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The Best Long-Lasting Lipsticks Based On Rigorous Testing

Author: Hou

Mar. 07, 2024

141 0 0

Tags: Beauty & Personal Care

The best long-lasting lipsticks make it effortless to wear your signature color, whether it’s the rosy nude you swipe on for work or the bold crimson you want to last through your whole wedding. Their rich pigments coat your lips for hours yet also feel soft and flexible, not drying, which is a tricky balance to strike. They usually set within minutes so they won’t rub off onto your face, teeth, hands, clothing or loved ones. They fade slowly and evenly over time. And they’re ideally designed to make it easy to fill in your lips without getting a trace on your skin or leaving excess behind. Phew! That’s a lot to ask from a little tube.

I tested 16 long-lasting lipsticks to find the most wearable, comfortable ones on the market.

Illustration: Forbes / Photo: Retailers

After testing for these factors as well as considering the range of available shades, I found Pat McGrath Labs LiquiLust Legendary Wear Matte Lipstick to be the best long-lasting lipstick overall because it sets within minutes, doesn’t smudge or feel dry, lasts for 6 to 8 hours and fades in a flattering way. The L’Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Lip Stain (which is a hybrid of a stain and liquid lipstick) is my top value pick because of its pleasant although less creamy texture, even fade and expensive-feeling doe foot applicator. (Read my in-depth reviews of the Pat McGrath Labs and L’Oreal Paris lipsticks here.)

The following is a list of all the winners from my testing process:

Best Long-Lasting Lipstick Overall

Creamy, Lasting Color That’s Comfortable And Fades Evenly


Pat McGrath Labs LiquiLust Legendary Wear Matte Lipstick

Type: Liquid  | Finish: Matte | Shades: 15 | Steps: 1

Best for:

  • Those who want a lipstick that will feel comfortable and look good for 6 to 8 hours
  • A cream-to-powder texture
  • Beginners, because it’s fairly forgiving 

Skip if:

  • You want a formula that lasts well beyond 8 hours
  • You like a wider array of shades to choose from
  • You prefer bolder colors like teal, purple or black

Pat McGrath Labs’ long-lasting liquid-lipstick formula strikes the ideal balance between endurance and comfort. It dries to a no-smudge matte finish in minutes. I touched my hands to my lips to see if the lipstick had set at the 2-minute mark, and nothing came off on my fingers. Hours later, the pigment was still evenly in place. For me, it lasted (meaning the color was noticeable and consistent across both entire lips) for 6 to 8 hours. That’s shorter than some of its competitors, but the even fade-out is worth the trade-off. I never looked as if I were wearing a bright lip liner only. The pigment recedes subtly without flaking or leaving an awkward outline.

Then there’s the way it feels: This Pat McGrath Labs tube delivers the most comfortable texture I tried. Dougherty says, “The rule is, the creamier and more moisturizing the lipstick, the less long-wearing it will be.” This one finds a middle ground. It goes on creamy and dries quickly to a matte, almost powdery finish. It feels like coloring your lips in with a creamy pencil, but it looks much more even—and it’s much easier to do.

With 15 shades, this Pat McGrath Labs lipstick has a smaller color range than some other brands, but you might say it’s just tightly curated. As Dougherty says, part of what you’re paying for is McGrath’s eye for color. These shades are designed to be chic and modern, and flattering across a wide range of skin tones. For many people, myself included, this simplifies the color-selection process and is a pro rather than a con. The one true red in the collection is also an instant classic: the blue-leaning Elson 4 spotted on the likes of Taylor Swift.

My pick for best long-lasting lipstick overall, the Pat McGrath LiquiLust Legendary Wear Matte ... [+] Lipstick feels lightweight, powdery and flexible—not dry.

Elyse Moody For Forbes

Although it’s a professional-quality product, the flat, teardrop-shaped doe-foot wand makes putting it on simple for anyone to do. It’s pointy and not too fluffy, so you can get a crisp, tight edge. I also appreciated that it didn’t leave any residue behind that required an oil-based makeup remover to tackle; it faded effortlessly.

Overall, this is the lipstick I wish I had had for my wedding. I had been hesitant to choose a long-lasting formula because I didn’t want to risk my lips looking flaky and dry; I would rather grab the tube from my purse and reapply. This formula would have given me exactly what I wanted. Pink Desire is the vivid warm pink I didn’t know I needed.

My 6-month update: Since I first started testing lipsticks, this one has still been far and away my favorite. I still haven’t tried another with a texture and longevity that can compare. It feels creamy and matte and plush but lasts through dinners and drinks—I’ve done so. The only downside in my view, the relatively narrow color range, is one you can easily overcome if you’re willing to buy more than one tube. The colors are made to be mixed. I’ve found that I like layering Pink Desire and Wild Orchid to get my perfect pink.

The 2024 Forbes Vetted Best Product Awards are here: Explore our 150 top-recommended items across categories after extensive research and testing.

Best Value Long-Lasting Lipstick

A Lightweight Formula That Lasts All Day


L'Oréal Paris Rouge Signature Lightweight Matte Lip Stain

Type: Liquid  | Finish: Matte | Shades: 20 | Steps: 1

Best for:

  • An ultra-precise edge, thanks to its pointy, diamond-shaped doe-foot wand
  • A lightweight texture
  • A broad range of natural colors to experiment with

Skip if:

  • You prefer a plush, creamy texture
  • You’re not a fan of fragrance in lipsticks 

Don’t let the word “stain” in the name fool you: This L’Oréal lip color has more heft and plenty of staying power—roughly 6 hours in my tests. Like my best overall pick, it also faded evenly over time, which differentiated it from other drugstore contenders.

The pointy, diamond-shaped doe foot is great for getting a very precise application. It’s thoughtfully designed, more like what you’d expect to see on lipsticks from L’Oréal sister brands Lancôme or Armani Beauty, but not necessarily on a drugstore tube.

A hybrid formula, the affordable L'Oreal Matte Lip Stain is one of the most comfortable and durable ... [+] lipsticks I tested.

Elyse Moody For Forbes

Color-wise, you have a range of about 20 options to choose from. Finding them in stock at your drugstore or online is a bit of a crapshoot, but it’s worth the hunt to find your forever shade.

Where it doesn’t perform as well as my best overall pick is in the texture category. I like how lightweight it feels, but it isn’t as creamy as the Pat McGrath Labs lipstick. Still, it doesn’t feel as dry or sticky as many of the other contenders that cost quite a bit more, and it doesn’t flake, peel or crumble.

My 6-month update: After several months of trying different long-lasting lipsticks, I still reach for this one when I want really lightweight color that lasts. I love how it works like a stain that takes longer to fade. I find that’s exactly what I want in the summer when I’m wearing less makeup overall. Compared with other long-lasting formulas I’ve tried, this one is more no-makeup makeup friendly. You won’t look odd if you go out wearing only this, mascara and your favorite sunscreen.

Best Luxury Long-Lasting Lipstick

A Range Of Vibrant Reds That Stay Put


Dior Rouge Dior Forever Liquid Transfer-Proof Lipstick

Type: Liquid | Finish: Matte | Shades: 18 | Steps: 1

Best for:

  • Especially long wear (all day and night)
  • Diminishing lip lines, which may be due to what Dior calls its “ultra-fine” pigments 
  • Popular, classic shades like an iconic red or a soft bridal rose

Skip if:

  • You don’t want to spend $40-plus on a lipstick
  • You’re not a fan of fragrance in lipsticks

This pricey tube is a bit more of an investment than my best overall and value picks, but it sets within minutes to a transfer-proof matte finish that really lasts—in my testing, all day and well into the night. I tested Dior’s iconic 999 Forever Dior red and 100 Forever Nude, and they held on longer and felt more sophisticated than most competitors. Inexpensive long-lasting lipsticks can look a bit theatrical; this one makes a matte finish look polished, not painted on.

Where the Pat McGrath Labs lipstick has a unique powdery texture, this one feels more like a traditional lipstick—velvety with a slight sheen when you apply it and hours later. I didn’t feel a desire to apply balm the way I did with some of the other contenders. The film it forms on the lips is light, flexible and imperceptible. You forget you’re wearing lipstick until you see yourself in the mirror.

It also offers a rich range of shades—18, more than the Pat McGrath Labs LiquiLust Legendary Wear, including plenty of strong reds. If you prefer variations of a classic statement color like a tomato or brick red, you’ll find plenty of options here.

As with my other picks, this lipstick has a user-friendly diamond-shaped doe foot that makes it easy to avoid staining your skin. You simply fill in your lips and let them dry for 5 minutes before rubbing them together.

My 6-month update: I still think that this plush, long-lasting lipstick is worth $11 more than my best overall pick from Pat McGrath—from its chic tube (that matters to me) to its plush, classic lipstick feel. I love the pointy applicator and velvety finish in classic Dior colors I’m familiar with. It’s a bonus to me that I could wear the same shade I know and love in another lip product from the brand, say Dior 720, and get this long-lasting version for special occasions when I know won’t be able to reapply. It’s great for when you’ve settled on a signature color and want exactly that, whereas the Pat McGrath is more about experimenting and mixing.

Best Glossy Long-Lasting Lipstick

A Two-Step Formula With Shine For Days


Chanel Le Rouge Duo Ultra Tenue Ultrawear Liquid Lip Colour

Type: Liquid | Finish: Matte or glossy | Shades: 26 | Steps: 1 or 2

Best for:

  • Ultra long wear, with or without the accompanying top coat
  • A shiny, hydrated appearance
  • A wide range of shades that include pigmented pinks, cool berry shades, warm browns, shimmery tones

Skip if:

  • You solely prefer a simple matte finish
  • You consider $42 a splurge

Long-lasting lipsticks rarely feel—or look—as juicy as one you apply straight from the bullet. However, this two-step formula delivers the megawatt shine of a gloss that lasts a very long time—in my experience, all afternoon, through a multicourse dinner and even overnight.

The texture of the matte lipstick, the first step, alone feels quite drying, but it’s slick and comfortable after you brush on the included gloss. The gloss feels satisfyingly thick—you can tell it’s there—yet not tacky or heavy.

Both applicators make it possible to get very crisp lines and an even color distribution. The end of the doe foot on the color side is rounded and tapered. I’d prefer a triangular one, but the brush for the gloss on the other end makes up for that because it’s so satisfying to use. It has soft bristles and a fine tip that feels luxurious.

The Chanel lineup is especially strong in its bold pinks and reds. With 26 shades to choose from, you’ll find great options for all skin tones and undertones.

My 6-month update: I’m continually impressed by how long this high-shine glossy lipstick lasts. If you want a glossy finish, this brush-on formula is the absolute best. When I put it on to go out to dinner, it makes me feel like I’m in a lipstick advertisement. The glossy formula might seem tricky to use, but I swear it really isn’t. I have never had it travel onto my teeth or skin. If it weren’t for the expectation that long-lasting lipsticks are matte, this one would be my favorite overall; it’s a clear winner in its category. I’m still using 47, Daring Red—I love how this cool red looks on my fair skin with blue undertones.

Other Long-Lasting Lipsticks I Tested

I tested 16 products, and 12 didn’t make the cut. Here’s why.

NYX Professional Makeup Soft Matte Lip Cream: Reviewers rave about this $7 liquid lipstick’s creamy texture, sweet scent and durability, but it didn’t last as long as its competition. It faded for me in the center after about 90 minutes, leaving a lip-liner-only look behind.

Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick: This lipstick was promising because of its soft, moisturizing texture. It also comes in a whopping 74 shades, including really forward colors like teals, violets and dark browns. It didn’t last as long as others I tested, but it’s a great value choice, especially if you like to experiment with your look.

Haus Labs Atomic Shake Lip Lacquer: Lady Gaga’s brand offers a unique formula that dries to a lacquer-like finish. But it felt sticky, and the color looked uneven. It’s important to shake it for the full 5 seconds per the instructions, or the consistency will be very weird on your lips.

Urban Decay Vice Lip Bond Glossy Liquid Lipstick: This one fell in the middle of the pack. I had the common experience with this one of winding up looking like I’d run out of the house with only lip liner on by lunchtime. And I didn’t notice anything unusual—good or bad—about its texture. It was medium drying, like most of its competition.

Maybelline Super Stay 24 Two-Step Liquid Lipstick Makeup: This OG long-lasting lipstick lasts too long—you have to intentionally take it off. The bigger issue is that it doesn’t stay fully intact and starts to look patchy, though it is easy to touch up. If you want a wild color, I would recommend reaching for this lipstick.

Kjaer Weis Matte, Naturally Liquid Lipstick: Fans of this brand like that it uses certified organic ingredients and refillable packaging, but “natural” and “long-lasting” don’t seem to be compatible. This one smudged all over the place, although it had a beautiful texture and rich pigment.

Out of the 16 options I tested, 12 didn't make the cut because they felt too dry, faded unevenly, or ... [+] smudged and transferred easily onto my face or clothing.

Elyse Moody For Forbes

Violette FR Petal Bouche Matte: This French company makes your life easy: It offers only two shades, and both promise to give you that Parisian je ne sais quoi. It smudged, felt drying and faded fast, but I loved how soft and blotted it looked. I found myself reaching for it just to go out, even though it didn’t last.

Armani Beauty Lip Maestro Velvet Liquid Lipstick: If you want beautiful, rich, bold color in a single swipe, this tube delivers. Unfortunately it didn’t set and got all over a cashmere sweater, plus it didn’t last as long as some others. But the textures and colors are worth it if you’re willing to reapply.

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color: This one was the only formula that had a feathering issue for me. The applicator is a unique shape, with a rounded area at the end. That caused more color to be deposited right when you touch it to your lips instead of when you glide it over them. At that spot where the color was more saturated, it bled and ran. I was impressed by the curated range of interesting nude shades, though.

Hermès Rouge Hermès Matte Lipstick: Two words: like butter. This über-chic lipstick feels so nice on my lips, and the colorblocked tube with its magnetic closure is so satisfying. It also has a heavenly floral scent. If you’re looking to treat yourself or give an incredible gift, it’s perfect. But it does budge, and it does fade. If you want something that truly stays put, it’s not the best choice.

Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick: This one was the stickiest formula I tested, and it still transferred after 6 hours of wear. It wasn’t even by that point, either.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick: This one dried quickly to a smudge-proof finish, but it felt a bit drier than its competitors after that. I did really like that it comes in matte, sheer and shimmer variations, as well as in a travel-size mini tube.

How I Tested The Best Long-Lasting Lipsticks

For starters, I swatched four or five contenders at a time on the back of my hand and left them there all day. Dougherty suggested this method because it’s simple yet more effective than the old coffee cup or wineglass test: A full day on the back of your hand puts a lipstick through its paces. This allowed me to quickly eliminate any that smudged or feathered, too.

Lipsticks that set on the back of my hand within a minute or two and didn't smudge, feather or flake ... [+] off passed my first round of tests.

Elyse Moody For Forbes

Next, I tested the remaining contenders by wearing them on my lips through the course of a normal day. I noted how long it took each to set and what it felt and looked like when it did. Then I went about my business, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, brushing my teeth, etc., monitoring for fading the whole time. I noted how evenly the color faded and whether its texture deteriorated.

Finally, I documented any little details that made the experience of putting on and wearing the lipstick convenient and pleasurable. A case that closes with a satisfying click prevents spills and makes me want to pick up a product again. A thoughtfully designed brush or doe foot makes application easy and—for me, at least—a joy. I noted a light, beautiful fragrance, too.

How To Pick A Long-Lasting Lipstick

Finding any lipstick you love can become a yearslong quest, since it’s such a personal choice. And formulas that are made to last present an unusual challenge because the texture can be so problematic and the color choices tend to be more limited. The best long-lasting lipsticks are ones you’d be happy to reach for daily, even if you don’t. To find the right one for you, consider the longevity, texture, ease of application and shade range.


Long-lasting lipsticks are made of synthetic ingredients that “form a thin film of color that doesn’t move despite the lips moving,” says Alvarez. That’s why most of them have a matte finish—these formulas create that film best. “Matte lipsticks contain high percentages of powders,” she says. “Powder provides a solid structure where the film can be perfectly formed. It also helps the colors stick to the skin of the lips, because powders absorb large amounts of oil and water, which weaken the film.” Being free of those oils is what allows these formulas to last 8 to 10 hours or more.

However, cosmetics brands often tout how many hours these lipsticks last with a prominent asterisk. That’s because what you do while you’re wearing them affects their longevity in the real world. Remember: Water and oils weaken the color film. If you apply gloss or balm on top, eat oily foods or have a sip of water, the color will likely fade faster.

Many of the formulas I disqualified disappeared from the center of my lips within a few hours or less. Others smudged or bled into the surrounding skin—not the place where you want long-lasting color. Some versions can hang on for days on end, albeit only on some parts of your lips; you also might not like how they feel.


Most long-lasting lipsticks are liquids that feel heavier than a stain, with some of the creaminess of a traditional lipstick or gloss. Compared with a stain, “A typical cream or liquid lipstick formula will look more pigmented and intense and have more texture and color feedback,” says Bychkova. “I’ve never been a fan of stains—too thin,” says Lovello. “They don’t give the same full-coverage effect as lipsticks. A satin lipstick wears nice on the lips but isn’t quite as long-wearing as a matte liquid lipstick.”

The texture also changes over time. It’ll feel one way for the first minute or two, then can transform as it sets. The latter is where many contenders fall short: They feel moisturizing at first but then crack and flake off lips and look crusty and dehydrated, or they become sticky or gummy; others feel weirdly filmy and flexible, like a coat of oil paint.

That’s to be expected, to a point. Alvarez says, “A long-wearing lipstick might be a little uncomfortable. You can feel it on your lips as soon as you apply it, and you continue to feel it throughout the day, especially when you press your lips together.”

When they become really uncomfortable or sticky, it’s usually because of an effort to counteract the dryness that preserves the color film. “The sensation of more or less dry or sticky depends on the chemical union of the film that gives you the color with the rest of the ingredients,” says Alvarez. “Some brands add other ingredients to reduce dryness and only get stickiness. Sometimes not only does part of the ingredient evaporate, but it also absorbs the natural moisture of the skin of the lips and feels much drier and tighter.” The best long-lasting lipsticks go on creamy and hydrating, then set within a minute or two to a finish that feels soft and even plush or powdery in spite of being dry.

To get a sense of a lipstick’s texture when shopping, Dougherty recommends looking closely at the applicator tip. You can even do this when online shopping. “I still buy a lot of my makeup online, so I look to see how the product sits on top of the applicator tip,” she says. “I don’t want to see clumpiness. I want to see a uniform slip. If somebody is swatching it on their inner arm, I want to see that it’s completely uniform as it’s laying down.”

Our favorite long-lasting lipsticks have a triangular or teardrop-shaped doe foot applicator that ... [+] gives you the precision and control you need to create a sharp, bold outline.

Elyse Moody For Forbes


When your lipstick is the last step of your makeup routine and it’s designed to last for 10 hours, you don’t want to color outside the lines. The applicator might sound like a small detail, but it’s “important that the applicator delivers the correct amount of product in each application,” says Alvarez. Look for a triangle shape that’s not too wide or fluffy, advises Dougherty. “It helps you lay down product almost as if you were using a lip brush. A doe foot that has a tailored shape is a joy because you can get that nice flat edge,” she says.

Shades And Finishes

Shade selection is a matter of personal taste. You might prefer a brand that gives you dozens to choose from and experiment with, or you might want to go with one of a few colors carefully curated by a makeup artist who has spent decades honing their eye and who also knows what’s popular and fresh now. Either way, you want to choose a shade that enhances your skin tone and makes you feel your best because they’re not necessarily going to be easy to remove. You also can’t tone them like you might with other lipsticks, explains Dougherty. “Some of these formulas have very complex polymers,” she says. “If you add a lip gloss on top, you’re going to compromise that special polymer that made the long-wearing lipstick special to begin with.”

As for the finish, long-lasting lipsticks can be matte, satin or glossy; most are matte. However, two-step formulas like Chanel’s and Maybelline’s include a top coat that gives you shine without smudging or fading.

My Expertise

I’m a veteran lifestyle journalist who’s been covering makeup and beauty among other topics for more than a decade for outlets such as Elle; O, The Oprah Magazine; Martha Stewart Living and Allure. I love a mostly bare face with a bold, fresh lip—think J.Crew in Jenna Lyons’ heyday, with its (sadly discontinued) line of lipsticks by makeup artist Troi Ollivierre—and I’ve been testing this category for years in search of a new holy-grail tube.

According to my rigorous testing, these tubes from Dior, Chanel, Pat McGrath Labs, and L'Oreal Paris ... [+] are the best long-lasting lipsticks on the market today.

Elyse Moody For Forbes

To report this story, I scoured the websites of major beauty retailers including Ulta, Sephora, CVS and Walgreens for their bestsellers and read hundreds of real users’ reviews, noting pros and cons, particularly about texture, which is where many long-lasting formulas fall short. Then I consulted makeup gurus who know lipstick like the (color-swatched) back of their hand. I spoke with Emily Dougherty, the longtime beauty editor who is beloved by her 66,000-and-counting Instagram followers for her lipstick smashing and mixing videos. I interviewed cosmetic chemist Patricia Alvarez, who in her role as chief chemist for Gemdo Cosmetics has been developing formulations for beauty brands for more than 30 years. I also ran my questions by Cara Lovello, a makeup artist based in New York and New Jersey who specializes in celebrity and bridal makeup, and Katya Bychkova, a New York–based beauty blogger and self-professed lipstick obsessive.

How Do I Apply Long-Lasting Lipstick?

For maximum staying power, put on lipstick as the final step in your makeup routine, advises Alvarez. Ensure your lips are clean and dry. Apply a primer that will protect and smooth any wrinkles, then do your lipstick.

A sharp outline is really important with long-lasting liquid lipstick because the color doesn’t wipe easily off your skin. For a perfect, polished shape, Lovello recommends overlining your lips a tiny bit at the top of the Cupid’s bow and keeping it more pointy than curved.

How Can I Make My Long-Lasting Lipstick Last Even Longer?

It starts with your application. If you want even color with staying power, consider applying a lip pencil first. “When you think about how to create really rich, in-depth color, whether it’s a lacquer on a piece of pottery or a car finish, it’s all about layering really thin layers to get that depth of color,” says Dougherty. “That’s what top makeup artists have done for decades to create that really beautiful, rich lip.” If your lipstick fades, the pencil will help even out those areas.

Alternatively, Bychkova recommends applying concealer first. “It will help to blur out the lips and prolong the life of your lipstick,” she says. You can also take care to avoid eating oily foods or layering a balm or gloss on top.

People have always wanted lipstick to last longer. In the first half of the 1900s, the fad was for indelible lipsticks that enhanced your natural color; cult products like Tangee, which changes color after you apply it (and that you can still buy at the Vermont Country Store) proliferated then. By the 1940s, though, women wanted lipsticks bolder than their natural lip color—and that makes duration even more important. You don’t want your lipstick to wear off and leave you with a prominent crimson outline and your natural color inside it. That’s when Hazel Bishop, a woman who truly deserves a biopic (the Central Park West apartment kitchen where she invented her formulas sounds as fascinating as Julia Child’s) debuted her pigmented Long-Lasting Lipstick and marketed it as “kissable.” Brands like Revlon and Coty followed suit. (For a fascinating account of the so-called Lipstick Wars, see CosmeticsAndSkin.com.)

How Do I Choose The Right Lipstick Shade?

It’s safe to stick to the old advice about your skin’s undertone—cool or warm. “If you are on the cooler side, pick lipstick hues with a pinky undertone: from dusty nudes to cherry reds,” says Bychkova. “If you are on the warmer side, go for brownish nudes and brick reds.”

Want to look younger? Lovello recommends putting down your go-to rust and berry colors. “A pinky nude and a pale plumping gloss is chef’s kiss! In photos, I find time and time again, the nuder the lip, the younger you will look. Of course the gloss takes away from the 8-hour wear, but it makes it more wearable.”

What Is The Best Way To Remove Long-Lasting Lipstick?

A downside of long-lasting lipsticks is that they can stick around in places you might not want them to as strongly as they do on your lips. Out of necessity, Bychkova has a reliable fix: “An oil-based makeup remover is your friend,” she says. “I wear Invisalign, and lipstick staining is an ongoing problem. I always try to blot my lips with a tissue right after applying my lipstick, but it doesn’t always help. In these cases, I use a cotton swab dampened with remover to lift any lipstick, and then I make sure to rinse my retainers well.” The oil base is key here. Bychkova likes Lancôme Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover. Lovello recommends Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil. “The heaviest of makeup will slide right off without pulling and tugging at your skin,” she says. Afterward, apply a moisturizing balm, suggests Alvarez. It will help rehydrate your lips after wearing a drying formula.

As for marks on clothing, reach for rubbing alcohol. “The quicker you can apply rubbing alcohol to the stain, the bigger your chances of eliminating it,” Bychkova says. Anything that has a high concentration of rubbing alcohol, even hair spray, can help, too, if it’s all you have on hand.

It’s a classic debate that probably won’t be completely settled by the time you finish reading this. Lipstick and lip gloss are two products used to add color, shine, and hydration to your lips and accentuate your pout. But, which is better?

At RMS Beauty, we concede: there’s no right or wrong answer to that question, but there are right and wrong products. Determining whether you need lipstick or a lip gloss depends on what you want from your lip product, and the safety of the ingredients contained inside it.

We’ll give you all the information you need to help you decide which product is best, and how you can avoid toxic ingredients that frequently hide out in traditional lip products.

What Is Lipstick?

Lipstick is a classic. You probably have memories of watching an older relative or friend apply it when you were very young. Lipstick offers color to your lips and can also offer lip-benefiting treatments like hydration or long-lasting wearability.

What’s Inside

Lipstick is made mostly from waxes, oils, and pigments. However, the sources of these waxes, oils, and pigments vary dramatically from brand to brand. Most traditional brands aren’t concerned with the safety or toxicity level of their ingredients.

In the U.S., cosmetics go woefully under-regulated, which means companies can insert ingredients into your favorite shade of red that you wouldn’t expect to be there. Lead, for instance, was recently found in over 33 different brands of lip color.

More frequently, you’ll find lipstick packed with parabens, a synthetic ingredient added as a preservative to increase the shelf life of the product. Parabens are known endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Placing these ingredients on your lips gives them direct access to your body, because you’ll naturally ingest some of your lip color just by talking.

How To Avoid Unsafe Ingredients

The truth is, there’s little need for scary ingredients. Nature is packed with plant botanicals and oils that naturally add hydration and color to lipstick. Because it can be hard to determine whether or not your lipstick contains ingredients you don’t want, the safest way to shop is with a brand you trust.

RMS Beauty has some of the strictest ingredient standards in the industry. Just as important as what we keep out of our products is what we keep in. You can read about our ingredient commitment and standards here.

Types of Lipstick

Lipstick is available in every format from matte to satin, sheer to frosted. Typically, lipstick isn’t glossy or sticky. Even if a lipstick is said to be satin or shiny, you still won’t get the same type of shine you’ll find in a lip gloss.

What Is Lip Gloss?

Lip gloss was created as a way to keep lips feeling more comfortable and looking more hydrated. The problem with early versions of lipstick is that they were so richly pigmented that they lacked enough oil to keep lips from drying out.

Lip gloss offers a lighter pigment than lipstick, but a considerable amount of shine.

What’s Inside

Unlike lipstick, which relies more on wax, lip gloss contains more oil which usually means it does a better job keeping your lips hydrated. Unfortunately, many lip glosses rely on petroleum jelly to keep your lips looking shiny.

Petroleum is a household term, but it really shouldn’t be. As a byproduct of the coal-mining industry (and closely related to the gas you put in your car) this known carcinogen doesn’t really belong anywhere near your mouth.

How To Avoid Unsafe Ingredients

Just like lipstick, it can be hard to avoid dangerous ingredients unless you are familiar with your brand and know their ingredient standards. Virtually all traditional brands add unsavory ingredients to their lip glosses to give it the thick, goopy texture we’ve come to accept in a gloss.

The good news is, you don’t have to settle for bad ingredients or thick, goopy gloss. Natural oils and waxes hydrate lips while adding shine that lasts for hours without reapplying.

Types of Lip Glosses

There’s a difference between lip balm and lip gloss. Balms are created to hydrate your lips and sometimes offer sun protection. They can be tinted, but adding pigment to your lips isn’t the goal.

Lip glosses are designed to add shine and give your lips a glossy finish. Even matte glosses still don’t work like traditional matte lipsticks. They offer more shine and hydration than a matte lipstick.

Some lip glosses offer lip treatments like intense hydration or even lip enhancement, a method of adding chemical ingredients to your lip gloss to increase blood flow to your lips causing them to look larger than normal.

You’ll find lip glosses in sheer tints, in formulas that offer glitter, and in darker colors, although the color will almost always be much less pronounced than a lipstick.

Lipstick vs. Lip Gloss

We said in the beginning there was no clear debate between lipstick and lip gloss. Deciding which is better is a matter of determining what you need and what product delivers it.

For our purposes, we’ll compare lipstick and lip gloss based on pigment, hydration, comfort, lasting color, shine, and ease of application.


Sometimes a bold lip is the only way to complete your look. When you need rich pigment and true color, you’ll want a lipstick. Lipstick is generally more richly pigmented than lip gloss, and provides a color that can coat your lips without allowing your natural lip color to interfere with the true shade of the lipstick.

One to try: RMS Beauty’s Wild With Desire Lipstick. Available in eight gorgeous shades, our lipstick keeps lips hydrated with our signature Beauty Oil, and resists bleeding, fading, or feathering for all-day wear.


If it’s hydration you want, you might suspect that you’re limited to lip glosses, but this isn’t true. Many lipsticks have natural, plant-based ingredients that keep your lips hydrated better than some glosses.

RMS Beauty’s Lip2Cheek is a cross between a lipstick and lip gloss, and offers supreme hydration with ingredients like shea butter and buriti oil. The subtle pigments are perfectly balanced and allow you to get the perfect amount of color.

For Comfort

This category can be somewhat of a toss-up. Find a lipstick that focuses too much on pigmentation and not hydration, and you’ll likely feel like your lips are dry and cracking within hours of application. Pick a goopy gloss and you’ll spend the day removing stray hairs and particles of food from your mouth.

The key again, is ingredient selection. Natural, plant-based oils like buriti oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil, paired with natural, sustainably harvested beeswax can create both lipsticks and lip glosses that are comfortable.

Long-Lasting Color

If you hate the thought of constant reapplication, you want a lip product that can withstand your morning latte and your afternoon matcha. Unfortunately, some ingredients added to long-wearing lip colors aren’t safe.

Formaldehyde, for instance, is often found in lipstick. Although it isn’t generally added directly, other chemicals added to your lip color to make them long-lasting can release formaldehyde when combined.

We recommend a plant-based lip stain with nourishing ingredients that keep your lips hydrated and comfortable, and offers color that grabs your lips and stays put for hours. You’ll find our Lip2Cheek is perfect for long-wearing color.


While matte lips may be an on-again/off-again trend, shiny lips will always be in style. Shiny lips look healthy and radiant, and usually have the added bonus of keeping your lips well-hydrated.

For the shiniest lips possible, you’ll almost always want a lip gloss, but thick, goopy glosses need not apply.

RMS Beauty’s Lip Shine is formulated with natural, hydrating buriti oil and a subtle pigment that leaves your lips drenched with moisture and the perfect amount of subtle color.

Easy Application

Both lipstick and lip gloss applications are made considerably easier by using a lip pencil to define your lips and guide your technique. Lip liner also offers a fail-safe to help keep your color in place and prevent feathering or bleeding.

Although tracing your lips and adding clear gloss is a very 2000s trend, you can certainly use a lip liner and a coordinating colored gloss to get a natural look.

Can’t Decide? Try Them Both Together!

If you aren’t sure if you need a lipstick or a lip gloss, try them both together. RMS Beauty’s lip products work synergistically when applied together to offer double hydration and supreme color.

If you want to layer, make sure you use a complimentary shade of lipstick and lip gloss. Focus on your lipstick shade and add a sheer sweep of subtle color over the top to enhance shine and hydration.

Get Lippy!

Lipstick and lip glosses are both tools you’ll want to have in your beauty bag. Lip gloss is a great tool for natural looks and applies easily and quickly. Lipstick can create glamorous looks and completely change the color of your lips to give you superior pigmentation and style.

Don’t debate which is better. Trust RMS Beauty’s lipsticks, lip stains, and lip shines to offer exactly what you need when you need it.


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