When I put on lipstick, I ideally want it to do three things: Look intense, not move, and not require touchups every 20 minutes. That's where matte liquid lipsticks come in — and the best ones accomplish all those jobs without making your lips feel overly dry. Most of the best matte liquid lipsticks contain dimethicone — the same ingredient you’d find in mattifying primers — which prolongs their wear time, but their formulas are still relatively flexible and lightweight. Some liquid lipsticks have creamy, mousse-like consistencies, while others are infused with moisturizing ingredients to enhance their comfortable feel.
No matter the texture, that powdery, shine-free finish tends to intensify the pigmentation, so just a coat or two can look completely opaque. And these lipsticks are going absolutely nowhere, so you’ll need to break out an oil cleanser or micellar water when you’re ready to take it off.
Ready to live in a world without fear of your lipstick smudging, cracking, fading, or flaking? I’m right there with you. Find your new hero product in one of the best liquid lipsticks, up ahead.
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1. The Drugstore Best-Seller
Over 8,000 Amazon reviewers have bestowed this NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream with perfect ratings, which I endorse with my whole entire heart. So much to love here: You can build up the formula from semi-sheer to totally opaque, and the soft, creamy consistency glides right over any dryness. I can also confirm that it’s wildly long-lasting. I wore this to my sister’s wedding, and only needed to touch it up maybe three times throughout the entire day and evening. The $5 price tag is undeniably excellent, too, as is its generous 33-shade range.
- Available shades: 33
2. The Prestige Cult-Classic
Ask any beauty editor to pick a reliable, non-suffocating liquid lipstick they like, and they’ll probably point you to this one from stila. An absolute classic, this transfer-proof, waterproof lipstick promises to stick around for up to six hours of continuous wear (or longer, according to Amazon reviewers), but avocado oil and vitamin E help keep your lips feeling moisturized throughout those many hours. Shade-wise, the range leans neutral and/or classic — like Beso, the fiery red pictured above, which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has famously shared is her lipstick of choice.
- Available shades: 24
3. Writer's Pick
NYX may make my favorite budget liquid lipstick, but Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick is my GOAT. The consistency is a true liquid, but it dries down to a plush, velvety finish that hermetically seals onto your lips for all-day wear. This guy will never get patchy on you, either: Since the formula is so thin, you can keep adding layers throughout the day with zero risk of clumping. American Doll is my ideal blue-toned red, though you have 27 other shades to choose from, too, ranging from Sweet Hollywood (a soft nude pink) to Requiem, a cyberpunk-y metallic teal.
- Available shades: 28
4. Best Mousse
While I think Anastasia and stila are well worth saving up for, this Revlon lip mousse makes an airtight case for the drugstore liquid lipstick. First, there’s its genius texture: Fluffy, whipped, feels like heaven. Plus, the formula is infused with ultrafine mattifying powders, which imparts a lush, matte finish that stays firmly in place. This gets an extra round of points for the dessert-inspired mango-vanilla scent, interesting shades (how about that slate gray-blue?), and single-digit price tag.
- Available shades: 14
5. Best Indie Brand
There are lots of reasons to support The Lip Bar, one of the most exciting new brands in the beauty universe: They’re vegan, cruelty-free, Black-owned, female-owned, and they happen to make one of the best matte liquid lipsticks on the market right now. Along with their comfortable feel, longevity, and intense color payoff, I love that the range features some nontraditional colors — like bright violet, tangerine, and the aptly named Drama Queen pictured above, a deep, bold, dusty purple.
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This PYT Beauty lipstick isn't technically a liquid lipstick, but it is a matte lipstick. Also, it’s just too cool not to tell you about. There’s a rich, satin matte lipstick bullet on one end and a matching gloss on the other, so you can choose to wear them alone, together, or even switch off throughout the day if you want. (Aren’t we all seeking that kind of optionality in life?) And both sides of the stick are made without biologically and/or environmentally harsh ingredients, like silicones, parabens, phthalates, and animal-derived ingredients, so it’s a lovely option if you’re making the switch to “clean” beauty products, or if you have irritation-prone skin.
- Available shades: 8