There's nothing like the instant confidence boost that a swipe of a perfect, affordable lipstick can bring you. It will help you look good, and you'll feel even better knowing that you're making a budget-friendly buy.
One of the best places to find makeup that doesn't break the bank is at your local drugstore — but with so many options on the market, finding that mythical perfect tube and shade can feel like an impossible task.
To help narrow down the hunt, TODAY Style reached out to 13 beauty mavens (with enviable client lists) to find out their personal favorite drugstore lipsticks. Each of these must-have hues and long-lasting formulas boost your beauty arsenal at a bargain.
“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," said Rebecca Restrepo, whose clients include Ruth Negga, Emily Blunt and Lucy Liu. This tube is different. "I love the richness of the colors and the longevity of a matte finish without the flakiness that comes with many matte lipsticks.”
“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," said Suzy Gerstein, whose clients include Christy Turlington Burns, Millie Bobby Brown and Julie Bowen. "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,”
“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,” said Azra Red, whose clients include Rachel Zoe, Rosario Dawson and Nicole Scherzinger.
“Deep red and burgundy lipsticks are hot this season so everyone should have it in their makeup bag,” said Min Min Ma' whose clients include Meghan Markle and Zosia Mamet.
“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,” said Aidan Keogh, whose clients include models Kendall Jenner and Josephine Skriver.
"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,” said Carola Gonzalez, whose clients include Kerry Washington, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Uzo Aduba and Oprah Winfrey.
“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," said Lucky Smyler, whose clients include Viola Davis, Tia Mowry and Sunny Anderson.
“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,” said Kristine Cruz, whose clients include Gilles Bensimon and Nicole Scherzinger.
“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,” said Tasha Reiko Brown, whose clients include Aja Naomi King and Yara Shahidi.
“I love (their) semi-matte, warm nude. It compliments all skin tones, from rich mahogany to caramel hues. A must in your kit!" said Oslyn Holder, whose clients include Regina King, Bette Midler and Vanessa Williams.
"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,” said Amber Dreadon, whose clients include Lorde, Haim and Jaime King.
"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," said Jeannia Robinette, whose clients include Victoria Beckham, Shiri Appleby and Debra Messing.
“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,” said Michael Anthony, whose clients include Tinashe, Brooke Candy, Allison Williams and Rita Ora.
For more beauty buys, check out:
- Dr. Pimple Popper swears by a $14 facial cleanser for flawless skin
- 11 best drugstore wrinkle creams for 2019, according to skincare experts
- This polish helped thousands of users stop biting their nails