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Cosmetics

Best Lip Stain

Lip stains are wonderful for women who don’t like the heavy feel of lipstick or the stickiness of a lip gloss. These products leave long-lasting color with a matte finish, and they’re available in gels, brushes, markers, and compacts — and at all price points. Some products incorporate an included gloss or balm for extra moisture, and they can also be layered for a customized level of color. Best of all, lip stains can also be used on the cheeks for a natural flush that stays put.

WET N WILD Mega Slicks Lip Balm Stain

Wet n Wild MegaSlicks Balm Stain is the perfect balance between the saturated color you crave and the rich hydration you need. This glides on like a dream thanks to conditioning palm oil and potent antioxidant acai which keeps lips protected from damaging natural elements as well. Thanks to the inclusion of naturally conditioning active beeswax, this product will stay put on your pucker all day long, maintaining a vibrant and natural look. Choose from twelve diverse shades ranging from nude to deep berry.

New York Color Smooch Proof Lip Stain

One of the best things about NYC Smooch Proof 16HR Lip Stain is the results displayed on the packaging remains true to the color that will show up on your lips. The shades can be layered so you can have your choice of a light pop of color or add on another coat for a deep, bold hue. Enriched with nourishing pro-vitamin B4, this lipstain feels feather light after application and lasts up to 16 hours. Another bonus is this stain is also water-based so you’ll never have to worry about gluey, sticky lips. Shades include peach, nude, various shades of pink, and rich red/berry tones so there’s something for everyone to work with.

Palladio Retractable Lip Liner

Palladio Lip stain is an amazing lipstain product from six diverse shades which can be mixed to give you a wide range of color options. This product uses a safe, lanolin-based conditioner to keep moisture locked for all-day hydration.  The waterproof formula also features a variety of effective active ingredients which help to ensure this lipstain will never cake or flake on you at the wrong time. If you’re in the mood to try/create a new color, this is the lipstain to reach for since it layers so beautifully.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

Revlon Balm Stain is the Allure Magazine’s 2015 “Reader’s Choice” award winning lip stain product. It’s formulated with peppermint and menthol oils which gives your kiss a pop of crisp, icy freshness. There’s also the addition of a paraffin-based wax which locks in natural moisture to provide your lips with long lasting protection. The stain comes with a no-slip grip cap and the tube itself turns up from the bottom so you get the right amount of lipstain every time. If shades of pink/coral make you swoon then these lipstains are sure to be your new favorites. Keep in mind, this is a bold and rich product which wears almost like a lipstick so if you want subtle, this pick might not be for you.

L'Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain

L’Oreal Colour Caresse Wet Shine Stain is a fun product to use and experiment with. You get six long lasting hours of wear from each of the twelve bright, bold shades tinted with natural mica minerals. The water and glycerin-based formula ensures the proper amount of moisture is retained deep within your pout. It also features an adorable applicator provides you with many ways to apply the shades. For example, you can draw a thin outline with the edge or slick on a quick pop of color with the fat side of the applicator; either way you are in total control of your look. This stain will be the one that gives you the highest amount of shine so if you’re aiming more for a “bitten” look, this may not be your best bet.

Kryolan 5212 Lip Stain

If you want a matte color that will last forever, then look further than Kryolan Lip Stain, one of the most popular lip stain brands used by those who need to look their best on stage. This formula contains a high quantity of beeswax which is great for keeping the product in place while nourishing and moisturizing lips at the same time. This product is also formulated with Dimethicone, a safe and active ingredient used to smooth wrinkles and help reduce inflammation by preventing chapped lips.

Ideal for those who demand high quality and lasting performance for an everyday look, this product is available in twelve diverse shades so you’re sure to find a color to suite your mood and attitude. As a nice bonus, this lip stain shields against the damage of harmful UV with active octyl-ideal, a great alternative for those who hate the heavy feel of SPF compounds.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss is hands down one of my favorite beauty products ever. The first thing you’ll notice is the fact a very tiny bit goes a very long way (so consider yourself warned) making this a secret weapon in your beauty arsenal when traveling. Once applied, this lip stain looks like a lip stick as it soaks into the lips instead of just sitting on the surface awaiting continual reapplication.

Available in seven flattering colors, this lip stain is formulated with natural castor and hemp oils which keep lips smooth and protected while vitamin E ensures lips stay moisturized. The lightweight feel and the option to layer this on for a custom look will compliment any look or style. This product needs to be applied with a brush included with your purchase, but a good quality lip brush will also do the job. Feel free to blot before it dries and voila, the perfect pout all day and into the night.

Benefit Cosmetics Lollitint Candy-Orchid Tinted Lip & Cheek Stain

If you crave color and want to go with a feminine look, then Benefit Lollitint Cheek & Lip Stain is perfect for all day and night. Lollitint is a vibrant pink shade with a touch of cool making it ideal for skin with bluish undertones. It’s also a great pick for individuals who gravitate toward a cooler fashion/makeup pallet such as silver, blue, black, and jewel tones. The gentle, water-based formula is formulated to last all day as it soaks in deep into lips and cheeks with a gentle flush of mineral-based iron and titanium oxide color. This stay-put product promises to be kiss proof and won’t rub off on clothing either.

Stila Lip & Cheek Stain, Passion Fruit Crush

The lovely thing about the Stila Passion Fruit Lip & Cheek Stain is it’s truly a double duty product. Cut down on your travel beauty stash and leave your blush at home as this good-for-your-skin product feeds both lips as well as the cheeks. This travel ready stain will pretty your pout and protect your lips/cheeks with the inclusion of nourishing vitamins E and C. These vitamins pair up to deliver rich moisturizing benefits and protection from aging free radicals. The added passion fruit extract adds a triple beauty bonus by offering a pop of color, intoxicating scent, and an indulgent sweet taste.

Booty Parlor Kissaholic Aphrodisiac Lip Stain

Booty Parlor Kissaholic Aphrodisiac Lip Stain is a long lasting, water-based formula which strikes the perfect balance between rich bold color and lightweight wear. The ingredients are almost all natural and contain exotic plant extracts like turnera diffusa leaf, liriosma ovate wood, and ginger root extracts. These ingredients are intended spark desire. With this in mind, this fun-to-wear lip stain is ideal for your next date night. Available in three shades that can be applied lightly for a day time look or layered on for a bolder pop of color, making this product a lot of fun to experiment with.

Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip & Cheek Stain

Josie Maran is known for natural cosmetics (and more) infused with good-for-your-skin argan oil, and this lip stain marker delivers long-lasting color with the benefits of antioxidants. This product avoids the potential for dryness with a tinted plumping balm opposite the marker. The universal shade gives lips a just-bitten look, and you can use the stain all over the lips for all-day color (and layer for more intensity), or just as a liner (topped off with the balm) for a lighter look.

Pixi Lip Blush

If you’re looking for a true matte lip stain (and a budget-friendly price point), look no further than this magic marker. Designed to stay put for up to 8 hours (and it really does), this water-based stain feels weightless on the lips. The color is sheer yet definitely noticeable, and extra layers yield a darker result. For the best outcome, be sure to moisturize lips before applying.

Pop Beauty Stain Stay Lip

Super-lightweight but packed with color, this lip stain marker offers smudge-free color that lasts and lasts. With this lip stain, there’s no chance of color bleeding, but make sure the cap is on tightly so the marker doesn’t dry out. It doesn’t dry out the lips like many other stains, and with a little balm on top, you can enjoy smooth, soft lips that have a healthy flush all day long.

Revlon Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm

This super-pigmented marker leaves an intense wash of color that’s instantly absorbed — which means it stays put. To prevent the lips from looking and feeling dry, it has a clear balm on the other end (which can also be used on its own). After you apply, you don’t even know it’s there - and the color lasts for hours. It also works well as a base for similarly colored lipstick. The pointed tip makes it easy to apply precisely.

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstain

This is a great lip stain for those who are looking for more subtle color. The marker makes it easy to apply, and once the color dries, you can’t tell you're wearing anything. This lip stain is best for accentuating your natural lip color, as it doesn’t appear dramatic. It also has a fresh berry scent. However, this isn’t as long-lasting as some other lip stains, so you may have to reapply more often.

Becca Beach Tint

This award-winning lip stain has a cult following for good reason: the creamy, supremely blendable formula offers a long-lasting, water-resistant wash of color. Each one is named after a tropical fruit, and has a delicious corresponding flavor; you’ll have trouble choosing from one of the eight. A little goes a long way for color that lasts - just be sure to shake before squeezing out a dollop of product since it has the potential to separate. Even more, it might become your favorite blush, too.

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Stained Gloss is hands down one of my favorite beauty products ever. The first thing you’ll notice is the fact a very tiny bit goes a very long way (so consider yourself warned) making this a secret weapon in your beauty arsenal when traveling. Once applied, this lip stain looks like a lip stick as it soaks into the lips instead of just sitting on the surface awaiting continual reapplication.

Available in seven flattering colors, this lip stain is formulated with natural castor and hemp oils which keep lips smooth and protected while vitamin E ensures lips stay moisturized. The lightweight feel and the option to layer this on for a custom look will compliment any look or style. This product needs to be applied with a brush included with your purchase, but a good quality lip brush will also do the job. Feel free to blot before it dries and voila, the perfect pout all day and into the night.

Black Radiance Moisturizing Lip Stain

Offering the longevity of a lip stain with the shine of a gloss, this gel delivers intense color in an easy-to-apply slanted-tip tube. It has the power to last for hours on its own, but the addition of lip liner helps it stay put even longer. The price can’t be beat, and it’s jam-packed with hydrating ingredients that help it go on smooth without feeling heavy or sticky. While the color doesn’t last as long as other stains, the extra moisture makes it worth applying more often.

Vincent Longo Vincent Longo Lip & Cheek Gel Stain Cupids Breath

This waterproof, kiss-proof, extremely long-wearing lip stain is great because it comes in a small tube that’s easy to take on the go. The gel formula makes it easy to dot on before you start to blend. You can use one layer for a natural “just-bitten” look, or multiple layers for more intensity. A great stain for cheeks as well, it comes in three shades to suit every skin tone. Tip: Apply to lips, allow to dry, then apply balm or gloss.

theBalm Stainiac Tinted Gel Blush

This product was designed with ease of application in mind, and the water-based formula gives you more time to blend than most others. The formula is non-drying, but topping it off with balm or gloss keeps lips looking and feeling supple. With three natural shades, there’s a hue for every skin tone, and it’s a little stickier than other stains (but that’s due to the non-drying formula). The result is definitely more natural than drastic, but that’s a good thing for those looking for just a sheer wash of color.

Laura Mercier Lip Stain

Unlike other stains that can leave lips looking and feeling dry, this wonderful product offers long-lasting color with the shine and comfortable feel of a gloss. A little dab is all it takes, and the hydrating ingredients keep lips smooth and soft for hours. The range of 6 shades runs the gamut from pale pink to plum, and it never feels sticky. It also doubles as a hydrating cheek color.

Garden Botanika Cherry Lip & Cheek Stain

Small enough to tuck in your pants pocket, this is a true lip (and cheek) stain albeit with a lot better blendability than other stains on the market. It comes in one shade to give lips a just-bitten look; although it goes on sheer, it can be layered for extra color. It dries to a non-greasy finish, and the color lasts for hours and offers the most natural “no makeup” look.

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge For Lips & Cheeks

Offering more color options than any other range of lip stains, this multipurpose color is available in hues to suit every complexion and preference. Designed to be blotted on the lips for a light wash of color, it may not last as long as others but it has won many magazine awards. We suggest applying a little balm first to prevent a dry appearance, and the included mirror for on-the-go touch-ups is an added plus. It’s amazing for cheeks as well.

NARS Cosmetics Lip Lacquer

Though technically called a lip gloss, the darker shades of this product leave long-lasting color that can be considered a stain. The “Eros” and “Hot Wired” shades leave the most stain-like finish, and the gloss formulation keeps lips soft and hydrated. Applying with a finger creates a more natural look, and lining with a coordinating pencil and using a brush to fill in has a more made-up, polished result.

Paige Herman-Axel
With almost 15 years experience as a beauty editor, blogger and writer, products are my life! Name it, I've probably tried it, and it's my pleasure to share my finds and experiences with the world at large. From skincare and makeup to haircare and more, I'm up on the latest launches and all the perennial product favorites, so everyone can reap the beauty benefits!
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