Can you believe that there used to be a time when liquid lipsticks weren't the mainstream way to wear lip color? Even if we only rewind the clock a few years back, they weren't anywhere near as popular as they are now. Liquid formulas have only recently exploded on the beauty scene (thanks to Kylie Jenner's lip kits, probably). Now they're available as a part of almost every brand, shade, and price. We mean it. They're everywhere. But the only liquid lipsticks that we're concerned with (today at least) are the budget-friendly ones—those lipsticks that deliver opaque color and long-lasting staying power without the high price tag.
While it's easy to find any number of formulas at the drugstore, we'll be sticking to those tried-and-true few. The ones that we know won't feather, crack, or bleed like so many other formulas are wont to do. So without further ado, here are the best liquid lipsticks of the drugstore bunch, according to team Byrdie.
These Maybelline liquid lipsticks are the real deal. They're just like the name implies: thoroughly matte, fully opaque, and incredibly long-wearing. The brand promises that they last up to 16 hours. While we can't attest to 16 full hours of wear, we can attest to eight to 10 hours of wear, which is when we reach for another coat (blame it on our coffee drinking habit). Nonetheless, its staying power is an impressive feat.
This L'Oréal pick performs similarly to its aforementioned Maybelline counterpart. The formula is smooth and silky and dries down to a fully opaque matte finish. The main difference, in our opinion, is that the L'Oréal version comes in more muted hues. So if you prefer nude and neutral-colored lipsticks, reach for these ones. Otherwise, look to Maybelline for vivid reds, pinks, and even pastels.
This liquid lipstick is a personal favorite. It involves two separate steps. First, you apply the actual lip color, which dries down almost immediately (seriously, apply it with caution, because you won't have much time to correct a mistake without makeup remover). Then you unscrew the cap at the other end and apply a clear coat over top, which seals everything in. It's insanely long-lasting, but what I like most about it is the slight sheen—it's rare, considering most liquid lipsticks dry down to a matte finish.
If you're not into nude lipstick and you prefer vivid, standout color instead, then these CoverGirl liquid lipsticks are for you. They have a gel texture, which keeps lips more hydrated than traditional liquid lip colors. That means it stays soft and flexible on the lips, so it won't crack or settle in your lip lines no matter how long you wear it.
It's rare to find natural liquid lipstick (or any makeup product for that matter) at the drugstore. This Pacifica liquid lipstick happens to be 100% vegan and cruelty-free. It's soft, smooth, and shine-enhancing. Our favorite shade is Bae, which is a rich merlot color.
We've been fans of Nyx liquid lipsticks for a long time (shout out to the brand's Soft Matte Lip Cream in Antwerp $5, which is a perfect coral pink color). These ones are a bit different though, thanks to the matte metallic finish they impart. We like this rose shade called Bella. Once it dries down, it looks like the liquid lipstick equivalent of rose gold on our lips.
We consider these Maybelline liquid lipsticks to be drugstore classics. The texture is soft and mousse-like, dries down matte, and is 100% budgeproof. Plus they come in a whole host of colors, ranging from light beige to neon orchid. We've always had a soft spot for Coffee Buzz, which is a perfect '90s brown.
Sleek Makeup is a brand that we've only tried fairly recently, but we're obsessed. These liquid lipsticks are velvety and cushion-y. We wear them in a couple of different ways too. Sometimes, instead of swiping on a full opaque coat, we dab a little color onto the middle of our lips using our ring finger and smudge it out. It results in a perfectly diffused (and very French) "I just drank a glass of wine" tint.
Next, read about a cult-loved liquid lipstick that has over one million "loves" on Sephora's website. It may not be a drugstore pick, but it's worth trying. We promise.