People Are DIYing Lip And Cheek Tints At Home. But Are They Safe For The Skin?

DIY Lip And Cheek Tints

TikTok is sweet, it cares about beauty girls more than their partners. The viral social media platform offers financially-sound advice with dupes and DIY recipes that cut down on monthly beauty haul budgets. It also wants you to be comfortable with your beauty routine, offering ingenious hacks that can turn a makeup novice into an expert. Having said that, not everything you see on TikTok, or the stuff that spills over to Instagram reels, can be accepted at face value. Unless you follow dermats and aestheticians only, in which case, take notes excessively. The latest trend among thrifty beauties is to create DIY lip and cheek tints with base oils and food colouring. Sure the tints and stains look great, but are they safe to be worn all day?


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Here’s the lowdown on DIY lip and cheek tints. You take base oils – carrier oils like coconut/jojoba, essential oils like lavender/peppermint, and emollient oils like vitamin E – and mix them with food colouring. Store and use them on the lips and cheeks with either a Q-tip or your fingers. If you do not have the patience for it, just dipping a Q-tip in food colouring of your choice should do the trick. The trend is very popular, but should you be risking skin health for a “fun hack”?

Indian Board-Certified Dermatologist, author and entrepreneur Dr Rashmi Shetty says, “I am not a great fan of people making homemade lip and cheek stains with food colouring and essential oils.” She confesses that while home oils such as coconut, olive or almond oil help protect the skin and nourish the skin in different ways, mixing food colouring to them is not convincing enough for her. “Even the ghee at home nourishes the skin in different and many ways so that’s fantastic. But mixing food colour and applying it on the cheek, I honestly don’t know how that may work. Will it give an even spread? Can it make it sticky?”, she mulls.

Remember that even if you using food-grade colouring, which are safe for internal consumption, it doesn’t mean that they won’t irritate your skin. “Food colouring is meant for eating; we don’t know how it behaves when applied on the skin. You could get irritant dermatitis, or suffer extra-sensitive skin, and it may not even spread evenly,” elaborates Dr Rashmi. Remember that while you are using natural ingredients to make these DIY tints, there’s no way for you to ensure they won’t spoil. Preservatives used in makeup and skincare are not duplicable, so chances are you will be applying a stank-y cheek tint after a week. Which is no different than applying stale leftovers on your face.

Dr Rashmi also warns against unnecessary staining of lips and cheeks with food colouring. “You may need face wash or extra cleansers to remove it. I’m unaware of how it would stain the face. It’s like after eating chicken tikka–which has a lot of food colouring–you will see your nail, nail tips and everything to be stained. Do you really want to expose your skin to warm water, lemon and soap, and everything else to remove it? Hence, you don’t want to put anything on your skin that would stain like that and leave it for a few hours, I don’t know how it’s going to react,” confesses Dr Rashmi.

At this point the cons of the trend trumps the pros. Personally, I don’t see any pros because the beauty market is flooded with lip and cheek tints in a variety of shades, pigment intensities and price points. So why would you make one at home? Dr Rashmi seconds the opinion, “I genuinely don’t think it’s a good idea. You should leave cosmetics to experts. It’s a very expert field and it takes a lot of research and engineering to develop a good, healthy and all skin type-friendly product.”

The #ELLEVerdict on DIY lip and cheek tints? SWIPE A HARD LEFT!

Photos: Instagram

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