WARNING Lipstick Nerds: Mutant Hybrid Lip Color Products Are Taking Over

Lipstick-gloss? Balm-stain-gloss? Gloss-stain-lipstick? This calls for a Venn diagram.
Publish date:
October 17, 2013
lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, YSL, lip stains, l' oreal, Venn diagrams

When you go to the store to buy a lip product, are you buying a balm, a gloss, a lipstick or a stain? Or how about a gloss-balm or a stain-gloss? Or maybe what you are really looking for is a lipstick-gloss-stain?

In the last couple of years, the boundaries between lip products have blurred. Except for a few renovations of classic products--notably Chanel’s Rouge Allure renovation in September 2012 and Dior’s Dior Addict Gloss renovation in March 2013--new products are no longer so easy to classify.

Recent launches claim to combine more than one lip product function in a single product. While there has always been some variation in the intended hydration, wear time, pigmentation and shine of different products, only recently has that variation crossed over into true product hybrids.

Because xoVain sanctions my geekiness, let’s illustrate this concept with a Venn diagram. Here are our four basic lip products:

Now, let’s take the last full year of launches, 2012, and fill in this chart using the function claims of the major launches in the lip segment of the selective cosmetics market.

There was only one launch of a classic category product, Chanel’s Rouge Allure lipstick. One. And it was a renovation, not a new launch. Every other new product launch fit into one of the hybrid categories rather than a traditional category.

My favorite hybrid of the last couple of years is the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain (say that 5 times fast.) The claim is a memorable one: “Gloss? Stain? Lipstick? Stop compromising and have it all.”

It lives up to its claim. The color is intense from the first swipe, the glossiness is long-lasting, and the staying power is incredible. This is the only product in my collection that I really can wear all through my coffee break without needing a reapplication. Even if some of the glossy film wears off, the stain underneath keeps me covered.

I also really love the latest Rebel Nudes campaign. I tried a few of them the other day and I loved the look. They have a lot of spunk and nuance for such gentle nude shades.

The market has never been the same since the February 2012 launch of YSL’s glossy stain, which is really impressive. Lipstick has been around a long time; it’s pretty amazing to have a disruptive technology this late in the game.

If you're looking for a less expensive version of the YSL glossy stain, it has a drugstore little sister, L’Oréal Colour Riche Caresse. This was a second-semester 2012 launch from the same cosmetics group as YSL. It uses a similar formula with a lower concentration and quality of pigments.

What’s your favorite mutant lip product hybrid?