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Lipstick vs. Lip Stain: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 3, 2023
Lipstick is a cosmetic product for coloring lips, typically available in solid form, while lip stain is a liquid or gel that tints lips with long-lasting color.

Key Differences

Lipstick is traditionally a solid or cream-based product applied directly to the lips. While, lip stain is more fluid, applying as a liquid or gel for a sheer, lightweight finish.
Lipstick can vary in longevity, often requiring reapplication throughout the day. Whereas, lip stain is known for its staying power, resisting fading and smudging for extended periods.
Lipsticks offer a range of finishes from matte to glossy and can feel heavier on the lips. Meanwhile, lip stains typically provide a natural, barely-there feel with a matte or subtle sheen finish.
Lipstick comes in a wide variety of colors and shades, offering bold and vibrant options. Lip stain often delivers a more subdued, natural color, enhancing the lips' inherent tone.
Many lipsticks contain moisturizing ingredients, providing comfort and hydration. Lip stains, while long-lasting, can sometimes feel drying and may require a separate lip balm for moisture.

Comparison Chart


Solid or cream-based
Liquid or gel


Requires reapplication
Long-lasting, resists fading


Range from matte to glossy
Typically matte or subtly shiny

Color Intensity

Bold and vibrant color options
More natural, subdued tones


Often moisturizing
Can be drying, may need lip balm

Lipstick and Lip Stain Definitions


Lipstick is a staple in many makeup routines.
Applying lipstick was the final step in her makeup routine.

Lip Stain

Lip stain provides a long-lasting tint to the lips.
She applied a pink lip stain for all-day color.


Lipstick is a colored cosmetic product applied to the lips.
She chose a red lipstick for her evening look.

Lip Stain

Lip stain is known for creating a natural, subtle look.
For a minimalist look, she chose a soft rose lip stain.


Lipstick offers a wide range of shades and finishes.
She preferred a nude lipstick for everyday wear.

Lip Stain

Lip stain is celebrated for its staying power.
Her lip stain lasted through meals and drinks.


Lipstick typically comes in a solid form in tubes.
Her makeup bag was full of various shades of lipstick.

Lip Stain

Lip stain is usually in liquid or gel form.
The lip stain came with a brush applicator for precise application.


Many lipsticks contain moisturizing ingredients.
The lipstick not only added color but also moisturized her lips.

Lip Stain

Lip stain often leaves a subtle sheen or matte finish.
The lip stain dried to a beautiful matte finish.


A small stick of waxy lip coloring enclosed in a cylindrical case.


How is lip stain different in application?

Lip stain is applied as a liquid or gel for a more natural tint.

Do lipsticks come in more colors than lip stains?

Generally, lipsticks offer a wider range of colors and finishes.

Is lip stain long-lasting compared to lipstick?

Yes, lip stains are known for their longer-lasting color.

What is the primary use of lipstick?

Lipstick is primarily used to add color and texture to the lips.

Is lip stain more natural-looking?

Yes, lip stains typically give a more subtle, natural look.

Can lipstick moisturize lips?

Yes, many lipsticks contain ingredients that moisturize the lips.

Are there organic or natural lipsticks?

Yes, there are organic and natural lipsticks available in the market.

Is lip stain suitable for dry lips?

Lip stain can be drying; using a moisturizing balm underneath is advisable.

Is there a way to make lipstick last longer?

Using a lip primer or setting with a powder can increase lipstick's longevity.

Is lip stain difficult to remove?

Lip stain can be more challenging to remove due to its long-lasting formula.

Can lipstick be matte or glossy?

Lipstick can have various finishes, including matte, glossy, and satin.

Does lip stain require frequent reapplication?

No, lip stain is designed to last longer without the need for frequent touch-ups.

Can lip stain be used with other lip products?

Yes, lip stain can be layered with balms or glosses for added moisture or shine.

Does lip stain fade evenly?

Most lip stains fade evenly, but this can vary based on the formula.

Can lip stain be used for a bold look?

While typically subtle, layering lip stain can achieve a bolder look.

Can men use lipstick or lip stain?

Yes, lipstick and lip stain are unisex and can be used by anyone.

Is lipstick suitable for all ages?

Yes, lipstick can be worn by individuals of all ages.

Does lipstick offer UV protection?

Some lipsticks offer UV protection, but it varies by brand and product.

Are there hypoallergenic lipsticks?

Yes, there are hypoallergenic options for those with sensitive skin.

Does lip stain contain alcohol?

Some lip stains contain alcohol for quick drying, but formulas vary.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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