July 30, 2019

Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain Review & Swatches

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.
1 stars out of 5

Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain ($37) is a refreshing, lightweight water stain that promises to give lips a high-shine finish with a non-sticky formula. My logical side was tossed out this window when I saw promo images of this product on a model’s lips. First off, I knew that I could get as many water stains as I wanted from a range of Korean brands with the exact same formula and NONE of them would cost me $37. But the shade Bathed in Beige looked so lush, so gorgeous, so perfect on the model’s lips and I thought, “Screw it! Imma get me this shade!”.

Guess what?

It was the worst $37 I ever spent in my life.

Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain is 0.2 oz in size and available in 19 shades. It arrives in a chubby square barrel with the YSL emblem decorating the front panel of the cap. It has a nice weighty feel and looks quite chic and elegant. Hey, at the very least for $37 you’re getting some nice packaging.

According to the brand this formula contains 40% water and gliding oils for hydration and comfort. I have drier lips so that sounded great! There’s no doubt what they promise in regards to the formula is what you get. It’s lightweight with a water-like consistency that’s very thin. As you apply it you’ll notice the texture morphs slightly and starts to feel more gel-like. It conforms around lips in a very comfortable, lightweight layer that feels lightly balmy. It’s quite comfortable to wear but it doesn’t last at all and reapplication is needed within 30 minutes or less. It’s supposed to have a mango flavor but to me it tastes like perfume. This flavor leaves a bit of bitterness in my mouth.

I did go with Bathed in Beige as it looked gorgeous on the promo model’s lips. Here’s a tip! If you like this shade and this formula sounds appealing I’d recommend picking up Memebox Pony Effect Favorite Fluid Lip Tint in Sheer Delight because the formulas are exactly the same and the color is almost identical too (although, Pony’s version is a bit more pigmented and does stain lips after wearing away which the YSL formula does not). Some of you might go way back and wonder if this formula is comparable to L’Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain. I’d say sort of but L’Oreal’s formula had better pigmentation and a thicker texture!

Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain Swatches (Bathed in Beige)

I didn’t notice a staining effect. Perhaps some of the darker shades provide a staining effect but Bathed in Beige was very, very sheer and produced a my lips but better effect without the promised shiny finish. I wouldn’t completely write off this formula being a stain though! I haven’t tried any brighter shades so, those might produce the staining effect I missed with the sheerer shade I purchased! Many reviews said the stain was fantastic but those people purchased reds and brighter pinks where as I want with a nude.

Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain Wearing Bathed in Beige

Strangely enough I loved how this looked at my lips. It really gives me a nice my lips but better nude tint. However, the shorter wear and the fact that it is so sheer given the $37 price tag makes it a very, very poor purchase on my part. If it was say $5-$10 bucks I could see myself repurchasing it even though it had some major faults. But at $37 for a less than 30 minute wear and without the promised staining effect, long-wearing, and shine this makes it a very, very expensive purchase.

I’m not daring enough to spend another $37 on a different shade but some part of me is curious if the darker shades perform better!

Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain can easily be duped by any number of water stains available from Korean brands that are much, much cheaper and have better performance and wear times.

Sorry YSL, this one gets a thumbs down.

Have you tried Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain?

Whatcha think?

Where to buy

Nordstrom Sephora

Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain is a new water lip stain that promises the provide hydrating color and shine to lips. This formula is thinner and feels like water going on but as it sets it conforms to lips and has more of a gel-like consistency that feels balmy. I selected a nude shade Called Bathed in Beige as the promo image was so pretty. Sadly, that shade did not provide a stain but I do believe a darker shade might. It feels very comfortable on my lips and provides light moisture but the wear is less than 30 minutes as it disappears very quickly. It also applied quite sheer and lacked pigment but again, I choose a lighter shade the darker ones might have better pigmentation. I sadly didn’t feel this formula was worth $37 due to the pigment and short wear time.


  • Very pretty color, gives lips a natural hint of tint.


  • Short wear.
  • Expensive.
  • No staining effect for lighter shades (not sure about darker ones).
  • Unpleasant perfume-y flavor and fragrance.


Yves Saint Laurent Water Stain Lip Stain might be a nice pick if you want a natural lip look and don’t mind a shorter wear time and money isn’t a issue!

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Christina

    Which Korean brand is your favourite for this formula? I’ve been meaning to try this and the MAC one, but why spend more if the Korean brands are already available. I typically wear lipstick over glosses, so I’m not too familiar with what’s out there.

    Also, Muse! I haven’t been able to play with makeup for the past couple of months. Work and life are just soooo busy these days! I can barely make it to your site to check what you’re posting daily, let alone comment. I feel like my hobby is getting stripped away from me. LOL!

  • Chrissie Dyson

    The colour is lovely on you tho, how annoying that it doesn’t last.

  • kjh

    It DOES look good. But the doe foot with a bit of product looks like some insect cocoon that a preschool teacher gathered, so the kiddos could watch it hatch. Oy! Have not had good color luck with most Korean lips, except obvious stuff, like the 3CE red set. Nothing is as described. Got a TPSY from Ulta, brick red, uh, no, pink. And PeriPera from HL had a worse batting average. Think I kept 1/5 and said never again. Funny, you can buy KB skincare, and it not only is as expected, it’s often better.

  • Charlotte

    I think $37 is too much for a water strain in general. I say this as someone who will happily plunk down $37 for YSL’s Tatouge Couture (my absolutely fave liquid lip formula).