There's nothing like the instant confidence boost that comes with a swipe of the perfect drugstore lipstick. But with so many options to test and try, finding that mythical tube can feel like an impossible task.
To help narrow down your hunt, TODAY Style reached out to 13 beauty mavens (with enviable client lists to boot) to find out their personal favorites. Even better? Each of these must-have hues and long-lasting formulas are available at your local drugstore.
So whether you are looking for a bold, pigmented color or just a hydrating, creamy texture, read on to discover these expert-approved favorites.
1. Milani Color Statement Lipstick, $5, Target
“My favorite drugstore lipstick is Milani, especially 'Nude Crème' and 'Velvet Merlot.' A lot of matte lipsticks leave a dry application, which ends up being incredibly uncomfortable to wear throughout the day or night," but this tube is different, says Rebecca Restrepo whose clients include Ruth Negga, Emily Blunt and Lucy Liu. "I love the richness of the colors and the longevity of a matte finish without the flakiness that comes with many matte lipsticks.”
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2. Burt's Bees Lip Crayon, $9, Walgreens
“Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Napa Valley is a gorgeous, universally flattering berry red. It offers the precision of a pencil with the ease of a lipstick, has a beautiful, semi-matte texture and comes in a beautiful range of shades. I even love this shade with a nude pencil or gloss over the top to give it even more depth for evening. (It also) works on cheeks, too, as a cream blush in a pinch,” says Suzy Gerstein, whose clients include Christy Turlington Burns, Millie Bobby Brown and Julie Bowen.
3. Rimmel London Lasting Finish By Kate Lipstick, $5, Walmart
“I love the new Lasting Finish from the Kate Moss Collection since there is a nude for every skin tone. For deep, pigmented colors that last, look no further than 'Pure Thrill' — it lasts all night without drying out your lips,” says Azra Red, whose clients include Rachel Zoe, Rosario Dawson and Nicole Scherzinger.
4. NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick, $6, Walmart
“NYX's 'Black Cherry' shade works for almost all skin tones. Deep red and burgundy lipsticks are hot this season so everyone should have it in their makeup bag,” says Min Min Ma' whose clients include Meghan Markle and Zosia Mamet.
5. Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Color, $7, Walgreens
“Maybelline, hands down, has the best drugstore lipstick. My favorite shade, 'Darling Nude,' is exactly that — creamy, hydrating (which isn't always the case with matte finish formulas!) and wears beautifully throughout the day. This is the nude lipstick you want to dress your lips,” says Aidan Keogh, whose clients include models Kendall Jenner and Josephine Skriver.
6. NYX Xtreme Lip Cream Color, $20, Amazon
"This is a great neutral shade for all occasions. I love the combo texture of the lipstick — not too dry and not too glossy — it's the perfect in between. It complements a smokey eye as well as a soft natural look,” says Carola Gonzalez, whose clients include Kerry Washington, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Uzo Aduba and Oprah Winfrey.
7. Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color, $2, Walgreens
“This lipstick has long-lasting staying power. It's the equivalent to the high-end product, like M.A.C. Cosmetics iconic 'Ruby Woo' lipstick. The color payoff has serious impact and the wear lasts from day to night with minimal touch ups after drinking and eating. It's so durable that after you wipe your lips, it leaves a stain — which is a good thing of course," says Lucky Smyler, whose clients include Viola Davis, Tia Mowry and Sunny Anderson.
8. NYX Velvet Matte Lipstick, $7, Target
“This lipstick range comes in beautiful, highly pigmented shades from reds to natural nudes. The consistency makes it glide on smoothly, resulting in an even, matte finish. For a more defined lip line, apply liner beforehand,” says Kristine Cruz, whose clients include Gilles Bensimon and Nicole Scherzinger.
9. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, $9, Rite Aid
“You can't go wrong with a classic red — it's timeless and fresh. 'Cherries In The Snow' is a red that works for multiple skin tones. It's a drugstore item with high-end pigment. I love this color on a clean face with just a hint of mascara. It’s modern and chic,” says Tasha Reiko Brown, whose clients include Aja Naomi King and Yara Shahidi.
10. IMAN Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick, $11, Walgreens
“I love this semi-matte, warm nude. It compliments all skin tones, from rich mahogany to caramel hues. A must in your kit!" says Oslyn Holder, whose clients include Regina King, Bette Midler and Vanessa Williams.
11. COVERGIRL Katy Kat Matte Lipstick, $7, Walmart
"My favorite lipstick at the moment has to be Covergirl's 'Katy Kat' matte lipstick. I love how it's an on-trend, demi-matte texture, so it is long-wearing but still comfortable. And the soft rose of 'Pink Paws' is the perfect everyday lip shade,” says Amber Dreadon, whose clients include Lorde, Haim and Jaime King.
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12. Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick, $9, ULTA
”It’s perfect for fall or winter as a rich burgundy color and works with more skin types than just a plain red, but it’s just as chic, if not more,” says Jeannia Robinette, whose clients include Victoria Beckham, Shiri Appleby and Debra Messing.
13. Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick, $4, Walgreens
“I am newly obsessed with Almay Smart Shade Butterkiss Lipstick in 'Nude Light.' They are creamy and shiny with semi-opaque coverage and feel and look incredible in person and on camera,” says Michael Anthony, whose clients include Tinashe, Brooke Candy, Allison Williams and Rita Ora.