I love lipstick. I love the way it pops on an otherwise makeup-free face, how it makes a statement. I also hate how high maintenance it is. I hate reapplying it. I hate carefully eating food and drinking from straws as to not disrupt or smudge the color. And I hate the dry, tight discomfort that comes with long-lasting formulas.
Quite the conundrum, to love lipstick but hate wearing it. I’d never found a lipstick that looked great and felt comfortable... until now.
I discovered a smoothing lip color that comfortably grips my lips and lasts all damn day in the most unlikely place: The Wet n Wild aisle at the drugstore. As someone who typically shells out $20+ at specialty stores for a tube of lipstick that works half as well, this revelation has me shook.
When I tested for the best lipstick on the market, I tried Wet n Wild not expecting much. After all, this is the same brand that fueled my body glitter addiction in the early ‘00s. But this is a new, grownup WnW: One that created a liquid lipstick that, at only $4, outperformed every other brand—luxury and budget—by a large margin.
I put the lipstick on in the morning and let it sit through the entire day without any reapplication. For starters, the formula is lightweight and smoothing. When I applied the color, I only needed one swipe to get full coverage: There was no transparency or blotchiness.
Its contoured doe foot wand makes for easy application, and the shape makes it simple to get a hard line without twisting the brush from side to side: It conforms to your lip’s shape and squeezes into any tight corners easily.
Once applied, it took less than 2 minutes to set. The shade on my lips matched the color in the tube, which is super important for a drugstore brand since you can’t test in-store. Though it was fully set (i.e.: smudge- and transfer-proof), my lips were still slightly tacky to the touch, but that slight bit of suppleness kept my lips from drying out through the day. It seemed to fill in any lines on my lips instead of settling into them like most lipsticks.
By the time I took it off (10 hours later), of course my lips felt a little dry and the formula had gotten slightly crumbly at the center of my mouth—but the color hadn't faded or slipped outside my lip line. Despite its crazy staying power, I didn’t have to scrub hard or use anything beyond a makeup wipe to remove it.
I know it sounds too good to be true. Luckily, at this price point, you don’t have to take my word for it: There are 13 shades, and at under $5 a pop, you can test it yourself. If you’re like me, you may end up buying up every color.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.