The Best Drugstore Lip Glosses

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by Jessica Ourisman
Elite Daily/Amazon

Lip gloss is one of those products that you tend to go through fast — so there’s really no point in splurging out on a fancy one, especially when you can find so many great lip glosses for less than $15. None of the best drugstore lip glosses featured here cost any more than that (some ring up at just $3 or $4), and they all come in plenty of shades and leave a slick, glossy finish in their wake. The right one for you will depend on your preferred finish, budget, and any other benefits you’re after, as well as more obvious things like the color and brand.

These days, the benefits of lip gloss can go well behind hydration and shine. Some lip glosses are infused with free radical-fighting antioxidants like vitamin C, while others offer broad-spectrum sun protection. And if it’s some subtle plumping you’re after, look for a lip gloss that contains hyaluronic acid, which also happens to be one of the most hydrating ingredients around.

Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’re guaranteed to find it ahead. And if you’re looking for an equally affordable lip color to layer under your new gloss, be sure to check out the best drugstore lipsticks under $10.

1. Pro Pick: Best Hydrating & Plumping Gloss

Makeup artist and influencer Rose Siard tells Elite Daily that she’s a big fan of this Maybelline lip gloss, which comes in 15 natural-leaning shades with both shimmery and flat finishes. Users can expect their lips to feel more hydrated after applying it, while the lines that tend to show up due to dehydration should smooth out thanks to the incorporation of hyaluronic acid and coconut oil in the formula.

  • Available shades: 15

2. Pro Pick: Best Clear, High-Shine Gloss

Makeup artist Omayma Ramzy loves this clear lacquer for long-lasting shine, whether worn on its own or on top of your favorite matte lipstick. “This is super high shine and such a great price,” she tells Elite Daily, while also nothing that she sometimes taps some of the gloss on the eyes to “add some fun shine.” However you use it, you can rest assured that the glassy finish it leaves behind will add some makeup artist-approved oomph to your look, while the shea butter in the formula imparts moisture to your lips. Note that if you do decide to use this over your favorite lipstick, try using the included applicator brush to put a dollop of product on the back of your hand, then use a separate brush to apply it onto your lips from there. This will help prevent pigment from transferring from your lips back into the tube so the lacquer remains clear.

  • Available shades: 18

3. Best Buttery Gloss

Meet one of the most widely loved drugstore lip glosses of all time (on Amazon alone, it’s been awarded over 40,000 five-star ratings), which also boasts the biggest shade range on this list. Available in over 30 colors with buildable, sheer-to-medium coverage, you can take your pick among neutrals like mauve and light pink, or experiment with bold blue or lilac purple. Plus, the vegan brand is PETA-certified to ensure the cruelty-free status of their cosmetics.

  • Available shades: 31

4. Best for Long-Lasting Shine

Another great, pigmented lip lacquer with incredible shine, Rimmel’s Stay Glossy lip gloss claims to stay put for up to six hours, so it’s a great choice if you don’t have as much time (or patience) for frequent touchups throughout the day. It conditions and moisturizes lips using lanolin oil — which comes from lamb’s wool, so if you’re vegan, you’ll want to look elsewhere — along with silk powder to keep the texture glossy, but not sticky. The 28-shade range is also pretty impressive, as is its under-$4 price tag.

  • Available shades: 28

5. Best Sheer Gloss

The best thing about this sheer, vegan lip gloss is that it offers several skin care (or lip care) benefits, along with a translucent wash of color. In this formula, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and hyaluronic acid keep your lips moisturized and hydrated, while vitamin C gives your lips an antioxidant boost. Each shade — even the deep purple — goes on relatively clear, and they work gorgeously both on their own or layered over another lipstick.

  • Available shades: 6

6. Best Lip Gloss with SPF

Sun damage can absolutely occur on your lips, so help keep them protected (just like you would the rest of your face) with an SPF lip gloss. This one, from Neutrogena, has an SPF of 20, and is formulated with moisturizing glycerin and soothing botanicals like cucumber and chamomile — perfect for hot days in the sun. Because it’s technically a sunscreen, be prepared to reapply it every two hours to reap the full extent of its sun-protective benefits.

  • Available shades: 3

7. Honorable Mention

No list of the best drugstore lip glosses would be complete without mentioning this e.l.f lip lacquer, which rings up at just $2 or $3 on Amazon, depending on the shade you choose. Formulated with the moisturizing antioxidant vitamin E, this gloss comes in both flat and shimmery shades, all of which leave behind a high-shine finish. This also gets bonus points for being vegan and cruelty-free.

  • Available shades: 7


Omayma Ramzy, makeup artist.

Rose Siard, makeup artist and influencer.