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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 upsides 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 lippie 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 seven stand-out lipsticks go above and beyond meeting all of our matte criteria, 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.
Best Overall: L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lip Color
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 Buy: Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick
To be fair, all seven 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 Super Stay Matte Ink Lip Color
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. Yes, it’s true.
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 ColorBurst Matte Balm
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 butters, 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: CoverGirl Melting Pout Matte Lipstick
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. Thanks to a gel cream formula, this hugs your lips and feels cushiony, rather than sticky. Available in 11 matte hues, this same formula also comes in an original finish, as well as a glittery and metallic options, too. All of the colors are highly-pigmented, so you really only need one swipe for complete color coverage.
Best Red: Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Lip in Fire Starter
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 a 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 perfectly 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
There are not ten, 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. All of them tout the same matte finish balanced out with a silky and plush finish that never feels dry. Devoted fans love not only all of the shade options, but also how long the color lasts, and the affordability factor, too.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular drugstore matte lipsticks on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 40 different lipsticks overall, screened options from 30 different brands and manufacturers, read over 35 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 10 of the lipsticks themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.