9+ Key Differences Between Lipstick vs Lip Stain In 2023

They say ‘beauty is pain,’ but in 2023, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for a gorgeous pout. Enter the world of lip stain and lipstick, two beauty staples that can elevate your look and make you feel like the confident, empowered person you are. But what exactly sets them apart? 

In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between lipstick and lip stains, helping you navigate through the beauty aisle with ease.

Picture this: it’s a sunny day, and as you walk down the street, heads turn to admire your stunning smile. Your lips are perfectly tinted with a vibrant pop of color that lasts all day long. 

That’s what lip stain promises a long-lasting hue that won’t smudge or fade away easily. On the other hand, lipstick offers versatility with its wide array of shades and finishes. 

Whether you want a bold red for a night out or a subtle nude for everyday wear, lipstick has got your back. So which one should you choose?

Let’s dive into the details and discover which option suits your needs best in 2023.

What Is Lip Stain?

Lip stain is a popular alternative to traditional lipstick, and understanding its key differences can help you achieve the perfect pout.

When it comes to ingredients, lip stains often contain more natural pigments and fewer waxes or oils compared to lipsticks.

Applying a lip stain requires precision, as it’s designed to leave a long-lasting color that gradually fades throughout the day.

While lip stains offer a lightweight feel and fade evenly, they may not provide the same level of hydration as lipsticks and can be less forgiving if applied incorrectly.

Ingredients In Lip Stain

  • Lip stain contains water as its main component, which keeps lips hydrated and prevents dryness.
  • Glycerin is an important ingredient that adds moisturizing properties, keeping lips soft and supple throughout the day.
  • Lip stains use pigments to create vibrant colors like bold red, pretty pink, or rich berry shades, offering long-lasting color without frequent reapplication.
  • Preservatives are included to extend the shelf life of lip stains, ensuring they don’t spoil quickly and allowing for prolonged use.
  • Some lip stains may have fragrance, providing a pleasant scent or taste for a more enjoyable application experience.

How To Apply A Lip Stain

To achieve a flawless application, start by gently exfoliating your lips and keeping them moisturized with lip balm. 

This will ensure that your lip stain goes on smoothly and evenly. Use a gentle scrub or a soft toothbrush to remove any dry skin from your lips, and then apply a thin layer of lip balm to keep them hydrated.

Once your lips are prepped, it’s time to apply the lip stain. Start by applying the color to the center of your top lip, following the natural shape of your lips. Use short strokes to fill in the rest of your lips, making sure to cover every area evenly. 

If you want a more intense color, allow the first layer to dry completely before applying additional coats until you achieve the desired shade.

After applying the lip stain, it’s important to let it dry completely before touching or smudging it. This will ensure that the color sets properly and lasts longer throughout the day. If there is any excess lip stain on your lips, gently blot them with a tissue to remove it without disturbing the rest of the color.

For an added touch of glossiness, you can apply a small amount of lip balm over the lip stain once it has dried. This will give your lips a subtle shine and keep them looking hydrated throughout wear.

The Pros And Cons Of Lip Stain

Pros of Lip Stain:

  • Long-lasting and natural-looking color.
  • Stays on your lips for an extended period, even when eating or drinking.
  • Light and comfortable feel, like wearing minimal makeup.
  • Provides a subtle tint that enhances your natural beauty.
  • Some lip stains can also be used as cheek tints for a matching makeup look.

Cons of Lip Stain:

  • May require practice to achieve an even application.
  • Might not keep lips as moisturized as other lip products, potentially causing dryness.
  • Limited color choices compared to traditional lipsticks.
  • Applying lip stain perfectly can be tricky with certain applicators or formulas.

What Is Lipstick?

Lipstick is a popular cosmetic product that adds color and definition to your lips. It’s typically made with a combination of waxes, oils, pigments, and other ingredients to create a smooth and creamy texture.

To apply lipstick, start by prepping your lips with a lip balm or primer. Then, use the lipstick bullet or a lip brush to fill in your lips with color.

While lipstick can enhance your look and boost your confidence, it does have its pros and cons. For example, it provides long-lasting wear, but it can also have a potential drying effect on the lips.

Ingredients In Lipstick

  • Waxes, oils, pigments, emollients, preservatives, fragrances or flavoring, and antioxidants are key ingredients in lipstick.
  • Waxes give lipstick its solid form and smooth application, preventing smudging and melting.
  • Oils keep lips moisturized and prevent dryness, providing a comfortable texture.
  • Pigments determine the lipstick’s color, ranging from bold reds to subtle nudes.
  • Emollients make lips soft and supple while wearing lipstick, ensuring comfort.
  • Preservatives keep lipstick fresh, safe to use, and extend its shelf life.
  • Fragrance or flavoring adds a pleasant scent or taste to some lipsticks.
  • Antioxidants protect the lipstick and provide nourishment to the lips.

How To Apply A Lipstick

Enhancing your lips with a pop of color is as simple as following these easy steps to achieve the perfect lipstick application. 

First, make sure your lips are smooth and moisturized by gently removing any dry skin and applying a little lip balm. This will create a smooth canvas for the lipstick to adhere to.

Next, outline your lips using a lip liner that matches your lipstick or your natural lip color. This step helps create a neat look and prevents the lipstick from bleeding or feathering throughout the day. 

Start in the middle of your upper lip and follow the shape of your lips, moving towards the corners.

Once you’ve outlined your lips, it’s time to color them in! 

Apply the lipstick starting from the center of your upper lip and work towards the corners, making sure to cover your whole lips evenly. 

If you want a stronger color payoff, you can apply a second layer of lipstick after gently blotting your lips with a tissue to remove any excess product.

Now that you have beautifully colored lips, it’s important to avoid smudging while the lipstick is still wet. 

Be mindful not to touch or rub your lips together until it has fully dried. If you accidentally go outside your lipline during application, simply use a cotton swab with a little concealer to clean up any mistakes.

The Pros And Cons Of Lipstick

Pros of Using Lipstick:

  • Wide range of colors and finishes available, allowing you to express your personal style and make a statement with your lips.
  • Lipstick instantly enhances your overall appearance by giving your lips a bold and beautiful color, adding glamour to any look.
  • Many lipsticks are formulated with moisturizing ingredients, keeping your lips soft and hydrated throughout the day, especially during colder months.
  • Lipstick can make your lips stand out and become a focal point of your makeup.

Cons of Using Lipstick:

  • Frequent reapplication may be necessary, especially after eating or drinking, as lipstick tends to fade more quickly than other lip products like stains or tints.
  • Some lipsticks may feel heavy on the lips, which might not be comfortable for those who prefer lightweight makeup.
  • Darker shades of lipstick may leave marks on cups and utensils, requiring extra care while enjoying food or beverages.

9+ Key Differences Between Lipstick vs Lip Stain In 2023

In 2023, when considering the difference between lip stain and lipstick, there are a few key points to keep in mind.

Firstly, the formula of lip stains is designed to leave a long-lasting tint on your lips, while lipstick provides more coverage and intensity.

Secondly, when it comes to pigmentation, lipsticks tend to offer a wider range of shades and finishes compared to lip stains.

Lastly, the texture and application of these products differ with lipstick offering a creamy and smooth feel, while lip stains provide a lightweight and thin consistency for a more natural look.

1. Formula

The formula of a lip stain hugs the lips, leaving behind a long-lasting, vibrant color that feels weightless and comfortable. 

Unlike traditional lipstick formulas that use wax or oil-based ingredients, lip stains are typically water-based or gel-based. 

This unique formulation allows the color to adhere to the lips for an extended period of time without smudging or fading.

One major advantage of the water or gel-based formula used in lip stains is its ability to provide a natural-looking tint. 

The lightweight texture allows the product to blend seamlessly with your own lip color, creating a subtle wash of color that enhances your natural beauty. 

Additionally, the formula dries quickly upon application, reducing the chances of transfer onto cups or clothing.

However, it’s important to note that there are some drawbacks to using lip stains compared to traditional lipstick formulas. 

The longevity and staying power of lip stains may make them more difficult to remove at the end of the day. 

Additionally, some individuals may find that certain lip stain formulas can be drying on their lips. It’s always recommended to moisturize your lips before applying any type of lip product in order to keep them hydrated and prevent any potential dryness.


  • Long-lasting color.
  • Weightless and comfortable feel.
  • Natural-looking tint.


  • Difficult removal.
  • Potential drying effect.

2. Pigmentation

Lip stains offer a burst of vibrant color that effortlessly paints your pout with a weightless, long-lasting hue. 

The pigmentation in lip stains is designed to be sheer initially, allowing you to achieve a natural and subtle flush of color on your lips. However, the beauty of lip stains lies in their buildable formula, which means you can layer on more products for a bolder and more intense look if desired. 

This versatility allows you to customize your lip color according to your preference and the occasion.

With advancements in technology and formulation, lip stains in 2023 have become even more pigmented than before. 

You can now find lip stain formulas that deliver rich and saturated shades, providing an opaque color coverage similar to traditional lipsticks. 

These highly pigmented lip stains offer the best of both worlds – the long-lasting properties of a stain combined with the intense pigmentation of lipstick. 

Whether you prefer a subtle wash of color or want to make a statement with bold lips, there’s a wide range of options available in 2023 that cater to every individual’s unique style.


  • Long-lasting color that stays put throughout the day.
  • The versatile formula allows for sheer or intense pigmentation.
  • Customizable application for different occasions and moods.
  • Effortless application without the need for constant touch-ups.
  • The lightweight texture feels comfortable on the lips.


  • May require multiple layers for full opacity.
  • Some formulas may feel dry on certain individuals.
  • Limited shade range compared to traditional lipsticks.
  • Can be difficult to remove completely at the end of the day.
  • May emphasize dryness or imperfections on the lips if they’re not properly exfoliated and moisturized beforehand.

3. Texture

Get ready to experience a texture that’s as light as air and as silky smooth as satin on your lips. Lip stains in 2023 offer a unique textural experience, unlike any other lip product on the market. 

Unlike traditional lipsticks, which can feel heavier and creamier on the lips, lip stains provide a lightweight and more natural feel. When you apply a lip stain, it effortlessly glides onto your lips, creating a thin layer of color that is barely detectable.

You won’t have to worry about any sticky or tacky residue left behind with a lip stain, as it seamlessly blends into your lips for incredibly comfortable wear.

The texture of a lip stain goes hand in hand with its long-lasting formula. Due to their water-based formulation, lip stains adhere to the lips and create a semi-permanent color that lasts for hours without fading or smudging. 

This means you can confidently go about your day without constantly reapplying your lipstick.

The lightweight texture also allows for easy layering, so you can build up the intensity of the color without feeling like you’re wearing too much product.


  • Lightweight and natural feel.
  • Silky smooth texture.
  • Long-lasting formula.
  • No sticky or tacky residue.
  • Easy layering for customizable color.


  • May not provide as intense pigmentation as lipstick.
  • Limited shade range compared to traditional lipsticks.

4. Application

Now that we’ve discussed the texture of lipstick and lip stain, let’s move on to another important aspect: application.

When it comes to applying your lip color, there are some key differences between lipstick and lip stains in 2023.

When using lipstick, you typically apply it using a bullet or brush for easy coverage. This allows you to easily fill in your entire lip area with a few swipes or strokes. 

The creamy texture of lipstick glides smoothly onto your lips, providing an even and opaque finish. With its precise applicator, you have more control over how much product you use and where it goes on your lips. 

Plus, the bullet shape makes it convenient for touch-ups throughout the day.

On the other hand, lip stains usually come in marker-like applicators for precision application. These thin tips allow you to draw precise lines along your lip contour without smudging or making mistakes. 

Lip stains are designed to provide a sheer wash of color that sinks into your lips for a natural-looking tint that lasts longer than a traditional lipstick. They’re great for those who prefer a more subtle look or want their lip color to be long-lasting without having to reapply frequently.

Pros of Lipstick:

  • Easy coverage with a creamy texture.
  • Precise applicator for controlled application.
  • Convenient for touch-ups.

Cons of Lipstick:

  • May require frequent reapplication.
  • Can sometimes feel heavy on the lips.

Pros of Lip Stain:

  • Precision application with marker-like tip.
  • Provides a sheer wash of color.
  • Long-lasting formula.

Cons of Lip Stain:

  • Difficult to remove once applied.
  • Limited shade range compared to lipstick.

5. Lasting Power

When it comes to staying power, one option outshines the other: lipstick. Lipstick is known for its ability to last longer and withstand the daily challenges of eating and drinking. 

Whether you’re indulging in a delicious meal or enjoying a refreshing beverage, lipstick stays put, requiring minimal touch-ups throughout the day.

The lasting power of the lipstick is due to its formulation, which typically includes ingredients that adhere to the lips and create a long-lasting color. This means that even after meals, you can still confidently rock your chosen shade without worrying about it fading or smudging. It’s perfect for those who lead busy lifestyles and don’t have time for frequent touch-ups.


  • Lipstick lasts longer than lip stain.
  • It withstands eating and drinking without fading or smudging.
  • Minimal touch-ups are required throughout the day.


  • Lipstick may require more effort to remove compared to lip stain.
  • Some formulas may feel drying on the lips if not properly moisturized beforehand.

6. Finish

Achieve a stunning and versatile look with the various finishes available in lip products. When it comes to choosing between lipstick and lip stain, one key difference lies in their finish. Lipstick offers a wide range of options, including matte, satin, and glossy finishes.

A matte finish provides a velvety texture that is perfect for those who prefer a more sophisticated and elegant look. It gives your lips a smooth and non-shiny appearance that can last for hours without fading or smudging.

On the other hand, lip stains often have a slightly dewy finish that adds a subtle sheen to your lips. 

This finish gives off a natural and effortless vibe, making it ideal for everyday wear or when you want to achieve a more casual look. 

The dewy finish of lip stains also helps hydrate your lips and make them appear fuller and healthier.


  • Matte finishes in lipsticks give an elegant and sophisticated look.
  • Lip stains with dewy finishes provide a natural and effortless appearance.
  • Matte lipstick lasts for hours without fading or smudging.
  • A dewy finish in lip stains helps hydrate the lips.


  • Some people may find matte finishes drying on their lips.
  • Glossy finishes in lipsticks may require frequent touch-ups.
  • The dewy finish of lip stains may not be suitable for those who prefer a completely matte look.
  • Lip stains may require reapplication throughout the day to maintain the desired intensity of color.

Both lipstick and lip stain offer different finishes to suit various preferences and occasions. Whether you opt for the elegant matte finish of lipstick or the natural dewy finish of lip stain, these products can help you achieve your desired look while keeping your lips looking beautiful throughout the day.

7. Moisturizing

Lipsticks often provide added moisture to the lips, while lip stains may lack significant moisturizing properties. This is an important factor to consider when choosing between the two products.

While lipsticks are formulated with emollients that help keep your lips hydrated and nourished throughout the day, lip stains focus more on providing long-lasting color without necessarily providing hydration.

If you have dry or chapped lips, using lipstick can be beneficial as it helps to lock in moisture and prevent further drying. 

The emollients in lipsticks create a protective barrier on the lips, keeping them soft and supple. 

Additionally, many lipsticks now come with added ingredients like shea butter or vitamin E, which further enhance their moisturizing properties.

On the other hand, if you prefer a lightweight feel on your lips or want a product that will stay put for an extended period of time without smudging or transferring onto cups and utensils, then a lip stain might be more suitable for you. 

Lip stains typically have a thinner consistency compared to lipsticks and tend to dry down quickly after application. 

While this makes them less moisturizing than lipsticks, it also means they have better-staying power.


  • Lipstick provides added moisture and hydration.
  • Lip stains offer long-lasting color without smudging.
  • Lipstick formulations often include nourishing ingredients.


  • Lip stains may not provide significant moisturization.
  • Some people find lipstick formulas heavy or sticky.
  • Removing lipstick can require additional effort compared to removing lip stains.

8. Staining Effect

If you’re eager to rock a lip color that leaves an unforgettable mark, look no further than the mesmerizing staining effect of a lip stain. 

Unlike lipstick, which typically fades away without leaving much of a trace, lip stains are designed to leave behind a beautiful tint on your lips even after the initial color has worn off.

This means that you can enjoy long-lasting color throughout the day, without having to constantly reapply.

The staining effect of a lip stain is not only visually appealing but also practical. With a lip stain, you don’t have to worry about your color smudging or transferring onto cups or clothes. 

Once it sets on your lips, it stays put and allows you to go about your day with confidence.

Whether you’re out for a meal or sipping on a hot beverage, the staying power of lip stains ensures that your vibrant lips remain intact.


  • Long-lasting color.
  • Minimal smudging or transferring.
  • Allows for worry-free wear throughout the day.
  • Provides an unforgettable mark on your lips.


  • Can be drying if not properly moisturized beforehand.
  • Difficult to remove completely compared to lipstick.

9. Versatility

When it comes to versatility, a lip stain offers a wide range of options for adding a pop of color to your look. Not only can you use it on your lips, but it can also be used as a blush or cheek tint in some cases.

This means that with just one product, you can achieve a cohesive and coordinated makeup look without the need for multiple products. 

Whether you want a natural flush of color on your cheeks or bold and vibrant lips, a lip stain can do it all.

One of the main advantages of using a lip stain is its longevity. Unlike lipstick that may fade or smudge throughout the day, a lip stain is designed to last for hours without needing touch-ups.

This makes it perfect for long days at work or special occasions where you want your makeup to stay put. 

Additionally, lip stains often have buildable coverage, allowing you to control the intensity of the color depending on your preference.


  • Versatile product that can be used as both lip color and blush/cheek tint.
  • Long-lasting formula that doesn’t require frequent touch-ups.
  • Buildable coverage for customizable intensity.


  • Some people may find lip stains drying compared to moisturizing lipstick formulas.
  • Limited shade range compared to traditional lipstick options.

10. Removal

Now that you understand the versatility of both lipstick and lip stain, let’s move on to another important aspect – removal.

When it comes to removing lip color, there is a significant difference between the two options.

Lipstick, being oil-based and easily soluble, can be effortlessly removed with makeup remover or wipes. 

A few gentle swipes and your lips will be free from any trace of color. This quick and convenient removal process allows you to change your lipstick shade throughout the day without much hassle.

On the other hand, lip stain requires a bit more effort when it comes to removal. Due to its long-lasting nature, lip stain adheres tightly to your lips and may require makeup remover specifically designed for removing stains. 

Simply wiping it off with water or regular makeup remover might not do the trick. However, investing in a good quality makeup remover can make all the difference in getting rid of every last bit of color.

Pros of lipstick removal:

  • Can be easily removed with makeup remover or wipes.
  • Quick and convenient process.

Cons of lipstick removal:

  • May leave behind a residue if not properly cleaned.

Pros of lip stain removal:

  • Long-lasting color that doesn’t fade easily.
  • Provides a natural-looking flush to your lips.

Cons of lip stain removal:

  • Requires a specific makeup remover designed for stains.
  • More time-consuming compared to lipstick removal.

Lip Stain vs Lipstick: Which is Better?

Choose the lip stain vs lipstick that suits your style and personality best, and revel in the fabulous look it gives you!

When it comes to deciding between lip stain or traditional lipstick, there are a few factors to consider. Lip stains have gained popularity for their long-lasting color and natural finish. They provide a subtle hint of color that can last all day without needing frequent touch-ups.

On the other hand, lipsticks offer a wider range of shades and finishes, allowing you to create bold looks or subtle enhancements. 

They often provide more moisture and can be easily layered for intensity. Ultimately, the choice between lip stain and lipstick depends on your personal preferences and desired outcome.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance option with long-lasting wear, lip stain may be your best bet. However, if you enjoy experimenting with different colors and finishes while having the flexibility to adjust throughout the day, traditional lipstick might be more suitable for you.

No matter which option you choose, both lip stains and lipsticks can enhance your natural beauty while keeping your lips feeling moisturized and protected throughout the day. So go ahead, embrace your style confidently knowing that both options will help you achieve a stunning look!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing between lipstick and lip stain in 2023, the decision ultimately lies in your personal preference.

Lipstick is like a vibrant bouquet of flowers, offering bold and intense colors that make a statement. It’s the perfect choice if you want to create a dramatic look that demands attention.

On the other hand, lip stain is like a gentle kiss from nature itself. Its subtle hues mimic the natural flush of your lips, giving you a soft and effortless beauty. 

It’s ideal for those who prefer a more understated and natural appearance.

Ultimately, whether you choose lipstick or lip stain will depend on your desired look and mood. So go ahead and express yourself with confidence, knowing that both options are at your fingertips in 2023. Embrace the power of color and let your lips do the talking!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can lip stain be used as a substitute for lipstick?

Yes, lip stain can be used as a substitute for lipstick. It offers long-lasting color without the need for frequent touch-ups. Just apply it once and enjoy a beautiful, safe look all day.

How long does lip stain typically last on the lips?

Lip stain lasts like a secret whispered in the night, lingering on your lips for hours. Its pigment seeps into your skin, leaving a natural flush that feels like a comforting embrace, ensuring you’re always ready to face the world.

Can lip stains be used on other parts of the face, such as the cheeks?

Yes, lip stains can be used on other parts of the face, such as the cheeks. It provides a natural flush of color that lasts all day, giving you a fresh and youthful look.

Does lipstick provide more color options compared to lip stains?

The lipstick offers an astonishing array of colors, giving you endless options to express yourself. With vibrant pigments that instantly transform your look, it’s like having a magical color palette at your fingertips.

What are the main factors to consider when choosing between lip stains and lipstick?

When choosing between lip stain and lipstick, consider your desired color intensity, longevity, and finish. Lipstick offers a wide range of shades with more color options, while lip stains provide long-lasting wear. Make a choice that suits your preferences and makes you feel safe.

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