LIP INK International 100% Smear-proof Lip Color [Lip Ink Arm Swatches]

Honestly, I’m not much of a lipstick wearer. Or any lip color for that matter, not even a tinted balm. Lipsticks and balms are just so waxy and thick and sticky, they get on your cups, clothes, and even on your food when you’re trying to take a bite of a sandwich. Yuck! That is not appetizing at all.

But still, no makeup look can be complete without some kind of lip color. So what’s a poor girl to do? How can you make lipstick that never rubs off? Is it even possible to have an oil proof lipstick?

Enter Lip Ink!

Lip Ink Lipsticks are the only 100% guaranteed smear proof lip colors on the market. I learned about this product from following Dita Von Teese, the famous burlesque dancer. She said that some of her girl friends at Playboy and some friends in the adult film industry use this brand because it stays on and it does not rub off. Ever.

So, while I’m not a porn star and I can’t testify as to whether or not the Lip Ink Lip color stays on during a blow job (the company has never made this claim but maybe I’ll have to test that out for myself one day…), I can say that it does live up to the hype and does everything it claims. This lip color means Business with a capital B. It’s like a lip stain on steroids.

Only the special remover can get it off. I tried rubbing it off with pure jojoba oil and nada. Zip. Zilch. Wouldn’t come off without the remover. This lip stain is OIL-PROOF. Finally, after a few DAYS the swatches I had on the back of my hand came off on their own. I can only assume that it took that long for the swatches to disappear due to the top layer of skin cells on my hand falling off as new, uncolored cells come to the surface.

And if the fact that this an oil proof lip color wasn’t enough, the Lip Ink products are also vegan, cruelty free, kosher, and organic! These are the most common things young consumers are starting to expect from makeup brands. These aren’t just niche product offerings from indie brands anymore. The new generation of makeup lovers now expects that their products be good for them, the animals, and the environment. Lip Ink even has a recycling program where you can send your empty vials back to them and get a new product for free.

From what I could find online, a search for “Lip Ink Review” brings up only 6 videos of reviews of this product that aren’t videos from the brands own YouTube channel. By contrast, a search for any other brand from drugstore to prestige brings up hundreds and thousands of review videos.

Lip Ink is a patented wax free lip stain and I know it knocks any other lip color out of the park by a mile. I mean c’mon, it’s freaking OIL PROOF!

So why is it that more people don’t know about this product? Why isn’t the entire beauty community raving about it? What has made this amazing lip stain stay such a secret?

I think the issue really all comes down to poor marketing. And by poor marketing, I mean no swatches!

When it comes to makeup in our digital age, swatches are everything. With COVID, swatching makeup in stores is not allowed and testers are off limits which makes swatches online ever more essential.

The Lip Ink brand has a noticeable lack of swatches across the internet. The brand was started in 1995, long before the beauty community online existed as it does to day. Hell, that was even before YouTube was founded. So I’m assuming their marketing department is just a little out of touch. But this is 2021 and nowadays, when it comes to purchasing makeup, consumers expect to see swatches, on real people- not models- and not just in heavily retouched photographs. We want real photos in natural lighting conditions.

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This is not an accurate color portrayal. Not even close.

The only swatches on the brand’s website are digital color spots and the photos of the models wearing the lip color just look very overdone and heavily retouched. And I can say from my own personal experience buying Lip Ink, the color description and the photos of the colors on the brand’s website do not accurately portray how the colors look in real life.

However, I will give the brand props for showing videos of models applying the different colors on their YouTube channel and for the fact that the models are of a variety of complexions. But, the problem with this is that it’s hard to get the idea of what a color really looks like unless it’s a highly pigmented color like a red or bold pink. Also, unlike the photos that most other brands have of swatches on 3 arms of light, medium, and deep skin tones, the Lip Ink swatches only show one model trying on each color and whether or not the model is a complexion that is close to yours is up to chance. So if the model who is trying on the color you’re interested isn’t your complexion then you’re SOL.

Add to all of that the fact that just the sample size of the lip kit costs a whopping $19- the same price as a full size MAC lipstick (and MAC has a virtual lipstick try on feature), most people are going to hesitate even trying out the Lip Ink product, let alone taking a chance on buying a full size product they won’t know the true color of until they get it even though I can stay that for the staying power of the Lip Ink, it’s worth the money.

And of course, the company doesn’t accept returns and Lip Ink is not currently sold in stores (not that that would help any during COVID). So unless you happen to live in California, where the brand’s one and only store/corporate headquarters is located and you can go there and try on the colors in person, then you’re really SOL without swatches available online.

Why on earth the company hasn’t had one of their employees take a few hours to swatch all their colors on pieces of blank printer paper, take a photo of it in natural daylight, and post it on their website rather than doing pointless photoshoots and videos with models where the color doesn’t look true to life is beyond me. But what do I know? I don’t have a marketing degree, I’m just a girl on the internet with opinions and I guess the company can’t be doing too bad after 26 years in business otherwise they’d step up their marketing strategy. Although, I’m certain it helps a lot that one of the six review videos online for their brand is by Tati Westbrook. But still, Tati only reviewed one color.

Anyways, I have a few Lip Ink colors that I’ve taken the liberty to swatch on a piece of computer paper and take photos of in varying lighting conditions. I found that the most accurate color capture was when I took the photo indoors with natural lighting with the flash on my iPhone X. Of course, what you see will vary based on your computer/phone screen and I highly recommend turning off any blue light filters (Apple night mode, f.lux, etc.) on your device for the most accurate color. Also, when I say “studio lighting,” I’m using 2 GE HD LED Refresh light bulbs at 1600 lumens each. I have them in desk lamps on a dimmer and they make a great cheap alternative to a ring light.

Remember that the swatches on the paper will not look the same on your lips due to your natural lip color. It’s impossible to account for the variations in everyone’s skin tone so I thought swatching on printer paper would be the best way to find the “true color” although I included swatches on my arm as well.

For the swatches on my arm, keep in mind that I have a medium, neutral-leaning warm olive complexion. My foundation shade is The All Natural Face Olive Warmest, mixed with Olive Warm or Fenty 290 mixed with 300.

Lip Ink liquid lipsticks can be mixed and matched and layered in up to 3 coats of color. The 3 stripes of each color show 1 coat of color on the top and 3 coats of the same color at the bottom.

Swatches on the top row from left to right: Coral, Cherry, Nude, Berry

2nd row from left to right: Ginger, Guava, Grape

Coral by Lip Ink is a warm toned true pink. Personally, I wouldn’t call this color coral at all as (on paper) it lacks the orangey tones that makes what I consider a “true coral” like Pantone’s Living Coral.

Cherry by Lip Ink is a very dark, warm toned muted red.

Nude by Lip Ink is a neutral-leaning warm toned nude pink color.

Berry by Lip Ink is a bold warm toned red-pink. It’s a dead ringer for the color of a real fresh raspberry.

Ginger by Lip Ink is a neutral-leaning warm toned light peachy color. (Nude + Ginger would make a great “my lips but better” color if you have a light-medium complexion that leans warm or olive.)

Guava by Lip Ink is a cool toned pink-purple.

Grape by Lip Ink is a very cool toned (almost gray-ish) dark purple. The formula of this color was thicker than the others (perhaps because it’s the most pigmented) and had a pleasantly vanilla-y scent unlike the other colors.

This post contains affiliate links. Those trial kits don’t come cheap. 😉

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