Lip stain is a makeup product that comes in liquid form and generally stays on the lips longer than lipstick, leaving a tint of color. It is a cousin of the ever-popular lip gloss and lip stick and has been seeing a big comeback lately on TikTok and Google Trends.
Depending on the brand, pigment style and texture, it can be anywhere from soft and creamy to straight up liquid. It can also come in a roll-on, gel with a sponge tip applicator or marker-like tube with firm tip like the ones you used in school (which is what we usually see). Unlike lipstick, most lip stains have less viscous formulas and are meant to blend in with natural lip color, so they tend to offer fewer shade choices. They can range from soft pastel pinks to reddish hues.
While lip stains are easy to apply, they do need to be removed. Some may be easily wiped away with a napkin or washcloth, but most will need a micellar water or oil-based remover like the TRULY Beauty GLOAT Sexy Soft Lip Scrub to completely dissolve the pigment. Even a little bit left behind can smudge and leave a blotchy look on the lips.
It is important to exfoliate the lips before applying a lip stain as this will help the product to glide on smoothly and not flake or crack throughout the day. Applying a thin coat of lip balm before applying the stain will help prevent any dryness or flaking as well. For best results, start by lining the lips with a pencil or a brush and then filling them in with the lip stain. For a soft wash of color, do a light application on the center of your lips and then add more for more intensity. For a bolder look, begin with the outer corners and then work your way into the center.
One thing to keep in mind when choosing a lip stain is that it will typically have more ingredients than your typical lipstick. Often times, a lip stain will have preservatives and other chemicals to make sure it stays fresh, which can lead to an unwanted peeling or uncomfortable feeling on the lips. You want to be careful about selecting one that does not contain any fragrances, parabens or other irritants as those can be irritating and damaging to the skin.
The difference between a lip stain and a glossy lipstick lies in how shiny the product is. “Glossy lip products rely on shiny ingredients that sit on top of the lipstick to give it its shine, which will wear off over time,” explains Rosario. “Lips stains that offer a glossy finish are made differently and rely on the stain itself to shine.”
Lip stains and glosses can both be great additions to your makeup bag, but they have different purposes in a makeup routine. It is essential to understand the differences between each product so you can decide which is right for you.