Beauty Battle: Lip Stains

Welcome to the first installment of Beauty Battle, where we’ll pit two similar products — one from an upscale brand, the other from a drugstore — against each other to see which one reigns supreme. This week, we’re testing two of the suddenly ubiquitous marker-style lip and cheek stains: Josie Maran’s Magic Marker and Maybelline’s Colorsational.

Josie Maran Magic Marker
Price: $19, available at Sephora

The hype: The press release promises a “perfectly portable infusion of rich, rosy color” and also contains hyaluronic acid and sugar extracts, which have exfoliating properties. This brand is big into natural ingredients, so it’s free of parabens, phthalates, pork rinds (just making sure you’re paying attention), and synthetic fragrances.

The application: I tried “Cha Cha,” a light pink shade. It goes on super sheer and is easily blendable, making it great for that just-went-for-a-run cheek flush. And while I love the weightless feel on my lips, the color doesn’t last that long — it lasts through a cup of coffee but is gone in about an hour. On the plus side, the marker is recyclable.

Maybelline Colorsational
Price: Around $9, available at CVS

The hype: According to the website, this stain gives a “sheer wash of color” and a “fresh, barely there feel from vitamin-enriched berry nectar.”

The application: I tried “Feelin’ Rosy,” a light berry. This goes on ever-so-slightly-heavier than the Josie Maran, meaning if you’re after an extremely subtle look, it might be more difficult with this product. The color lasts about the same amount of time. The most noticeable difference is the scent: Feelin’ Rosy, at least, smells like raspberry candy — not unpleasant, but probably not natural, either. If you’re against synthetic fragrances, don’t buy this. It’s worth noting that neither of these products comes with any sort of gloss or balm, so you’ll want to have one on hand to avoid the dryness that lip stains can impart.

The verdict: In terms of performance, the products are nearly identical, so if price is your main consideration, Maybelline works just fine. But we have to give this one to Josie Maran for the all-natural ingredients and eco-conscious packaging.