The Best Lip Stains, According to Our Editors

July 14, 2020
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
Nothing says effortless beauty quite like a lip stain. Applying a lip stain to your pout can add a sheer flush of color that looks so good and natural, it makes others question whether you’re wearing lipstick or not. Because most lips stains are, by definition, drier than your lipsticks, they can (and will) emphasize any flaws — think flakes, small lines and general dehydration. Plus, they’re usually thinner in texture than creamier products, which means they can be unforgiving. But don’t worry — with some minor prep you can achieve that soft-bitten desirable look lip stains offer. Trust us — the extra minute it takes to do this will be more than worth it to make the long-wearing color look perfect all day long. Here’s how to get started.

How to Prep Lips for a Lip Stain

STEP 1: Moisturize Your Lips

The biggest mistake you can make before reaching for your new fave lip stain isn’t the lip stain you choose, but skimping on lip balm. That little layer of moisture keeps flaky dryness at bay and gives you an overall smoother, softer surface with which to work. Throw a tube in your bag to keep lips looking fresh and juicy throughout the day. We like the Maybelline New York Baby Lips Dr. Rescue Medicated Lip Balm.

STEP 2: Lock it in With Lip Liner

Yes, lip stain is designed to stick around, but it’s not going to apply as precisely as a good old-fashioned lipstick with a pointed bullet and the creaminess to trace a line. Reach for a lip liner in a matching color (or clear, if you’re going for a more natural look). The goal here is to use a soft stroke, just to have a guideline. Pro tip: Blend the lip liner so there’s no obvious outline.

STEP 3: Choose the Right Color

Now, it’s time to choose the right shade for your skin tone. Cool tones, those that are blue-based, work better for fairer skin. Warm tones, those closer to orange or red, look gorgeous on olive to dark complexions. 

Best Lip Stains to Try

Art Direction and Photography: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy

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