When it comes to makeup I actually wear on a regular basis I find I tend towards subtle, easy-to-apply stuff (read: stuff that goes on easily and lightly enough that it disguises my amateurish makeup application skills). These lip tints were born of my initial experiments with TKB Trading’s new lipstick mold, and I was swept off my feet from the first application. A bright, punchy tube of pigment that blends in with my natural lip colour to create a fantastic, wearable, and easily applied hit of colour? Colour me sold.
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In lipstick, opacity comes from the sheer volume of solid pigment. Technically this is true for all cosmetics, but I find people often add titanium dioxide to lipsticks for opacity without realizing that titanium dioxide is also white, and adding white to the blend will drastically alter it. This isn’t necessarily good or bad, but you will find you keep getting pink instead of red if you insist on adding white to all your red lipstick blends! You don’t need titanium dioxide for opacity in lipstick; a solid whack of pigment will do the trick.
That is not what we are doing here. For a lip tint we want enough pigment to visibly colour the skin, but not enough to obscure its natural tone completely. This is brilliant for three key reasons. 1) Most colours end up looking good on most people as they are able to morph with the wearer—added bonus, the tints take on a unique you-specific hue. 2) The lower colour level means you don’t have to be as precise with application. High pigment lipsticks require high precision application lest your lips look lopsided. Not so here! 3) They wear much better, and more easily. I find the fade is much less noticeable (no bare inner lips + bright outer lips) so you don’t have to fuss over checking your lipstick throughout the day—you can just swipe some more on as you go.
The base for these lip tints is my recently released Creamy Lip Balm, which was borne out of experiments I undertook as I developed my Basic Moldable Lipstick Base. I was trying to make a creamier base for lipsticks, and I made it… but it would not unmold at all. Boo. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t awesome for lippies! I loved the creamy feel, so I tried adding some pre-dispersed liquid pigments at the same level I did when I created the lip tint-ish lipsticks I’d made earlier and swoon. The creamy feel gives the lip tint just enough grab that you can intentionally apply it, the colour level is perfect (and customizable!), they wear beautifully, and they feel great.
For these bad boys, packaging is important. I knew right from the get-go they wouldn’t work in a hard lipstick mold, and I knew with the pigment level that a standard lip balm tube wouldn’t be a great choice. There’s enough pigment in these that you want to be able to apply somewhat precisely, and I find the standard lip balm tubes are a bit too clumsy for that. So, I’ve got two recommendations for you: a slimline lip balm tube (what I used), or a beveled/slim lipstick tube (what I really wanted to use, but I don’t have any, ha). Both will give you a beautiful, sleek lippy that’s easy to apply.
Once you have the Creamy Lip Balm base made, these are really simple to make. Just like many of the recipes in my book, it’s base + colours of your choice. I developed this to use pre-dispersed liquid dyes (make sure you are getting the ones in castor oil, not the ones in glycerin!) as they’re much easier to work with, and I did find I preferred lake dyes over oxides as they give a much better stain and a more sheer finish. I tried including some titanium dioxide in a couple of these, but I really wasn’t a huge fan of that, either. It both muted the colours and negated the tint effect. Unfortunately, not being able to use titanium dioxide makes pinks and corals hard to blend up, so if you want to make a colour like that you’d want to buy a pink dye rather than trying to create pink by blending red and white (titanium dioxide).
Now, if you don’t have any liquid dyes, you’ll need to make some adjustments. I don’t know the concentrations of the dyes in the castor oil base, but if we guess around 50%, you’ll need to use half the weight of powdered pigments, and make up the rest of the weight with more castor oil. You will have to do significantly more blending, like this, to get an even product.
All that said, those experiences are just what I did, and what I liked. I think you should combine this awesome base + some colour to make some great lip tints. Exactly what you do is up to you!
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Creamy Stick Lip Tints
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Once melted, stir with a flexible silicone spatula to thoroughly combine. When the mixture is uniform, pour it into a slimline lip balm tube or a beveled/slim lipstick tube. Let set up and you’re done! Now all you have to do is resist the urge to make dozens of them 😄
My colour blends
The Most Corally Orange One
Because these lip tints are 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, they should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice they start to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck them out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using this batch calculator from Making Skincare. As written in grams each batch will fill one slimline lip balm tube.
- I don’t recommend making any substitutions to the base. It likely won’t be wretched, but this base is really nice and that’s what I’ve tested.
- You could incorporate a bit of shimmery mica if you want; I’d keep it to 5% or less.
- Please read the blog for my thoughts on using dry pigments