Because the last lippie cage match — wherein we pitted a ColourPop Ultra Matte against a NARS PowerMatte — was so much fun, let’s do it again with stains. YEAH!


This time, I’ve acquired another K-beauty lip stain (the much-vaunted Etude House Dear Darling Tint) to pit against my much-beloved Chateau Labiotte wine stain in a similar shade. ROUND ONE : FIGHT! No wait, let’s meet the competitors…


Chateau Labiotte Wine Lip Tint ($10.30 on Amazon) in RD01 Shiraz Red has a fairly thin but slightly gel-like consistency that’s pretty easy to apply without streaks or patchiness. The hue on this one is a true bright balanced red — not too blue, not too orange.

The doefoot applicator is slim with a very short nap, and is pretty easy to get a clean line with.


Etude House Dear Darling Tint (not to be confused with their Water tint, which we already talked about, or the seemingly endless other permutations of this product that they carry) ($6.54 on Amazon) in RD302 Vampire Red is also a fairly thin consistency, but lacks any of the clingy gel-like properties of the Labiotte. It’s also a slightly deeper and more pink-toned red.

Its doefoot wand is also pretty standard, but with a more pronounced slant to the tip. They’re pretty similar, and neither one is exactly difficult to use, you know?

Labiotte on the left, Dear Darling on the right. Oh hmmmm, you can already see that the Dear Darling has a greater tendency to feather into creases and lines, where the Labiotte is a bit more solid looking. BUT HOW DO THEY APPLY?

Upon application — on perfectly clean just-washed’n’dried lips — you can see how the Labiotte goes on pretty solid, while the Dear Darling looks like watercolors brushed onto a non-absorbent surface. :\ It looks patchy in a lot of places, and while it’s fairly solid and even on the center of lips, toward the edges it’s splotchy AND it really wants to feather into any fine lines around your lips.

“But surely you don’t WEAR it like this?!” No, definitely not. While the lighter shades of the Labiotte are fine to use as you would any other lip thing, I feel like this red (and probably the other dark/strong colors) are best applied, left to “set” a couple minutes, then blotted/wiped off. Used in this fashion, it’s a great first-line stain to use under a normal lipstick, as it’s more long-wearing … so when your regular stuff wears off you’ve still got some tint underneath. And of course, the Dear Darling is completely unwearable without blotting — this one I ABSOLUTELY have to blot/wipe off.

Which, here’s how they look once blotted. You can see that the Labiotte left a pretty even, level stain — but the Dear Darling was much more concentrated and darker at the center lip area, and notably lighter (and patchier) around the perimeter. Bah. Let’s do another coat and see how they look :

At two coats (blotted/wiped off), they both got a bit stronger, but the Dear Darling still gives me a pretty strong stripe at the center of my lips, and isn’t as even as the Labiotte. Maybe this variation is due to the particular pigments used? Really, though, I feel like it has more to do with the formulas, and the fact that the Dear Darling is super watery and seemingly has nothing to give it any viscosity or let it spread (and deposit its pigment) more smoothly and evenly.

NOW, I’m gonna apply some clear balm (come on, I can’t have bare-feeling lips) go about my business for a few hours and see how these wear. I’ll drink, I’ll put pens in my mouth, I might even eat something, but I won’t wash my face and I won’t lick my lips and I won’t put anything on them besides basic old oil’n’wax-based balm.

[clock-ticking sound FX]

About an hour later, with balm on.
About three hours after application and blotting … and after eating a bunch of stuff, washing my face, and brushing teeth.
The next morning.

These both lasted pretty well! But again, the Labiotte wore off a little more smoothly, while Dear Darling left me with darker streaks for much longer.

THE WINNER : LABIOTTE. This remains my go-to first step when I’m wearing red lipstick (particularly anything that tends to wear off the center of my lips). It’s easy to apply neatly, doesn’t take long to make a stain, and it wears pretty smoothly.

Got a fave lip stain? Tried either of these? TELL US, TELL US.