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Best Lipsticks

Updated May 2023
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Best of the Best
NARS Lipstick
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Bold Color
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Lipstick with bold color and creamy texture well-loved by customers.


Helps lips look fuller because of its vitamin-rich formula and sheer finish. Choose between satin, metallic, shimmer, or matte style. A little goes a long way, so this lipstick will last you a long time.


Some customers reported that this lipstick had a bad smell.

Best Bang for the Buck
Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick
ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick
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Customer Favorite
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A liquid lipstick that is designed to provide 1-coat coverage and last throughout the day.


The formula is food and transfer-proof. Has a rich saturation of color with a satin finish. Stays put but feels light on the lips. Comes in 12 shades that range from nudes to bold colors.


Several customers mentioned that the color tends to fade into the lines and corners of lips by the end of the day.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick
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Color Options Galore
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Tons of color options for all-day-wear lipstick that doesn't need to be reapplied.


Choose between matte, satin, or shimmer finish. Combination of instant hydration and all-day wear. Enriched with natural hydrators like avocado oil and vitamin E. Will not bleed or rub off. Free of synthetic dyes and GMO-free.


Customers found the applicator brush too long and awkward to use.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick
Super Lustrous Lipstick
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Affordable Beauty
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Made by a popular brand, this lipstick offers numerous benefits and colors for an appealing price.


Contains avocado oil that gives it a creamy texture and vitamin E that nourishes lips. Formula is highly moisturizing and long-wearing. Colors are attractive and come in numerous shades of pink, brown, mauve, and more. Four finish options. Affordable.


Some colors don't look the same in person as they do online.

MAC Lipstick Matte
Lipstick Matte
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Expert Recommended
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Formulated to shade, define, and showcase lips, this lipstick performed well during our test.


Blendable and easy to apply. The formula is long-lasting. Great for dry lips due to the moisturizing formula. Doesn't dry and crack, allowing it to look great even as it fades. The color looks excellent and doesn't take much application to get the desired look on your lips.


Removing the lipstick after it is on can take quite a bit of time.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best lipsticks

You don’t need to be a makeup expert to wear lipstick with confidence. It’s all about finding the right formulation, finish, and shade that suits your skin tone, undertone, and style.

If you’re new to the world of lipstick, the sheer number of options available can be overwhelming. If you’re confused by blue reds, pinky nudes, and liquid lipsticks, we’re here to help.

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Heading outdoors? Start with a layer of lip balm with SPF for sun protection. The skin on your lips is incredibly sensitive and can get sunburned, too.

Types of lipsticks

Traditional lipsticks

Traditional lipsticks are solid sticks, or bullets, that twist up for application. These lipsticks are available in every finish, from sheer stains to opaque mattes. They tend to be less drying than liquid lipsticks, though they are rarely transfer-proof.

Liquid lipsticks

Liquid lipsticks come in liquid form in a tube with a doe-foot applicator. They are often matte, though sheer, cream, and metallic liquid lipsticks are also available. Lip stains also usually come in liquid formulas. Matte liquid lipsticks are very long-lasting, often transfer-proof, and extremely opaque. However, these liquid lipsticks can also be drying.

Lipstick finishes


Sheer lipsticks usually provide more moisture than other lipstick finishes. They often have a balm-like texture. In the tube, sheer lipstick appears darker than it does on the lips. This type of lipstick is best for those who want to add a hint of subtle color.

If you’re just starting to wear lipstick and experiment with colors and finishes, try a sheer option first. You can decide how opaque the application will be.


Similar to sheer lipsticks, stains provide a natural look. However, stains are longer lasting. A heavier application deepens a stain’s color. Ever looked in the mirror after eating a bowl of strawberries or a juicy red popsicle? That’s the look you’ll get with a stain.


Cream lipsticks contain wax for durability and oil for moisture. Creams go on smoothly and are easy to apply. They offer a concentrated dose of color like matte lipsticks but are more hydrating. Creams are versatile and don’t require much effort to remove. Some cream lipsticks have a satin, or semi-matte, finish for a touch of shine.


Matte lipsticks have a flat finish, without shine. The non-reflective color of matte lipsticks has significant staying power but can be drying. Mattes are the best option for those who love ultra-bright colors, since they are highly pigmented and opaque. While matte color is tough to remove – you’ll need makeup remover – it’s a great option for parties, since there’s often no need to reapply.


Metallic lipsticks create a shimmery or frost-like effect on the lips. These fun lipsticks come in unique shades – like metallic mermaid blues and iridescent unicorn purples – that create a statement look. For the most payoff, most metallic lipsticks are liquid lips.


Lacquer is essentially a combination of lipstick and lip gloss. This finish produces a shiny pout. Lacquers are a good choice for those with small lips, since the glossy effect makes lips appear larger. However, lacquer sometimes has a sticky feel and easily transfers. Most lacquer finishes are hydrating.

Choosing the right shade

To find a flattering shade of lipstick, the most important thing to identify is your skin’s undertone. Your skin can be cool, warm, or neutral, and different shades of lipstick look best on different undertones. That said, don’t be afraid to break the rules. While skin tone is a good guide, it doesn’t mean you should limit your color horizons.

Cool undertone

Those with cool skin have pink undertones. If you fall into this category, you’ll find the veins on your wrist appear either blue or purple. You probably sunburn easily, too. Redheads, those with very fair complexions, and those with very deep complexions often have a cool undertone.

Lipstick shades that contain blue and purple flatter cool undertones. Look for these shades:

  • Light mochas and other cool brown nudes

  • Blue-based pinks

  • Ruby reds and blue-based reds

  • Wines and berries

Warm undertone

Those with warm skin have yellow undertones. If you fall into this category, you’ll find the veins on your wrist appear green. You likely tan easily.

Lipstick shades that contain orange, red, and copper flatter warm undertones. Look for these shades:

  • Pink or peach nudes

  • Corals

  • Red-based pinks

  • Orange-reds

  • Coppers and bronzes

Neutral undertone

Not sure whether your veins look blue or green? You probably fall into the neutral category. Many people with olive skin have a neutral undertone. If you’re neutral, count yourself lucky – nearly every lipstick shade will look flattering on you.

Skin tone

You can also choose lipstick shades according to your skin tone, which refers to how light or dark your skin is, regardless of its undertone.

  • Fair: Bold colors will pop against pale skin, but it’s best to avoid yellow tints or very pale shades, as they will give your skin a sallow appearance.

  • Medium/Olive: Most shades look good on medium skin tones, though nudes that are too pale will wash out medium skin.

  • Deep: Rich shades are the most flattering on deep complexions. Look for plums, brick reds, and burgundies.

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Did you know?
Dark lipsticks make your lips appear smaller. Lighter colors have the opposite effect.

Other features to consider when buying lipstick


The lipstick color you choose depends on your skin and personal preference. When stocking up on lipstick for the first time, however, it’s easy to end up with several shades that look nearly identical. Here are a few colors that are makeup bag staples:

  • Nude

  • Pink

  • Classic red

  • Dark berry


Some lipsticks include moisturizing ingredients. If you’re prone to dry or cracked lips, opt for lipsticks that contain moisturizers and avoid drying options like mattes and liquid lipsticks. If you really want a matte look, apply a lip balm first for the smoothest application.


Stick lipsticks come in several different shapes. The traditional bullet-style tends to be the most precise. Liquid lipsticks come with doe-foot applicators for defined application, akin to a lip brush. However, the shape of the doe foot varies brand by brand.

Longwear formula

Longwear lipsticks come in a variety of finishes, though they are most often matte liquid lipsticks. They stay on even during eating and drinking, so reapplication isn’t required. Longwer formulas often don’t contain as many moisturizing ingredients, however, so they can dry out the sensitive skin on your lips.


There are plenty of quality drugstore lipsticks available for under $20.

However, high-end and luxury lipsticks usually are more pigmented, longer lasting, and less drying. Expect to pay $25 to $50 for these high-quality lipsticks.

Tips for applying lipstick

  • Exfoliate your lips, and then apply a lip balm while you do the rest of your makeup. This will help your lipstick go on smoothly when you’re ready to apply it.

  • Don’t just slap on red lipstick. Bold colors should be carefully applied. Use a lip liner if possible, and clean up the edges with concealer and a lip brush.

  • If you’re using lip liner, try to match the color to your lips or the lipstick.

  • Lip liner will prevent your lipstick from feathering or bleeding. Lipstick primer can help your lipstick stay on longer.

  • Use a lip brush for the most precise application, and clean the brush regularly to avoid bacterial growth.

  • Check your teeth post-application to avoid a lipstick-tooth smile.

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Use a lip brush to apply color from a tube that’s almost used up.


Q. I’m vegan, are there lipstick ingredients I should avoid?

A. Some common animal-derived ingredients that are found in lipsticks are beeswax, lanolin (made from sheep’s wool), and carmine (a beetle-derived pigment). Metallic lipsticks may also contain fish scales. Luckily, there is a large variety of vegan lipsticks available.

Q. Do I need to use a lip liner when applying lipstick?

A. While it used to be common for lipsticks to bleed, today’s formulations are much improved. A liner can create definition, but it’s not a necessity when applying lipstick. If you still have trouble with feathering and bleeding, try an invisible liner.

Q. Does lipstick expire?

A. While shelf-life depends on the manufacturer, generally lipsticks are good for about three years. If your lipstick changes color, texture, or smell, it’s time to toss it.

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