The prospect of putting lipstick on top of chronically dry lips has about the same amount of appeal as taking a bite out of a raw onion. But if you're dealing with chapped or flaky lips, all hope is not lost — you just have to make sure you're using the right lipstick. For example, the best lipsticks for dry lips are made with more emollients than typical lipsticks — like vitamin E, argan oil, avocado oil, and caprylic/capric triglyceride — so they feel comfortable, glide on smoothly, and leave your lips feeling soft when you take them off. And while the most hydrating lipsticks on this list are a little lacking in the longevity department, I’ve included a matte and a liquid lipstick that’ll stay on for hours (or all day) without drying out your lips.
No matter which finish you choose, you’ll get the smoothest results if you prep your lips with an exfoliating lip scrub to slough away flakes, followed by a thin layer of lip balm. (Be sure to wait until the balm is fully absorbed before you apply your lipstick.) And if you have the time, it can’t hurt to leave a lip mask on for a few hours prior to applying your lipstick for a more intensive conditioning treatment.
Whether you prefer your lipstick glossy or matte, subtle or bold, you'll find something you like among the six best lipsticks for dry lips, up ahead.
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1. Best Matte Finish
People with dry lips probably shy away from matte finishes, but Amazon reviewers rave about this one from Mented Cosmetics: It glides on smoothly, sets evenly, and doesn’t settle into cracks. It has impressive staying power, especially considering how buttery the texture is. The velvet finish makes your lips look a little fuller, too, but the consistency is much lighter-weight than you’d expect from such a pigmented lipstick. The Red and Butter shade featured here works on most complexions since it has fairly neutral undertones, but you can find a few more velvet matte reds and nudes on Amazon. As a bonus, all Mented Cosmetics lipsticks are vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free.
2. Best Glossy Finish
L’Oreal’s Colour Riche line is a drugstore staple, and the gloss finishes in particular give off a gorgeously lacquered, highly reflective effect — almost mirrored. (Though it comes in matte finishes, too.) It feels just as juicy as it looks, thanks to a creamy, moisturizing formula enriched with vitamin E, argan oil, and rosehip oil. This isn’t the most long-lasting lipstick you’ll ever put on, but it leaves behind a lovely tint when it wears off. In addition to Everbloom (pictured), you have 51 more shades to choose from on Amazon.
3. Best Sheer Finish
When we’re talking about drugstore-classic lipsticks, we’re really talking about Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick: The range responsible for bringing Cherries in the Snow (arguably one of the best red lipsticks of all time) into the world. This vibrant, raspberry-red hue goes on sheer, though you can build it up for more intensity without it getting cakey. The formula is made with vitamin E and avocado oil for an added dose of nourishment, so it feels pretty comfortable on dry lips. Best of luck choosing from this enormous 130-shade range.
4. Best Liquid Lipstick
Liquid lipsticks are beloved for their intense color payoff and basically permanent staying power, yet loathed for their tendency to suck every ounce of moisture from your lips. But dry lips need no longer fear, thanks to this Honest Beauty Liquid Lipstick. These liquids are spiked with nourishing avocado oil, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E, and the lightweight, flexible consistency won’t crack or clump. Longevity isn’t sacrificed for hydration, however — one Amazon reviewer commented that the pigment lasted almost an entire day, “through two meals and constant water sipping.” All eight shades are vegan, cruelty-free, and free of synthetic additives like silicones and fragrances. An all-around godsend.
5. Best Tinted Balm
Even though it’s marketed as a balm, this Kiko Milano Coloured Balm delivers enough pigment to land it firmly into “sheer lipstick” territory. The unique, jelly-like texture feels incredibly cushy (but not sticky), and it coats your lips in an occlusive barrier that helps trap in moisture. According to Amazon reviewers, these under-the-radar balms are surprisingly long-lasting, and they’ll leave your lips feeling silky and smooth when the color wears off. Soon to be a cult classic, I’m sure.
6. Best Two-In-One
This brilliant two-in-one from PYT Beauty features a lipstick with a satin matte finish on one end, and a creamy lip gloss on the other. Both are pigmented enough to wear on their own, but lightweight enough to layer comfortably for a multidimensional effect. The lipstick in particular contains some amazing nourishing ingredients, like shea butter, mango seed butter, avocado oil, and jojoba oil. It’s made without parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum, in case those are ingredients you prefer to avoid.