amazing,” says Sir John. “It literally resurfaces your skin immediately; even if you’re super sensitive, it’s not a problem. I’ve been using it for years.”
More to Know: An exfoliating mask powered by a blend of glycolic acid from pineapple extract, lactic acid from passion fruit, and papain from papaya to refine skin texture and improve radiance.
4. MAC Fluidline Eye Liner Gel
Key Benefits: “I love this because it doesn’t move, it doesn’t go anywhere,” says Sir John. He recounts etching a perfect cat eye while on Beyonce’s On The Run tour using this pot and MAC’s liner in Graphblack. “[The liner] didn’t move through two hours of cardio. They’re worth their weight in gold.”
More to Know: A waterproof, smudge-resistant gel pigment formulated for up to 16-hour wear.
5. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Key Benefits: Sir John counts this NARS concealer as one of his favorites, along with its matte pot formula. Pro tip: just make sure the under-eye is properly hydrated before applying.
More to Know: A creamy concealer infused with balancing and light-diffusing powders, along with magnolia bark extract, grape seed extract, and vitamin E to hydrate, brighten, and correct.
If you’re obsessed with effect that lip tints give (aka an effortless touch of color that won’t smudge), then it’s time you think about lip blushing. The sweet-sounding name is basically a way to say a tattooing of the lips—but don’t let that scare you. New York-based celebrity dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank breaks down how lip tattooing works, if it hurts, and how, yes, it can actually make your lips look bigger.
What Is Lip Blushing?
“Lip blushing is a form of semi-permanent tattoo or makeup where people are looking to rejuvenate the color of their lip border or the actual substance of the lip,” says Frank. “It is not uncommon as we age to lose the pigment, particularly women, in their lips and lip lines. With loss of color and lip definition, a lot of women use lip liner to accommodate this and to make the lips look slightly bigger.”
Here’s how it works: a tiny mechanized needle deposits pigment into the lips, which builds layers of color. Sources explain that it can be a corrective service to help even out the tone of the lips, but it can also help with asymmetry. The service can cost anywhere between $500-$1,500 per appointment, depending on where you live.
How Permanent Is Lip Blushing?
Similar to a cosmetic service like microblading—which utilizes a blade to manually create small cuts in the skin, which are then filled with ink—the results vary person to person. Generally, lip blushing can last several years, although your lifestyle contributes to how well it maintains; smoking and sun exposure can speed up the fading process, and if you’re oil-prone, have an iron deficiency, or use a lot of exfoliating products in your skin regimen, the pigment could fade more quickly, too.
A tattoo on the lips sounds painful—especially for someone who might be looking for an alternative to getting injected with filler. “It can be done with topical anesthesia and is tolerable,” Frank shares for patients who are nervous.
If you’re worried about your pain tolerance, a pain reliever like Tylenol can be taken prior to the appointment; but be warned, you should avoid aspirin and ibuprofen, since they can thin the blood and cause more sensitivity.
What to Expect From Your Appointment
First, there’s pout prep. A topical anesthetic is applied to pre-numb the lips for 20 minutes. Afterwards, the technician will draw the shape of the “new” lips so that you can evaluate and make any changes.
The procedure takes place over the course of an hour to an hour and a half, if not longer, depending on the look you’re going for. Once the appointment is completed, your lips may be swollen—it is a tattoo, after all—so you can ice them if necessary. Over the next week, your lips will start to heal, meaning they may scab, so it’s important to time this carefully around your schedule.
When it comes to scabs, it’s important that they fall off naturally—picking them can result in scarring or loss of pigment in those areas. Also, avoid workouts and sun exposure for two weeks, and if you plan on getting injections, wait a full month. Sleeping on your face could also cause the scabs to fall off prematurely. An occlusive ointment like Aquaphor should be worn to keep the lips properly moisturized.
Important note: if you have a history of cold sores or herpes, the procedure could trigger an outbreak. Prescribed anti-viral medication should be taken in advance of the appointment, and it should be noted that cold sores can affect the healed results of the lip blush.
How to Find a Trained Technician
“The biggest con to lip blushing is if it’s not done appropriately, it could appear fake looking,” says Frank. That’s why it’s so important to do your research and find an incredible technician. To find a trained specialist, it’s important to ask the right questions and not base your decisions off of social media. Always ask how long they’ve been performing semi permanent makeup procedures—the longer, the better. If they have a Yelp profile, check for reviews within the last six months regarding the service you’re looking to get. Some states require technicians to obtain a blood-borne pathogen certificate or a body art/esthetician license, but each state varies, so check your state board to learn what qualifications cosmetic tattoo artists require.
Instagram is a great discovery tool when it comes to learning about these procedures and potentially finding a technician to work with, but take caution and look at the tech’s body of work, not just one or two photos.
How Long Does Lip Blushing Last?
Like any procedure or treatment, there’s maintenance involved. Not picking the scabs off your lips is key to an easy healing process—so is keeping them hydrated. (Again, Aquaphor!). “Once the desired result is achieved, patients may need touchups on a yearly basis,” says Frank. Basically, the same level of maintenance as microblading your brows.
Can It Make Your Lips Look Bigger?
Look is the key word here. “Although lip blushing does not make the lips actually larger, one perceives them to be bigger—just like makeup,” says Frank. “It gives a plumper appearance or a more defined appearance. We must look at it as a semi-permanent form of makeup.”