If you tend to bite, lick, or fully eat your lip color off over the course of the day, you need a lip stain in your life. Not only are these the longest-lasting lip products in the game, but they also happen to be quite affordable, since you can find so many great lip stains from drugstore brands. All of the best drugstore lip stains featured here cost $10 or less, so they've all got that going for them; but the best one for you will depend on your formula preference (matte, glossy, sheer), application vehicle (stick, tube, liquid), and preferred shade.
A bit more on narrowing down the best type of lip stain for you. Lip stains are really a “best of both worlds” situation, as most are hybrids between a long-lasting stain and some other kind of lip product. There are matte liquid stains that deposit plush, velvety color, similar to a liquid lipstick. There are glossy stains, lip gloss’ more durable, less sticky cousins. There are moisturizing balm stains that come in convenient crayon form. Then there are classic water-based stains, ideal for a puckery popsicle effect. Just make sure to apply these stains on exfoliated, moisturized, fully dried lips to ensure that the pigment glides on smoothly.
With that in mind, scroll on to shop five of the best lip stains you can buy for $10 or less.
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1. Best Balm Stain
This Revlon Balm Stain is enriched with shea, mango, and coconut butters, which help keep your lips feeling smooth and hydrated for hours (there’s the balm part), but the color payoff is surprisingly intense and buildable (and there’s the stain). These have a slightly pearlescent finish, and they’re infused with pH-reacting pigments that adjust to suit your own, unique complexion. The crayon applicator makes your face feel like an art project, which is always fun.
- Available shades: 8
2. Best Glossy Stain
This wet n’ wild lip gloss is the rare gloss that lasts longer than 2.7 seconds — in fact, it claims to last for eight hours — thanks to its stain-like formula: When the shine wears off, the pigment stays behind. The consistency is a lot less gloopy than conventional lip glosses, too, so you can build it up to reach your desired intensity. Amazon reviewers report that this gel-based stain doesn’t dry out your lips, but it layers nicely under lip balms if you need more moisture.
- Available shades: 6
3. Best Matte Stain
For an opaque pop of color, go for this L’Oreal lip stain. Its super-concentrated pigment and matte finish mimic the look of a liquid lipstick, but since it’s actually a water-based stain, it doesn’t come with a liquid lipstick’s drying effects and heavy feel. (Nor will it clump, flake, or fade in weird, uneven patches.) Amazon reviewers also like the precision-tip applicator, which makes it easy to line your lips’ curves.
- Available shades: 20
4. Best Long-Lasting Stain
All lip stains are inherently long-lasting, but with a promised wear time of 16 hours, this one from Rimmel is basically bulletproof. (One Amazon reviewer reported that it actually stayed on for a full 24 hours, during which they ate a “greasy burrito.”) The dual-sided packaging contains a stain on one end and a clear gloss on the other, so you could keep it matte if you wanted to — though the gloss does help seal in the color while also providing some extra hydration.
- Available shades: 12
5. Best Water Stain
The fan-favorite Dear Darling Water Tint from Korean beauty brand Etude House isn’t technically a drugstore lip stain, but it's one of the stains that put blurred lips on the map. This water-based formula achieves that blurred (aka popsicle, aka gradient) effect with just a few dabs, and once it’s on, it’s on for good. (Or for many, many hours, without transferring in the process). One bottle of this perennial cult favorite rings up at a very drugstore-appropriate price of $5.
- Available shades: 3