I can’t tell you how totally thrilled I am with this recipe. I’ve been trying to devise a recipe for lip stain for months. I have thrown out so much pink and red goop since January that I was beginning to lose hope. But then, a new colourant (that was always the problem), and success!


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You’ll also see why we have to use carmine in this recipe!

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Lipstick may be the most popular way to take your lips from normal to deeply hued, but I’m not convinced it’s the best solution (my stuff is pretty great, though). Anyhow, regardless of homemade or otherwise, it comes off rather easily (not good for white clothing, glassware, or whomever you’re kissing), and that’s annoying. I am not the kind of person who remembers (or can be bothered with) re-applying every hour when I’m out.


So, lip stain seemed like the perfect solution. I’m thinking of what happens when you drink too much red Kool-Aid—genuinely stained lips. No gloss, no creamy goo, just your lips, only redder.


First off, I knew I needed a strong red colourant in liquid form. Water soluble as to absorb into the lips faster. My options for colour were initially red iron oxide and rosehips botanical extract. Oxides are not water soluble—in soaps they work by suspension, not by dissolving into the soap. Rosehip botanical extract is water-alcohol soluble, so I set out to make an infusion in water and glycerin and see what happened…


I could (and probably will) write an entire blog entry on all my failed attempts at making lip stain. I threw out a lot of pink and red goop after the many different colouring things I tried totally failed to dissolve, failed to adhere to my lips, or had absolutely no coverage, so I would just end up pushing clumps of reddish coloured goop around my lips in frustration, or watching as pinkish water vanished into my skin without a trace. Argh.


But, low and behold, I found one that worked! Carmine! I can’t tell you how excited I was when I first brushed on the stain and it took—sheer joy, especially after all the pink goop I’d thrown out over the last few months. Real, wonderful lip stain! I am so, SO thrilled. WOO!


Want to watch this project instead of read it?

You’ll also see why we have to use carmine in this recipe!

Watch Now

Snow White Lip Stain

1/32 tsp carmine
~½ tsp cold water
¼ tsp vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
1 drop liquid germall plus (or other broad spectrum preservative)

Mix small amounts of cold water into the carmine, a wee bit at a time, until you have a bright, red/pink liquid. Mix in the glycerin, and then add any extra water to get a thickness that’s similar to that of room-temperature olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada).

Store in a small 5mL bottle and apply with a little lip brush. Be sure to apply to dry lips—not bone dry and peeling, but there should be no lip balm or any other oil-based product on them. You’ll be able to tell if there is because the lip stain will just bead up on top of your lips and won’t paint on. If that happens, wipe those lips down and re-apply the lip stain. Feel free to pat on a bit of lip balm or lip gloss after it dries to add a bit of shine and additional moisture.

As with all recipes where I make a big deal about the individual ingredients (and especially since there are only three), for the love of all things successful and wonderful, do not make any substitutions in this recipe.