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A lipstick pen can be just that: a writing instrument contained in a case that looks like a lipstick. Often sold as party favors, these pens offer women a fun, fashionable alternative to standard writing instruments. Alternatively, a lipstick pen may also be a lip cosmetic dispensed from a pen-like applicator. In some cases, a lipstick pen may actually contain lip gloss that is applied to the lips with the brush that is built into the applicator's tip. Yet another type of lipstick pen is a lip marker that dispenses a matte, semi-liquid color that stains the lips. Users of this type of pen typically apply a second, glossy coat over the lip stain for shine and moisture.
Writing instruments come in all shapes and sizes, and many people appreciate having a pen handy at all times. Some manufacturers have created relatively short, stubby pens that are encased in what appears to be a lipstick tube. This type of lipstick pen is often quite inexpensive, priced so that party hostesses can purchase them in bulk to distribute to female guests.
A cosmetic lipstick pen actually does add color to a wearer's lips. A glossy lipstick pen is typically made from a tube containing a relatively thin clear or colored lip gloss. The user can twist a valve on the tube so that it will dispense the gloss. The tip is itself a brush that allows the user to apply the gloss exactly where he or she wants it to go. Lip markers, on the other hand, resemble a felt tip marker and dispense an even thinner staining color onto the wearer's mouth. As this color typically lacks any kind of shine, the user will add an additional lip gloss as a topcoat.
The primary advantage of using a lipstick pen over a traditional lipstick or pot gloss is that the narrow tip gives the user a great deal of control over the application of the product. In addition, the user does not need to use a separate lip brush. The primary disadvantage is that a lipstick pen can only dispense very fluid lip colors, which restricts the formulations used in these pens to either glosses or ultra-matte liquids, neither of which are suitable for some wearers of cosmetics, as both liquids and glosses can run into the fine lines around the mouth, creating a sloppy appearance.