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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. Here, from their lips to yours...
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1. MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in "Feels So Grand," $21, Macy's
“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, onscreen, 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,” says Jamie Rosen, beauty director at Town & Country.
2. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, $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,” says Gwen Flamberg, beauty director at US Weekly.
3. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor, $10, CVS
"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,” notes Jackie Danicki, beauty columnist at the Observer.
4. Mary Kay’s Gel Semi-Matte Lipstick in "Powerful Pink," $18, Mary Kay
“It was love at first sight — or first application! The shade name rings true; it is definitely a powerful pink color in just the right way. I first tried it at a press event for the brand’s new launches, and when it lasted through breakfast, a hike and multiple bottles of water — hello, hydration! — I knew this long-wear lipstick was a keeper,” says Dori Katz Price, beauty and fashion director at Family Circle.
5. Victoria’s Secret Velvet Matte Cream Lip Stain in "Adored," $14, 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,” says Heather Muir, beauty director of Real Simple and Health.
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6. Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color, $28, Nordstrom
“This lip product won the Good Housekeeping Beauty Lab’s long-wear lipstick test — it even withstood the ‘breakfast test,' where digital images were taken before and hours after a full meal. When I got to try it myself, I understood why: I swiped it on in the morning before leaving my apartment, and was stunned when I noticed in late afternoon — after several beverages, plus breakfast and lunch — that I didn't need to reapply. The bright orange-red shade I wore was super-pigmented and matte, but had no hint of that overly dry, cake-y look or feel on lips. Perfect!” notes April Franzino, beauty director at Good Housekeeping.
7. RMS Lip2cheek in "Diabolique," $36, Sephora
“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,” notes Didi Gluck, beauty director at Shape.
8. Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Moisturizing Glossimer, $30, Nordstrom
“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,” says Jacqueline Gifford, special projects editor at Travel & Leisure.
9. Maybelline New York Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid in "Sinful Stone," $8, 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,” says Emily Dougherty, beauty director at ELLE.
10. Giorgio Armani Beauty Beauty Lip Magnet Liquid Lipstick, $38, Sephora
“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,” notes Alexandra Parnass, beauty director at Harper’s Bazaar.
As beauty director at Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, Melissa Milrad Goldstein agrees. “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. 'Second Skin' currently has my heart, but I just saw a jaw-dropping neutral tone they’re releasing for holiday 2017 that’s sure to be high up on my gift list,” says Milrad Goldstein.
11. Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips Lipstick in "Tell Laura," $34, Nordstrom
"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 one, long-lasting lipstick always does the trick: a velvety orange-red, and a dead ringer for my favorite (discontinued) shade,” says Jessica Matlin, beauty and health director at Teen Vogue.
12. 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,” says Marta Topran, deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan and Seventeen.
13. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in "Perla," $24, Amazon
“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,” notes Carly Cardellino, beauty director at Cosmopolitan.com.
14. MAC Lipstick in "Velvet Teddy," $17, Amazon
“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,” says Jane Larkworthy, a beauty columnist at Coveteur.com.
15. Kryolan Lip Stain in "Rock,' $21.50, Amazon
“This lip stain is my ultimate secret weapon. A few things you should know: 1. Kryolan is famous for its dependable stage makeup, so when I say this lip doesn’t smudge I’m being 100 percent honest. 2. This wears nothing like a traditional lip stain. It goes on more like a liquid lipstick and lasts twice as long. 3. Unlike other lip stains on the market, when you wash it off there is zero residue or pigment left behind. 4. If you’re like me and like to apply a lip balm underneath your long-wear lipsticks for a little extra moisture, it won’t make the product go on streaky or mess with the matte finish. In fact, it makes application even easier and causes zero feathering,” says Amanda Elser Murray, senior beauty editor at People Style.
16. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in "London Clinic," $27, Nars
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 (not too thin, not too thick, so it's just right for applying without a mirror) is absolutely the most flattering rose I've ever found. I want to wear it every day, but I'm trying to pace myself so I can at least have it through the end of summer,” says Alix Tunell, senior beauty editor at Refinery29.
17. Kosas Lip Color in "Stardust," $24, kosacosmetics.com
“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,” says Simone Kitchens, associate beauty director at Glamour.