The 12 Best Lip Stains for Long-Lasting, Photo-Ready Pouts

Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Rose Lip Blush & Cheek Tint earned our top spot for it’s versatile formula.

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Best Lip Stains

Kohls

For me, applying a lip product is the easiest ways to finish off an outfit, so I never go anywhere without one. Though I love lipstick as much as the next person, I’ve found myself reaching for lip stains more and more — in fact, you can find at least one lip stain in just about every purse and jacket I own.

When I first discovered lip stains a few years ago, they quickly became a game-changer in my makeup routine. They’re such a great alternative to some heavier lipsticks, and their longer wear time alone is incredible, as the formulas stay on from the moment I sit at my desk in the morning until I head home at night — and that’s through multiple coffee breaks and lunch without reapplication.

While there are so many lip stains available, not all of them are worth the money. To assist in your search, we’ve done the research to bring you the most comfortable, pigmented, long-lasting formulas. In the end, Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Rose Lip Blush & Cheek Tint snagged our best overall spot for its natural, yet rich finish and duality (it can also be used as a cheek stain).

For the full list, keep reading for the 12 best best lip stains of 2022.

Best Overall: Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Cheek & Lip Stain

4
Benefit

Sephora 

What We Love: This multi-tasking tint can also be used as a lip and cheek stain.

What We Don’t Love: We wish the applicator was a precise, doe foot tip rather than a thin brush.

There’s nothing better than a multi-use product that looks incredible no matter how you wear it — and few compare to Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Rose Lip Blush & Cheek Tint. Not only does it act as a stain for your lips, it also adds a gorgeous flush to your cheeks, too.

Upon application, the liquid formula looks pretty glossy, but as the color soaks into your lips and sets, the end result is very natural, leaving a tint that looks like you just finished a cherry popsicle. The best part is that the pigment won’t fade or budge — it’ll stay in place for up to eight hours, even if you’re eating and drinking. The swipe-and-go formula is ideal for those no-makeup makeup days to instantly add a pop of color to your face.

We do wish we could change the tiny applicator, though, because the brush is a bit flimsy and sometimes causes the stain to feather along the lip line. To avoid this, it’s helpful to use your fingers to blend out the formula.

Shades: 5 | Wear Time: 8 Hours | Finish: Natural

Price at time of publish: $30

Best Value: e.l.f. Glossy Lip Stain

e.l.f. Glossy Lip Stain

Ulta

What We Love: The pigment is super buildable, so you can get just a hint of color with one swipe or layer it on for a punchier pout.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not very long-lasting, so you’ll need to reapply every few hours.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a quality lip stain. Case in point: The e.l.f. Glossy Lip Stain. The lightweight, glossy formula glides onto lips leaving behind a juicy, long-wearing sheen that’s completely buildable. One swipe gives you just a hint of color, while two coats increases the opacity — this customizable finish makes it a great lippie to transition your look from day to night. If you’re like me and need to have a lip product in every purse you own, this is one you’ll wish you had on hand in every single color. And at $6 a pop, it’s completely attainable to own each of the eight hues. The only downside is that the glossy finish is prone to fading, so to maintain a glazed look, you’ll need to reapply every so often.

Shades: 8 | Wear Time: 4 to 6 Hours  | Finish: Glossy

Price at time of publish: $6

Best Splurge: Dior Addict Lip Tint

Dior Addict Lip Tint

Sephora

What We Love: The semi-matte stain provides 24 hours of hydration.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not extremely pigmented.

It’s one thing for a product to have pretty packaging, but when the formula inside is just as impressive, it’s truly a winner. That’s the case for Dior Addict Lip Tint. The velvety tint feels and looks luxurious, making it worth the extra pocket change. While the lip stain has a semi-matte finish,  it’s still incredibly hydrating and keeps lips comfortable for hours thanks to its key ingredient, cherry oil.

As much as we love the formula, the color payoff isn’t where we want it to be. The product is actually quite sheer in comparison to other lip stains. Keep this in mind, especially if you decide on a darker hue because it won’t be as bold as you would expect it to be.

Shades: 12 | Wear Time: 6 hours | Finish: Semi-Matte

Price at time of publish: $38

Best Color Payoff: FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain

FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain

Kohl's

What We Love: The stain is very saturated and bright.

What We Don’t Love: The formula tends to concentrate on dry areas.

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain quickly went viral on TikTok shortly after its release in June, which ultimately led to the product selling out by the beginning of July. Luckily, the product is back in stock, and you’ll want to grab it stat.

The application differs from other stains because you actually want to wipe it off after you apply it — this removes the glossy excess, but you’re left with a beautiful, natural-looking pigment that makes your lips look like you just enjoyed a juicy popsicle. The shade names are just as delightful as the color payoff, too: Strawberry Sangria, Berry Banger, Mai Type, and Zesty Bestie are odes to the feelings and flavors of summer.

If your lips are prone to drying out, make sure to exfoliate before applying this lip stain. The formula tends to cling onto dry patches, and can make the overall finish appear splotchy.

Shades: 4 | Wear Time: 7 Hours  | Finish: Natural

Price at time of publish: $24

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

L'Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain

Amazon

What We Love: You’ll experience almost no transfer throughout the day.

What We Don’t Love: The formula is thicker than other lip stains.

If you’re always on the go and looking for a lip stain that will get you through an entire day, this is the one for you. While lip stains are designed to stay on longer than other lip products, the Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain from L’Oréal Paris creates the ultimate transfer-proof look. Personally, I usually opt for more matte lip stains, and this is one of my favorites because I don’t have to worry about reapplying during long work days — even after lunch or a coffee break. The pointed applicator allows you to precisely apply the product, and makes it easy to line as well as fill in your lips. The formula feels heavy when you first put it on, but rest assured that once it dries you won’t be able to tell that you have anything on your lips.

Shades: 37 | Wear Time: 10 hours  | Finish: Matte

Price at time of publish: $6

Best Shade Range: Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Always Red

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Always Red

Sephora

What We Love: This stain comes in over 75 shades, so you’re sure to find the exact color you’re looking for.

What We Don’t Love: The shades aren’t completely consistent — some are more opaque than others.

It’s not common to find a lip product that’s available in over 20 shades, let alone nearly 100. But Sephora is here serving variety and quality with their Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick. When testing the product I couldn’t help but fall in love with the color range, which includes everything from trending colors like Coral Sunset (a brick red), to all-year staples like Honeymoon (a nude pink). The best part is that once you apply the product it truly does not budge — I even tried Dare To Be Pink, a hot pink, and it stayed for hours without fading, feathering, or transferring. If you do choose a darker hue, you may need to swipe on an extra layer on the center of your lips because I find it to be a little sheer after just one swipe.

Shades: 79 | Wear Time: 10+ Hours  | Finish: Matte

Price at time of publish: $15

Best Plumping: Buxom Serial Kisser Plumping Lip Stain

Buxom Serial Kisser Plumping Lip Stain

Buxom

What We Love: The plumping effect isn’t overly powerful.

What We Don’t Love: The colors tend to fade in the center.

If you want an extra boost in the pout department but are wary of getting fillers (we get it, needles can be scary), Buxom Serial Kisser Plumping Lip Stain is a great alternative and immediate solution that doesn’t require long term commitment. The serum-like formula features hyaluronic acid (an ingredient used in fillers) to hydrate and plump, and it coats your lips with a juicy, glossy color. You won’t experience the uncomfortable tingling sensation that you get with other lip plumpers, making it very comfortable to wear, too. Though the color payoff lasts for about four hours, you’ll probably need to reapply if you grab a bite to eat.

Shades: 7 | Wear Time: 4 Hours | Finish: Gloss

Price at time of publish: $22

Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

4.8
Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Lip Color

Ulta

What We Love: The precision applicator allows you to seamlessly line and fill in your lips.

What We Don’t Love: The matte formula may take a little long to dry.

While this product is technically marketed as lipstick, it acts just like a lip stain, earning itself a spot on the list. The precision applicator is shaped like an arrowhead, which allows you to have the utmost control when applying — this is key, especially since matte finishes are more difficult to correct once dried. And once it’s dry, you best believe it’s not going anywhere. Like the name suggests, it has super staying power and is completely budge-, transfer-, and kiss-proof for up to 16 hours. I even went out for pasta with a friend after work, and there was minimal fading after the meal. Keep in mind that the formula does take a little bit longer to dry. As a result, it may feel stickier compared to other products on this list, but once the lightweight formula sets, you’re good to go.

Shades: 40 | Wear Time: 16 Hours  | Finish: Matte

Price at time of publish: $7

Best Moisturizing: Clarins Water Lip Stain

Clarins Water Lip Stain

Ulta

What We Love: The glossy color won’t smudge or fade.

What We Don’t Love: Because the formula is watery, the application can be tricky.

Lip stains have a tendency to feel more drying than other lip products, but this one from Clarins could double as a lip balm thanks to ultra-hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and raspberry. The four shades initially apply bold and bright, but as the day wears on they sheer out and look more natural. The watery consistency of the formula can be hard to control with the included applicator, so we recommend applying it with your fingers for the best results.

Shades: 4 | Wear Time: 8 Hours  | Finish: Natural

Price at time of publish: $29

Best Peel Off: Wonderskin Wonder Blading Peel and Reveal Lip Stain

Wonderskin Wonder Blading Peel and Reveal Lip Stain

Amazon

What We Love: The three step process makes application feel like a fun science experiment.

What We Don’t Love: There’s too many steps if you’re in a rush.

Wonderskin Wonder Blading Peel and Reveal Lip Stain surprised us in the best way possible: There’s a scientific three-step application process, and that uniqueness alone makes it stand out from the rest. First, you’ll swipe on the mask, which is made with both purified seaweed and hydra-g complex to help keep lips soft and hydrated. Don’t be alarmed by the dark purple formula — it’s not the final shade.

Next, you’ll spray on the activator, which is mixed with a sugar complex. This is what will ultimately give you your desired pigment, and the sugary ingredient makes it taste sweet as it works its magic. You’ll feel a slight tingling sensation on your lips, but this is proof that the process is working. After a few seconds you can start to peel off the mask, revealing lips flushed with new color. If you want the color to look even richer, you can repeat the process a second time. The best part of this stain is that it doesn’t fade or look patchy.

One thing to note is that it doesn’t have the fastest application as you can’t swipe and go. So, if you’re in a major rush, you’ll want to try out an alternative or plan for the extra time.

Shades: 12 | Wear Time: 8 Hours  | Finish: Natural

Price at time of publish: $32

Best Sheer: Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint

Victoria Beckham Bitten Lip Tint

Victoria Beckham

What We Love: It’s extremely hydrating thanks to hyaluronic acid and squalane.

What We Don’t Love: The color is more sheer than expected.

Sure, Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint looks gorgeous, but what makes it stand out is what it does for your lips behind the scenes as you wear it. Not only does it keep lips hydrated with ingredients like squalane, but it also subtly plumps lips thanks to sodium hyaluronate and mustard sprout extract, which also work to soothe the lip area so you won’t experience that irritating tingly feeling that comes with some plumpers. If you prefer a more sheer lip, this is the perfect product for you because it provides a very low-key, natural look — but if you prefer more dramatic color payoff you may want to go with something else.

Shades: 4 | Wear Time: 10 Hours  | Finish: Natural

Price at time of publish: $36

Best K-Beauty: Etude House Dear Darling Water Gel Tint Ice Cream

Etude House Dear Darling Water Gel Tint Ice Cream

Amazon

What We Love: This tint keeps lips hydrated throughout the day.

What We Don’t Love: The formula can feel sticky when first applied.

Made with hydrating ingredients (including glycerin) and fruit extracts, this water-based tint keeps lips healthy, supple, and refreshed through every season. Available in five universally-flattering shades ranging from a pale pink to a deep red, each hue is designed to brighten your complexion and enhance your features. The packaging is also super cute, reminding us of a summertime ice pop, and extremely compact, making it easy to fit in smaller purses. Although the formula is water-based, the initial application can feel a little sticky. Once it’s dry, though, it feels smooth and comfortable.

Shades: 5 | Wear Time: 4 Hours  | Finish: Glossy

Price at time of publish: $7

What to Keep in Mind

Finish

Similar to lipsticks, lip stains also come in a range of finishes. Although it’s more common to find matte or satin formulas, some lip stains can be glossy, too. While finish is totally a personal preference, matte and satin lip stains tend to wear longer than those with glossy ones. For a matte formula, we recommend Dior Addict Lip Tint, but if you’re after a more satin or natural finish opt for our best overall pick Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Rose Lip Blush & Cheek Tint. As for a glossy option, you can’t go wrong with Buxom Serial Kisser Plumping Lip Stain.

While you can’t really turn satin or glossy products matte, professional makeup artist and founder of Beia Beauty, Brittany Lo, says that you can make matte products glossy by swiping a clear lip gloss on top.

Longevity

Not only do lip stains look more natural, but they were also invented to be long-lasting. Most formulas will stay put for four to eight hours, but there are others that can last upwards of 10. (Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick can last up to 16 hours!) Keep in mind, though, that how you prepare your lips will impact the longevity of your lip stain. Lo recommends grabbing a lip scrub, then swiping on a layer of lip balm to give your lips a boost of hydration before applying your stain.

Ingredients

Typically, a lip stain can dry out your lips much more quickly than other lip products, so it’s important to look for ingredients that maximize the hydration factor. Lo says to look at the label and opt for formulas that contain oils, beeswax, or humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. All of these will help lock in hydration so your lips stay comfortable all day. We find Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Poutsicle Hydrating Lip Stain to be one of the most comfortable, non-drying lip stain formulas.

If the formula doesn’t have these ingredients Gloria Lu, Cosmetic Chemist and creator of Chemist Confessions suggests "layering a lip balm over top to keep lips moisturized.”

Your Questions, Answered

How do you apply a lip stain?

After preparing your lips with a scrub, apply a lip balm and allow it to soak into your skin. Blot off any excess, then line your bottom lip with the lip stain before filling in only the bottom lip. Rub your lips together to allow some of the product to transfer to your top lip then repeat the same lining and filling process on your top lip. Once complete, use a paper towel to blot away any excess product.

How long do lip stains last?

On average, lip stains are meant to last for hours and sometimes all day. However, the true wear time differs from product to product. This makes them a great option for special occasions, because they’re more reliable than lip glosses or lipsticks. “Because of their natural wear time and their extensive color offerings, lip stains are definitely great for wedding days or long events,” said Lu.

How do you remove lip stains?

Despite their longwear, lip stains are actually easy to remove at the end of the day. For seamless removal, either use an oil or an oil-based makeup remover — the stain will slide right off and won’t leave any residue.

Why Trust InStyle

Taylor Bushey has been an avid writer across a range of publications since 2015. She is also a makeup enthusiast and is always trying out the latest products and finding out each new trend.

The experts for this story include Gloria Lu, a Cosmetic Chemist and creator of Chemist Confessions who specializes in crafting cosmetic products like specialized facial cleansers and exfoliators; and Brittany Lo a Professional Makeup Artist and Founder of Beia Beauty and Beautini who focuses on the importance of beauty wellness and self-care.

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