The Scoop on Lip Stains

We admit we were skeptical at first, but after a few convincing Tik Toks, we decided to try lip stains – and now we’re hooked. If we’ve piqued your interest, read on for everything you need to know about this life-changing product.

What Is Lip Stain?

A lip stain is a lip product absorbed by the skin rather than just sitting on the skin like a regular lipstick. Once absorbed, the formula temporarily stains the lips, lasting significantly longer than other lip products, despite eating, drinking, etc.

How Effective Are Lip Stains?

As with any product, the effectiveness of lip stains varies from brand to brand. But a quality lip stain won’t smudge, transfer, or bleed, giving your lips color that stays put for up to 12 hours.

Are Lip Stains Bad for Your Lips?

The short answer is no; however, lip stains can dry out your lips, so we recommend finishing your look with a hydrating gloss or balm.

Is There a Difference Between Lip Stains and Lip Tints?

Yes. The difference comes down to pigmentation. A lip tint will give you a long-lasting, more natural-looking hint of color, while a lip stain is a long-lasting, boldly pigmented stain.

Lip Stain Tips

While not complex in their application and use, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the most of your lip stain.

  • Lip stains are dryer than other lip formulas, so it’s advisable to exfoliate your lips with a scrub to nix any dead skin before applying your stain.
  • Always use the wand to apply, not your fingertips. The product can stain your fingers.
  • Have fun with colors. Start with neutrals to get the hang of the application, then experiment with bolder hues.
  • Keep a hydrating balm on you at all times.
  • Remember the phrase “less is more.” Even a small lip stain product will last a while because you don’t need to apply much. If you add too much, it can slide around and make a mess. Apply lightly and in layers, then top off with a balm.
  • Read the package instructions carefully. Some formulas require stains to be applied and then peeled off once they dry; these formulas typically dry black, which can be alarming if you aren’t expecting it.

Our Favorite Lip Stains

If you’re officially Team Lip Stain, check out a few of our favorite formulas!

ColourPop Glossy Lip Stain ($9, shop here)

ColourPop’s Glossy Lip Stain is a great starter formula to master the application process. It’s a moisturizing formula with a subtle gloss, with multiple shades to choose from.

Benefit Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain ($24, shop here)

You read that right: This product serves double duty. And it has a cult following for good reason – it works! It glides on smoothly, is buildable for a bolder color, and won’t dry your skin.

Etude Dear Darling Water Gel Tint ($7.15, shop here)

If you’re looking for a highly pigmented yet lightweight gel formula, look no further than Etude’s Dear Darling Water Gel Tint. Despite the liquid formula, this product only takes a second to dry. Just be mindful of the consistency because thinner formulas tend to be messier. And, for what it’s worth, these tints also smell incredible.

Stila Calligraphy Lip Stain ($25, shop here)

Okay, lip liner friends, we’ve got you covered. Thanks to the precision tip, Stila’s Calligraphy Lip Stain doubles as your basic lip stain and liner. It goes on sheer, lightweight, and evenly – perfect for building. The formula lasts about eight hours and is transfer- and smudge-proof.

Wonderskin Wonder Blading Peel and Reveal Lip Stain Kit ($29, shop here)

This kit is quality. The formula is slightly thicker, and the application process is a bit more complicated, but it’s worth it. After applying the stain to your lips, top with the setting spray, then wait 45 seconds while the product sets. You’ll feel a tingling sensation; then, you’ll peel away the product and be left with beautifully pigmented lips. And believe us when we say this color isn’t going anywhere!

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