I've been giving this whole "lip stain" phenomena a try since they first became a thing when I was in junior high, maybe 9th grade. I found them all to be way too dry, way too sheer, and way too much money for me to spend on something that's basically food color added to scented water. (The markers always dried out after a few uses... Cat's definitely onto something just using actual markers instead.)
Then, a few weeks back while knelt with my palms together at the side of my bed like, "Dear Universal, Sexually And Racially Ambiguous Supreme Leader? Please send me a lip product that doesn't smudge, makes my lips look flushed with the perfect shade of pink, and is fun to apply. And please bless Jane Pratt," I looked up onto my bed to see my purse flopped open with a few products peeking out. One of which was Hourglass's Aura Sheer Lip Stain in FLUSH, of all colors!
I've been obsessed ever since. "Obsessed" as in I'm 3-5 minutes late leaving the apartment digging through all four handbags and 12 jacket pockets trying to find it.
FOR REAL, I LOVE IT. The water-based formula dispenses with what seems to be the consistency of a gloss but when applied it smoothes on super sheer and not at all sticky like you'd expect from a stain. The color is buildable, but I like the the subtlety of one application, as seen above.
This is a great alternative to actually making out-- and make-out lips are the best lips. Don't you agree?