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

Jamie Schneider
Author:
Updated on July 22, 2022
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.
Last updated on July 22, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

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, mbg embraced most of the legwork for you. With these picks below, you'll be sure to find your staple balm. 

How we picked

Ingredients

These options come loaded with skin-nourishing ingredients—that's what separates a tinted lip balm from, say, a lipstick. Here, you'll find hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, and vitamin E, as well as extra callouts (like lip plumping agents or SPF) for specific benefits. 

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. 

Color payoff

Some are partial to an opaque layer of pigment; others prefer just a hint of "my lips but better" color. 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.

Testing & testimonials

Every balm on this list comes recommended by experts, real users, or editors. Personally, I’ve used (and loved) the majority of the products mentioned below. 

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).

mbg's picks for the best tinted lip balm of 2022

Best color payoff: Vertly Lip Butter

Vertly Lip Butter
VIEW ON Credo Beauty | $20

Pros

  • Smooth and moisturizing

Cons:

  • Not best for those who prefer something sheer.

Key ingredients

  • Shea, cacao, and kokum butter
  • Full spectrum CBD
  • Jojoba and hemp seed oils

Shades

  • Rose
  • Clear

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. 

Best budget: Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm
VIEW ON Amazon | $5VIEW ON Ulta | $5

Pros

  • Low price point.

Cons

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

Key ingredients

  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter

Shades

  • Red Dahlia
  • Rose
  • Pink Blossom
  • Hibiscus

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. 

Best lip & cheek combo: RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek
VIEW ON Credo Beauty | $36VIEW ON RMS Beauty | $36VIEW ON Sephora | $36

Pros

  • Can easily apply on the cheeks, lips, and eyelids.

Cons

  • Constantly dipping your fingers in the pot can introduce bacteria.

Key ingredients

  • Buriti oil
  • Shea butter
  • Cocoa butter

Shades

  • True red
  • Soft pink
  • Burgundy
  • Matte burnt rose
  • Berry pink
  • Shimmery salmon pink
  • Coral
  • Dusty rose
  • Muted coral
  • Sheer coral

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. 

Best matte: ILIA Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm

ILIA Balmy Tint Hydrating Lip Balm
VIEW ON Ilia | $28VIEW ON Credo beauty | $28

Pros

  • Offers a matte finish without drying the lips.

Cons

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

Key ingredients

  • Shea and coco butter
  • Olive, jojoba, and rose hip seed oil
  • Rice bran and sea succulent extract

Shades

  • Berry
  • Rose pink
  • Warm red
  • Peachy nude
  • Cranberry
  • Mauve
  • Pink nude
  • Cocoa brown

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. 

Best applicator: Kosas Lipfuel

Kosas Lipfuel
VIEW ON Kosas | $18VIEW ON Sephora | $18

Pros

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

Cons

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

Key ingredients

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Konjac root
  • Mint extract

Shades

  • Beige
  • Spice (pink - red)
  • Pink
  • Clear

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.  

Best scent: Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer

Rituel de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer
VIEW ON Credo Beauty | $25VIEW ON Revolve | $25VIEW ON Rituel de Fille | $25

Pros

  • Lots of shade options

Cons

  • Some people prefer fragrance-free balms.

Key ingredients

  • Jojoba seed oil
  • Lavender and rosemary extract

Shades

  • Peach pink
  • Blood orange
  • Warm red
  • Blush pink
  • Electric pink
  • Fleshy pink
  • Earthy red

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. 

Best sheer: Indie Lee Nourishing Lip Tint

Indie Lee Nourishing Lip Tint
VIEW ON Indie Lee | $26VIEW ON Credo Beauty | $26

Pros

  • Incredibly moisturizing

Cons

  • Not a ton of shade options.

Key ingredients

  • Squalene oil
  • Vitamin E

Shades

  • Purple pink
  • Dark pink
  • Beige

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. 

Best gloss alternative: Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm

Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm
VIEW ON Credo Beauty | $38VIEW ON Sephora | $38

Pros

  • Nails a glossy texture without feeling too sticky.

Cons

  • Not for those who want a subtler look.

Key ingredients

  • Organic jojoba, almond, and argan oil blend
  • Shea butter

Shades

  • Soft coral
  • Pale pink
  • Raspberry
  • Brick
  • Beige
  • Dark pink

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.  

Best lipstick alternative: PYT Beauty So Extra Tinted Lip Balm

PYT Beauty So Extra Tinted Lip Balm
VIEW ON PYT Beauty | $16VIEW ON Credo Beauty | $18

Pros

  • Comes with easy-to-follow recycling instructions.

Cons

  • Some prefer a sheer balm

Key ingredients

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Vitamin E
  • Grape seed, jojoba, coconut, and olive oil

Shades

  • Soft nude
  • Beige nude
  • Rose nude

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. 

Best with spf: MDSolarSciences Tinted Lip Balm

MDSolarSciences Tinted Lip Balm
VIEW ON Amazon | $20VIEW ON Target | $20

Pros

  • Protects lips from sun exposure.

Cons

  • Some reviewers note a slight sunscreen smell.

Key ingredients

  • Shea, avocado, and olive butter
  • Avocado oil

Shades

  • Blush
  • Ruby red
  • Coral
  • Pink shimmer
  • Deep pink

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.

Best plumper: Josie Maran Lip Sting Plumping Butter

Josie Maran Lip Sting Plumping Butter
VIEW ON Josie Maran | $23VIEW ON Amazon | $23

Pros

  • Makes your lips look supple & moisturized.

Cons

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

Key ingredients

  • Moringa butter
  • Manuka honey
  • Konjac root

Shades

  • Cherry


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.

Best lip mask: KNC Beauty Supa Balm

KNC Beauty Supa Balm
VIEW ON KNC Beauty | $18VIEW ON Revolve | $22

Pros

  • Deeply moisturizes lips.

Cons

  • Some prefer a subtler matte finish.

Key ingredients

  • Moringa & kukui oil
  • Kokum & shea butter
  • Cotton oil

Shades

  • Rose

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. 

Best texture: Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm

Keys Soulcare Comforting Tinted Lip Balm
VIEW ON Keys Soulcare | $18

Pros

  • Silky-smooth formula that feels great to apply.

Cons

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

Key ingredients

  • Camellia seed oil
  • Avocado oil

Shades

  • Clear
  • Coral
  • Strawberry
  • Mauve
  • Berry
  • Terra cotta

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.

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

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.

Jamie Schneider
Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. 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. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.