It’s that time of the year again: holiday gift guides aplenty! This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes. These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year. For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. Here’s a look at the best lipstick formulas I’ve tried:
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.15 oz.) is supposed to have “bold, creamy color” with “extreme moisture, soft texture, and creamy wear.” The majority of the range is very pigmented–typically opaque with one pass–with a few shades being semi-opaque but usually buildable. The majority of the shades I’ve tested have been lightly hydrating to non-drying and fairly comfortable to wear for the long-haul. They wear longer than average, from four to eight hours, depending on the intensity and propensity of the shade to stain. The range is rather extensive with over 30 shades, so you may find our top 15 best Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks list useful. Some of my favorite shades are: Pickled Ginger, Kale, Sour Cherry, and Spritzer.
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick ($17.00 for 0.11 oz.) is available in six finishes, which are primarily distinguished by level of sheen, shimmer content, and coverage. Mega Mattes are the thinnest and have the most “cling” as they are drier and more matte (but most are semi-matte and not a totally flat matte) and can be drying, though they are longer-wearing. Comfort Mattes are creamier, a little denser, with richer color payoff on average (they are the most pigmented out of the finishes), and have a satin finish that is fairly comfortable to wear, usually lightly hydrating, and longer-wearing. Creams are usually softer and creamier, though not too soft (they don’t mush or break from the base easily), with some being tackier and stiffer in the tube until they warm up against the lips; they have good color payoff, are hydrating, and are comfortable to wear but have more typical wear (four to six hours–six hours for deeper/richer shades like a red). Sheers and Sheer Shimmers have a more balm-like consistency that feels a little thinner but is wetter/more emollient than Mega Mattes, so ultimately, they feel quite different applied; they have sheerer coverage, though more semi-sheer to semi-opaque than very sheer, and have the shortest wear time at two to fours with light hydration. Metallized is the most shimmery of the finishes, though some of the other finishes have shades that are actually as shimmery (to me), but the Metallized formula has a thinner, more emollient base that isn’t as dense or as cream-like as the Creams; they feel more like the Sheers but a bit heavier and more pigmented (but seem to run semi-opaque to opaque, not always fully opaque) with average wear (four to five hours), light hydration.
With 120 shades available, you’ll want to use our top 30 Vice Lipstick list to help narrow down what’s worth checking out! Some of my favorite shades–of this very moment–are: Tryst, Moshpit, Studded, Twitch, Amulet, Tampered, Crisis, Perversion, and Cruz.
Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color
Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color ($35.00 for 0.12 oz.) is supposed to have one-stroke color coverage with a hydrating, smoothing formula, and “nourishing shine.” I have been impressed with the formula as a whole, as the majority of the shades are very pigmented in one pass with a creamy consistency that glide on easily. There’s a richness to the texture that does feel more “luxe” in a way. The natural-to-luminous shine level gives lips a smoother, plumper look, while the formula itself is hydrating and many shades are longer wearing. Some of my favorite shades are: Bahama Brown, Bond, Soft Berry, and Plum Brandy.
ColourPop Ultra Satin Liquid Lipstick
ColourPop Ultra Satin Liquid Lipstick ($6.00 for 0.11 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a “lightweight, bold lipstick with a satin finish” that is “extra intense colour saturation” and “long-wearing,” but the brand is quick to note that it is “not completely kiss proof.” The consistency is very light to lightweight with a thin to mousse-like consistency–they feel a little heavier going on than the Ultra Matte formula, but they don’t feel heavy on. They wear really long on me and are pretty comfortable to wear with little to no drying (even six or more hours) feel. You can check out our top rated shades here, while some of my favorite shades are: Dopey, Petit Four, Frick ‘n’ Frack, and Panda.
Estee Lauder Hi-Lustre Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick
Estee Lauder Hi-Lustre Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.12 oz.) is supposed to have medium coverage with a lustrous finish. It takes the Pure Color Envy and adds shimmer to it with the end result varying from lightly pearlized to more frosted and near-metallic. The shimmer is finer, so the lipsticks do not feel gritty on the lips, and the particles don’t migrate as the lipstick wears down. I would describe the coverage as more semi-opaque overall, though a lighter hand could achieve more medium coverage and two layers would give you nearly opaque coverage. Some of my favorite shades are: Slowburn, Sly Ingenue, and Naked Ambition.
Bite Beauty Matte Lip Crayon
Bite Beauty Matte Lip Crayon ($24.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a slim, twist-up lipstick in a variety of highly pigmented, long-wearing, hydrating shades. The finish is more semi-matte to satin, but they wear down to a matte finish within an hour or two of wear. I love how comfortable they are to wear! Some of my favorite shades are: Pastille, Brandy, Sucre, and Cava.
Givenchy Le Rouge
Givenchy Le Rouge ($36.00 for 0.12 oz.) is lightweight, creamy, pigmented, hydrating, and fairly long-wearing, though some of the lighter shades tend to be less flawleess in application and can wear closer to average in wear time, but it’s a very comfortable formula to wear that delivers creamy, rich coverage. They have a rose scent but no discernible taste. Some of my favorite shades are: Rose Dressing, Hibiscus Exclusif, Brun Vintage, and Corail Decollete.
Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick ($55.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a long-wearing, moisturizing lipstick with a moderately creamy consistency that glides on easily and leaves a lightly glossy, luminous finish behind. Most shades are mostly opaque to fully opaque, though a few are less pigmented. Some of my favorite shades are: Garconne, Gracia, Gemma, and Galiane.
Laura Mericer Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm
Laura Mericer Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm ($25.00 for 0.12 oz.) is supposed to have the “comfort of a lip balm, the coverage of a lipstick, and the shine of a gloss.” The formula is really quite pigmented, creamy, and hydrating, and it’s an incredibly comfortable formula to wear. They don’t wear particularly long, so as long as you don’t mind reapplying every three to four hours, they’re well worth a look. Some of my favorite shades are: Raspberry Ripple, Tutti Frutti, Cinnful, and Sweet Guava.
Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick
Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) is supposed to be long-wearing, “extremely pigmented,” and hydrating. It is available in two finishes–Cream and Matte, indicated by the C or M in the beginning of each shade’s name. The Cream formula is richly pigmented, lightly creamy without being too emollient or slippery, and go on smoothly and feel good while worn (wear ranges from four to eight hours, depending on the shade). The Matte formula is thinner and clings somewhat to lips, though it goes on nicely and doesn’t tug, and it doesn’t always look flattering on as it can emphasize imperfections on my lips but really depends on the shade, as some look great on. I found the Cream formula to be moderately hydrating, while the Matte formula was slightly to moderately drying. There are numerous shades, so you might find our top 25 Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick list useful to narrow down the best of the best! Otherwise, some of my favorite shades are: C108, M102, C211, and C502.
Maybelline ColorSensational Creamy Matte Lip Color
Maybelline ColorSensational Creamy Matte Lip Color ($7.99 for 0.15 oz.) has good color payoff with a velvety, creamy consistency that covers evenly and most shades seem to make lips appear smoother but some shades were prone to pulling into lip lines as the color wore away. The big thing about these is that they have a mostly matte finish and are more comfortable to wear than many matte formulas due to the velvety feel (almost like a silicone primer, but not quite as heavy and not clingy). Some of my favorite shades are: Nude Nuance, Touch of Spice, Divine Wine, and Clay Crush.
Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids Lip Color
Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids Lip Color ($7.99 for 0.15 oz.) is a great, affordable lipstick for those who like bold, bright, and neon colors with glossier finishes. They’re comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and very pigmented! Some of my favorite shades are: On Fire Red, Vivid Rose, and Shocking Coral.
NARS Audacious Lipstick
NARS Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is supposed to be a richly pigmented, creamy, hydrating, and long-wearing formula. In my experience, the formula is typically opaque in a single stroke, lightweight, moderately to very creamy with four to six hour wear. It feels lightly hydrating to mostly non-drying overall. There is no noticeable scent or taste, and they are very comfortable to wear. Some of my favorite shades are: Apoline, Natalie, Anna, and Audrey.
Shiseido Rouge Rouge Lipstick
Shiseido Rouge Rouge Lipstick ($28.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a vibrant, long-wearing, and hydrating lipstick available in 16 shades inspired by red. The pigmentation varied from semi-opaque to fully opaque with a lightweight, lightly creamy consistency that wasn’t too thin or too thick, so it sat well on the lips and made mine appear smoother. The colors applied evenly on the lips and didn’t drag as the texture is very smooth and emollient enough to have a soft sheen but not enough to slide around easily. The formula lasted anywhere from four to eight hours, which was nicely hydrating.
Some of my favorite shades are: Rouge Rum Punch, Red Queen, Rose Crush, and First Bite.
Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick
Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is supposed to be a creamy, long-wearing, and richly pigmented that feels lightweight and moisturizing. The Creams have a consistency that is light-medium in thickness–not thin but not heavy–that sits well on the lips and adheres for four to seven hours comfortably. Most of the shades had semi-opaque to fully opaque color coverage that went on evenly and smoothly. Some of my favorite shades are: Fig, LA Sunset, Cognac.
Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick
Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a pigmented, long-wearing, and hydrating formula that’s great if you like your color creamy and mostly opaque with a natural finish. You know you have a good formula on your hands when the average rating is an A across over thirty shades. Some of my favorite shades are: Defiant Coral, Discreet, Intense Nude, and Jealous.