Is This $15 Glossy Stain Even Better Than YSL's? (Yes!)

Skip the luxe version and grab The Face Shop's Artist Finger Gloss instead.
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Michelle Villett
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Skip the luxe version and grab The Face Shop's Artist Finger Gloss instead.

It feels like glossy stain—the lovechild of lip gloss and lip stain—has been around for ages.

But if we're keeping track, it was really only in 2013 that this new hybrid lip category blew up, thanks to Yves Saint Laurent's much-hyped Vernis à Lèvres.

Now, if I'm being totally honest, that prod was a like for me, but not a love. Sure, the packaging is too fabulous, and the fact that it's a stain that doesn't dry out your lips is a cool innovation. But I found the shades way too sheer, with not nearly enough pigment, and there was something about the fragrance that weirded me out. I never got into it.

That being said, glossy stain, the category, is still an awesome concept. 

And now I'm happy to announce that I've found a brand who does it better (and cheaper):

Best gloss stain

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Glosses.

These Artist Finger Glosses are from Korean beauty chain The Face Shop, which has been in Canada for about a year or so now, having set up shop in the old Fruits & Passion locations. (Outside of Canada, they're major—think 2,300 stores in 29 countries, and growing.) They have an insane product selection, and everything is super-affordable. 

It's also super-high quality. Most of us over here associate Korean beauty brands with just skincare stuff, or BB/CC creams. So I was as surprised as anyone to discover that they also excel at lip colour.

These puppies may not have YSL-level packaging, but they give you just the right amount of pigment and shine, with a gel-like formula that keeps your lips feeling smooth and healthy. My lips are still chapped from my short-lived Badger lip balm experiment, but none of that flakiness is accentuated here.

Plus, each one of these glossy stains is only $15, compared to YSL's $38. You can't beat that!

There are eight shades and not a single one I don't love. Let's take a look:

OR201

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in OR201

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in OR201.

OR201 is a pale, true orange—the kind of orange with strong yellow undertones. It looks scarier on the wand than on the lips, where it lets quite a bit of your natural tone peek through. (So if your lips have less red than mine, it should show up much better.) Given my current orange obsession, this is my go-to right now for summer days or nights. I love it!

OR202

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in OR202

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in OR202.

OR202 is a classic orange. It's a level or two darker than OR201, but with the same yellow undertones. The look is bold, but I adore this one as well—it's surprisingly pretty when you get it on.

PK101

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in PK101

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in PK101.

PK101 is a pale, cool-toned bubblegum pink. Normally, I stay away from shades like this in opaque lipstick formulas, as they go too chalky on me. But this formula has just enough sheerness to make it flattering. It's such a fun, girly shade.

PK102 

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in PK102

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in PK102.

PK102 is a bold hot pink that's actually borderline neon out of the tube. On the lips, it becomes slightly more subdued, but still gives you that great pop of colour. It's also not too blue, which I like.

PK103 

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in PK103

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in PK103.

PK103 is a hot cherry pink. It's similar to PK102, but closer to a red, and a fraction darker. I think it goes a little better with my skin tone—the effect is juicy bright lips, but softer than you would get from a traditional red or fuchsia lipstick.

PP401

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in PP401

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in PP401.

PP401 is a purplish magenta. It's the deepest shade of the bunch, and gives you that traditional berry look. I'll probably save this one for fall, as it has that just-in-from-the-cold effect.

BE701

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in BE701

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in BE701.

BE701 is a pale peach. It's quite similar to OR201, the pale orange shade, just a tiny bit deeper and with more pink. On the lips, it's nothing crazy—this is the shade in the line that's closet to a nude.

RD301

The Face Shop Artist Finger Gloss in RD301

The Face Shop Face It Artist Finger Gloss in RD301.

RD301 is an orangey-red. Imagine taking BE701 and just deepening it a couple levels, with a splash more red, and you'd get this colour. Again, super-pretty and perfect if you want some red but without the usual heavy, lipsticky finish.

Where To Buy

Find The Face Shop Artist Finger Glosses at The Face Shop stores; search for a store location here.

Have Your Say

Have you tried these glossy stains yet? Which shade is your favourite?