The 13 Best Lip Stains to Give You That Popsicle Finish

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If we’re being honest, there are plenty of times when we find ourselves needing a bit more than a swipe of lipstick or lip gloss. Call us demanding, but we firmly believe there’s a time and a place for everything. Situations where we need our lip color to stay put require nothing less than a lip stain.

Lip stains are an ideal middle ground for those times when you need your lip color to not budge a single inch through a multitude of precarious situations (like mask-wearing or sweating profusely during a workout, to name a few). Luckily for us, lip stains no longer arrive in a few color options with drying formulas. Nowadays, lip products have gotten a much-needed upgrade with a barrage of color options and a variety of formulas and finishes. 

To help you avoid any unnecessary sticky situations, we’ve rounded up a list of the very best lip stains that’ll keep your lips looking plump and hydrated.

Meet the Expert

Kate Synnott is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty creative director at RÓEN.

Keep scrolling to find the best lip stains available.

Best Overall: Ere Perez Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint

Ere Perez Beetroot Cheek + Lip Tint

Ulta

What We Like
  • Water-resistant 

  • Buildable

  • Long-lasting

  • Multiuse formula

What We Don’t Like
  • Dries fast; must apply quickly

For a formula that’ll last through everything (including a sweat sesh or an at-home dance party), you’ll want to reach for this Ere Perez formula. Its two vibrant shades—Joy (bright cherry red) and Fun (bright fuchsia pink)—add a buildable bright natural pigment. The lip stain is both water-resistant and long-lasting, which is why it’s our favorite. Since it’s also made to be used on both your cheeks and lips, you can use it to create the fresh-faced, natural makeup look that you’ve been eyeing.

Size: 0.15 ounce | Finish: Matte | Shades: 2 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Budget: L'Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain

L'Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Long-lasting

  • Precise applicator for easy application

What We Don’t Like
  • Hard to remove 

Confession: With a price tag that rings in at under $15, this L’Oréal lip stain is just as incredible as its pricier counterparts. The multiple shade options, long-wearing formula, and precise applicator solidify how great it is. Plus, its matte formula feels super lightweight on your lips, so there’s no need to worry about your lips feeling dry as with some other lip stains.

Size: 0.23 ounce | Finish: Matte | Shades: 9 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore: Flower Beauty Bitten Lip Stain

Flower Beauty Bitten Lip Stain

Ulta

What We Like
  • Glides on smoothly 

  • Hydrating

  • Not tacky on lips 

What We Don’t Like
  • Takes a while to set 

With a formula that applies like a gloss and stays put like a stain, there isn’t much not to love about this pick from Flower Beauty. Its water-based formula, lightweight gel texture, and long-lasting tint are packed with moisturizing ingredients while avoiding the tackiness and dryness that lip stains typically bring. Also nice: Its six shades—in pink and red variations—would look fabulous on all skin tones.

Size: 0.16 fluid ounce | Finish: Glossy | Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Matte: Tarte Lippie Lingerie Matte Tint

Tarte

 Sephora

What We Like
  • Glides on smoothly

  • Buildable

What We Don't Like
  • Small size 

Searching for a lip tint with the best matte finish? Opt for this one from Tarte. It arrives in six smooth neutral shades—just like a balm—for a buildable, full-coverage hue. Each variation is intended to deliver the “my lips but better” look—and it certainly achieves. And we’d be remiss not to mention that it contains mango seed for protection and cupuaçu and murumuru butter for added moisture.

Size: 0.10 ounce | Finish: Matte | Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Plumping: Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint

Victoria Beckham Bitten Lip Tint
What We Like
  • Smoothing and plumping

  • Gives great pigment

  • Natural-looking

What We Don’t Like
  • Can feel tacky

A smoothing and plumping lip tint sounds like something that could never exist, but this one from Victoria Beckham Beauty proves it’s possible. With a natural, highly pigmented color, all you need is one swipe (and maybe a slight touch-up) to get you through the entire day. This lip tint in particular is also a favorite of Kate Synnott, a celebrity makeup artist and beauty creative director of RÓEN. “Bitten Lip Tint feels smooth and plumps while giving a nice pigment stain to the lips without looking like you have anything on.” 

Size: 0.19 fluid ounce | Finish: Semimatte | Shades: 3 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Natural: RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

Amazon

What We Like
  • Buildable

  • Multiuse formula

  • Hydrating

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't always last long

  • Uses a lot for strong color payoff

Truth be told, there aren’t many things more satisfying than a two-for-one product that actually works as intended. Thanks to its blendable cream formula, only one swipe is required for a gorgeous natural wash of color. And you can choose from nine mineral-based shades, making it simple to wear a different one every day of the week (and then some) if you desire. Plus, each shade looks equally pretty on both your cheek and lips.

Size: 0.17 fluid ounce | Finish: Natural I Shades: 7 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Natural, Runner-Up: Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer

Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer

Amazon

What We Like
  • Delicious scent 

  • 99% natural formula

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Small size 

This sheer, semimatte lip stain from Rituel de Fille is a favorite among Byrdie editors for a multitude of reasons. With each swipe, the formula feels super lightweight and provides a translucent yet highly pigmented hue. Aside from its 10 unique color choices, it also has a delicious scent and a formula that’s 99% natural. 

Size: 0.06 ounce | Finish: Semimatte | Shades: 10 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Hydrating: Clarins Water Lip Stain

Clarins Water Lip Stain

Ulta

What We Like
  • Great alternative to lip gloss

  • Not tacky on lips

  • Lightweight

  • Long-lasting

What We Don’t Like
  • Formula is a bit watery

  • Not great in hotter temperatures

If you’re aiming to find a lip stain that rivals a lip gloss, you’ll adore this one from Clarins. It’s undoubtedly a fantastic alternative, especially since it has a glossy finish sans any stickiness or color fading. “Water Lip Stain is more glossy-looking than other lip stains,” says Synnott. “I like using it as an alternative to lip gloss since it’s less sticky yet still leaves your lips looking luscious.” 

Size: 0.20 fluid ounce | Finish: Glossy | Shades: 4 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Double Duty: Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain

4
Benefit

Sephora 

What We Like
  • Gives great pigment

  • Multiuse formula

  • Buildable

What We Don't Like
  • Application can be tricky 

Honestly, no list of lip stains would be complete without the OG: Benefit’s Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain. The stain’s five natural hues are game-changing to say the least, delivering a smudge-proof flush with a slight glow. “This stain has a super-strong color payoff—especially the shade Playtint, ” explains Synnott. “I like that you can use it on the cheeks and lips and sometimes even on the eyes, depending on the shade.” 

Size: 0.20 fluid ounce | Finish: Sheer | Shades: 5 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Long-Lasting: Charlotte Tilbury Tinted Love

Charlotte Tilbury Tinted Love Lip & Cheek Stain

Charlotte Tilbury

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Natural-looking

  • Buildable

What We Don’t Like
  • Uses a lot for strong color payoff

  • Hard to remove 

While all lip stains are considered long-lasting, this pick from Charlotte Tilbury deserves the spotlight. It’s buildable and applies like a gloss yet leaves a stunning satin finish, achieving a flushed lip look. Also nice: It contains vitamin E and hyaluronic acid for added hydration.

Size: 0.33 fluid ounce | Finish: Satin | Shades: 5 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Pigmented: YSL Beauty Vinyl Cream Lip Stain

Yves Saint Laurent Vinyl Cream Lip Stain

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Precise applicator for easy application

  • Gives great pigment

  • Hydrating

What We Don't Like
  • Strong fragrance

With a heavy hit of color, hydrating, and staying power (10 hours to be precise), this Yves Saint Laurent lip stain is an all-around winner. Compared to other lip stains, it boasts impressive coverage, which is why you should keep in mind that a little color goes a long way. The applicator's slanted tip and short, soft bristles allow for a precise swipe every time. It has an impressive shade range, too. 

Size: 0.18 fluid ounce | Finish: Glossy | Shades: 7 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Shade Range: Dear Dahlia Satin Glow Lip Stain

Dear Dahlia ​​Satin Glow Lip Stain

Dear Dahlia

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Lightweight

  • Not tacky on lips

What We Don’t Like
  • Doesn't always last long

Available in six super versatile shades, both the quality and quantity of these Dear Dahlia lip stains are impressive. With each swipe, the stain melts into your lips, providing a luminous satin glow. Its lightweight water-gel formula adds moisture without leaving any stickiness or feathering in its wake. Plus, it packs a punch by looking like a gloss with the staying power of a stain. 

Size: 0.18 fluid ounce | Finish: Glossy and semimatte | Shades: 6 | Cruelty-Free: Yes I Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Splurge: Dior Addict Lip Tattoo

Dior Addict Lip Tattoo
What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • Leaves lips feeling super smooth

  • Gives great pigment

What We Don’t Like
  • Hard to remove

For a lip stain that’ll stay in place for 10 hours while looking natural and feeling weightless, you’ll want to reach for this pick from Dior. The tinted ink lightly adds a healthy wash of color and lasts through drinking, sweating, and kissing without budging an inch. Wear it alone for a neutral-looking hue or use it as a primer underneath your favorite gloss. “Compared to the other lip stains, this one is more of a velvet stain,” says Synnott. “It's got a bit more pigment and long-lasting wear and leaves your lips feeling really smooth.” 

Size: 0.20 ounce | Finish: Luminous | Shades: 4 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

You'll want to keep in mind a multitude of things when searching for the best lip stain: the staying power, shade range, formula, and appearance, to name a few. A great everyday choice is Ere Perez Beetroot Cheek & Lip Tint (view at Ulta). It can be used as a lip stain or blush and gives off a gorgeous vibrant wash of color. Looking for something you can purchase on a budget? L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain (view at Ulta) is your best bet. Not only is it affordable, but it stacks up incredibly well in comparison to its pricier counterparts. Prefer to have a lip stain that’ll last through it all? Opt for YSL Beauty Vinyl Cream Lip Stain (view at Sephora) or Dior Addict Lip Tattoo (view at Sephora), which both last for up to 10 hours.

What to Look for in a Lip Stain

Finish

The first thing Urban Decay Global Makeup Artist Steve Kassajikian recommends looking for when shopping for a lip stain is the finish. While you don’t have as many choices as you would with traditional bullet lipsticks, most stains either have a matte or glossy finish. However, it’s worth noting that the latter will eventually wear off (much like a regular lip gloss) and the stain left behind will be matte.

Hydrating Ingredients

Like full-coverage liquid lipsticks, lip stains also have the potential to leave the lips feeling dry. Kassajikian recommends seeking formulas that contain hydrating ingredients to avoid this issue. Alternatively, another great way to avoid dryness and help lock in color is to apply a thin layer of balm once the stain dries down. 

Waterproof Formula

The whole point of wearing a lip stain is to, well, stain your lips, providing you with long-lasting color that doesn’t need to be constantly reapplied. While most formulas tend to have longer wear than traditional lipsticks and glosses, Kassajikian recommends reaching for a waterproof formula to ensure your color will last through just about anything. 

FAQ
  • How do you apply lip stains?

    Lip stains are best applied with your finger, explains Synnott. “You want it to be blended in and look like your lips are naturally that color.

  • How long do lip stains last?

    It varies. “It truly depends on the brand and the person’s lips,” advises Synnott.

  • What is the difference between lip stains and lipstick?

    A lip stain is a very lightweight texture, completely absorbing into the lips, leaving a little stain, says Synnott. “On the other hand, lipstick is more pigmented and heavyweight and can come in many different thicker textures.”

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Rachel Dube has written for some of the biggest beauty publications out there. As someone who’s always running from place to place, she often doesn’t have time to reapply lipstick or gloss, which is when she decided to turn to lip stains.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any lip stains from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Meet the Expert

Steve Kassajikian is Urban Decay’s global makeup artist.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Abdalla AEM, Darwish SM, Ayad EHE, El-Hamahmy RM. Egyptian mango by-product 2: Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of extract and oil from mango seed kernelFood Chemistry. 2007;103(4):1141-1152.

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