Our Favorite Long-Lasting Lip Stains for the Perfect Popsicle Lips

November 11, 2022
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
YSL, NYX, and L'Oreal lip stains on red background
Nothing says effortless beauty quite like a lip stain. One coat adds a sheer, natural-looking flush of color that might make others question whether you’re actually wearing lipstick or not. To achieve that low-maintenance, just-bitten look that lip stains have to offer, keep reading for our favorite formulas to try.

What Is a Lip Stain?

As L’Oréal Associate Principal Chemist Roselin Rosario previously explained to Makeup.com, lip stains are a lip product in which the pigment is absorbed by the skin, as opposed to sitting on top of the skin (as is the case with regular lipsticks). This is why lip stains give off that blotted look, like the color has soaked into your lips, while lipsticks have a more opaque, layered look. 

As explained by Rosario, the chemical formulation is the main difference in the finishes; whereas lip stains are water-based, and can therefore be thinner and seep into your skin, lipsticks are typically free of water. 

How Long Does a Lip Stain Last?

The best part about lip stains is that, unlike glosses and lipsticks, reapplication is usually less essential. This is because the pigment of a lip stain, depending on the formulation, typically lasts for a few hours. In other words, these products are probably more likely to last through eating, drinking and kissing than your average stain lipstick. 

What Is the Difference Between a Lip Stain and Lip Tint?

Between the blotted-out finish and long-lasting nature of a lip stain, you might be wondering how it's any different from a lip tint, another tried-and-true alternative to lipstick. 

One of the main differences between a lip stain and a lip tint is color payoff. Lip stains typically deliver more pigment than a lip tint, therefore giving you a bolder look. Lip tints tend to be offered in more subdued shades and are helpful in creating a subtle, no-makeup makeup look.

While lip tints are easily removable with a makeup wipe, lip stains tend to last a little longer — and when you do remove them, the color may leave behind a wash of color on your lips.

What Is the Difference Between a Lip Stain and Lipstick?

If you’ve ever worn lipstick before, you’re familiar with the waxy or creamy feel — and the need to reapply every few hours and after meals.

Lip stains are a bit different. Where lipsticks are thicker and creamier, lip stains are very, very thin and have a runnier consistency. A lip stain provides long-lasting color, and unlike lipsticks which can have different finishes, lip stains usually have a natural or slightly matte finish after soaking into your lips. 

How to Remove a Lip Stain

The best part of a lip stain is how long it lasts — but that can also be the worst part if you don’t feel like wearing makeup anymore.

Most lip stains will dissolve throughout the day, but if you need to get your lip stain completely off without waiting for it to disappear naturally, reach for an oil-based makeup remover or a micellar water and a cotton pad. (One of our favorites is the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1.) You can also check out this article, which highlights makeup removers that can tackle long-lasting lipsticks. 

Another help tool in lifting off lip stain pigment may be a lip scrub — though you’ll want to be sure to gently massage it over your lips and avoid aggressive scrubbing. One of our favorites is the Sara Happ Vanilla Bean Lip Scrub. After you’ve removed your lip product, be sure to replenish your lips with moisture with a lip balm or a lip mask, like the Kiehl’s Buttermask For Lips.

The Best Lip Stains and Lip Products for the Perfect Popsicle Lips

From traditional lip stains to lightweight liquid lipsticks that provide long-lasting color, these are some of our favorite products for creating that popsicle-stained lip look.

Additional reporting by Trishna Rikhy; Design: Juliana Campisi

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