Even in the most expert hands, lipstick is bound to fade, feather, or do something else you don’t want it to do over the course of the day. But a good lip primer can help make your high-maintenance lipstick a little more docile. Lip primers come in various forms, ranging from balms to creams to pencils, so the best lip primer for you will depend on your formula/application preference. Also, lip primers shouldn't be sticky or gloopy; instead, they should soften and smooth your lips without leaving behind a heavy coating. The three lip primers featured here do exactly that, expertly.
Lip primers are especially useful for heavily pigmented, drying formulas, like matte liquid lipsticks — the lip product most likely to get patchy over the course of the day — or for slide-y formulas, including glosses. (Though they can work with any other lip product out there, like stains and pencils, as well.) For best results, apply a thin layer of primer, then wait a few minutes for it to sink in before smoothing on your lip color. For even better results, precede your primer with an exfoliating lip scrub to thoroughly buff any flakiness away.
Perfect your pout with any of the best lip primers listed ahead, all for under $25 on Amazon.
We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
1. Best Priming Balm
As Anastasia Beverly Hills makes some of the world’s best liquid lipsticks, it’s only fair that they make a lip primer to match — because even the world’s best liquid lipsticks tend to crack, feather, or just make your lips feel a little (or a lot) parched. This keeps your lips smooth and hydrated under your lipstick, and Amazon reviewers report that it truly prevents bleeding and cracks. The fact that it's designed like a balm makes application a pinch, too.
2. Best Priming Pencil
Think of this lip primer from NYX as a hybrid between a lip liner and a balm: The liner shape allows for more precise application, though the formula is smooth, creamy, and has a moisturizing kick. (It does feel a bit waxy, but that allows for better adherence.) This one also gets overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, where one customer called it a “lipstick lifesaver,” and another claimed it made their lipstick “last forever.” It’s only $7, so you have very little to lose by fact-checking that last claim.
3. Best Priming Cream
This Elizabeth Arden lip cream is formulated specifically to fill in vertical lines associated with dryness, so your lipstick will go on smoother, your lips will look a little fuller, and there won't be a feather in sight. It also sinks into your lips instantly: As soon as it's absorbed, you won't feel as if you have anything on, though your lips will feel super soft. It does everything else a good lip primer should do, too — like make your lip color last longer and prevent it from bleeding. It’s pricey, bit a little dab goes a long way, so one tube will last you a while.
You May Also Like:
If you’re seeking a lip primer primarily to make your lip color last longer, this Covergirl top coat is also worth picking up. Just as a top coat for your nails extends the life of your manicure and prevents chipping, this seals in your lipstick, mitigates feathering and fading, and imparts a glossy finish — all without interfering with your lip color, or messing up the application. The formula contains some amazing moisturizing and conditioning ingredients, like coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E, so it can work as a lip balm, too.