Lip Stains and Lip Tints Both Offer a Natural Finish, So Which One Should You Use?

It doesn't get more effortless as far as lip colors go.

Lip Stain and Lip Tints Both Offer a Natural Finish, So Which One Should You Use?

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There's never a wrong moment to wear a statement lip, but applying (and maintaining) a bold matte lipstick takes precision and the willingness to touch it up throughout the day.

Thankfully, lip stains and lip tints exist for those times when you want to wear a pop of color, but can't be bothered to do more than swipe on your lipstick and go. While both of these products aren't as pigmented as a traditional lipstick, they still add a soft wash of color to your lips.

So, when you're looking for a low-maintenance lip color which product should you use? Keep reading to find out the difference between lip stains and lip tints and how to wear each one.

Lip Stain: Long-Lasting Color

Lip stains are liquid products that offer long wear because they absorb into the lips. They add color to the lips and fade into a soft, lived-in look with wear. "The liquid color from a lip stain is absorbed by the skin rather than sitting on top of the lip like a cream lipstick or gloss," says Hillary Clark, makeup artist and founder of Beauty HAC. "This allows it to temporarily stain the epidermis and remain in place until you are ready to take it off."

They're also ideal for anyone who prefers a low-maintenance color. "It’s a lovely product to use if you want a bitten lip/wine-stained lip look," adds Moani Lee, a celebrity makeup artist. "They're also great to use for moments where you want the long-wear staying power without reapplication."

How to Apply a Lip Stain

As far as lip products go, lip stains are nearly effortless to apply. Lee recommends exfoliating the lip and applying a lip balm first to ensure the stain goes on smoothly and doesn't settle into any flakes as the day goes on.

"Dab off any excess [lip balm] and then tap your favorite lip stain in very small taps starting from the center of your lip," instructs Lee. "Remember less is more and you can always add more for added intensity. Blend outwards by rubbing your lips together or blending out with clean fingers." If you want to build the color, add more lip stain using the same technique.

Lip Tint: Sheer Color

Lip Tints are the sweatpants of lip products: they're soft, cozy, and effortless. A tint is ideal for anyone who wants a subtle, natural finish. "Lip tints are the go-to product for a your lips-but-better, natural effect," Clark confirms. "They come in sheer powder and cream textures that are ideal for a no makeup look."

"Lip tints are sheer lip colors that are easily smudge-able and give a lived in, natural looking hint of color on the lips. This is a gorgeous option if you just want a hint of color or an effortless approach," Lee adds. The makeup artist suggests pairing a tint with a fresh skin, including using the tint on your lips and cheeks for a cohesive look.

How to Apply a Lip Tint

Like with lip stains, Lee suggests prepping the lips with a gentle exfoliator and a nourishing lip balm for a smooth, even finish.

You can also use an eyeshadow base for the lip tint to adhere to it so it stays on longer. "I like to prep lips with a colorless eyeshadow base to extend their wear," Clark says. "Part of the beauty of a lip tint is its effortless look so I usually avoid lip liner. The shadow base will keep the tint from feathering into lines."

Lip stain vs. lip Tint: Which one should you wear?

When all is said and done, choosing between a lip stain and lip tint comes down to staying power. "The big difference between tints and stains is in the wearability - a lip tint will easily wipe away with a tissue or wear away and require reapplication while a stain temporarily 'stains' the lip and has much longer staying power," Clark explains.

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