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How To Fix Wine Stained Lips After A Glass Of Red Wine

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

It's a situation that can be as unsightly as it is embarrassing: You've enjoyed a few glasses of a good Merlot and it shows all over your lips and teeth. Wine stained lips might be a makeup trend when the product of a good lipstick, but messy, red, obviously stained lips and teeth are another story. Whether you're out with friends or enjoying a glass with your coworkers, you don't need any special products to get rid of those telltale signs. A few quick fixes (and proper prep) means you can have your wine and drink it too.

Before You Drink

Brush Up!

If you notice that you have red teeth to accompany your wine stained lips, it's probably the product of the pigments in the wine clinging to surface plaque on your once-pearly whites. The simplest fix is to make sure that you brush before you imbibe with a toothbrush.

Another reason why it's important to brush before you drink is wine is highly acidic. The American Dental Association notes that exposure to acid can wear down enamel, thus making your teeth vulnerable to decay or tooth sensitivity. Vigorous brushing to get rid of stains can cause even more damage, so use a softer touch after your night out.


When your lips are covered in dry skin, stains are more likely to remain as a souvenir. Dry skin absorbs more moisture from whatever you're drinking, which could manifest as red, flaky lips. Take a few moments to exfoliate your lips before you drink. You can use a dry, clean toothbrush, a little baking soda mixed with water, or even a soft towel to get rid of dry skin. Then, apply a good-quality lip balm to hydrate lips and you're less likely to see stains.

While Drinking

While it might not be the most refined way to enjoy a glass of Cabernet, it could definitely save your lips: using a straw means the liquid bypasses your lips altogether. If you're self-conscious about asking for a straw, ask for a wine spritzer or mixer served in a tall glass instead of a traditional wine glass.

After Drinking

Lemons and Limes

When you're in a pinch and notice that your lips are already stained, ask a waiter for a lemon or lime wedge with your drink. You can discreetly bite down on the citrus with your lips and the high acidity will help dissolve some of the stains left behind from your glass of wine. If the lemon or lime juice comes in contact with your teeth, swish with water so the acid doesn't linger on your enamel.

Lip Balm

If you notice that your lips are red, embrace the color by cleaning it up and making it look intentional. A quick swipe of a moisturizing lip balm can add a little shine to your lips so the red looks like it's a gloss instead of the byproduct of happy hour. Keep a clear gloss in your bag and you won't have to be embarrassed by your red lips.

There's no reason you can't enjoy a good glass of red while having dinner or spending time with friends. But if you want to avoid those dreaded wine stains, a few precautions and fixes can mean no one needs to know exactly what you're drinking.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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