Drugstore Lipsticks Have Come a Long Way—These Are the 12 Best

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Scoring a new lipstick is one of those simple life pleasures that really can brighten your day—particularly when you’re shopping at the drugstore and this little pick-me-up comes without a hit to your wallet. While drugstore lippies were once somewhat hit or miss when it came to things like texture, wear time, and color choices, the category has come a long way in recent years. That being said, given that there are so many great choices to pick from, we wanted to make things a little easier for you.

Check out our favorite drugstore lipsticks, below.

Our Top Picks
The creamy, velvety lip color comes in a classic bullet shape and smooths over lips without emphasizing lines or dryness.
This affordable lipstick comes in several shades and deposits saturated color in a satin finish.
With over 20 colors to choose from in matte and shiny options, there is a style and shade for every skin tone.
It has never rubbed off on anything or anyone, staying put through greasy burgers, many cups of coffee, and even makeout sessions.
The creamy, velvety texture glides onto lips and sets in a matte finish.
Your lips get a glass-like appearance with this shiny liquid formula.
Super easy application, this lip crayon is hydrating and super fun to use.
Get a dramatic look with this liquid matte lipstick, along with super-staying power and color payoff.
Bursting with raspberry seed and moringa oils, this lipstick doesn't mess around when it comes to hydrating lips.
Hydrating lips has never been easier with the help of shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, and vitamin E in this formula.

Best Overall: Maybelline New York Color Sensational Creamy Mattes Lip Color

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Mattes Lip Color

Once upon a time, not so long ago, the concept of a “creamy matte” was an oxymoron; matte formulas were almost by definition notoriously drying. This standout is proof positive that that’s no longer the case. The classic bullet delivers creamy, even color with every swipe and boasts a perfectly velvety texture that never emphasizes lip lines or dryness.

Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Butter Lipstick

nyx butter lipstick

If you’re the type that likes to buy several colors of the same lipstick at a time, this super wallet-friendly pick is ideal. All of the dozen shades pack ultra-saturated color with a gorgeous satin finish that hits the ideal balance between shiny and matte. Plus, the formula is super versatile. Layer it under lip gloss for more dimension, or blot it in with your fingertips for more of a stained effect.

Best Shade Range: Flower Beauty Petal Pout Lip Color

FLOWER Beauty Petal Pout Lip Color

Not only does this pick come in more than 20 colors, but that lineup is perfectly extensive, offering a little something for everyone and ranging from barely-there nudes to bright and bold berries. The hues also come in both cream and matte finishes, though no matter which one you pick, you’re guaranteed to reap the same conditioning benefits across the board.

Best Long-Wearing: Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Lip Color

We are, for lack of a better word, obsessed with this liquid lipstick and the staying power it delivers. In all the many (many) times we’ve used it, it has never rubbed off on anything or anyone, staying put through greasy burgers, countless cups of coffee, and even makeout sessions. There’s an extensive lineup of shades that continues to expand and the doe-foot brush makes precise application easier than ever. Pro tip: If you do want to apply more than one coat, make sure each layer is fully dry before doing so.

Best Matte: NYX Professional Makeup Matte Lipstick

nyx professional makeup matte lipstick

Former Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue raves about this pick, which boasts a matte finish that’s impressively velvety but never the least bit chalky. The creamy texture also glides on smoothly without every pulling or tugging, and the range of 23 shades offers a great mix of wearable nudes, classic reds, and more.

Best Shiny Finish: Revlon Ultra HD Vinyl Lip Polish

Revlon Ultra HD Vinyl Lip Polish

For those who like their lips to have some sheen but don’t want to deal with the stickier texture of a gloss, this liquid formula is ideal. More of a lip lacquer than a true lipstick, the pigment has a mirror-like shine yet still offers complete coverage. A reservoir tip in the brush makes it easy and mess-free to apply, and the sweet scent is just an added bonus.

Best Crayon: Revlon Balm Stain

revlon balm stain

Key Ingredients

Shea butter is a plant lipid that comes from African shea tree nuts and is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It's used to help moisturize, nourish, and soothe the skin.

Not only are lip crayons ridiculously easy to use (you really don’t even need a mirror), there’s also just something so innately fun about them. This is easily one of our faves, thanks to a base of mango, coconut, and shea butter that make the buildable color delightfully moisturizing. One swipe delivers more of a sheer tint; layer on more to amp up the stain-like effect. Bonus points for the self-sharpening tip and ultra-secure cap.

Best Liquid: BLK/OPL Colorsplurge Liquid Matte Lipstick

Blk/Opal Colorsplurge Liquid Matte Lipstick

We love liquid lipsticks for their staying power, saturated color, and dramatic look. This one checks all of those boxes, without any of the drawbacks that come with other formulas. Namely, advanced polymers make sure the pigment never cracks or fades, while vitamin E keeps the formula hydrating and comfortable. While there are only 10 shades available, the minimal range still features some fun and unexpected options, like indigo and violet.

Best Natural: Burt's Bees Moisturizing Lipstick

Burt’s Bees Moisturizing Lipstick

Key Ingredients

Moringa oil comes from the moringa plant found in the Himalayan mountains. It is rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants, which soothe and protect the skin.

Made from 100% natural ingredients, you can feel confident that you’re not accidentally ingesting any strange chemicals (because yes, you inadvertently do end up ingesting your lip products). The formula is chock-full of all kinds of natural hydrators to condition and soften your pout—think vitamin E, moringa oil, raspberry seed oil, and, of course, beeswax. The 18 shades impart a gorgeous wash of natural color that’s equally on-brand.

Best Hydrating: The Lip Bar Vegan Lipstick

Cocoa Cooler Lipstick

Key Ingredients

Avocado oil is an edible oil pressed from the fruit of the avocado. For the skin, it contains vitamin E to help nourish and soothe, as well as oleic acid to promote collagen production.

Boasting ingredients more often found in lip balms than lipsticks—shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, vitamin E—this formula is about as moisturizing as you get, a true treat for parched lips. But don’t worry—that doesn’t mean it skimps on the color part of things. The curated lineup of shades is beautifully saturated, not to mention flattering on a wide array of skin tones.

Best Sheer Color: e.l.f. Cosmetics Sheer Slick Lipstick

E.l.f. Cosmetics Sheer Slick Lipstick

If you prefer your lips to have just a hint of color, you probably opt for tinted balms or glosses rather than traditional lipsticks, but this is one bullet worth trying. The juicy color is fresh and sheer, giving lips that "just-bitten" or ‘"I just ate a Popsicle" effect that’s so insanely beautiful. The formula is also super creamy, melting into lips immediately upon swiping. And while it only comes in eight shades, they’re all surprisingly versatile.

Best Neutrals: Milani Color Statement Lipstick

Milani Color Statement Lipstick

We’d never dream of knocking a classic red lip, but there’s something about going nude that’s just so effortlessly pretty. Those who love themselves some neutrals will appreciate that this option comes in nine colors, all of which fall into that camp. Still, since not all nudes or neutrals are created equal, we appreciate that the offerings range from pale pinks that flatter lighter complexions to deeper browns that look great on darker skin. Plus, the formula is infused with antioxidants vitamins C and A to protect your pucker, which is always a good thing.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070

  2. Nadeem M, Imran M. Promising features of Moringa oleifera oil: recent updates and perspectives. Lipids Health Dis. 2016;15(1):212. doi:10.1186/s12944-016-0379-0

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