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There’s nothing more disappointing than covering your pout in a gorgeous lip shade only to find the color has disappeared not long after you’ve applied it. Where did it go?!
To avoid spending money on fast-fading lipsticks and glosses, we asked beauty editors — the women whose job it is to road test cosmetics all day long — to recommend their favorite long-wearing finds. From their lips to yours, here are there favorites.
1. MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in "Feels So Grand," $21, Nordstrom
Also available for $21 at ULTA.
“During the last season of HBO’s 'Girls,' Jemima Kirke wore a lipstick that I became obsessed with tracking down. It wasn’t just the color — a rich, deep ruby red — but the texture, which looked like velvet. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, because she wrote about it on Twitter and I promptly got the shade! One of the bonuses was that this stuff does not transfer at all — not on my coffee cup, my water bottle or my clothes. It actually takes effort to remove at night,” said Jamie Rosen, contributing editor at Town & Country.
2. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor, $10, Walgreens
Also available for $10 at ULTA.
"This wax-free, moisturizing formula should slide right off, but it doesn't. Instead it leaves a velvety finish that isn't drying — and will last through multiple drinks, dinner and a goodbye kiss. (Bonus: It smells like a hint of vanilla.) My favorite shades are 'Love,' a modern red, and 'Devotion,' a grown-up, flirty pink,” shared Jackie Danicki, beauty columnist at the Observer.
3. Maybelline Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid in "Sinful Stone," $5, Amazon
Also available for $9 at Walgreens.
“Gray lipstick?? Yes! It's the ultimate power shade! Instant cool for just $6. I know it sounds crazy, but it's shockingly flattering. Plus, it adds instant polish to any look. I'll also dab a bit on my lids for a quick smudgy eye. A fellow beauty editor shared it with me at an early morning work breakfast, and when I saw her that night at another work event, the shade was still going strong on both of us,” said Emily Dougherty, editor-in-chief at New Beauty.
4. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in "Perla," $22, Amazon
Also available for $22 at ULTA.
“Lately, I’ve been obsessed with this liquid lipstick. It’s the perfect soft pink for my skin tone. It doesn’t dry out my lips at all and it stays on for hours — definitely my everyday go-to, especially if I’m not trying to make a statement with my look,” said Carly Cardellino, beauty director at Cosmopolitan.com.
5. Giorgio Armani Beauty Beauty Lip Magnet Liquid Lipstick, $38, Sephora
Stuff We Love
Also available for $38 at Nordstrom.
“Truth be told, I’m a lip balm girl. I don’t like the feeling of anything goopy on my lips. But for a big night out where I want a dramatic lip look, I reach for this liquid lipstick that comes in a zillion gorgeous shades (I particularly love their reds) and lasts for hours. When it wears off, my lips are left stained, which, when covered with a swipe of my trusty lip balm, also looks fab,” said Alexandra Parnass, executive editorial director for beauty at Hearst.
As beauty director at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, Melissa Milrad Goldstein agreed.
“I’ve tried many liquid lipsticks but this is the one I return to time and time. It’s weightless and the applicator is perfectly shaped to line and fill lips with precision. I always swipe it on the edge of the bottle to take off any excess product, then build the intensity of the color. It’s smudge-proof and lasts, but the tone mellows out a bit as the day goes on, and I like that about it,” said Milrad Goldstein.
6. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in "Tell Laura," $34, Nordstrom
Also available for $34 at Bloomingdales.
"Here’s how I justify the price of this lipstick: Whether I’m wearing it with a T-shirt or something I’ve frantically grabbed from the back of my closet, people suddenly think I’ve made a real effort. (Fools!) This long-lasting lipstick always does the trick: a velvety orange-red and a dead ringer for my favorite (discontinued) shade,” said Jessica Matlin, beauty director at Harper's Bazaar.
7. NARS Semi Matte Lipstick in "Heat Wave," $28, Sephora
“I’ve never met a red lipstick that can withstand more. Aside from being the most perfect orange-y red (people will compliment you all day long), it lasts through even the longest, most wine-filled dinners. Before I apply it, I like to wet my lips and wipe them with a towel to buff away any flakes, then I dab on a little balm. I wait 30 seconds, pat off the balm, then go in straight from the tube and I’m good to go for hours without any dryness or stiffness — unlike most long-lasting formulas,” said Marta Topran, beauty director at Cosmopolitan, Women's Health and Seventeen.
8. MAC Lipstick in "Velvet Teddy," $19, Nordstrom
“With my modestly sized lips, attempts at wearing anything more than my Burt's Bees balm inadvertently ends up making me look like a 4-year-old who's gotten into mommy's makeup bag. But on the occasion when a little lip is called for (and called for to last), I lean toward a nude matte that I can apply, then blot and then never worry about again for the rest of the night. This shade is pigment-packed nudity, which sort of sounds like an oxymoron, but it works for me and my reluctant pout,” said Jane Larkworthy, a beauty columnist at Coveteur.com.
9. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in "Blindfold" and "Bahama," $27, Sephora
“I’m currently obsessed with these lip pencils — my fave shade of the moment is 'Blindfold' from the Charlotte Gainsbourg collection. They’re so easy to apply (I’ve been known to dab on my lip color in a moving taxi or on the subway, sans mirror), and truly last all day without feeling dry or looking cake-y. My trick is to dot the lip color on, then use a fingertip to blend color to edges, pressing pigment into my lips. This makes for a perfect flush of color, and if I want a more intense effect, I keep layering. Genius! I also love the shades 'Endangered Red' (a dark burgundy), 'Dangerous Red' (poppy) and 'Dolce Vita' (if I need a lasting nude). This last one is my go-to hue when I do on-camera stuff,” said Gwen Flamberg, executive editor of beauty and style at US Weekly.
"I've never fallen in love with anything from a limited-edition collection before, and now I understand why it's almost not even worth it. This matte lip pencil (in the shade 'Bahama') is absolutely the most flattering rose I've ever found; (it's) not too thin, not too thick, so it's just right for applying without a mirror. I want to wear it every day,” said Alix Tunell, beauty writer for publications like Refinery29 and InStyle.
10. Victoria’s Secret Velvet Matte Cream Lip Stain in "Adored," $15, Walmart
Also available for $14 at Victoria's Secret.
“While matte liquid lipsticks are all the rage, I’d never met one I loved — heck, even liked — until a makeup artist friend recommended this lip stain. Here’s how my experience with liquid lipsticks went: I'd see women (celebs, models, makeup artists) on Instagram slapping them on then flaunting smooth, matte, pillow-y pouts, but when I would try them, they made even the tiniest chapped skin flake look massive and literally felt like Saran wrap on my lips after five minutes in.
"I had just about given up on the trend when I tried a sexy rosy pink shade that looks like my natural lip color, only better. It went on super smooth (and stayed on that way), felt hydrating and lasted from the minute I applied it on the train ride into work at 7 a.m. until I removed my makeup at 11 p.m. (despite my iced latte, Diet Coke, hours of chatting with publicists and kissing my husband when I got home). One caveat: The sponge applicator deposits a lot of product, so be sure to wipe off the excess before applying it onto your lips. Swipe it on top and bottom lips, blot them together, then use your finger to tap it in for a more lived-in look,” said Heather Muir, beauty director at Real Simple and Health.
11. RMS Lip2Cheek in "Diabolique," $36, Sephora
Also available for $36 at Nordstrom.
“Lately, I’ve been loving this lip and cheek stain. It’s not labeled long-wear, but because it contains such an intense pigment load (after all, it doubles as blush), I find it wears beautifully for hours. The color was handpicked for me by Rosemarie Swift, the line’s creator and muse, which meant a lot to me because she’s a true visionary.
"Because it’s quite matte, I like to sheer it out for day by applying it over lip balm and then use it full-strength at night,” said Didi Gluck, deputy editor for beauty and style at Shape.
12. Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Moisturizing Glossimer, $30, Nordstrom
Also available for $30 at Macy's.
“I sure as hell can’t afford a Chanel bag, but I can afford a $30 Chanel lip gloss. The best part of paying a little more for this lip gloss is that it has major staying power, and I don’t have to reapply it every five seconds. Better still, the colors are bright, vibrant and never gaudy.
"I love 'Icing,' a sheer pink, for the spring, while 'Nectar' is a bright orange-y red that looks sophisticated with an all-white dress on a hot summer night,” said Jacqueline Gifford, travel director at Travel & Leisure and Departures.
13. Kosas Lip Color in "Stardust," $28, Bloomingdales
“My criteria for lip color is short, but nonnegotiable: I must be able to apply it without a mirror and it must stay intact through my morning commute, coffee and a.m. meetings. This one checks both of those boxes —it’s a warm rose that brightens up my face, layers nicely for more impact and fades evenly. I like to exfoliate my lips in the morning with a lip scrub right after the shower (a face wipe works, too), apply a nice hydrating lip balm, then let that soak in. On my way out, I grab my lipstick, which I leave in the key bowl, and apply it as I'm shuffling out the door, patting down the color so it doesn't look too done. No mirror required,” said Simone Kitchens, senior editor of the Strategist at New York Magazine.
This story was originally published June 12, 2017.
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