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13 Best Tinted Lip Balms That Hydrate & Hug Your Lips With Subtle Color

Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
13 Best (& We Mean Best) Tinted Lip Balms That Hydrate Like No Other
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Tinted lip balms are the crux of a minimal makeup look and a desert-island grab for many beauty fans (self very much included). Even if I have a completely bare face, I'll always stash a rosy number in my bag for a kiss of color. They just bring your lips to life with ease and provide a splash of moisture—as a bonus, you can even tap the pigment onto your cheeks for a subtle flush. 

Although, it can take quite a bit of testing to find the formula you can't live without—the good news is, we've embraced most of the legwork for you. With these picks below, you'll be sure to find your staple balm. 

Quick list. 

  1. Best color payoff: Lip Butter, Vertly
  2. Best budget: Tinted Lip Balm, Burt's Bees
  3. Best lip & cheek combo: Lip2Cheek, RMS Beauty
  4. Best matte: Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm, ILIA
  5. Best applicator: Lipfuel, Kosas
  6. Best scent: Enchanted Lip Sheer, Rituel de Fille
  7. Best sheer: Nourishing Lip Tint, Indie Lee
  8. Best gloss alternative: Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm, Westman Atelier
  9. Best lipstick alternative: So Extra Tinted Lip Balm, PYT Beauty
  10. Best with SPF: Tinted Lip Balm, MDSolarSciences
  11. Best plumper: Lip Sting Plumping Butter, Josie Maran
  12. Best lip mask: Supa Balm, KNC Beauty
  13. Best texture: Comforting Tinted Lip Balm, Keys Soulcare
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What to consider.

When selecting a quality tinted lip balm, there are a few factors to consider, beyond snagging your favorite shade. Here's how we weighed our list of options: 

  • Color payoff: Some are partial to an opaque layer of pigment, while others prefer just a hint of "my lips but better" color. See, even if you love the hue of the balm inside the applicator, it might not have the same density on your lips, so it's important to keep color payoff in mind.
  • Finish: In this list, you'll find a mix of effortless sheer numbers, comfortable glosses, and matte formulas that fuse to your lips like perfection. 
  • Formula: These options come loaded with skin-nourishing ingredients—that's what separates a tinted lip balm from, say, a lipstick. Here, you'll find ingredients like hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and vitamin E to simultaneously hydrate the lips; some also contain extra callouts, like lip plumping agents or SPF, if you're looking for specific benefits. 

Best tinted lip balms.

Best color payoff: Vertly Lip Butter

I've waxed poetic about Vertly's balms in the past—the shea-butter-based formula feels especially soft and decadent on my lips. With this tinted number, a little goes a very long way; just a quick swipe leaves a bold berry finish. 

Pro: Smooth and moisturizing. 

Con: Not best for those who prefer something sheer. 

Lip Butter, Vertly ($20); Credobeauty.com, Vertly.com

Vertly Lip Butter
Vertly

Best Budget: Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm

You can never go wrong with a Burt's Bees lip balm. Personally, I have dozens strewn across my apartment with practically one in every bag—and I can't get enough of 'em. I particularly love this rosy shade: It offers just enough pigment to give my lips a little oomph. 

Pro: Low price point. 

Con: Not suitable for vegans, as it contains carmine and beeswax. 

Tinted Lip Balm, Burt's Bees ($5); Amazon.com, Burtsbees.com

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm
Burt's Bees

Best lip & cheek combo: RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

We love a monochromatic look around here, and we swoon over a good multi-balm. RMS Beauty's Lip2Cheek pot has a blendable cream formula (courtesy of shea and cocoa seed butter) that works like a charm: Simply swirl the pigment onto your fingertip and tap wherever you'd like to deposit some lush color. 

Pro: Can easily apply on the cheeks, lips, and eyelids.

Con: Constantly dipping your fingers in the pot can introduce bacteria.

Lip2Cheek, RMS Beauty ($36); Credobeauty.com, Rmsbeauty.com, Sephora.com

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek
RMS Beauty

Best matte: ILIA Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm

Who says matte formulas have to be drying? With sea succulent extract, rosehip seed oil, and shea butter, this conditioning formula instantly quenches lips while providing a whisper of color. It's so conditioning, in fact, that I actually notice it filling in my lip cracks—I'm met with smooth, hydrated lips that appear naturally rosy. 

Pro: Offers a matte finish without drying the lips. 

Con: Has a more opaque texture, so not for those who want a hint of color. 

Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm, ILIA ($28); Iliabeauty.com, Credobeauty.com

 ILIA Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm
ILIA

Best applicator: Kosas Lipfuel

For just a kiss of color, grab this Kosas number before heading out the door. With hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and wild mint, it offers a cooling sensation and juicy hydration your pout will drink up. And let's not ignore the unique packaging: Instead of a classic round applicator, Kosas uses a slim shape so you can reach the innermost corners of your lips with ease.  

Pro: Can easily fit into your pocket and reach the innermost lip corners. 

Con: Wild mint oil can be irritating for dry and sensitive lips. 

Lipfuel, Kosas ($18); Kosas.com, Sephora.com

Kosas Lipfuel
Kosas

Best scent: Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer

Even this vampy red glides on beautifully sheer, so you can either stick with a translucent finish or build up to your desired intensity. We can thank jojoba oil and castor oil for the comfortable application, while lavender oil provides a subtly floral scent. 

Pro: Lots of shade options. 

Con: Some people prefer fragrance-free balms.

Enchanted Lip Sheer, Rituel de Fille ($25); Credobeauty.com, Revolve.com, Ritueldefille.com

 Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer
Rituel de Fille

Best sheer: Indie Lee Nourishing Lip Tint

A skin care brand through and through, Indie Lee loaded their lip tint with skin-loving ingredients. Castor seed oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, ginger root oil, and vitamin E hug your lips in a layer of hydration, and the stick provides the most natural, subtle tint. 

Pro: Incredibly moisturizing.

Con: Not a ton of shade options.

Nourishing Lip Tint, Indie Lee ($26); Indielee.com, Credobeauty.com

Indie Lee Nourishing Lip Tint
Indie Lee

Best gloss alternative: Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm

If you love a good gloss, this liquid lip balm is your perfect match. Brimming with nourishing oils (like jojoba, almond, and argan), this formula offers a veil of moisture with a unique gel-oil system, so it's shiny yet never sticky. The color simply clings to your pout all day long and makes your lips look extra juicy.  

Pro: Nails a glossy texture without feeling too sticky. 

Con: Not for those who want a subtler look.

Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm, Westman Atelier ($38); Credobeauty.com, Sephora.com

Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm
Westman Atelier

Best lipstick alternative: PYT Beauty So Extra Tinted Lip Balm

This texture is a bit thicker than most sheer balms—if you're looking for color that's more lipstick than lip balm, you'll fall in love with this rich, matte payoff. Still, it's loaded with skin-nourishing ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, olive oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil, so the formula stays super hydrating and never tacky or caky. 

Pro: Comes with easy-to-follow recycling instructions. 

Con: Some prefer a sheer balm. 

So Extra Tinted Lip Balm, PYT Beauty ($18); Credobeauty.com, Pytbeauty.com

PYT Beauty So Extra Tinted Lip Balm
PYT Beauty

Best with SPF: MDSolarSciences Tinted Lip Balm

Yes, you need to protect your pout from excess sun. We have a full roundup of SPF lip balms here, if you're interested, but this number from MD Solar Sciences truly ticks all the boxes: hydration, broad-spectrum sun protection, and a glossy color. 

Pro: Protects lips from sun exposure. 

Con: Some reviewers note a slight sunscreen smell. 

Tinted Lip Balm, MDSolarSciences ($20); MDsolarsciences.com, Amazon.com

MD Solar Sciences Tinted Lip Balm
MD Solar Sciences

Best plumper: Josie Maran Lip Sting Plumping Butter

If you're looking for lip volume, this tinted plumper has you covered. Konjac root provides a subtle sting (and a temporary swollen appearance), while the brand's proprietary lip-plumping complex enhances lip volume for a supple, smooth pout. Grab this juicy watermelon shade, and your lips will look like they're practically bursting with moisture. 

Pro: Makes your lips look supple & moisturized. 

Con: Lip-plumping ingredients can be irritating for dry, sensitive lips. 

Lip Sting Plumping Butter, Josie Maran ($23); Amazon.com, Josiemaran.com

Josie Maran Lip Sting Plumping Butter
Josie Maran

Best lip mask: KNC Beauty Supa Balm

I'm a full proponent of wearing overnight jelly lip masks during the day—especially if they're as aesthetically pleasing as this KNC Beauty number. The soft rose tint offers a wash of color (just enough to give your lips some life), while a shea butter, moringa oil, and cotton oil keep your pout supple and plump. 

Pro: Deeply moisturizes lips.

Con: Some prefer a subtler matte finish.

Supa Balm, KNC Beauty ($22); Revolve.com, KNCbeauty.com

KNC Beauty Supa Balm
KNC Beauty

Best texture: Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm

It's all in the name: This balm feels deliciously comfortable as it glides across your pout (one customer reviewer after another comments on its texture!). We can thank avocado oil, shea butter, and camellia seed o for the silky texture, and the sheer-yet-buildable finish will make you want to reapply all day long.

Pro: Silky-smooth formula that feels great to apply.

Con: It has a very sheer finish, so you might need many coats to build the color.

Comforting Tinted Lip Balm, Keys Soulcare ($18); keyssoulcare.com

Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm
Keys Soulcare
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mbg review process. 

At mbg, high standards are earned—and there are no shortcuts. Our beauty editors stay up to date on the latest ingredient research and innovation. It's a dynamic, continuously evolving space, and it's important we look into the science so we can make informed choices about which formulas earn our stamp of approval (figuratively speaking).

lip balm

lip balm

Moringa-based formula which feeds your skin antioxidants, instantly hydrates, and protects your lips

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(31)
lip balm

Our high standards also come from testing products—many, many products. Our editors and writers rigorously test and research the products featured in our roundups to offer you the best, most informed recommendations. When we write reviews, you can trust we spend quality time with the formulas: We don't simply rave about products we've slathered on the back of our hand. We endorse products we've tried and loved. 

Learn more about our testing process and clean beauty standards here

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The takeaway. 

A tinted lip balm is the hero of a low-lift makeup routine. Although, finding your go-to staple extends far beyond your favorite shade: Along with the finish and color payoff, you'll want to find a formula that actually keeps your lips hydrated. That being said, if you already have a hydrating clear lip balm you love (perhaps mindbodygreen's lip balm?), you can always tap a clean cream blush on top and call it a day—consider it an easy DIY lip tint.

lip balm
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(31)
lip balm

lip balm

Moringa-based formula which feeds your skin antioxidants, instantly hydrates, and protects your lips

lip balm

lip balm

Moringa-based formula which feeds your skin antioxidants, instantly hydrates, and protects your lips

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(31)
lip balm

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