The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

9 best lip tints for a matte, sheer or shimmery wash of colour

From oil-stains and balms to dual-purpose lip and cheek hybrids, these are our favourite lip tints

Louise Whitbread
Tuesday 21 December 2021 09:59 GMT
<p>Lip tints often require less topping op than the classic lipstick </p>

Lip tints often require less topping op than the classic lipstick

Whether you like a classic red, neutral nude or your-lips-but-better shade, traditional lipsticks are a staple make-up product. However, another way to finish your beauty routine is with a lip tint.

From oil-based stains designed to last all day to balms offering a hydrating wash of colour, or dual-purpose lip and cheek hybrids, there’s no shortage of choice in the lip tint category.

They’re often lower maintenance than your usual lipstick too, requiring less topping up. But where to start?

With formulas ranging from balmy, sheer, gloss finish, matte or high-shine, we set about finding the best lip tint for your beauty arsenal.

How we tested

Over the past month, we tried a range of lip tints from budget-friendly and ultra-luxe brands, from cult classics to new launches, exploring the texture, consistency, staying power, ease of application and shade range of each.

Read on for the ones that made the cut.

Read more:

The best lip tints for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Tower 28 Beauty beachplease luminous tinted balm: £18,
  • Best lip tint gel – Too Faced peach bloom colour blossoming lip & cheek tint: £18,
  • Best for long-lasting colour – Clarins intense natural lip perfector: £18.50,
  • Best tinted balm – Bobbi Brown extra lip tint: £28,
  • Best tinted lip oil – Lottie London oil slick: £5.95,
  • Best nude lip tint – Victoria Beckham Beauty bitten lip tint: £32,
  • Best budget option – Honest Beauty tinted lip balm: £10,
  • Best lip and cheek tint – Trinny London lip2cheek: £25,
  • Best shimmer lip tint – Nars oil-infused lip tint: £13.80,

Tower 28 Beauty beachplease luminous tinted balm

Best: Overall

Rating: 9/10

One of the newer brands on our list is Tower 28 Beauty, which hails from California and launched in 2019, before becoming available for UK shoppers in June 2021. All its products are vegan and versatile with a dewy finish. For us, its standout is this tinted balm. We tried “rush hour” – a peachy shade, and “after hours” – a berry plum colour. We loved the minimal packaging, as the brand makes an effort to avoid using mirrors, pans or paper inserts and uses eco-friendly inks and recycled plastic.

Made for lips and cheeks, the balm itself is effortless to blend onto skin, doesn’t disrupt any foundation beneath and leaves a gorgeous healthy glow. It’s one of the best cream blushes we’ve ever used. As for a lip tint, it’s a great mix of a hydrating texture with rich pigment for a bold colour. It fades slightly throughout the day but we applied it with our ring finger, so reapplying as needed was no bother.

Too Faced peach bloom colour blossoming lip & cheek tint

Best: Lip tint gel

Rating: 9/10

Lip tints can often get lumped together with lip stains and conjure up the image of bold, patchy colour that’s hard to top up, fix any mistakes or remove. This multi-purpose tint from Too Faced blows that preconception out of the water. It has a fat doe-foot applicator which makes application incredibly easy, and the gel formula glides onto skin. We loved the shade “guava”, a bright pink colour that gave the skin a dewy, glowy, glass-like finish. We applied it directly to cheeks and lightly tapped the product – it blended seamlessly. It’s not sticky, gloopy, too thick or too wet, but delivers the perfect flattering flush of colour. It lasted well too, and thanks to the applicator, it was easy to top up without a mirror.

Clarins intense natural lip perfector

Best: For long-lasting colour

Rating: 8/10

Clarins has a whole host of lip products we love, from its luxurious oil to hydrating clear balm, and this lip tint is another to add to our growing list. It has a unique cushioned applicator that helps coat every inch evenly and feels soft and comfortable, particularly if you’re prone to dryness. This comes in four shades, and for our reviewer, “intense garnet” was perfect as a statement colour on a pale complexion, but could also be worn as a high-shine wash of berry on darker skin tones. It has a glossy, but not sticky, finish and is richly pigmented – considering how dark the shade is on our tester’s Caucasian skin. It can still be easily topped up without a mirror too.

Bobbi Brown extra lip tint

Best: Tinted balm

Rating: 9/10

Bobbi Brown has long been known for its luscious lipsticks and huge shade ranges, so it won’t come as a surprise we were left impressed with this lip tint. It’s the best of both worlds: a balm to keep dryness at bay and a sheer dose of colour. We used “bare punch”, a pink tint. It’s a low maintenance product, with a handy bullet applicator, with no need for a mirror. You can apply one sheer layer, or bolster the colour with two or three coats; we preferred the latter and it never felt greasy or sticky. It’s fantastic to keep in your handbag and whether you’re keeping your face free from make-up or are wearing a full face, it’s flattering and fuss-free to use.

Lottie London oil slick

Best: Tinted lip oil

Rating: 9/10

If you like using lip oils, you’ll love this tinted version from Lottie London. It has a slim doe-foot applicator that doesn’t drip or become overloaded with product. We first discovered this months ago and found the tube lasted almost six months with regular use. It has four shades, but our favourite is “extra cherries”, which in the tube looks like bright pink, but when applied, adds a high-shine, dewy finish that’s hydrating and smoothing with a slight pink tint. It also has an ever so slight cherry scent. We loved wearing it on its own and over lipstick, just to add a bit of shine and top up when our lips felt dry. It’s very budget-friendly and rivals many high-end lip oils we’ve tried before.

Victoria Beckham Beauty bitten lip tint

Best: Nude lip tint

Rating: 7/10

Victoria Beckham is known for her nude lipstick style, so her own creations under her own beauty brand pay homage to her pout with three shades of skin-flattering, long-wearing tints. The formula is vegan and the finish is semi-matte, but not overly drying if you apply lip balm beforehand. It’s a unique consistency, akin to a thin gel, that glides over lips. It does take a couple of coats for an even colour distribution, but the sturdy doe-foot applicator comes in very handy. It’s very long wearing too, lasting on our reviewer’s lips for eight hours before a touch-up was needed. We tried the shade “bijou”, a berry nude that’s a great companion for bronzed cheekbones.

Honest Beauty tinted lip balm

Best: Budget option

Rating: 8/10

Another top balm on our list comes from Honest Beauty, a brand that was founded by actress Jessica Alba in 2011, but has only been available in the UK since 2019. We tried the shade “blood orange” – the colour isn’t as bold as it looks, and simply adds an orange, pinky hue in one quick swipe. The twist-up design makes it a convenient shape for your handbag and for top-ups on the go, and it leaves a glossy, sheer finish that doesn’t end up gloopy.

Trinny London lip2cheek

Best: Lip and cheek tint

Rating: 9/10

Lip and cheek combos are an excellent addition to your arsenal; you get better value for money and they will reduce the size of your make-up bag without scrimping on the finished result. Trinny London has mastered the art of versatile products, as the brand focuses on cream-based, stackable pots that are easily transportable. We’ve long been fans of the shade “Phoebe”, a pretty rose-petal pink that is the perfect everyday colour for cheeks and lips. It has a pigmented, but sheer finish that’s easy to blend out with your finger or dense brush, and has fast become our most-loved product from the range. Topping up the colour after a meal or too many cocktails is easy – just be warned, you may want to have a tissue nearby so as not to accidentally stain your clothes.

Nars oil-infused lip tint

Best: Shimmer lip tint

Rating: 7/10

Lip tints typically come in matte or balmy textures, but this one from Nars is an oil-infused shimmer that we loved using as a lipstick topper. It has a sheer, coral finish with a gold pearly shimmer throughout that layers nicely and adds a bit of depth. Because it has a gel-oil texture and a long doe foot applicator, it’s easy to apply and even easier to fix if you accidentally go off course. It’s available in the brand’s famous “orgasm” shade too, which is a peachy pink shimmer.

The verdict: Lip tints

We couldn’t get enough of Tower 28 Beauty’s beachplease luminous tinted balm, which emerged victorious for our tester. The balmy texture kept our lips feeling soft, while the pigmented shade range added a dewy, flattering finish for both lips and cheeks. The eco-friendly packaging is an added bonus.

Voucher codes

For offers on make-up and other beauty products, try the links below:

If you enjoy trying out new products to add to your beauty routine, a beauty box subscription might be just the thing for you

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in