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What is Lip Tint?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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Lip tint is a cosmetic product applied to the lips to give them color, often without much gloss or shine included. Generally, the tint is applied to bare lips, and the color will slightly stain the skin; it is also occasionally referred to as lip stain. Someone might then choose to apply lip gloss over the top of the tint, to get a shiny appearance. Products such as gloss or lipstick are sometimes labeled "lip tint" as well, however, so it can be a bit of a catch-all term.

At its most basic, lip tint is a product for the lips that tends to fall somewhere between gloss and lipstick. It goes on more lightly than lipstick, but provides more color than gloss. This product frequently contains additional ingredients, like sunscreen, conditioning ingredients, or even a minty scent to make the breath smell fresher. Sunscreen and conditioning ingredients are particularly helpful, because they help protect the lips from sun damage or skin cancer as well as to make them appear softer and smoother. The tint typically comes in a squeeze tube or a twist-up tube.

One of the benefits of lip tint is that it is generally very long lasting. If it contains gloss, the gloss will eventually be wiped off, but the color will stay. This is because it has temporarily stained the lips and is not just resting on top of them.

This type of lip product is an excellent choice for hot summer days, or for days when it will not be possible to regularly reapply lipstick. An individual might also choose to wear lip liner with this type of product, to prevent it from feathering. In addition, one of the main problems with lip liner is that the lipstick tends to fade far before the lip liner does, but with a long-lasting tint, this will not be a concern. This type of tint for the lips can be removed at the end of the day with ordinary makeup remover.

Another benefit is that the tint occasionally doubles as a cheek stain, which functions in a similar way but instead temporarily stains the cheeks, giving a blushed appearance. For someone who is traveling or who does not want to use a number of different cosmetic products, a combination product like this can be an excellent choice. People whould keep in mind that both stains for the cheeks and the lips tend to appear much darker in the bottle than they do on the skin.

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Discussion Comments
By sunshine31 — On Jul 27, 2011

@Geekish -I wanted to say that I was involved in a market research study regarding lip stains and I loved it. The company sent me a questionnaire and later sent me a prototype of the new lip stain formulation that they were coming out with.

They wanted me to try the lip stain and offer them my feedback. It had sheer coverage with a hint of color but instead of having a shine it had a matte finish so that it would stay on longer.

I really like it because I only had to reapply my lip stain a few times the entire day and the color held on well and it did not feather or bleed.

By geekish — On Jul 26, 2011

@sinbad - Thanks for the suggestion! I love Burt's Bees - their products have always taken great care of my lips, but I didn't know they had added a tinted lip balm to their line.

For bolder lip tints I have found that if you want a bold color that will actually last and not get crusty like @snickerish described, you have to spend a bit more money.

To get a good lipstains, I have found those in the $15 - $20 range give good results.

Good luck and since you are trying out new products some stores actually have decent returns policies so that you will be returning customer, so that might be something to look into.

By Sinbad — On Jul 26, 2011

@snickerish - For a very natural lip tint I have always found the best lip tint to be Burt's Bees. They always seem to have high quality products and often add spf to their products.

I am looking to try a lip tint that is a little bolder, for two reasons:

1)I found at night time for functions where I know lots of pictures are being taken, a bolder color shows well in pictures; but also

2)I want a bolder color now that I know that you can use lip tint as a lip *and* cheek tint!

Any suggestions?

By snickerish — On Jul 25, 2011

I love lip products! There are so many for different occasions! You can put on lip shine for a date, and have a fresh vibrant look. You can apply a sheer lip tint for a natural look. And then you can try a lip plumper when you want to look especially sexy.

I have not discovered the best lip stain but I sadly have discovered a few bad ones. The thing I now look out for is lip stain that has a chap-stick along with it.

This type of lipstain I have found to absolutely stick to your lip and dry out easily (which is why it comes with a chap-stick type thing with it). Even in trying to use the chap-stick the stain became a little crusty - talk about not a natural look at all!

Has anyone found a lip tint they are especially excited about?

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