Lip tints and lip stains are the lip products that every beauty enthusiast should pay attention to. These products are giving lipsticks a run for their money, with their ease of use and longevity. These unique formulas give a natural stain to the lip, so they don’t require too much fuss throughout the day. That is why every makeup company seems to be releasing its own take on the product.
If you’re curious about trying out lip tints, reading this article is a must. I’ll explain exactly what lip stains are, and how they differ from lipsticks. I’ll give you a run down on all the different kinds of lip tints, and tell you all of the best methods for applying them. To finish things off, we’ve collected a list of the very best lip stains and lip tints on the market, so you can get that perfect pout.
Best Lip Stains & Lip Tints for a Lip Makeup That Lasts: Contents
Curious how lip tints will look on your pout? Get one or two of these best lip stains and lip tints to give a try and share your looks on Instagram!
1. Giorgio Armani Beauty Lip Maestro
These are some of the long-lasting and best lip stains out there – they’re like luxury in a little tube. They have a matte formula that somehow manages to keep the lips from getting dry, and once applied, they last forever. The color is opaque, so it’s easy to get full coverage quickly. These lip stains are available at Sephora, with 18 different wearable shades.
2. Yves Saint Laurent Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Lip Stain
These lip stains are supposed to be like tattoos on the lips – vibrant and with longevity, but totally unfelt. These lip tints come in a classic YSL tube that will look gorgeous in your purse, and the applicator itself stands out for its unique shape, that is perfect for ultra-prices application, no lip liner needed! There are 22 diverse shades available at Sephora, to suit all kinds of color preferences, from natural to wild to chic!
3. Dior Addict Lip Tattoo
These are more like lip tints, perfect for anyone who shies away from extreme colors or heavy lipsticks, but would still like to enjoy the longevity of a lip stain. These gorgeous lip tints come in 5 natural shades, in a tube with a doe-foot applicator. Once applied, they simply blend into the lip for a sheer, beautiful look. You can pick up a tube for yourself at Sephora.
4. Clarins Water Lip Stain
These lip stains from Clarins can best be described as unique. It goes on the lips like water, which makes sense considering it’s primarily made up of water, and leaves behind a light tint that is completely unfelt but stays for a long while. There are 4 vibrant shades available for you to choose from at Nordstrom.
5. Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain
This is the OG of lip tints, and it remains one of the best lip stains on the market. This liquid formula is super pigmented, so with just a touch of contact with the lip you will get a gorgeous pout that will last a long while. Just be careful not to over-do it! It can also work as a cheek stain, so hooray for multi-use products! Choose one of your favorite shades at Sephora.
6. Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain
This is a roll-up lip and cheek stain in a very natural formula that keeps the skin supple and moisturized while imparting a long-lasting wash of color that always looks like MLBB (My Lips But Better). There are three soft shades available at Nordstrom.
7. Lancôme Juicy Shaker
The cushion makeup trend has finally made it to lip tints, and it makes for some of the best lip stains ever! This product is a pigmented oil that stains the lips with a natural wash of color, while also moisturizing and protecting them with a variety of emollient oils.
Give it a good shake, and you’re ready to apply. The application feels super luxurious, which makes it up for the fact that you will have to reapply throughout the day. These are available for sale in 16 shades at Sephora.
8. Tarte Lippie Lingerie Matte Lip Tint
Tarte makes some of the best lip tints, and for the sake of some fun, they come in the form of a crayon! They have a full, matte coverage, but thanks to the waxy texture they keep the lips looking plump and healthy. The application is super easy thanks to the pencil-shape of the applicator. Sephora carries these lip tints in 8 shades.
9. IT Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush 4-In-1 Reviver Lipstick Stain
A lip stain in a traditional lipstick applicator? Why not? This is one of the best lip stains, because it ticks all the boxes: moisturizing, long-lasting, natural-looking, and feels super light on the lips. It gives a very soft coverage to the lips that is slightly glossy – perfect for anyone who doesn’t like to fuss too much with their makeup. You can purchase it at Ulta, where there are 6 shades available.
10. Tom Ford Lip Lacquer
This long-lasting, high-pigment formula from Tom Ford really stays put, without transferring or smudging. It comes in a matte, metallic, or glossy finish, with each shade capable of looking super opaque with a thicker application or a little more natural with a soft touch. Choose one of the 18 shades at Sephora.
11. Laura Mercier ‘Lip Parfait’ Creamy Colour Balm
This gorgeous lip product sits somewhere between a lip balm and a lipstick, making it one of the best lip tints for those who like an easy, quick application and a no-makeup makeup look. This super nourishing formula has a glossy finish, and it wears quite well. You can choose your favorites from 12 colors at Nordstrom.
12. Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Lip & Cheek Tint
This punchy little lip & cheek stain wins for the most adorable packaging ever. This single bright shade is meant to adapt to your skin’s pH and change its color – we’re not sure if that is actually how it works, but the color certainly becomes bright and gorgeous a few moments after it’s applied. It comes in the form of a fluid with a doe-foot applicator. It goes on sheer and natural, and lasts a while. You can grab a bottle from Sephora.
13. Lipstick Queen Saint & Sinner Lip Tint
These long-lasting and high-pigment lip tints are some of the best lip stains around, giving a hint of shine and a lot of drama. They come in a tube with a doe-foot applicator, and they look good on everyone. There are 4 shades available, and you can buy them through Net-a-Porter.
14. Too Cool For School Milk Tint
This is one of the most delicious lip stains available in four juicy shades at Ulta Beauty. It’s lightweight, milky and is composed of non-fat dry milk that melts on the lips, hydrating them without feeling sticky. You can use it as a lip tint or a perfect treatment for dry, chapped lips.
15. BECCA Beach Lip & Blush Tint
One of the best lip stains, this is a cream lip tint you can use both on your lips and cheeks for a subtle, natural touch of color. It is oil-free and contains vitamin E to nourish your lips while coating them with a fruity scent and a beautiful color. You can also layer it with your lip balms and glosses for added intensity. It comes in five feminine shades at Sephora.
16. 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip & Cheek Stain
This lip tint is unique in its composition, as its color is derived from the fruit and vegetable color pigments used. It also features aloe vera for nourishing and hydrating the lips, while hyaluronic acid adds plumping properties to the product. Wear it on your cheeks or lips for a subtle, long-lasting sheer color. It can be found online at Dermstore.
17. Frank Body Cherry Bomb Lip Tint
Dreaming of having plump lips without any lip fillers? Want to get a perfectly kissable pout that tastes sweet cherries? This multi-use product is for you! It’s a lip balm that you can use on your lips, cheeks and eyelids. Featuring coffee seed and coconut oils, it nourishes and moisturizes the lips while giving that natural subtle tint you need for making your pout kissable. Get it from Ulta Beauty!
18. NYX Professional Makeup Lip Lustre Glossy Lip Tint
Bright, shiny and lightweight, this lip tint is one of the best lip stains if you are looking for a product that’s silky smooth on the lips and that lasts, giving a gorgeous subtle color to the lips. It applies like a gloss and dries to a lovely tint, and what’s more, it won’t break the bank. Pick it up from Ulta Beauty!
19. J.Cat Beauty Liptitude 24/7 Hydrating Lip Stain
Something between a lip gloss and a lipstick, this lip stain is mineral-based and provides a semi-matte finish that won’t dry your lips. It’s water-resistant, long-lasting and lightweight with an intense color that stays put. It comes in a variety of shades, from party-red intense red to everyday subtle pink. Pick your favorite shade from Ulta Beauty!
One could arguably call lip stains and lip tints a type of lipstick, but these are the general differences. Lip tints or lip stains are lightly tinted, kind of sheer lip makeup products that give a little bit of color that lasts.
Lipsticks are usually made with a wax and oil base, which means they are pigmented and have a thick, creamy texture. Lipsticks also often contain emollient ingredients that allow them to moisturize the lips.
Lip stains usually come in a liquid or gel formula, although occasionally you’ll also see oil-based lip stains or creamier lipsticks with a balm-like formula. Whereas lipsticks tend to give opaque, velvety finish to the lips and tend to stay on the lips for up to 6 hours at most, lip stains will have either a very natural finish or a matte finish and will stay on the lips for much longer – up to 12 hours.
You’ll see the words lip stain and lip tint used interchangeably, although often products called lip tints are actually more like tinted lip balms, while some lip stains behave more like liquid lipsticks, with opaque coverage and a matte finish. Lip tints and lip stains usually come with fewer color options, and they tend to be on the more natural side of things, although some exceptions to this rule do exist.
Depending on the pigment intensity and texture, lip stains and lip tints can come in four different forms, which are:
High Pigment Lip Stains
These lip stains usually come in a tube, looking a little bit like lip glosses. However, beyond the initial look these kinds of lip stains are nothing like lip glosses.
They go on the skin like a liquid, but then they dry down very quickly to a matte finish. They are usually very pigmented, so you might also see them referred to as “liquid lipsticks”.
Once they have dried, they are usually very hard to remove, making them a fabulous choice for anyone who needs a very long-lasting lip product. They can also be quite drying on the lips, so it’s important to keep the lips exfoliated and to apply lip balm before using them.
Liquid Lip Tints
These natural lip tints take the form of an alcohol-based liquid formula in a bottle with a brush or applicator, like Benetint, or they might come in the form of a cushion or a “marker”. They usually have very light coverage, and instead of covering the lips with color they actually sink in and give a natural tint.
The key with these kinds of lip tints is to use a very small quantity of makeup, as too much product will simply not sink in and make for a total mess. These lip tints also work beautifully as a blush when applied gently to the apples of the cheeks.
These formulas can sometimes be a little drying so it is very important to keep the lips well moisturized before applying. Like the high pigment lip stains, they also tend to stay on the lips for a very long time and not require reapplications.
Tinted Lip Balms
These lip tints or lip stains come in a creamy formula, and they can look like traditional lipsticks, like crayons, or like lip balms. They are the most moisturizing take on lip tints, so they don’t require as much preparation.
They give the lips a light wash of color that is extremely natural looking, so they’re a great choice for anyone who likes a no-makeup makeup look. Since they are so creamy, they tend to wear away faster than other lip tints or stains, so they might require re-application throughout the day.
Peel-Off Lip Tints
This is the most innovative form of lip tints and it differs from all the others in its application. You just swipe a thick layer of this lip stain on your lips, wait for some ten minutes and once the tint has dried, you peel off the film that has been formed on your lips. Your lips absorb the color pigments of the product, and the final outcome is a rich color that lasts up to 12 hours without any touch-ups.
Different lip tints require different application methods, but definitely play around and use my guidelines to find the technique that works best for you! The beautiful thing about lip tints is that they’re great for makeup minimalists – there is no need for lip primer or lip liner, and you can apply it straight from the applicator without a brush!
• Lip stains and lip tints (especially the more pigmented ones) are unforgiving when it comes to dry skin on the lips – they seem to highlight dryness and flaws! Because of that your first step should be to exfoliate your lips. You can use a DIY sugar and oil scrub or a store-bought product. Scrub your lips with it to remove flakey skin.
• Next apply a touch of a nourishing lip balm and allow it a few minutes to really sink into your lips. It’ll keep your lips protected from the potential drying effects of a high-pigment lip stain. If you’re using a more moisturizing lip tint, you can skip this step, and it will likely do the job on its own.
• You’re now ready to apply the lip tint or stain! If your product comes in a tube with a doe-foot applicator or a brush, begin by wiping off the excess either on the rim of the tube or on a tissue – you want the thinnest wash of color possible, so you want to ensure there isn’t too much product on the applicator.
• If you’re using a liquid lip tint, simply dot it on your bottom lip, and spread it around gently with your finger or a lip brush. Press whatever is left on your finger or brush to your top lip, for the softest wash of color imaginable. That’s all it takes, and your lips will be good to go!
• If you’re using a moisturizing lip tint with very little pigment, you can just run it along the center of the bottom and top lips. Afterwards go over the lip line a little more carefully.
• For a diffused lip tint look that is super popular with K-beauty enthusiasts, only apply the lip tint to the center of your lips, and blend it gently outwards with your finger. This will create a diffused look without a harsh lip edge.
• Pigmented lip stains and lip tints are the hardest to apply, because they dry quickly. Begin by using the doe-foot applicator to sketch out your lip line – I like to start at the outer corner of the lips, and work my way inside in soft strokes. I mark the cupid’s bow with a little X, and connect it to the rest of the lip line. After that filling in the inside of the lips becomes a no-brainer. The key is to make sure there is absolutely no excess product on the applicator.
• Once you’re done, you can clean up the edges of your lip line with the help of a concealer pencil, or a little bit of concealer on a thin brush.
• If you’re feeling like your lips are looking a little bit too matte, layer a thin layer of lip gloss on top!
With the exception of balmy lip tints, most lip stains and lip tints are harder to remove than your average lipstick. This is part of their charm, as they’re meant to save on re-applications and last all day.
However, at the end of the night removing them can be quite a struggle. Some people end up trying to aggressively remove the lip stain with a cleanser, which can dry out and damage the lips. Instead, follow this method to remove your lip stain gently.
• Saturate a cotton pad or cleansing wipe with your makeup remover of choice.
• Press the saturated cotton pad against your lips, and hold it there for a few seconds. This will allow the oils to break down the lip stain.
• Gently wipe away the lip stain or lip tint, but be very careful not to rub – you don’t want to irritate your lips!
• If some lip stain remains, repeat the process.
• Finish off with a healthy layer of lip balm to moisturize the lips.
Photos via @greta_ag, @labase2005, @ryukomac