If you’re a novice in the field of balms, stains, glosses and sticks, then this is the post for you. When it comes to lips, so many gals keep things natural for fear of glosses that are way too sticky, lipsticks that come off too easily, lip stains that look way too vampy and about a million other things. But, we’re here to give you a 101 crash course on the difference between all of those lip products so you can choose something that works for you!

We went with a classic pink hue for each of the products, so you can see how each creates a totally different lip look.

Lip Balm

Lip Balm: Lip balm is typically a wax-like substance that is intended to moisturize, protect and nourish your lips. While traditionally most lip balms are clear, more and more brands are coming out with new formulations with a variety of tints and flavors so that you can get the added bonus of flavorful color for your pucker.

Who should use: The simple gal who does not like to feel like she is overdoing it but would like to dabble in color all the while conditioning perhaps drier, chapped lips.

We used: Maybelline NY Baby Lips in Pink Punch

Lip Stain

Lip Stain: Lip stains usually come in liquid or gel form and are meant to stain your lips for a longer lasting, minimal product application that does not require touching up. Stains tend to be a little drying so avoid them if you have chapped lips.

Who should use: The gal who will not remember to reapply her lip color or one who is afraid of smearing or smudging throughout the day.

We used: Jordanna Twist & Shine Stain Balm in Candied Coral

Lip Gloss

Lip Gloss: Traditionally, lip gloss was a way to get a more glossy effect with minimal color. These days there are certain lip glosses that have been formulated with much more pigment and can almost have the effect of a lip stain once the glossy sheen wears off.

Who should use: EVERYONE! (Okay, that is my biased opinion.) Seriously though, there are so many different types of lip gloss, I firmly believe there is something for everyone. You could get something really sticky and long lasting full of color. Go for a lip plumping feature if you want to punch up those smackers. Or, go for something lightweight and only mildly tinted but full of moisturizing nourishing components. Of course, you can also go totally glittery with your gloss too!

We used: Pop Aqua Lacquer in Floating Rose

Matte Lipstick

Matte Lipstick: Just like it sounds, matte lipstick has a matte finish, so no shiny glossy finish here.

Who should use: Matte lipstick is definitely more drying but can be easier for those who are wanting to dabble in lipstick wearing without worrying about the sticky factor.

We used: Revlon Matte in Stormy Pink

Shiny Lipstick

Shiny Lipstick: There are many different levels of shiny lipstick, but just to keep it simple we chose a shiny lipstick in the same hue as the matte. Lipstick with a sheen (picture Marilyn Monroe’s signature shiny bold red lips) is the epitome of classic lipstick. Because of this, most are packed with moisturizing features while also delivering proper pigment.

Who should use: The woman who is prepared to rise to the occasion! Shiny lipstick in any color can be a challenge to wear, but the results are well worth it if you can just learn to do it.

We used: Revlon Shine in Kissable Pink

Ready to take your lip game to the next level? We’ve got a primer on all the different shades of red lipstick and three lipstick hacks every woman should know. Pucker up!

What do you wear on your lips? What other Makeup 101 tips and tricks would you like to see on Brit.co? Talk to us in the comments below.