I’ve been searching for the best lip tint because I love lipstick, but I just don’t wear it very often because it needs liners, dries out my lips, and needs to be reapplied so often.
Lip tints are sheer lip colors in a moisturizing base. Basically, you’re looking at a chapstick or lip treatment with a light tint of color that looks natural but also enough for it to look like you’re wearing something.
They’re not as highly pigmented as lipsticks, but they also won’t bleed out in weird feathering, get on your teeth your teeth, or create creases that highlight the vertical lines of your lips the way lipsticks do.
Instead, the best lip tint feels as soothing and hydrating as a chapstick–just with an added boost of color. Plus they’re super easy to apply the same way you would a chapstick so they’re quick to put on and simple to reapply on the go without a mirror.
This makes them perfect for everyday and casual wear. I always have a couple in my bag.
Is it lipstick, lip stain, lip gloss, or lip tint?
They’re all colors you put on your mouth parts but they’re very different products.
Lipstick is highly pigmented and can come in a variety of finishes including glossy, frosted, and matte.
Lip stains are usually gel or alcohol-based, highly pigmented, and (you guessed it) meant to stain the skin of your lips for long-lasting color. They’re commonly matte when dry.
Lip glosses add shine to your lips and are occasionally tinted, but tend to be sticky instead of moisturizing.
Lip tints are oil-based balms that add sheer color.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of lip stains out there labeled as tints right now following on the heels of popular Korean long-lasting stains that are called tints in those brands.
The best way to tell if a pigment is a tint or a stain is to look at the applicator. If it’s runny or comes with a doefoot applicator, it’s probably a stain. If it’s creamy, you’ve probably got a tint.
As a bonus many lip tints include SPF sun protection. Your lips are often neglected from your sunblock routine despite the fact that as some of the thinnest skin on your body they are more prone to sun damage and aging. Even the CDC includes lip balm sunscreen on their Sun Safety page. Check out this HowStuffWorks article for more lip sunscreen tips and facts.
What are the best lip tints?
- Best Korean Tint: Tomato Jelly Tint by Skinfood | Check it out on Amazon – $6.99
- Most Hydrating Balm: Posiebalm by Benefit | Check it out on Amazon – $30.95
- Best of Beeswax: Honey Butter by Beauty & The Bees | Check it out on Amazon – $21.95
- Most Pigmented Balm: LipDrink by Jane Iredale | Check it out on Amazon – $17
- Best All-Natural Balm: Tinted Lip Balm by Hurraw! | Check it out on Amazon – $6.99
1. Tomato Jelly Tint by Skinfood – From $6.99
Skinfood is one of my favorite Korean makeup brands and sources many of its ingredients from foods. These Tomato Jelly tints have a unique jelly look to them but are a firm lip balm. So firm that you may need to warm them up in cold weather but I love that this means they don’t go all mushy in when it’s hot out.
They provide a sheer tint of pinky color while they hydrate with macadamia nut oil, paraffin, and moisturizers derived from apples. The tomato seed oil is packed with vitamins E and A as well as antioxidants to help prevent and repair sun damage. Tomato seed oil is highly recommended for chapped lips and brings a natural flush to your skin.
That said, for having several colors available, there isn’t much difference between them. Milk Tomato and Cherry Tomato are the darkest of the bunch. Orange Tomato has a warmer tint to it and Berry Tomato is the most sheer of the bunch. Still, you really don’t need all four.
It has decent staying power for a balm and will give you a few hours of color and moisture. They feel hydrating and wonderful on the lips.
2. Tinted Lip Balm by Benefit – $30.95
These balms are both deeply hydrating and more pigmented than others. It’s not lipstick level color, but you can see the difference between the shades to be sure.
They feel creamy and hydrating with jojoba oil, beeswax, and mango seed butter. These balm also have sodium hyaluronate which is often found in lip plumpers because it absorbs into your skin where it captures water and swells up, helping your lips retain moisture and look fuller at the same time.
It’s a very kissable balm that isn’t sticky and each has their own fruity or floral scent.
3. Honey Butter Lip Balm by Beauty & The Bees – $21.95
If you’re looking for a more natural option, this Honey Butter Lip Balm by Beauty and the Bees is ultra hydrating without all the chemicals of most cosmetics.
The Tasmania-based company uses leatherwood beeswax, exclusively found on Tasmania, to create their products and they personally process the raw, unbleached honeycomb at their own factory instead of buying commercial pellets. Leatherwood honey and wax is more floral and complex than typical clover honey.
They add a huge range all natural oils and waxes to this beeswax as well as botanicals like skin-soothing calendula and wound-healing benzoin.
The rose tint looks highly pigmented like a lipstick in the tube, but don’t expect it to be opaque on your lips. This is still a sheer balm with just a hint of color. The pigments, by the way, are natural too using mica and red iron oxide.
To look out for our environment, this is a metal case instead of plastic and the company makes refills so when you run out you don’t have to buy a whole new tube.
4. LipDrink Lip Balm by Jane Iredale – $17
I like when a cosmetic that is mainly for adding color also offers a clear version because that tells me that their product is worth something on its own.
Jane Iredale’s LipDrink comes in four shades: Flirt (pink), Crush (fuchsia), Buff (nude), and Sheer (clear). The shades with pigment have a decent amount of color to them. I would say this is the best lip tint if you really need to see that color.
For hydration LipDrink has vegetable oil, avocado oil, carrot seed oil, coconut alkanes, caster seed oil, and aloe vera which has a soothing coolness for chapped lips. I don’t love vague vegetable oil being in there but it is a hydrating balm with lovely color though its hydration might not last as long as some others.
Jane Iredale infuses these balms with botanical extracts of green tea, lotus flower, coffee seed, blackberry fruit, and adds lemon oil for fragrance.
5. Tinted Lip Balm by Hurraw! – $6.99
Hurraw! is an extremely environmentally and ethically conscious company that makes fantastic lip balms that you can feel good about purchasing.
These are sheer tints that look very natural. It won’t replace a lipstick if you’re looking for obvious color, but the tint is there and is enough to brighten up your look.
For moisture these balms use candelilla wax from wildcrafted candelilla shrubs, safflower oil, sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, castor seed oil, jojoba oil, and olive oil. They’re quite hydrating and feel very smooth on your lips.
The flavors are nostalgic to the cherry and raspberry flavors you had as a kid but are a more natural take on the classics.
- 10 Best Lip Plumpers of 2018: Which is Right For You?
- 10 Best Cuticle Oil & Creams: Compare, Buy & Save (2018)