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Matte lips have made a major comeback as of late, popping up on the red carpet, runway, and magazine pages alike. The upside of opting for matte finishes, aside from their on-trend potential, is that they generally tend to be longer-lasting than their glossy or creamy counterparts. The downside? They can often be drying, and start to crack or settle into lip lines as time goes on. Not to mention that it’s always hard to strike the right balance with a matte finish; obviously, you don’t want to go glossy, but some mattes can quickly veer into chalky or flat territory.
So yes, finding a matte lipstick that fits the bill and checks all of these boxes can pose a tricky makeup challenge. But don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work, searching, and sleuthing for you. Not only do these stand-out lipsticks go above and beyond meeting all of our matte criteria, but they also have the added benefit of all being drugstore brands. And you know what that means: Super affordable price-tags. So pucker up and get ready to swipe on any of these top picks—or heck, at these prices, go ahead and try them all.
These are the best drugstore matte lipsticks.
Best Overall: L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick
Shade Range: 16 | Formula: Cream | Finish: Matte
Celebrity makeup artist Janice Daoud counts this formula as one of her all-time favorites due to its smooth application and long wear. Intensely rich and creamy, this somehow strikes that magical balance between going on and feeling completely comfortable, while still delivering a perfectly matte finish. If you’re used to traditional lipsticks and looking to experiment with mattes, this is a perfect place to start, since you truly won’t be able to tell the difference based on feel alone. Available in a wide range of 16 shades, ranging from neutral nudes to bold brights, there’s something to fit any and every preference.
Best Budget: Wet n Wild MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick
Shade Range: 10 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Matte
To be fair, all 12 of the lipsticks featured here are completely affordable, but ringing in at under five dollars, this is the most wallet-friendly of them all. Don’t be surprised when the liquid formula goes on wet and glossy; it quickly dries down to a flawlessly matte and highly-pigmented finish. It glides on easily and stays put, and the angled doe-foot applicator makes it easy to get completely precise color coverage.
Best Longwear Formula: Maybelline New York SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick
Shade Range: 40 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Matte
As a general rule, any kind of matte color will last longer than a glossy one, but the staying power on this formula is truly unparalleled. We’re talking up to 16 hours of wear—for us, it’s stayed on through a full day’s (and night’s) worth of eating, drinking, and even a make-out session.
The arrow-shaped tip makes it easy to apply, though, a bit of advice—don’t press your lips together after swiping it on and be sure to give it a minute or two to set. Once it’s dry, it’s not going anywhere until you want it too. Plus, the matte finish is just matte enough without turning chalky or dry, no matter how long you wear it.
Best Hydrating Formula: Revlon Matte Lip Balm
Shade Range: 10 | Formula: Crayon | Finish: Velvet Matte
We’re big fans of lip crayons for their ease of application; totally fool-proof, you can easily swipe these on anytime, anywhere, even if you don’t have a mirror handy. Thanks to a base made with a trio of ultra-hydrating shea, mango, and coconut butter, this retractable crayon truly goes on and feels more like a lip balm than a lipstick. Case in point: Reviewers repeatedly comment on the moisturizing look and feel. Still, the color has a gorgeous velvety matte finish and is also buildable, too.
Best Liquid: The Lip Bar Liquid Matte Lipstick in Bawse Lady
Shade Range: 10 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Matte
Liquid lipsticks can be great when you’re looking for a matte finish and extra staying power, though many can be tacky and drying. Not the case here. These liquid formulas from The Lip Bar apply as a silky gloss before drying down to a flawless matte, providing you with intense color payoff that lasts up to 12 hours without ever drying your lips out. Plus, the formula is clean and vegan, giving us all the more reason to stock up on every shade.
Best for Light Skin: CoverGirl Outlast UltiMatte One Step Liquid Lip Color in Strawberry Spritzer
Shade Range: 12 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Matte
We love that this liquid formula from Covergirl is super hydrating, providing up to 24 hours of flawless, comfortable wear that won’t cake up or dry out. We love even more that it’s transfer resistant, meaning it’ll last you through a good meal and a makeout session. Those with fairer skin tones can trust that most light-to-medium pinks will be super flattering—which brings us to Strawberry Spritzer, a neutral medium pink that lends a nice pop of color without being too bright.
Best for Medium Skin: Colourpop Lippie Stix in Love Life
Shade Range: 10 | Formula: Cream | Finish: Matte
You never have to worry about your lips feeling dry with this moisture-rich matte lipstick from Colourpop, which is formulated with a blend of vitamin E, avocado oil, and shea and mango butters to keep your pout soft and nourished. We’re big fans of Love Life, a brownish brick red that’s especially flattering on those with medium skin tones.
Best for Dark Skin: BLK/OPL Liquid Matte Lipstick in Fab Fuchsia
Shade Range: 6 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Velvet Matte
These liquid lipsticks aren’t for the faint of heart, delivering pigment-rich color with a velvety matte finish. The formula is designed to never feather or fade, while added antioxidants like vitamins C and E work hard to protect and hydrate the lips. Deeper skin tones can pull off an array of shades from vibrant berries, reds, and browns to bolder neons, but we’re loving Fab Fuchsia, a vibrant and warm berry-tinged pink.
Best Red: Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour
Shade Range: 26 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Matte
Is there any makeup look more classic or sophisticated than a red lip? We think not. You can be completely bare-faced otherwise but swipe on red lipstick and suddenly you can take on the world. But, as anyone who has ever searched for the perfect red can tell you, not all red hues are created equal.
This one may just be the universal go-to, with neither too cool nor too warm of a base, so that it flatters pretty much any and every skin tone. Couple that with the perfect matte finish and long-wear prowess of this formula (because really, who wants to have to deal with touch-ups when you’re rocking a red lip), and your search for the perfect red lipstick just may be over.
Best Shade Range: NYX Professional Makeup Matte Lipstick
Shade Range: 45 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Matte
There are not 10, not 20, but a whopping 45 shades of this popular matte lippie available. Yes, as in nearly 50. We’re talking everything from your standard nudes and brights to out-of-the-box options such as gray, beige, and plum. Each shade touts the same matte finish balanced out with a silky and plush feel that never leaves the lips dry, which is why Daoud considers them a must. Devoted fans love not only all of the shade options, but also how long the color lasts, and the affordability factor, too.
Best Natural: Burt's Bees Matte Lip Crayon
Shade Range: 4 | Formula: Crayon | Finish: Soft Matte
Enriched with jojoba and kendi oils, along with shea butter, this lip crayon hydrates the lips while enveloping them in rich, creamy color. There are six shades in total ranging from pinks to plums, none of which have a flavor or fragrance. The real kicker though is that the formula is made with 100% natural ingredients and 100% recyclable packaging so you can feel good about putting it on your lips.
Best Vegan: Honest Beauty Liquid Lipstick
Shade Range: 6 | Formula: Liquid | Finish: Matte
These pigment-rich liquid lipsticks apply like a gloss, then dry down to a matte finish with a flexible feel. Unlike how some liquid lipsticks can be overly drying, this formula is infused with hyaluronic acid and avocado oil to instantly hydrate and soften the lips for a comfortable wear that lasts all day long. More importantly, the formula is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, ensuring it's never been tested on animals and contains no animal byproducts whatsoever.
When it comes to the very best drugstore mattes, we’re giving top honors to L’Oréal’s Colour Riche Matte Lipstick, an intensely creamy formula that delivers a flawless matte finish with comfortable wear. It applies smooth like a satin formula and puts its luxury competition to shame. When it comes to liquid formulas, you can’t go wrong with the ultra long-wearing Superstar Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick from Maybelline, which, in our opinion, is life-proof. And finally, NYX’s Matte Lipstick is an absolute must, not only for its unbeatable shade range but for its silky feel that never leaves the lips feeling dry or chalky.
What to Look For in a Matte Lipstick
Even if your end goal is a shine-free matte finish, you’ll still want a formula that applies smooth and creamy. Something that tugs and skips before it even sets won’t make for an easy application, and likely won’t look so great after a couple of hours. Daoud’s advice? “Choose a formula that has all the perks of a satin: emollient, creamy, and easy to wear,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be flat to be matte.”
Matte lipsticks are notorious for being drying, so according to Daoud, it’s crucial to find a formula that’ll do the exact opposite. If contains hydrating ingredients like plant oils and butters, chances are it’ll leave you with a smooth, matte finish that doesn’t cake up or dry out over time.
“Typically, a lipstick is less drying that a liquid lipstick that’s in a tube with a wand,” she says. Even so, we’re still major fans of liquid formulas—especially for their unbeatable lasting power—so be sure to look for options that are infused with nourishing ingredients and promise comfortable, flexible wear. Expert tip? “Make sure to hydrate the lips with a balm a few minutes prior to lipstick application,” she says. This way, your lips will be primed and ready for a comfortable, lasting wear.
Because mattes tend to set after you apply them, they’re not the kind of formula you’ll want to have to reapply constantly—especially if you want to avoid your lips looking clumpy or cakey. The longer-lasting a lipstick is (while, of course, being creamy and non-drying), the better your lips will look by the end of the day.
How do you make matte lipstick more long-lasting?
To make your matte lipstick stay all day, start by exfoliating your lips and following with a super hydrating lip balm. Apply a lip liner in a similar or the same shade. Apply 1-2 coats of matte lipstick, wait a few seconds, and blot with a tissue. Then with a sponge or your fingers, lightly dab a bit of setting powder over your lips. Wait at least 15-20 minutes before eating or drinking.
How do you make matte lips glossy?
If you love the shade of your matte lipstick but want to bump up the shine, add a clear coat of gloss on top (or any shade you want). You can also even apply plain ol' Vaseline in a pinch to add some sheen to your lip look. Or, use a shimmer lipstick in the center of your lower lip and around the cupid's bow.
Do liquid lipsticks last longer than stick lipsticks?
They tend to. As long as you let your liquid lipstick set—meaning, no eating or drinking for at least 15 minutes—it should last longer than if you swiped on a solid lipstick. Liquid formulas tend to dry to a stain-like finish, while stick lipsticks are creamier and more emollient, and therefore slide off the lips easier.
Meet the Expert
Janice Daoud is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist whose celebrity clientele includes Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Demi Lovato. You can find her work on various red carpets and in leading publications and campaigns.