My daughter and I love to watch beauty hacks and tricks and find makeup that’s inexpensive but works like a million bucks. So when we saw beauty influencers on TikTok making their own lip stain using only a Q-tip and food coloring, we had to try it.
I should mention some people commented that using food coloring on your lips may not be safe, even though it’s food safe. I also have a tendency to go to a bad place when I eat too many M&M’s and I blame the dye since it’s one of the only things I eat with artificial coloring in it. (I’m sure it’s not the fact I eat two pounds of them in one sitting.) Because of this, I went for a food coloring with no artificial dyes hoping for the same result — and I got it.
After picking it up at the local grocery store, all I did was squirt some red coloring onto a Q-tip and rub it back and forth on my lips just as they were instructing on TikTok. After you get the color all over your lips, you blot off the extra and that’s it.
And frankly, I was thrilled with the results. I will definitely be using this method to fancy up my lips a lot more in the future and this is why:
I’m 47 and putting color on my lips can make me look older because it tends to bleed into my fine lines. This didn’t bleed at all. It went on nice and evenly and after wiping off the excess, it completely stayed in place and didn’t get cakey or dry out my lips.
It didn’t transfer onto anything. Immediately after you apply the food coloring, you are supposed to take a tissue and blot off the excess, which I did. After you do that, it doesn’t get on anything else. Not a glass, not your clothes, not anyone else’s lip or cheek.
It looks great with another gloss over it. After I got the color I wanted, I decided to see what it would look like with my regular gloss over it. I loved the way it looked, and the lip gloss didn’t smear the color underneath at all.
It’s cheap and easy. Two of my favorite things, what can I say? I know I’m not alone in this.
It’s fun to mix some colors up and try different shades, too. You can customize your color and experiment. If you want the red toned down a bit, you can add a drop or two of yellow to get more of a peachy color.
It stays on longer than other lip stains — but not too long. This stayed on my lips almost all day without having to reapply. It did come off very easily with some Vaseline so you don’t have to worry about having stained lips forever.
There was literally no taste or smell, one of the things I don’t like about traditional lipstick. Also, there’s no need to worry about smearing your teeth because once it’s in place, it doesn’t move.
It’s also a very true shade of red, which I’ve always had a problem finding. For some reason, red shades always turn hot pink on me as soon as I put them on. Maybe it’s because of my fair skin, but it means I’ve never been able to rock a red lip. I literally tried five shades before my prom in high school, and they all went pink on me.
Here’s a picture of the plain food coloring on my lips as well as one with a clear gloss over it. Looks just like a regular lip stain, wouldn’t you say?
The only downside of this is that you can’t exactly take a bottle of food coloring and Q-tip and safely stash it in your purse. It might leak, stain everything, and it’s not exactly the best way to reapply lip color. However, you can get empty lipgloss tubes, or clean one of your old ones with a straw brush and squirt some food coloring in there for safekeeping. That’s what I plan on doing. It took me over four decades but I’ve finally found the perfect red thanks to TikTok.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.