As editors, we're lucky enough to test hundreds of products, slowly separating the good from the bad and the good from the best. Whether we're talking about hair dryers, perfumes, or something else entirely, we take testing seriously. When we find something that really rises above the rest, we introduce it into our own beauty routines. Seriously, though—the highest praise we can give a product is to say, "I use it all the time." That means it consistently beats out newcomers and old go-tos.
That's the case when it comes to the following 15 lipsticks. They vary by formula, finish, and shade, but they've secured a spot in our theoretical lipstick hall of fame. They're the ones we wear in Instagram selfies and TikTok videos, the ones we gush about to our friends, and the ones we repurchase over and over again. Yep, they're that good. Keep scrolling to see them all!
How to Choose the Best Lipstick for You
J Guerra is a celebrity makeup artist. He has a few guidelines to share for choosing the right lipstick for your skin tone. "First, determine if your undertone is generally cool, warm, or neutral. For those with cool undertones, lipsticks with blue in them or purplish hints like berry shades, true reds, and mauve hues can be stunning. Those with warm undertones may look best in corals, brick reds, and warmer shades of pink and brown. Neutral undertones can pull off most shades, but it's still essential to strike a balance depending on their exact skin tone," he says.
Undertones aside, he says it's also important to consider your natural lip color. "Lipsticks can appear differently on pigmented lips compared to lighter lips. Choose natural shades that are one or two tones deeper than your own lip color for a more natural lip look. For deeper skin tones or pigmented lips, opt for a warmer lipstick shade than you normally would—this helps to subtly color-correct the dark pigmentation and gives a truer color payoff. This is especially true for sheer lipsticks, as some of the lip color will show through the lipstick and could change the color a bit," he says. If you want to block out your natural lip color, opt for matte, full-coverage lipsticks. Guerra says these will offer the best color payoff.
Finally, consider your hair and eye color. "For instance, fiery reds might pop on redheads, while berry shades can beautifully complement dark hair and eyes," Guerra says. No matter what, though, Guerra recommends doing what he calls a daylight check. "Always check the lipstick shade in natural daylight since store lighting can sometimes be deceiving!" he adds.
If all else fails, turn to the internet and experts for help. "In today's age of social media, there are countless reviews, swatch images, and even videos available. They can show how different shades look on various skin tones. It's a valuable resource for getting a ballpark idea when starting out on a lipstick journey! Lastly, don't shy away from consulting with the professionals! Makeup artists often have a trained eye for what might look best, taking into consideration lip and skin tone, eye and hair color, and your overall style," he says.
Best Overall Lipstick: Merit Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick
"If I'm going to wear a standard lipstick, Merit's Signature Lip is my pick of choice. I have discolored lips, yet Merit's formula applies flawlessly, especially the shade Tiger, which is my all-time favorite red lipstick. It's also hydrating, which I don't get from most standard lipsticks! I don't even need to add a gloss on top. It looks perfect as is." — Yusra Siddiqui, Associate Editor
"I love this shade because it strikes the perfect balance of brown and red for my deep skin tone without being overly bold. It also looks gorgeous paired with a deep-brown liner for my go-to fall lip." — Maya Thomas, Assistant Beauty Editor
Assistant Beauty Editor Maya Thomas Wearing Merit Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick in Tiger.
Best Matte Lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick
"I'm pretty picky about matte lipsticks, but Charlotte Tilbury makes the one I always come back to. It's not super heavy and thick like some matte lipsticks tend to feel, and it's surprisingly moisturizing. The color range is also next-level. I'm partial to Pillow Talk (duh) and Mrs. Kisses." — Allyson Payer, Senior Editor
"I love that this lipstick has a small and slim bullet for targeted application. I have thin lips, so this is much appreciated. As for the formula, it's comfortable yet has a true matte finish. For only $10, you can't get much better." — Kaitlyn McLintock, Associate Beauty Editor
Best Shiny Lipstick: Kosas Wet Stick Moisturizing Shiny Sheer Lipstick
"On the glossier side of things, I'm also partial to this newish Kosas release. It leaves a pretty, plumping hint of shine, and all of the colors are super wearable since they're sheer. I currently have Hot Beach on heavy rotation, and Malibu is in my shopping cart waiting for me to purchase." — Payer
Best Long-Lasting Lipstick: Rare Beauty Lip Soufflé Matte Cream Lipstick
"I've always preferred a tinted lip balm more than lipstick, but when I need the long-lasting color payoff, there are only a few I will use in my beauty routine. My top favorite is Rare Beauty's Lip Soufflé Matte Cream Lipstick. The texture is unlike anything I've ever seen before—it feels soft on the lip and dries down without being overly matte on the lips. It just has the perfect color payoff, so I don't need to reapply constantly." — Siddiqui
Best Red Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco Bloom
"Lately, I've been gravitating to Chanel Rouge Coco Bloom in the color Bright. I absolutely love a red lip. You'll rarely catch me in the wild without one, and this is such an easy red to swipe on. It's a hydrating, high-shine cherry red that is dreamy and flattering. Chanel is always good for effortless French-girl reds, and this is one of its best." — Katie Berohn, Beauty Editor
Beauty Editor Katie Berohn Wearing Chanel Rouge Coco Bloom in Bright.
"This lipstick has the boldest, brightest color payoff. Even though it's a matte formula, it's not overly drying, and it doesn't settle into fine lines or dry spots. That's why I call it a 'modern matte' formula. Every time I wear it, I get major compliments. It's officially my favorite red lipstick." — McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor Kaitlyn McLintock Wearing Hermès Matte Lipstick in Rouge Casaque.
Best Nude Lipstick: YSL Beauty The Bold High Pigment Lipstick
"I feel like I simply don't wear a true lipstick if it isn't this one from YSL. The pigment is amazing, it lasts for hours, and the colors are so flattering on my skin tone. My favorite color is anything in the brownish-nude department." — Sierra Mayhew, Associate Editor
"Merit's Signature Lip quickly became a favorite after it launched thanks to the pretty finish and the chic, neutral shade options—not to mention the fact that it's a clean-beauty collection. The shade Baby enhances my natural lip color, which gives my usual no-makeup makeup look a nice boost, and Slip is a perfect throwback to the chic brown lipsticks of the '90s for when I want to switch things up a bit." — Jennifer Camp Forbes, Shopping Updates Editor
Best Liquid Lipstick: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Lip Blur Liquid Lipstick
"It's super comfortable and hydrating but dries down to a matte finish! Plus, the color is honestly just *chef's kiss.*" — Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor
Best Drugstore Lipstick: Milani Color Statement Lipstick
"My lips veer on the dry side, so I'm always looking for products that maintain or boost hydration. This balm-lipstick hybrid is it. It's so moisturizing, and it leaves the prettiest sheer color behind. It never fails to make my lips look plump and smooth." — McLintock