What is difference between lip balm and lip tint?

For the makeup newbies of the world, this one’s for you! Let’s chat about lip products, as they can all seem to run together in a blur of pigment and texture. Two lip staples for any collection are lip balm and lipstick (many of which can be found in my bag at all times).

Let’s get right to it: lip balm vs lipstick: what’s the difference?

What is it?

Lipstick is one of the oldest forms of cosmetics recorded in history. This OG makeup favorite is used to add color to the lips. It comes in the traditional bullet form, more modern liquid lipstick, or even crayon pencils. Lipstick is often used to create a focal point, such as a bright red matte lip, or a shine-finish pink pout.

What is difference between lip balm and lip tint?

What is it?

Lip balm is a soft, emollient product designed to soften, hydrate, and protect the lips. It often comes in the form of a solid stick, or sometimes in a pot or jar. It protects the lips from sun and wind while keeping the skin hydrated and crack-free.

So, what’s the difference between lipstick and lip balm?

What is difference between lip balm and lip tint?


Lipstick is used to add color to the lips, whether it’s an opaque orange or a sheer pink. However, lip balm is used to hydrate and moisturize the lips, or to protect them from the sun. Balm can also be used with lipstick, to create a hydrating base underneath matte formulas.

Color and Aesthetic

Lip balm is generally clear (colorless) or has a sheer wash of color. Lipstick, while it can also be sheer, has a more concentrated color payoff.

Lip balm is often created with hydrating oils and emollient fats and waxes. This provides a soft, velvety, almost wet-look to the lips. Balm is the perfect choice for a no-makeup makeup look or to balance out an extreme eye look.

Lipstick comes in all different finishes from flat matte to high shine or metallic. Lipstick can create a full-glam look with saturated color or a fresh, youthful look with a sheer wash.


While there are some super-cheap lipsticks out there, the best are often a little more expensive. However, lip balms are generally very cost-effective and can be picked up at the drugstore for a few bucks, without compromising on quality.

Which one is for me?

Both! A lip balm is an essential item for anyone, no matter their makeup addiction level. A sheer lip balm like our tinted lip balm in “Bare” is easy to slick on without a mirror and keeps your lips comfy all day long. For evening looks or to add a little color to your daily glam, pick a universal pink lipstick like the dreamy LiveGlam bullet lipstick in “Flutter”.

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There's never a wrong moment to wear a statement lip, but applying (and maintaining) a bold matte lipstick takes precision and the willingness to touch it up throughout the day.

Thankfully, lip stains and lip tints exist for those times when you want to wear a pop of color, but can't be bothered to do more than swipe on your lipstick and go. While both of these products aren't as pigmented as a traditional lipstick, they still add a soft wash of color to your lips.

So, when you're looking for a low-maintenance lip color which product should you use? Keep reading to find out the difference between lip stains and lip tints and how to wear each one.

6 Fool-Proof Ways to Get Smooth Lipstick Every Time

Lip Stain: Long-Lasting Color

Lip stains are liquid products that offer long wear because they absorb into the lips. They add color to the lips and fade into a soft, lived-in look with wear. "The liquid color from a lip stain is absorbed by the skin rather than sitting on top of the lip like a cream lipstick or gloss," says Hillary Clark, makeup artist and founder of Beauty HAC. "This allows it to temporarily stain the epidermis and remain in place until you are ready to take it off."

They're also ideal for anyone who prefers a low-maintenance color. "It’s a lovely product to use if you want a bitten lip/wine-stained lip look," adds Moani Lee, a celebrity makeup artist. "They're also great to use for moments where you want the long-wear staying power without reapplication."

How to Apply a Lip Stain

As far as lip products go, lip stains are nearly effortless to apply. Lee recommends exfoliating the lip and applying a lip balm first to ensure the stain goes on smoothly and doesn't settle into any flakes as the day goes on.

"Dab off any excess [lip balm] and then tap your favorite lip stain in very small taps starting from the center of your lip," instructs Lee. "Remember less is more and you can always add more for added intensity. Blend outwards by rubbing your lips together or blending out with clean fingers." If you want to build the color, add more lip stain using the same technique.

Lip Tint: Sheer Color

Lip Tints are the sweatpants of lip products: they're soft, cozy, and effortless. A tint is ideal for anyone who wants a subtle, natural finish. "Lip tints are the go-to product for a your lips-but-better, natural effect," Clark confirms. "They come in sheer powder and cream textures that are ideal for a no makeup look."

"Lip tints are sheer lip colors that are easily smudge-able and give a lived in, natural looking hint of color on the lips. This is a gorgeous option if you just want a hint of color or an effortless approach," Lee adds. The makeup artist suggests pairing a tint with a fresh skin, including using the tint on your lips and cheeks for a cohesive look.

How to Apply a Lip Tint

Like with lip stains, Lee suggests prepping the lips with a gentle exfoliator and a nourishing lip balm for a smooth, even finish.

You can also use an eyeshadow base for the lip tint to adhere to it so it stays on longer. "I like to prep lips with a colorless eyeshadow base to extend their wear," Clark says. "Part of the beauty of a lip tint is its effortless look so I usually avoid lip liner. The shadow base will keep the tint from feathering into lines."

Lip stain vs. lip Tint: Which one should you wear?

When all is said and done, choosing between a lip stain and lip tint comes down to staying power. "The big difference between tints and stains is in the wearability - a lip tint will easily wipe away with a tissue or wear away and require reapplication while a stain temporarily 'stains' the lip and has much longer staying power," Clark explains.

What is tint in lip balm?

Tinted lip balm is a lip salve that is pigmented with bright colors. Unlike a regular tube of lipstick, these unique lip balms give your lips a more subtle color. With shades of lip balms including sheer pink, purple, dark red and more, you can choose the right color to match your vibe.

Is lip tint good for lips?

They will give your lips the colour of a lipstick, without drying out your lips. If dry chapped lips are something you suffer from in winter or generally through the year, this is definitely a formula you would enjoy. You can wear them alone for a pop of colour on your lips, cheeks and eyelids too.

Is lip tint better?

"Lip tints are the go-to product for a your lips-but-better, natural effect," Clark confirms. "They come in sheer powder and cream textures that are ideal for a no makeup look." "Lip tints are sheer lip colors that are easily smudge-able and give a lived in, natural looking hint of color on the lips.

Does lip tint cause dark lips?

Lipsticks can contain a certain amount of chemicals that can cause lip darkening over regular use. However, lipsticks which are made of cheap ingredients or dyes present on the lipsticks are not safe on the skin and usually are more harmful to the skin.”