Cheapie but Goodie: Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stains

Monday, June 11, 2012

I don't really like reviewing products that everyone has already raved about, but I love these little sticks so much that I had to. I'll be brief!

Meet the Revlon Balm Stains, or as I like to call them, Why There Is No Longer a Particularly Good Reason to Buy a Tarte Lip Stain. 

In case you've been living under a rock, these products are "new generation" lip stains, in that they're a long way from the incredibly drying pigments of Benetint (invented in 1976) and the like. The new stains are very moisturizing without sacrificing any of the longevity of the makeup--and they come in handy stick/pencil forms so they're easy to slap on. No bulky glass jar and spindly little brush here!

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you'll know that there are two types of lip products I almost always reach for: 1) balmy, moisturizing but pigmented lip color that's super easy to reapply (post) or 2) a comfortable lip stain I can slick on once and forget about. My go-to for the latter category has been Tarte Lipsurgence lip stains for almost two years now and I never thought I'd find anything better.

But the Revlon Balm Stains are so similar in formula, they're very nearly identical. Same moisturizing, comfortable-to-wear feel, same long-wearing color, same menthol-mint smell, and the exact same packaging! 

Revlon stain in Smitten, Tarte stain in Flashy

The only difference in the way each stain goes on is that the Tarte lip stains are slightly more hydrating (you can tell because the pencil point melts down more easily), but then they take a lot longer to set. The first hour or so of wearing any lipsurgence stain is still kind of a "wet" one--anything my lips touch will receive the juicy imprint of my pucker. After that, it behaves like a normal stain, but the Revlon drying time is much faster without actually making my lips feel dry. Beyond that, I really can't perceive any difference between the respective formulas.

As for my first comment about how these Revlon stains almost make purchasing Tarte ones frivolous, they're obviously so similar that the only reason to pay the $24 for the more expensive brand (as opposed to the $8-$9 for Revlon) is if you're a stain junkie or are really particular about color and finish. Drugstore brands can't compete with high end ones because limited distribution/shelf space means they can't offer a lot of colors and variety. Revlon's website says their stains come in 12 shades, though I've only ever seen a selection of 7, which is paltry compared to Tarte. Their lipsurgence stains come in three different finishes (natural, matte and luster) and have something like 25 shades total to choose from. 

But again, because the differences in the formulas are so minimal, I think the only reason to pay the extra $15 for a Tarte stain is if they make your Holy Grail lip color, or if you're really into matte lips or something specialized. Apart from that, join the waiting game for the Revlon Balm Stains to reach your local drugstore!

Hope this was helpful!

Have a terrific week!

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