If there is an Olympic competition for makeup, it’s a wedding. From the tears to the chatting to the drinking—not to mention the smooching and smiling—weddings test the limits of makeup, especially when it comes to lip color. Every bride wants their lip color to last all wedding without bleeding, fading, or worse yet, transferring to their partner’s cheek.
So what product is up for the challenge? Lip stain. As the name suggests, these lightweight, highly pigmented liquids stain your lips for color that last for hours. Though they are effective at staying put, some formulas tend to be too drying, creeping into your lips’ creases. So we decided to test 23 different lip stains to see which offered color and comfort. We rated each product on the application, pigment, feel, and staying power. To truly put the lip stains through the test, we recorded how much product transferred after eating, drinking, and rubbing our lips with napkins. We also rated the stains on how easy they were to take off, since you’ll want to do that eventually, right? After compiling our results, we rounded up the best lip stains that gave us long-lasting, beautiful color and a comfortable feel.
From the pigment to the staying power to the mid range price point, this lip and cheek stain impressed us on all accounts. With one dip of the brush, we got a ton of color payoff from this creamy yet lightweight stain. We hardly remember we had it on, that is, until we looked in the mirror and saw the stunning shade. Our drinking cup was left looking spotless, and the color lasted through our entire work day until we were ready to take off our makeup at night. Talk about a hardworking product!
Price at the time of publish: $25
Shades: 5 | Finish: Satin Matte | Size: 0.2 oz
For the most color payoff, we recommend this lip stain from Fenty. Though it’s a bit more glossy than some of the others on this list—thanks to the hydrating squalene—it really packs a color punch with just a swipe of product. We did have to wait a little bit for it to dry, but then it barely transferred to our cup after drinking and it didn’t require reapplication. We appreciate how the product didn’t settle into our lips’ crevices, and all the layers we applied blended together for a seamless look.
Price at the time of publish: $27
Shades: 6 | Finish: Satin | Size: 0.22 oz
If there ever is a time to invest in a good quality lip color, it’s your wedding. You want a product that can last through all the smiling, kissing, and eating while still feeling comfortable on your lips. Dior Addict Lip Tint is it. The tint has a mild minty scent and a lightweight, watery gel consistency that wasn’t sticky at all. We loved how the tint didn’t dry out our lips nor did it settle into the creases of our lips. Yet what really impressed us was its staying power. Even after blotting, eating, and drinking, the color stayed in place. In fact, it took an entire makeup wipe plus a tissue with micellar water to remove it. Yes the $40 tube is a bit pricey, but you can be assured it will last through the entire wedding.
Price at the time of publish: $40
Shades: 12 | Finish: Semi Matte | Size: 0.2 oz
We hate to use cliches, but this lip tint really does give you a lot of bang for your buck. The product reminded us of fruit juice, with a light fruity scent and a thin, watery consistency. We definitely had to be careful when applying it to our lips to ensure it didn’t drip. With a few swipes, we had a very natural, matte flush. We love how buildable the color was and how it truly didn’t feel like we had anything on. Still, the product had incredible staying power, barely transferring to tissues and drinking cups during our tests. Taking it off with makeup remover took a bit of elbow grease, but that’s a good problem to have.
Price at the time of publish: $7
Shades: 5 | Finish: Semi Matte | Size: 0.18 oz
While lip stains get a bad rap for being drying, this one blew us away with its hydrating powers. Thanks to a combination of hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, this stain left our chronically dried lips feeling supple and smooth. Since it wasn’t heavy or sticky, we didn’t have to worry about our hair getting caught or constantly making touchups—the last thing you want at a wedding. The color itself was very buildable, taking a few coats to reach our desired level of coverage. And it didn’t budge at all, despite drinking and eating an apple. Bring on the three courses.
Price at the time of publish: $34
Shades: 4 | Finish: Satin | Size: 0.33 oz
If you don’t like the feeling of a lot of makeup, but still want some color for a wedding, we recommend this lip stain from Clarins. As the name suggests, the product is as lightweight and smooth as water. Plus, it packs raspberry water and aloe vera to hydrate while the brand’s anti-pollution complex protects your lips from environmental stressors. In other words, you can comfortably use this long after the big day. We found the color to be very pigmented, so we only needed a couple of coats. Our lips seemed to soak up the color, creating a flawless, “woke up like this” hue. And the stain barely left a trace on napkins and drinking cups. Considering how great it is for both everyday and special occasions, it makes the higher price point worth it.
Price at the time of publish: $30
Shades: 4 | Finish: Matte | Size: 0.2 oz
With 45 different shades, Peripera’s tint is ideal for the bride looking for that precise, perfect shade for their lips. The formula has a thick and creamy texture, depositing a ton of color in just one swipe. Because of its velvety texture, it caters to those who prefer a more luscious look rather than completely matte. As the color dries, we barely felt it on our lips. Though some of the product did transfer on our drinking cups, our lips stayed evenly pigmented with no color bleeding or straying. As demonstrated on TikTok, this product is uber popular for its versatility, as you can use it on your cheeks as well. And, it’s only $10.
Price at the time of publish: $10
Shades: 45 | Finish: Creamy Matte | Size: 0.14 oz
Benetint has been the go-to lip and cheek stain for a reason. The universally flattering shade dried fast, imparting a gorgeous rosy glow on our lips. We love how we could just put it on and go, without too much prep work or clean up. And when it came to eating and drinking, it barely transferred. Yet it only took a few passes to remove at the end of the day, making our life a little bit easier.
Price at the time of publish: $33
Shades: Rose | Finish: Natural | Size: 0.33 oz
What to Look for in a Lip Stain
Usually, a lip stain is the first color you apply on your lips, acting as a sort of foundation for your wedding look. That’s why it’s best to take some time to consider what color you want to wear on your wedding day. Most makeup artists recommend brides go with their signature shade or something a few tones darker than their natural lip color.
And if you are planning on taking black and white photos for the wedding, bridal makeup artist Michelle Schultz says it’s best to avoid wearing a shade that’s too dark since it can make your lips look black in photos. Unless, of course, that’s the look you are going for.
While lip stains tend to be more on the matte side of the finish spectrum, some do offer more of a satin finish, like Huda Beauty Creamy Lip and Cheek Tint. The more matte a lip color, the more staying power it has, explains Schultz, so for a shade that truly won’t budge, go with a matte stain, like Etude Dear Darling Water Tint.
If you are worried about a lip stain drying out your lip, look for formulas with hydrating ingredients. Charlotte Tilbury Tinted Love Lip and Cheek Stain left our lips hydrated thanks to nourishing hyaluronic acid and vitamin E.
Lip stains are typically lightweight, highly pigmented liquids that stain your lips for long-lasting color. Lipsticks, on the other wand, are a waxy substance that create a coat of color on your lips. Since lip stains are more matte, they are less likely to fade or rub off than lipstick. However, if you prefer more of a shiny lip, Schultz recommends going for a longwear satin lipstick.
Since lip stains are more sheer and less forgiving, you want to make sure your lips are nice and smooth before applying. Use a lip scrub to buff away any rough patches or dry spots. Then you can use the applicator to evenly apply the stain to your lips. It’s best to apply in thin layers until you get the level of color you are looking for. For a little extra shine, you can top the lip stain with a lipstick or a lip gloss.
As much as we love lip stain’s staying power, that also means they can be hard to remove. No one wants to spend hours taking off their makeup after a long wedding! The best way to remove lip stain is to use an oil-based makeup remover, cleanser, or product like petroleum. You can apply the oil to your lips and let it sit for a few minutes, so the oil can start to break the color down. Then you can use a makeup wipe to remove the stain with inward strokes. Viola!
Why Trust Brides
Emily Cieslak is an associate commerce editor, covering all things beauty and fashion. Her personal favorite lip stain is the Peripera Ink Velvet Tint. For this article, we tested 23 different lip stains to test their wear, color, and feel first-hand.