The 10 Best Tinted Lip Balms of 2022 for a Subtle Flush of Color

NARS Afterglow lip balm has just the right amount of color we want with unlimited hydration

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 Best Tinted Lip Balms of 2022 for a Subtle Flush of Color

Sephora

Honestly, I live for a great tinted lip balm. As someone who loathes a drying matte lipstick, I’m always reaching for a sheer wash of color that won’t dry out my pout. You just can’t beat the hydration you get from these natural-looking balms.

Considering there are so many tinted lip balm options — and many of them are great formulas — it was difficult to pare down this list from an endless scroll to something actually curated. With the help of a few experts and product testing, we decided that NARS Afterglow Lip Balm might just be the best because the formula keeps lips moisturized, while the sheer shades make them look pretty kissable, too. 

Below, we’ve rounded up the very best tinted lip balms on the market, so you can swipe and go with ease.

Best Overall: NARS Afterglow Lip Balm

NARS Afterglow Lip Balm

Sephora

What We Love: The balmy texture and subtle shimmer makes this look more elevated than just a lip balm.

What We Don’t Love: The color payoff isn’t as bold as some other options.

I love the texture of this balm — it’s not too waxy but not too slippery either, and it stays on my lips for a solid amount of time. It hydrates my lips after one application (so I never have to reapply, except if I want a bit more color) and leaves them soft long after I apply.

We love that some of the shades come with a bit of subtle shimmer, which can look very sexy when done right. And all of the colors are very wearable. None are super bold or bright — each shade offers a sheer wash of color in a way that might be hard for anyone to tell if you have a lip product on or not. In other words, they look very natural and forgiving on the lips. But if you’re looking for a tinted lip balm with lots of color, you should probably look elsewhere. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: 0.1 oz. | Shades: 8 | Scented: No

Best Drugstore: ChapStick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint

ChapStick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint

Walgreens

What We Love: It has lots of shades to choose from.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not as moisturizing as some of the other options.

The first time I tried these tinted lip balms, I fell in love. The color payoff surprised me because of how inexpensive this pick is. And every one of the seven shades somehow looks great on my lips. One of the downsides of this formula is that it’s not as moisturizing as some of the other picks on this list. Additionally, I notice that it will sometimes look a bit cakey if my lips are parched. When that’s the case, I’ll usually apply a sheer lip balm underneath, and then add the ChapStick Total Hydration Moisture + Tint for some sheer color.

Price at time of publish: $5

Size: 0.12 oz. | Shades: 7 | Scented: No

Best Splurge: Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine Lipstick Balm

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine Lipstick Balm

Sephora

What We Love: It offers 23 colors, which is the best range on this list.

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t look that natural.

Every time I whip this one out of my bag and swipe it across my lips, I feel powerful. I love carrying around the sexy packaging, but aside from that, the color range and formula blew me away. With 23 shades to choose from, everyone can find a flattering shade for themselves. 

But the lip balm doesn’t look like a light flush on your lips — it definitely looks more like a lipstick with the hydrating powers of a balm. It offers an impressive shine, too, and feels more like an oil rather than a balm regardless of its payoff. 

Price at time of publish: $39

Size: 0.11 oz. | Shades: 23 | Scented: Yes

Best Natural: rms beauty Hydrating Tinted Daily Lip Balm

rms beauty Hydrating Tinted Daily Lip Balm

Sephora

What We Love: It has a nice, subtle color payoff with clean ingredients. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t last super long on the lips. 

RMS Beauty does a fantastic job of creating high-performance products with clean ingredients — the Hydrating Tinted Daily Lip Balm is a great example. This pick comes in seven shades, including pinks, reds, oranges, and plums. Thanks to beeswax, the formula feels waxier than it does slick. It’s also soy-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and fragrance-free, too. Sometimes, my sensitive lips can get irritated from fragrances, but I don’t have to worry about that when applying this to my lips. 

One of the downsides of this product is that it doesn’t stay on your lips for very long. However, I don’t expect a lip balm to stay put on for as long as, say, liquid lipstick or stain might, so it’s easy to look past. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Size: 0.10 oz. | Shades: 7 | Scented: No

Best Moisturizing Formula: Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm

Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm

Ulta Beauty

What We Love: The formula is super moisturizing. 

What We Don’t Love: The shade range feels a bit lackluster.

Need an ultra-hydrating formula to get you through colder weather? Try Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm. The buttery soft this formula feels moisturizing without traces of stickiness, dryness, or tackiness, thanks to the included avocado and camellia seed oil, which deeply nourish the lips. The shade range could use a little innovation, though. We wish the berry-heavy range featured a pink or a blue-toned red in order to complement more undertones.

Price at time of publish: $18

Size: 0.1 oz. | Shades: 6 | Scented: No

Best Natural Finish : ILIA Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm

ILIA Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm

Credo Beauty

What We Love: The shade range impresses us.

What We Don’t Love: The round bullet makes for a messy application.

Unlike Keys Soulcare’s lip balm, we’re actually very impressed with the color options for Ilia’s Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm — and so is Delina Medhin, a celebrity and editorial makeup artist, who appreciates that she has many options for her clients. Within the eight shades, you can find pinks, reds, berries, and browns, complementing all skin and undertones. It has a natural finish that looks good on everyone. Plus, the formula features hydrating ingredients like rosehip seed oil and shea butter for a creamy application and long lasting hydration.

However, we don’t love the round bullet, which makes application a bit difficult. You definitely need a mirror to apply this one. And the buttery formula makes it a bit slippery. If you do mess up, though — happens to the best of us — it’s easy to wipe away without ruining the rest of your makeup.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: 0.15 oz. | Shades: 8 | Scented: Yes

Best Long-Lasting: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Lip Balm

Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Lip Balm

Chanel

What We Love: The great color payoff that will last a long time. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t offer a ton of hydration.

A tinted lip balm is nowhere near as long-lasting as, say, a matte liquid lipstick. But there are certainly tinted lip balms that will last longer than others, like Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Lip Balm. Not only does it come in five very flattering shades, but it also has a great color payoff, too, which stays on your lips longer than some other options on this list. Additionally, the formula is waxier than it is buttery, proving that it will stay on your lips longer than a thinner consistency might. 

Medhin calls this balm “buildable” because “you can really intensify the color payoff,” she explains. But the waxier formula doesn’t hydrate quite as well as some of the more buttery options on this list. Yet, it’s still moisturizing enough to be comfortable while adding beautiful color to the lips.   

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: 0.1 oz. | Shades: 5 | Scented: Yes

Best Color Payoff: Sunnies Face Lip Treat

Sunnies Face Lip Treat

Sunnies Face

What We Love: Each shade offers amazing color payoff.

What We Don’t Love: The gloss wears off after a while.

The Sunnies Face Lip Treat offers a moisturizing, shiny formula with a nice color payoff, too. Thanks to shea butter and collagen, this pick really hydrates the lips effectively after just one swipe. The colors for each balm definitely show up vivid on lips, and the balmy texture also offers a really nice shine that you might not find with other lip balms on this list. But I do wish the glossiness you get upon first application stays put a bit longer

Price at time of publish: $16

Size: 0.10 oz. | Shades: 7 | Scented: No

Best Shine: Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish Sheer Colour Lip Balm

Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish Sheer Colour Lip Balm

Pat McGrath Labs

What We Love: The lovely sheen and shine this lip balm offers. 

What We Don’t Love: It feels like you’re mainly paying for packaging.

We’re impressed with the shine this tinted lip balm offers. The lightweight, non-sticky formula made with shea butter and vitamin E is buildable, allowing you to customize your look. If you want a slight wash of color, slick on one coat, but for a bit of oomph, layer it together. I love the dramatic packaging, but with the price, it feels like most of my money is being spent on the packaging, rather than the formula. Take that into consideration before you buy.

Price at time of publish: $38

Size: 0.08 oz. | Shades: 7 | Scented: Yes

Best Sheer: Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm

Dior Addict Lip Glow Balm

Sephora

What We Love: It’s great for those who want a super sheer wash of color. 

What We Don’t Love: The formula isn’t as moisturizing as others.

It just doesn’t get more iconic than the Dior Addict Lip Glow. I mean, are you even an it-girl if you don’t have this floating around somewhere in your purse? This pick is another lip balm that has a very impressive shade range (13 shades), but instead of offering bold colors, each shade looks sheer and like a slight flush. One note: the formula isn’t as moisturizing as some of the other picks on this list, and you might even find it a bit sticky. That being said, because it’s not as buttery of a formula as some others, this pick will last longer on your lips, since it’s less likely to slide off. 

Price at time of publish: $32

Size: 0.12 oz. | Shades: 13 | Scented: Yes

What to Keep In Mind

Hydration

According to Mark de los Reyes, a celebrity makeup artist with The Canvas Agency, hydration is key. “We want our lips to be supple and hydrated,” he says. “So make sure to drink your water and hydrate from the inside out —then you can pick out a lip balm that can support and retain all that moisture.” Look for ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E, which can be found in majority of these lip balms on this list, to have ultimate hydration.

Opacity

The opacity of your tinted lip balm is a personal preference — do you want a balm that is super sheer with just a hint of color, or something that’s a little more buildable? “I tend to opt for a lip balm that can give me a wash of color yet buildable enough for a sheer-medium coverage,” says de los Reyes. “This allows me just enough color while keeping the natural nuance of the lip visible.” Anyone looking for a sheer shade should try Dior Lip Glow, while those interested in more payoff should opt for Sunnie’s Face.

Texture

Another thing to consider when purchasing a tinted lip balm is the texture of the formula—there are waxy semi-matte balms, silky oils, and juicy jellies. “The finishing texture is your story to tell; how do you want your lips to look and feel?,” asks de los Reyes. “Maybe for a night out, try playing with an oil-based balm that has a little more shine and a smoothing silky texture.”

Your Questions, Answered

Can you use tinted lip balms overnight? 

Both Medhin and de los Reyes agree that using a tinted lip balm isn’t harmful for your lips, but might not be ideal for your pillowcases. “I typically do not [use tinted lip balm overnight] because I wouldn't want the color to transfer to my pillowcase,” explains Medhin. “For overnight wear, I would suggest a clear lip treatment.”

That being said, if you’re really desperate, a tinted lip balm overnight should be fine. “Let’s just say you were in a pinch and you were left with just the solitary tinted lip balm that’s been in your bag all day, and there was no way you were going to sleep without hydrating those lips,” says de los Reyes. “It would be perfectly fine to apply and blot the excess color away with a tissue, and then get to bed.”

Is it possible to over-use lip balms?

It’s debatable! “I’m personally addicted to keeping my own lips moisturized, and I’m aware that the more I use balms, the more my lips may feel as if they’re dependent on that daily or hourly swipe of moisture,” says de los Reyes. “This is why it’s important to go for products that will nourish and moisturize your lips if you apply your lip balms habitually—this way, if you do over-use, would it really be so wrong?”

Why Shop With Us

Daley Quinn is a freelance journalist, content strategist, and beauty industry expert with over ten years of experience in the media industry. You can find more of her work on her website or read the latest from her beauty and lifestyle blog, The Daley Dose. Daley loves pops of color and is always down to try the latest tinted lip balms to add some oomph to any makeup look. We interviewed two celebrity makeup artists, Mark de los Reyes and Delina Medhin, for this story because of their extensive work done with celebrities, clients, and their many years of testing makeup products on the market.

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