The difference between lip stain vs lipstick

We all know how important a strong lip look is. Whether you’re going for a romantic, flirty look or a beach-ready summer look, finishing your make-up with a bold lip color makes all the difference. With so many lip products on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right product for our pout. Between lipsticks, lip glosses, lip stains and liquid lipsticks, how can we know which one is right for us? There are also so many factors that contribute to a good lip product. Is it durable, is it kissproof, will it smudge, will it make my lips look bigger? In this article, we’re going to compare lip stain vs lipstick and rank both products.

What’s the difference between lip stain vs lipstick?

Lipstick and lip stain both do the same job in providing color, gloss, and shine to the lips. However, there are a couple of key differences between lip stain and lipstick. These Include durability, cost, depth of color, and the capacity to create a voluminous, pouty lip look. 

Color Depth

Woman applying lipstick

When using lipstick, you’ll be able to enjoy a richer finish as well as a larger variety of colors. Lip stain tends to be limited in variety, as there are not many colors that will achieve a uniform finish. If you’re looking for a rich, colorful finish, lipstick is probably your best option. 


Another key difference between a lip stain vs lipstick is the durability of each product. When it comes to long-lasting power, lip stain is the clear winner. Traditional lipstick isn’t particularly durable and is easily smudged when eating, drinking, or kissing. Lip stain can last all day long (or until the face is cleansed). It can last even up to 24 hours if the lip stain uses a high-quality dye. Lip stain is also pretty resistant to eating, drinking, and even kissing. 

Lip stain vs lipstick differences

Volume and Shape

The pouty lip is back in fashion for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it’s normal that many of us want a lip product to add volume and shape to our lips. If you’re looking to add some volume to your pout, you’re going to want to opt for lipstick (or a liquid lipstick with a thin applicator) rather than a lip stain. Lip stain can only add color and – at the limit – some gloss or shine. Lip stain cannot shape the lips in the way that lipstick can, only offering long-lasting color. 


While you might think that these two products cost the same, the long-term investment for each product is different. Because lipstick is less durable, you’ll need to re-apply it several times a day. This means you’ll inevitably spend more on re-purchasing lipsticks. If you opt for lip stain, you’ll re-apply it less often, leading to less money spent over time. 

Which is better, lip stain vs lipstick?

If you’re trying to decide between lipstick and lip stain, the optimal choice for you will depend on what type of make-up look you’re trying to go for, and in what type of environment you’re going to be in. 

You should opt for lipstick, if you want:

  • To create a fuller lip 
  • A richer, deeper color 
  • Variety of choices such as matte, gloss, and shiny finishes
  • To keep re-applying throughout the day

You should opt for lip stain, if you want:

  • A long-lasting, durable, and kissproof lip color
  • An all day wear so you don’t have to keep re-applying
  • Lightweight lip color
  • To highlight your natural volume or shape using your lip color

You Might Also Like: Fun Lipstick Colors You Just Have to Try, Stop Reapplying Lipstick and Opt for a Lip Stain Instead, MAC Lipstick Dupes Under $10, What is Lip Blushing?