Stains, Sticks and Glosses: A Guide to Which Lip Product to Use When

Augusta Falletta
Stains, Sticks and Glosses: A Guide to Which Lip Product to Use When
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Everywhere we look these days, it seems like women never go bare when it comes to their lips. Whether it’s stain, gloss or lipstick, pigmented pouts are happening everywhere, and we’re pretty excited about it. But, with all of the options for lip products out there, navigating which ones we should actually wear can be tricky.

To help you make sense of all of the different ways to dress up your lips, we’ve pulled together a guide of which products to use when, plus tips on how to make sure the look lasts. Whether you’re going for a matte look, nude gloss or a bold red lipstick, we’ve got you covered.

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Lipstick: First and foremost, find the lipstick consistency you love. Creamy, shiny or matte, lipstick's possibilites are endless, but should be used as the focal point of your look if you're going for a bold color. With red lips, keep the rest of your makeup fairly bare with minimal mascara, no eyeshadow and just a hint of blush to keep from seeming overly done up. 

Photo: Cindy Ord

Lip Stain: Reserve a lip stain look (that can be achieved using either a lip stain or applying lipstick with your finger over lip balm) for when you want a hint of color, but you don't want to look dramatic. Stains tend to stay on longer than more slippery products like glosses and creamy lipsticks, so use a stain when you've got a long day (or night) of wear ahead. 

Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Lip Gloss: A texture that hides cracked lips well, lip gloss is good for days when your pout is a bit dehydrated. We do, however, advise against wearing gloss on windy days while your hair is down. Even the least sticky of lip glosses will attract your hair like a moth to a flame. 

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Lip Liner: Pair it with lipstick or wear it alone, but wear lip liner when you want a dramatic effect, like ombre lips with a darker edge of color than the rest of the lip. Also, if you want your lipstick to last longer, you can either match the shade with liner, or use a nude lip liner around the outer edges of your lipstick as a barrier so that the color won't bleed. Dramatic or understated, lip liner is a must. 

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Lip Crayon: With the hydration of a balm but the pigment of a stain, lip crayons are perfect for when you want a smooth, lightweight color minus the stickiness of gloss and the drying effect of stain. We love lip crayons for first dates, because they make your lips look natural, but better. 

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV

Matte Lips: Whether you use a matte lip pencil, liner or a velvet-like lipstick, matte lips are gorgeous when done right. Do not, we repeat, do not use matte lip color if your lips are dry or cracked. In fact, if you know you'll be wearing matte lips, exfoliate the night before and wear an overnight lip mask to keep from looking dried out. Matte lips work best when they're bold colors like burgundy and wine, and they're more pigmented than stains, so opt for this look when you're looking to make a huge statement with your makeup. 

Photo: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

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