Since it’s February, I’m sure you’re looking at all the pink and red everywhere and wondering how on earth to match those Valentine’s Day vibez, right? Well, don’t worry, because today we are making homemade vegan lip stain out of beet juice! I got the idea to do this when I was chopping raw beets a few days ago and noticed how thoroughly stained my hands were. I rubbed a little of the juice on my lips, and by golly, it was the exact same color as the stain I bought for an exorbitant amount of money! My version looks really natural, doesn’t rub off, you will spend less than a dollar (as opposed to $30), and it will be mostly makeout-proof! Just, you know, in case.

You’ll need:
• A tiny container with a lid. It’s more profesh if it’s clear, but this could really be anything: a rinsed lip gloss container with a brush or wand, a contact lens case, a travel-size shampoo bottle. I’m using a container that once held loose glitter.
• An eyedropper
• One large red beet, or two smaller ones
• A juicer or blender
• Lemon juice
• Optional: vitamin E, coconut, or almond oil.
• An apron and dishwashing gloves or rubber/latex gloves (not the kind with powder on them)—beet juice makes a great lip stain for a reason: it stains everything.

How to make it:

1. Wash the beet. Cut off the top and the dangly root part.

2. Remove the juice from the beet. I have a juicer, and if you do too, this will be pretty easy: just throw the beet in and voilà! Otherwise, cut the beet into in quarters and toss it in the blender with some water. Blend the beet into little pieces. UNPLUG THE BLENDER, then reach in with a spoon and carefully—carefully, because there are sharp blades in there—scrape the chopped up beets into a strainer, which you should set over a small bowl.

Now, here’s the kindergarten-messy part: put on your gloves and use your hands to grab the beets and squeeze the juice out of them over the strainer. (I didn’t use gloves; I just scrubbed my hands clean after I was done, and lived to tell the tale.) And squeeeeeeze! You should be left a small amount of pure, gorgeous red juice that looks like blood.

3. Using the eyedropper, add two drops of lemon juice to your mixture, and the oil if you want to use it. The oil will keep your lips moist, and the lemon juice will help preserve the color (I got that idea from this wonderful post, which showed me that I’m not the first person to think of making lip stain out of beets!).

4. Transfer the mixture into a tiny and very cute container.

5. Try it out! I just use my finger to apply it; if you want to keep your fingertips pristine you can use a lip brush instead. It will take a minute or two for the lip stain to dry. Add more depending on how dark you want your lips to be.

For someone like my friend Danielle, pictured above, the beet juice doubled as a cheek stain, adding some rosiness to her extremely pale skin (it’s not as dramatic in the photo as it was in person, trust me).

With my friend Jen here you can see the difference.

And look at my transformation:

I bet you don’t even recognize me! Keep your little bottle of wonderbeautyjuice in the fridge, and it should last for one or two weeks. You may notice some settling—little chunks of beet—in the juice, but that’s OK, it’s still good. You’ll know it’s gone bad if it smells sharp, or basically if it smells like anything other than a fresh beet. And in the meantime, don’t you look so naturally stunning? ♦