The Best Liquid Lipsticks of 2018

By Jessica Teich

Finding a matte liquid lipstick that wears comfortably and lasts all day without fading, smudging, or drying your lips seems near impossible. To complicate things, the market is inundated with hundreds of products that claim to do it all—but rarely deliver. That's why we tested top-rated matte liquid lipsticks at all price points to find a lip that lasts—comfortably.

We were shocked when we ended up loving the inexpensive Wet n Wild MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick (available at Amazon for $3.51) enough to land it as our top value pick and the overall best—and we were pretty surprised with the rest of the results, too.

That's because the best-rated Pinterest brands and the lipsticks promoted by popular glossies performed poorly enough to consistently wind up at the bottom of our list: But we'll just let our lips do the talking. To learn how we tested and selected the products, scroll down or click here. Below are the liquid lipsticks we tested, in order of performance.

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated April 12, 2018

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Wet n Wild best value
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

1. Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit Lipstick

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  • Editors' Choice

1. Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit Lipstick

best value

Our main takeaway: An amazingly smoothing lip color that comfortably grips your lips and lasts all day.

Colors available: 13 shades

The details: I tried this budget brand not expecting much, but it delivered on all fronts. It's the cheapest of the lot, and it wore the best... by a large margin. The lipstick is lightweight and so smoothing, it almost looked like it filled in any lines on my lips instead of settling into them like most liquid lipsticks. The contoured doe foot applicator makes it easy to get a hard line without turning the brush back and forth. I only needed one swipe to get full color coverage, and the shade on my face matched the tube, which is super important for a drugstore brand that you can’t test in-store.

Wet n Wild
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

Once the lipstick was dry, it was still slightly tacky to the touch but the color didn’t transfer onto anything... all day or night. After 10 hours of wear, my lips felt a little dry and the formula had gotten slightly crumbly at the center of my mouth, but the color really hadn't faded or slipped outside the perimeter of my mouth. There are only 13 shades, but at under $5 a pop, it may be worth grabbing them all.

Anastasia best luxury brand
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

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2. Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

best luxury brand

Our main takeaway: A comfortable lipstick that feels moisturizing and doesn't budge.

Colors available: 38 shades

The details: I completely understand why this is a top-selling lipstick across retailers. The formula is buttery smooth, and the applicator is a flat oval with some flex to it for easy application. The lipstick itself feels rich, dries quickly, and requires only one coat for full coverage. It holds your lips in an almost latexy way that doesn’t dry them out, especially compared to the rest we tried.

Anastasia
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

It takes second place since the color fades a bit through the day, though not offensively. It also never slipped or feathered outside the perimeter I initially drew on. I actually wore it on a day I forgot I had a dentist appointment, and she said through her mask, unprovoked, “good call on this lipstick—it has not budged.” Need I say more?

3. Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain

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3. Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain

Our main takeaway: A creamy lipstick with serious color staying power—but transfers onto everything.

Colors available: 40 shades

The details: This best-selling Sephora formula feels light and creamy on application and has great pigmentation: You definitely won’t need a second coat or touchups through the day. That being said, it never fully dries on your lips and keeps a tacky finish. In other words, it's not drying, but it transfers onto everything: Cups, napkins, utensils, my boyfriend's face.

Despite its crazy transfer, the color did not budge from my lips all day, almost acting as a lip stain. It was as pigmented when I scrubbed it off at 8 p.m. as it was when I put it on at noon. If you can stand the lipstick marks on everything your mouth touches, it may be a good pick.

Sephora
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich
Sephora liquid lipstick transfers like crazy, yet somehow stays in place through hours of wear.

4. Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Lipstick

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4. Too Faced Melted Matte Liquified Lipstick

Our main takeaway: A consistent bestseller with a very thick formula, but requires multiple coats for an opaque finish.

Colors available: 24 shades

The details: This lipstick has a thick, almost mousse-like texture (nearing on clumpy). It also sets to an intense hue: The seemingly fun color "Mrs. Roper" looked more like a garish traffic sign once it dried on my mouth. I actually startled my boss. As bright as this particular shade is, the formula was translucent—It required two applications for a truly opaque finish. The upside? The color didn't fade at all, but did flake toward the center of my mouth by 8 p.m. It dried my lips slightly, but it has a nice, visually smoothing effect and decent staying power that keeps it in the top half of the pack.

Too Faced
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich
Too Faced vs. charcuterie (warned you it was garish)

5. Kylie Lip Kit

Kylie lip kit

5. Kylie Lip Kit

Our main takeaway: This booming social media brand performs OK, but charges for it.

Colors available: 15 shades

The details: You can't talk about liquid lipsticks without mentioning (or at least thinking about) Kylie Jenner. The formula on this cult favorite is liquidy, felt drying at first, and has a slightly cloying cherry smell, but the formula had great pigmentation and coverage that only required one coat. It feels lightweight, and while it transfers a lot, it doesn't slip outside the lip line—but it did fade after a few hours.

Truthfully, it's not a standout among the pack, and I’m not sure the brand worth the hype. The lipstick settles into fine lines, making lips appear dry and cracked at times. Also, the retailer site has a rigid $9 shipping fee, which brings the cost of a single liquid lipstick up to $26. That's almost 7 Wet n Wilds, for those keeping track at home.

Kylie
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich
Kylie Lip Kit vs. spaghetti

6. Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick

Jeffree star velour liquid lipstick

6. Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick

Our main takeaway: This top seller on Google has a well-designed applicator, but a lackluster formula that fades quickly.

Colors available: 54 shades

The details: The applicator on this lipstick is identical to our top pick Wet n Wild, which means it has a contoured doe foot that makes for easy application. Unfortunately, that’s where the good ends. The shade was noticeably darker on my lips than in the tube, which makes it difficult to buy sight unseen. This poses an issue, since this brand is only sold online. Even after careful application, the color was a little uneven and blotchy and it took a while to dry, and didn’t wear well after just one meal. It faded at the center on my mouth, and the color sloppily slipped outside the edges of my mouth.

Jeffree Star
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

7. ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip

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7. ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip

Our main takeaway: Fine for a night out, but not for all-day wear.

Colors available: 59 shades

The details: I understand why this is a popular brand. Offered only online until now, this inexpensive lipstick has vast color variety, and holds up fairly well at a reasonable price ($11 after shipping, but $5 off your first order). That being said, the color in the tube doesn’t at all reflect what’s on your lips: "More Better" dried at least 3 shades darker on my mouth. The color transferred badly as I ate lunch, but I was surprised that the lipstick didn’t dry out or fade. It did feather along the edges, which looked a little sloppy.

ColourPop
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

8. STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

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8. STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

Our main takeaway: A very liquidy formula with poor pigmentation and fades quickly.

Colors available: 27 shades

The details: This is the brand that started me on liquid lipstick—A lot has changed since then. The formula smells like a delicious subtle vanilla, but it's so thin, liquidy, and sheer that I had to apply three coats to get the pigmentation right. Though it took a while to set, the color faded from the center of my lips and slipped outside of my lip line after just a couple hours of wear. It was unimpressive, overall.

Stila
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

9. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick

Kat von d everlasting liquid lipstick

9. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick

Our main takeaway: This thin formula won't slip outside your lip line, but will immediately rub off when eating or drinking.

Colors available: 44 shades

The details: I have sung the praises of Kat Von D’s lipstick before, so of course I had high hopes for it. On first application, I was surprised that the dried color didn't come close to matching the color in the tube. "Exorcism" is not just darker—it’s a completely different tone when dry. The product itself is pretty watery and dries quickly, but just two hours after I applied it, the color was so patchy, faded, and worn that I had to remove it. It doesn’t smudge outside the perimeter of your lip when it’s dry, but any liquid that touches you will pull the lipstick right off. The good news is that it makes it easy to remove, which you'll have to a couple hours in.

Kat Von D
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

How We Tested

I am the beauty editor at Reviewed, so my interest in cosmetics is professional, yes, but also deeply personal. I won't tell you how many types, colors, and brands of lipstick I have, but I don't leave the house on the weekends without a bold lip. I am constantly on the hunt for a lipstick that goes on easily, lasts for hours—through food, drink, endless talking—yet isn't drying. A good lipstick should make you forget it's there, but shouldn't fade or budge outside the line you initially draw on. Sound like a tall order? I think it should be a mandate.

To find this winning formula, we scoured best-sellers across retailers, beauty blogs, Reddit threads, and best-of lists to gather the best liquid lipsticks on the market, from $4 to $40. We chose deep, bright, and best-selling colors to exemplify the wear and keep things consistent across tests. Then, we pitted these top-rated brands against each other to find the winner.

How? Like any lipstick lover might: I carefully slathered them on my bare, unlined lips and wore them for 12 hours, through morning coffee, meals, a nap or two, smooches, happy hours, and everything in between. The rules: Apply it in the morning, let it set, and then don't touch it. No touch ups or removing until you wash your face before bed. I also swatched each lipstick on my arm and ran them through durability and smudge tests, and ultimately judged how difficult they were to scrub off.

Swatches
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

I had coworkers and friends try them out them, too, and had other Reviewed testers judge the color veracity on-skin compared to in-tube. I then teamed up with Reviewed’s senior scientist to score and weight results on a scientifically calibrated rubric. We answered and weighted questions like:

Color: Does the lipstick look good after one application, or do you have to dip back into the tube to get the pigmentation right? Does the dry color on your lips match the color in the tube, or would it be difficult to purchase without trying it on first? Does the color fade or change throughout the day?

Application: Does the lipstick go on smoothly, or is it patchy, clumpy, or difficult to apply? Is the applicator particularly well-designed, or a basic doe-foot that hinders easy application? Does the applicator hold enough product, or do you have to dip into the tube again? Does the applicator hold too much product, so that you have to scrape some off on the edge of the tube?

Wear: Through the day, did the formula transfer, smudge, flake, or fade? Did your lips feel dried out or tight through the day? How difficult was it to remove, and how do your lips feel after a day of wear?

When I ran the results from each lipstick test through the same scoring rubric, it was easy to see which were the best—and the worst, like the four below.


Other lipsticks we tried—and you shouldn't


10. Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro

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10. Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro

Avoid

Our main takeaway: A very expensive "matte" lipstick that doesn't dry matte at all.

Colors avaialable: 25 shades

The details: Armani claims that this lipstick "leaves the lips with a flawlessly matte" look, but as soon as I applied this thick, creamy (audaciously pricey) lipstick, I knew it wasn’t going to dry matte. Lo and behold, this is what it looked like when I blotted after 15 minutes. By the end of the day, I didn’t even have to remove the lipstick: It was already completely gone.

Armani blot
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich
This Armani lipstick never set. By 5 p.m., it had mostly worn off.

11. NYX Professional Makeup Soft Matte Lip Cream

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11. NYX Professional Makeup Soft Matte Lip Cream

Avoid

Our main takeaway: This most-pinned lipstick didn't dry matte.

Colors available: 34 shades

The details: I found this Pinterest-favorite formula to be more of a Pinterest fail. It claims to "set to a stunning matte finish," but the lipstick never set. After two hours, it was so worn it looked like it had been through a rough night out.

NYX
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

12. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor

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12. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor

Avoid

Our main takeaway: This drugstore formula never dried matte, yet badly dried out my lips.

Colors available: 16 shades

The details: This one was especially bad. The color was so much lighter on my face than it was in the tube and it never dried, yet succeeded in drying my lips so badly that they felt like suede. At the end of the day, only a pathetic ghost of red tint remained—and a serious need for chapstick.

Revlon blot
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

13. Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme

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13. Milani Amore Matte Lip Creme

Avoid

Our main takeaway: The worst of the lot—drying, flaky, easily smudged, and difficult to remove.

Colors available: 35 shades

The details: This hit all the marks of a bad lipstick: It flaked and smudged, it was drying and poorly pigmented, and it was impossible to remove. I had to apply three coats to get a truly opaque finish, and each coat needed to fully dry before I could reapply (think of a cheap nail polish that smudges when you go in for your second coat). The color began to bleed around the edges of my mouth after an hour, and the product became crumbly at the center and chipped off in chunks, like plaster. It looked so bad that, like the Kat Von D, I had to remove it after just a few hours of wear. Despite wearing horribly, it was the most difficult to remove and stained my lips hot pink.

Milani
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Teich

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