I was 16-years-old when I first had my heart broken by a lip tint. I used an entire bottle of one in an attempt to see the perfectly stained pigment the product was supposed to bring. But, as is often the case, being a
woman of color means being left out in so many makeup shade ranges. Since then, I've been on a product-testing quest, and have finally come up with the best lip tints for darker lip tones.
My lips are dark. They have a brown hue with a purple undertone. I'm not exaggerating when I say I've been painfully longing for a lip stain that works on my skin since I started wearing makeup over 10 years ago: something blotted and natural-looking, part balm and part lipstick. Alas, it's 2021 and there are many
more beauty brands created by people of color and more inclusive shades to pick from. Plus, Barbara Streisand clones her dogs and Elon Musk is about to sell tickets to Mars (SMH)... so it's about time brands formulated lip tints that work for darker skin.
And there are. For the past month, I've been testing all of the lip stain and tint products I could get my hands on. After trying over 60 different tubes and pots, I've found 10 that deliver a perfect flush of pigment and give me that just-finished-eating-berries look. And they're not just deep plums — behold, the
best lip tints for darker lip tones that get my seal of approval. We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 The Glamorous Plumping Balm
When I die, please embalm me in Charlotte Tilbury products. Her makeup tends to look heavy handed when first applied, but after resting for a few minutes they always become absolutely ethereal — and the same goes for this pigmented lip balm. It settled and melted into my lips with a sheen and glamour that made me feel like a movie star from the '70s. There are 10 shades and they all have a natural finish that didn't clash with my undertones.
2 A Perfectly Luminescent Oil
These are more of a gloss than an oil but I must include Innbeauty Project's Glaze because every single shade blew my mind. Even the shimmery ones (which I was wary about) made my lips look so supple. The oil catches the light in a way that emphasizes the pigment even though it's pretty sheer. My favorite is Glaze #1: It gives that just-finished-eating-a-popsicle hint of red.
3 The Buildable Option
Merit products are simple, natural-looking, and wonderfully effective. I'm completely smitten. The Shade Slick goes on like an oil but doesn't bleed all over the place, and you can layer it to build opacity — but even sheer it managed to show up as the exact color in the bottle on my brown lips. I'd buy all four shades.
4 For Your Shelfie (And Selfies)
The packaging of this lip tint is so beautiful it doubles as decor. There are three shades to pick from, but Night Venom is
it. It's a true blue-red, which would normally make me look like a clown, but a very light application managed to gorgeously balance the brown and purple tones in my lips. It looked like I had just eaten raspberries off my fingertips. 5 The Luxe Nourishing Oil
This is the most hydrating product I've ever put on my lips (and also the one I am wearing in the above photo in the At Night shade). I applied it in the morning, and over the course of the day the oil went from a high sheen to a natural stain. There are only four shades plus a fifth clear option, but I stand by them all.
6 A Vacation In A Pen
Tarte's Maracuja Juicy Lip smells like coconuts and makes me feel like I'm on a summer stroll in Central Park. The application is viscous and even, so all the pigment shows up even as the hydrating formula is slurped up by my dehydrated lips.
7 A Sun-Kissed Tint
Power Hour shade of this is the makeup equivalent of . After trying it, I convinced several friends to buy it and it looks equally divine on everyone. Each shade of this product showed up on my lips, and it's very buildable so I took to blotting it for a blurred, lived-in effect. The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants 9 Finger Painting-Friendly
I am impartial to anything I can smear on my face with the dexterity of a toddler finger painting, so the multi-use of this product — and the fact that it's in a stick format — was already a win. The sticks are so pigmented that even the tiniest bit of product transformed the brown hue of my lips to a berry red.
10 A Tint For Your Entire Face
INC.redible's multi-purpose tint stick is another wear-all-over MVP. It gives the perfect amount of pigment, and the texture works equally well on lips, cheeks, and eyes — plus it stays put even after you've masked up.