October 9, 2015

A good number of Korean makeup products move through our desks on a regular basis, and admittedly it’s easy to sometimes go through them and feel like, do we really need yet another lip product that promises to be a tint-gloss-stain all combined into one?

We actually don’t, but most of the time, we find ourselves wanting it anyway – because we always love wearing a nice and bright Korean-style lip. However, it can feel like all the brands are making the same kind of product over and over again, and they all seem to promise the same thing (vibrant, subtly glossy and stained lips!). So, here’s a guide to what’s out there, and how these lip products are actually different from each other.


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LANEIGE Intense Lip Gel, $36

LANEIGE calls this one “a balm, colour and gloss in one”. We’ve tried it, and think of it as a very, very vivid lip gloss that fades into a slight stain on the lips. They’re not kidding with the word “Intense” in the product name: the red and orange shades are some of the brightest we’ve seen on the market. This one is for when you want a standout gloss with a shiny finish.

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From left to right: LANEIGE Intense Lip Gel in No. 5 Coral Souffle, No. 8 Maple Red, and No. 10 Squeeze Plum. Images from:

It was first launched as part of the LANEIGE Meets Fashion collaboration with Korean fashion label PLAYNOMORE, so the ones currently available with PLAYNOMORE’s motifs on the packaging. Those are limited edition, though, so the permanent range will be launched from November.


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innisfree Vivid Tint Rouge, $16

This is on the other end of the spectrum from the LANEIGE Intense Lip Gel: the innisfree Vivid Tint Rouge is all about a subtle wash of colour, even if it has the word “Vivid” in its name. Even the almost fluorescent coral appeared as a light pastel orange on the lips, but it lasted surprisingly long for so light a colour. And it tastes rather strongly like fruit, if you like that kind of thing.

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From left to right: Spring-like Coral, Sweet Cocktail Pink, A Faded Rose. Images from:


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ETUDE HOUSE Colour In Liquid Lips, $17.90

Essentially a liquid lipstick (although the brand terms it a lipstick, lip gloss and lipstain), this one is also made up of standout bright shades that go on in a more opaque, velvety texture. It has a more matte finish, as compared to the others; the fruity fragrance is also the strongest in this one.

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From left to right: Spangle In Coral, Pinkbeam, Rubyring in Red. Images from:

This was launched in March, but the recent ETUDE HOUSE x HIGH CHEEK Bling Me Prism collection, another collaboration with a Korean fashion brand, has seen the Colour In Liquid Lips repackaged into a limited edition High Cheeks design and made available in new limited edition shades.



VDL Expert Colour Lip Stain (Patent Shine), $37

Ombre lips are most easily achieved with this lip stain, since its texture is not too glossy yet not too matte; the shine factor can be built up with each coat. The colours are pigmented enough without being too bright; and while the finish is shiny enough, the end product is nowhere near wet-look lips.

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From left to right: VDL Expert Colour Lip Stain (Patent Shine) in 103, 301 and 101. Images from:



Moonshot Cream Paint, $36 (Sephora stores)

A truly multi-purpose product (it can also be used as a cheek stain and – get this – nail polish), the Cream Paint looks scarily pigmented in the tube, but goes onto the lips lighter than we thought it would, in a good way. The texture is matte but not in a drying way, and is easily buildable so it can be used as a lip stain or a full-on matte lipstick.

The doe foot applicator might look large and unwieldy, but on the lips, it’s actually just the right size to coat the lips evenly with one swipe.

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From left to right: Moonshot Cream Paint in 104, 105 and 106.


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3CE Lip Marker, $20 (Sephora stores)

A lip product in one of the most unique formats around, this one really feels like you’re drawing on your lips with a marker. This means that the ink-like consistency is extremely light, so it’s easy to coat your lips in a translucent layer of bright colour. The light texture also means that it isn’t the most long-lasting, however – but the marker tip is surprisingly easy to draw on the lips with.

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From left to right: 3CE Lip Marker in Orange, Maroon Pink, and Indian Red. Images from: