With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, it’s officially time to start perfecting your pout. We’ve got you covered with our week-by-week lip boot camp that will whip your pucker into shape. Now that you have your skincare and lip color on lock, it’s time to turn our attention to the right type of product to pick.

Instead of browsing through endless lip options an hour before your Valentine’s Day date next week, land on your lippie long before rushing out the door. Understanding what type of product will work best with your plans is key to ensuring a fuss-free night — and maybe something more. “An eventual kiss is on the agenda, so keep the product count and layers to a minimum,” suggests celebrity makeup artist Justine Purdue, whose clients include Maggie Gyllenhaal and Felicity Jones. Read on for Purdue’s tips for choosing your best Valentine’s Day lip product.

Lip Gloss

Having a low-key night in with your boo? A silky — not sticky — gloss could be your best option since you might be after a more natural vibe at home. “If you are going to wear a gloss, be mindful of pigmented options because they can be high-maintenance and can wear unevenly,” says Purdue. Give a gloss with a sheer but noticeable tint, like NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss ($5), a try and pucker up!

Lip Stain

If you’re headed to dinner, drinks, or anything involving constant eating or drinking, a stain will be your date-night BFF. “A lip stain is the most practical and low-maintenance way to wear a pigment on Valentine’s Day,” Purdue says. “Once applied to an exfoliated, clean, and dry lip, maintenance can be as easy as a quick touch-up with lip balm for hydration and to prevent cracking.” While we love stains for their staying power and bold hues, make sure to find a formula like Benefit Cosmetics gogotint Cheek & Lip Stain ($30), which saturates your kisser in long-lasting color yet feels completely weightless.


Ah, the OG lip product. With endless colors, textures, and finishes, a regular twist-up lipstick provides a ton of options if you have a specific look (hello, black-tie night out) in mind. If you don’t want to commit to one color or if your lips are particularly parched, this might be your best bet. “Lipstick is incredibly versatile because you can apply it different ways,” Purdue explains. “You can apply it with a lip liner for a precise edge, longevity, and dimension, or apply it lightly and blot for a semi-sheer stain.” There are 97 hues in the hydrating Urban Decay Vice Lipstick ($17) line, so you’re bound to find one you fall in love with.

Liquid Lipstick

Liquid lipstick blends the range of pigments that a lipstick offers with the long-lasting quality of a stain, so it’s ideal when you want the focus of your makeup to be on your pucker. You should also consider it if your night has no time for touch-ups since it will dry and set. Look for formulas that glide onto the lips easily — there should be no pulling or tugging necessary — and stay put, so you don’t have to deal with smears on glasses or napkins. You’ll also get a super clean, crisp look with liquid lipsticks, so keep this option in mind if you want an extra impactful look. A moisturizing formula like Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick ($14) won’t dry out your pout but will latch onto your lips with no need to reapply.

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(Illustrations by Yising Chou)