How I (Attempt) To look Not-Dead
If one were able to bottle the look of a flushed cheek on a cold winter's morning, this stuff would be it. I cannot get enough of it. I received a sample of this lip and cheek stain in my Birchbox a few months back, and I loved it so much that I went out and bought the full size ASAP (which with daily use by yours truly, I don't see running out any time soon).
Stainiac by theBalm is my newest holy grail product especially for the warm summer months when we're all striving for that glowy-borderline-sweaty-in-a-good-way look that our cream complexion products gift us with, but with actual staying power and no stickiness. Let's talk about the most important part first - the color. It only comes in one color, Beauty Queen, a bright red-pink, like many typical cheek stains, which I can honestly see being a universal match for most skin tones from fair, all the way to medium-dark complexions. It's definitely one of those "adjust to the wearer" products. A quick swipe of this (using its ultra-convenient doe-foot applicator) dabbed into the cheeks gives the most beautiful, "glow from within" sort of look that could not appear more natural on my fair, freckly skin. A dab on the lips and you look like you just finished eating a cherry-red popsicle - in the best way possible. This stuff makes my pasty-ass look alive, with a pinched cheek look that stays all day. You can clearly see my obsession.
Now for the texture, my second favorite part. Stainiac has the most gorgeous gel consistency that makes it incredibly easy to blend on the cheeks, giving you enough time to work with it before it sets (something that is my absolute biggest pet peeve with every other cheek stain I've tried. No more stain streaks!) It isn't drying on the lips either, thanks to its aloe-infused gel base. Something else I really love about the texture of this product, is that it can be applied on top of both cream and powder products without breaking either one down. Generally speaking, I like to apply this over my foundation/concealer, but in the unusual circumstance of me actually using a setting powder (I loathe them), I have no problem applying this stuff atop it. Unlike many liquid products that tend to ball up (you know what I mean) when you try and put them on top of dry products, this one just doesn't have that problem. It also means you can swipe some more on during the day on top of your finished face without a problem! Bonus.
Ok, I keep comparing this to "other" products I've tried - but honestly in my head I've just been comparing it to one - Benefit's Benetint. Don't get me wrong, I think this it's a good product - I just think Stainiac is better. I find that Benetint has the classic problem of many liquid stains in that it just doesn't blend in very well. It stains too quickly, and leaves you streaky. I also get that strange balling up problem with Benetint when I apply it on top of powder products. And when you look at the pricing of the two products side by side, there is definitely a clear winner, and it's Stainiac. With Stainiac retailing for around $18, and Benetint for $30, this one's a no brainer. Benetint does contain slightly more product (0.42oz vs. 0.3oz) but both products are the kind that sort of seem like they're going to last forever, so that's not really a huge concern for me. I've found my soulmate and I'm sticking to it. Enjoy!