If the phrase "to grandmother's house we go" conjures up nightmarish images of red lips stretched into a smile, ready to plant a wet one on your cheek, you aren't alone. At least that's what the TV commercials tell us.

If the phrase "to grandmother's house we go" conjures up nightmarish images of red lips stretched into a smile, ready to plant a wet one on your cheek, you aren't alone. At least that's what the TV commercials tell us.

But grandma or not, you can avoid leaving the dreaded kiss marks on the cheeks you peck this holiday season by using a lip stain. They're designed to give the lips a matte color that doesn't rub off and lasts for hours.

The best ones can be applied precisely (lip stains are best put on in front of mirror) and infrequently. Read on to see how these four competitors stack up when it comes to staining.

CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain

4 of 5 stars

Pros:A marker-like tip made it the most precise to apply. The color layers well to give a light or deeper look.

Cons:The stain goes on a bit dry, so make sure winter-weather lips are well-moisturized.

Available at covergirl.com and beauty and convenience stores, $8

Tarte Rise & Shine natural lip stain and lip-enhancing gloss

3 of 5 stars

Pros:All lip stains can be layered with gloss to add depth, but this one combines the two with a double-wanded brush. The gloss helps set the stain in place while providing some moisture and lots of shine.

Cons:The gloss gives lips some oomph, but stickiness is a major side effect. The two halves, however, can be worn solo.

Available at tartecosmetics.com Sephora, $21

Lorac Sheer Wash lip/cheek tint

4 of 5 stars

Pros:This one most closely mimics the effect juicy berries have on your lips - liquid stain comes out with the touch of a rollerball. The color gives a healthy flush to cheeks, too.

Cons:The stain leaves a mark wherever it lingers, so it must be smoothed in immediately - especially on the cheeks, which might otherwise end up looking permanently pinched.

Available at loraccosmetics.com and Sephora, $20

Urban Decay Lip Envy

3 of 5 stars

Pros:This lip stain uses a lip-gloss-like brush to spread juicy color evenly and with precision, and it's easily layerable. Plus, it has a pleasant vanilla scent.

Cons: The color seems to wear more unevenly than others, rubbing off first where the lips meet, so keep a pocket mirror handy.

Available at urbandecay.com and Sephora, $17