These 14 Lip Primers Guarantee Long-Lasting Color

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In our humble opinion, lipstick just may be the most transformative makeup there is—one quick swipe can instantly take you from feeling blah to beautiful. Not to mention that even if the rest of your face is bare, a bold lip will make you look polished and put together. (File under ‘a great makeup hack for busy mornings.’) The only problem? Eating, drinking, kissing your significant other, even generally going about your day—all of these things can make your lipstick come off. Enter lip primers.

Just like a primer you’d use on your face pre-foundation, these are meant to be layered underneath lip color, instantly upping their longevity and staying power. And it doesn’t stop there—lip primers can also do everything from adding hydration to preventing feathering to plumping your lips. So basically, no matter what your lips need, there’s a primer for that.

We've rounded up the best lip primers, so get ready to pucker up.

Best Overall: MAC Prep + Prime Lip

4.7
mac prep + prime lip

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Works with any color

  • Makes precise application easy

  • Moisturizing

What We Don't Like
  • Wears off easily

Who else recommends it? Elle and Who What Wear both picked the MAC Prep + Prime Lip.

What do buyers say? 500+ Nordstrom reviewers rated this product 4.4 stars or above.

One of the brand’s best-sellers, this clear base reduces feathering and smooths lips, creating the best base for any color to follow. It moisturizes, too—satisfied reviewers rave not only about how smoothly it goes on and how nice it leaves their lips feeling but also the impressive staying power it provides. Celebrity makeup artist Bryan Cantor is a fan of the twist-up: “It provides a smooth base for lip color while preventing feathering, and its thin profile makes precise application a breeze,” he says.

Key Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, paraffin | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Overall, Runner-Up: Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Primer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Primer
What We Like
  • Works with various types of lip products

  • Very hydrating

  • Applies evenly

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricier side

This sheer stick works beautifully under lipstick and/or lip gloss, helping to prolong longevity and ward off flaking and bleeding. Though it’s also noteworthy for working well as a conditioning treatment. It’s a fan favorite on Sephora, too, with reviewers noting that it works well layered under many different types of lipstick formulas, liquid matte ones specifically.

Key Ingredients: Isotridecyl Isononanoate, octyldodecanol, silica | Size: 0.16 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Lip Primer

4.9
Nyx Lip Primer

NYX Cosmetics

What We Like
  • Enhances color

  • Affordable

  • Comes in two shades

What We Don't Like
  • Could prolong wear better

Not only will this prevent any lipstick you apply over it from feathering and migrating outside your lip lines, but it will also enhance the shade. Available in two different nude shades, it creates a neutral base that makes any color look extra rich and vibrant. And you get all of that without having to break the bank.

Key Ingredients: Polybutene, octyldodecanol, isostearyl isostearat | Size: 0.1 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Lip Studio Prime It Up Multi-Benefit Lip Primer

LIP STUDIO® PRIME IT UP MULTI-BENEFIT LIP PRIMER MAKEUP

 Courtesy of Maybelline

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Makes precise application easy

  • Applies smoothly

What We Don't Like
  • Feels very waxy and hard

Once upon a time, not so long ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a lip primer at the drugstore; it was a category reserved exclusively for high-end brands. Not anymore. Case in point: This straightforward lip primer, the brand’s first. Swipe it on bare lips to create the best base for color that both lasts and pops.

Key Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Dry Lips: Clé de Peau Lip Glorifier

Cle de Peau Lip Glorifier

Bloomingdale's

What We Like
  • Great multi-tasking formula

  • Works well even on its own

  • Brightens lips

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricier side

This may look like a basic balm, but trust us, it’s anything but. A trifecta of hydrating shea butter, safflower oil, and argan tree oil quench even the most parched, dry lips, but it doesn’t stop there. The formula also delivers a touch of color based on the moisture level of your lips. The results? A rosy glow that’s so pretty you may not even want a lipstick topper (though you do, this will help it last longer).

Key Ingredients: Microcrystalline wax, shea butter, argan oil, safflower oil | Size: 0.09 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Chapped Lips: The Lip Bar Pamper Your Pout Lip Care Kit

The Lip Bar Pamper Your Pout Lip Care Kit

Courtesy of The Lip Bar

What We Like
  • Contains a scrub and a serum

  • Gently exfoliates and deeply nourishes

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount of product

Chapped lips? No problem. This two-product lip care set contains everything you need to soften and smooth out your pout: The Rockstar Lip Scrub and the Juicy Lip Serum. The scrub is made with microfine sugar crystals to gently exfoliate away dead skin and smooth the surface of your lips, while vitamin E deeply nourishes. The lip serum is sweet almond oil-based, providing lasting nourishment, hydration, and softness. Like all other products from the brand, are clean, vegan, and cruelty-free. And for the price? So, so worth it.

Key Ingredients: Microfine sugar crystals, vitamin E, sweet almond oil  | Size: 0.34 ounces each | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Aging Skin: Mary Kay TimeWise Age-Fighting Lip Primer

Mary Kay TimeWise Age-Fighting Lip Primer

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Great multi-tasking formula

  • Prolongs wear

  • Decreases appearance of fine lines

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricier side

Pesky fine lines don’t just show up around your eyes—they can crop up around your pucker, too. Swipe on this youth booster to minimize wrinkles on and around the lips, help prevent lipstick or gloss from feathering, and increase wear time, too.

Key Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, vitamin E derivative | Size: 0.05 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Fast Fixes: Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil

Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Great multi-tasking formula

  • Cleans up other makeup smudges

  • Larger size and better value than most

What We Don't Like
  • Tip can easily get blunt

Lipstick smears happen to the best of us, which is why we love this option. Sure, you can use it underneath lipstick (the chunky pencil makes application super easy), but the clear, creamy formula also pulls double-duty to help quickly and efficiently clean up any mistakes or smudges. And it’s not just for use on your lips; it works equally well all over your face. Cantor is a fan, noting that it works well no matter whether you use it to fill in your entire lips or simply to outline the shape.

Key Ingredients: Isododecane, paraffin, jojoba oil  | Size: 0.10 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multi-Tasking: Guerlain KissKiss Liplift Lipstick Primer

Guerlain KissKiss Liplift Lipstick Primer
What We Like
  • Great multi-tasking formula

  • Very pretty packaging

  • Long-wearing

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricier side

“This has a neutral, translucent shade with a hint of neutralizing color to provide a truer payoff of that lip shade you love,” says Cantor of another one of his picks. “It also makes the lips appear smoother and helps to control feathering and improve wear,” he adds. And the benefits don’t stop there. This touts microbeads that expand when they come in contact with the natural moisture in your lips, helping to add subtle volume, too.

Key Ingredients: Mineral oil, beeswax  | Size: 0.11 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Scrub: Fenty Beauty Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick

FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Exfoliates while also hydrating

  • Gentle

What We Don't Like
  • Might exfoliate too lightly for some

Okay, so this may not technically be a lip primer, but FYI, buffing the dead skin off your lips is one surefire way to make lipstick last longer… not to mention look better, too. This one, from Ri-Ri’s brand, does just that using apricot seed scrubbers, and best of all comes in a convenient and mess-free twist-up. Simply rub it into your lips and wipe it off before applying lip color.

Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, beeswax, apricot-seed exfoliators  | Size: 0.1 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Pencil: Milani Anti-Feathering Lip Liner

Milani Anti-Feathering Lip Liner
What We Like
  • Makes precise application easy

  • Affordable

  • Silky application

What We Don't Like
  • Can be hard to sharpen

For an ultra-precise application, a pencil can’t be beaten. This option is silky and weightless and is great for tracing the outside edges of your lips to help prevent color bleeding and feathering, no matter what type of lipstick you’re using.

Key Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, synthetic wax, beeswax | Size: 0.04 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Plumping: e.l.f. Cosmetics Lip Primer & Plumper

E.l.f. Studio Lip Primer and Plumper

E.l.f.

What We Like
  • Great multi-tasking formula

  • Affordable

  • Smudge-free

  • Effectively gives appearance of fullness

What We Don't Like
  • Lip plumper can feel very tingly

Those looking to plump their lips will appreciate this dual-ended product. Swipe on the primer first (the lipstick bullet shape makes it easy to do so), and let it dry. Then apply either color and top with the plumper, or vice-versa; the cinnamon-infused formula helps to leave your lips fuller and more voluminous.

Key Ingredients: Ethylhexyl palmitate, talc, ozokerite | Size: 0.06 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Under Matte Lipstick: ColourPop LippieStix Primer

ColourPop LippieStix Primer
What We Like
  • Very hydrating

  • Affordable

  • Fills in fine lines for smoother look

What We Don't Like
  • Can feel sticky

Matte lipsticks tend to be innately longer-lasting… the trade-off is that they can dry out your lips. That’s why we love pairing a hydrating prep product, like this one, with any matte lippies. Just swipe this creamy formula (infused with shea, mango seed, and avocado butters) all over. Despite how moisturizing it is, it still dries down to a matte finish that won’t compete nor interfere with your matte lipstick.

Key Ingredients: Isododecane, polyethylene, shea butter, mango seed butter | Size: 0.035 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Treatment: Mented Cosmetics Balms Away Coconut Lip Treatment

Mented Cosmetics Balms Away Coconut Lip Treatment

Mented Cosmetics

What We Like
  • Very hydrating

  • Can be worn alone or under lipstick

  • Clean, vegan, and cruelty-free

What We Don't Like
  • Texture is slightly grainy

If you’re opting for a matte or liquid formula, making sure your lips are hydrated and smooth before application is crucial, as these formulas tend to be on the drying side. Enter this nourishing treatment, which is packed with shea butter and castor oil to provide deep moisture to your pout. On its own, it lends the lips a subtle shine, but it’s also great paired under your favorite lip colors. Our tip? Let it soak into your lips for 30 minutes before swiping on lipstick, being sure to gently wipe away any excess beforehand. It also makes for a lovely overnight treatment, too. 

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, castor seed oil | Size: 0.34 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

Lipstick lovers, listen up: A lip primer just may be the secret to the super long-lasting color you crave. The MAC Prep + Prime Lip is one of the best of the best, a fan favorite, beloved by consumers and makeup pros alike for its moisturizing formula and top-notch staying power. Both the Maybelline New York Lip Studio Prime It Up Multi-Benefit Lip Primer and the Milani Anti-Feathering Lip Liner are good affordable, drugstore choices, the latter of which is more of a precise liner that helps to ward off feathering especially well. And if you’re looking for a multi-tasking formula, try either the splurge-worthy Clé de Peau Lip Glorifier, which has a tint of color and tons of treatment properties, or the Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer, which can be used not only as a lip primer but also to erase makeup smudges or smears anywhere on your face. 

Meet the Expert

Bryan Cantor is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert based in New York City. He brings his impressive knowledge of makeup products, skincare, application techniques, and professional tips and secrets to clients and companies in New York City and across the globe.

What to Look for in a Lip Primer

Not Just a Moisturizing Product

“Some ‘primers’ only increase moisture and are mislabeled as these are lip hydrators and not primers,” warns Cantor. “Make sure that it says it will increase the longevity of your lip products.” He adds that a true lip primer will also help prevent feathering and smudging.

FAQ
  • What do lip primers do?

    “The main function of lip primers is to keep your lip products on your lips,” says Cantor. (Yes, it’s that simple). “By providing an adhesive base to sit on, they keep products from spreading off the lip area, increasing the wear time and helping prevent feathering in bleeding,” he explains, adding that they’re an especially good choice for those who like an overdrawn.  Some lip primers can help camouflage fine lines and wrinkles and/or make the lip appear smoother, he adds.

  • How do you apply a lip primer?


    According to Cantor, there are two different ways that you can do it. Option 1: Apply it as you would a lipstick, also in any areas where you’d like to overdraw the lip. Option two: Apply it only around the perimeter of the lip, as you would a lip liner. Which one you go with is a matter of personal preference, but be sure to use only one method at a time. “Using both methods at the same time won’t work,” he advises.

  • Are lip primers safe for sensitive skin?

    Cantor says that most formulas should be, though it is important to always check the ingredient list for any known allergens to which you’re potentially sensitive. 

How We Researched

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We then used this research to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list.

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She doesn’t use a lip primer regularly (though does love to wear the Clé de Peau product on this list solo), so she relied on the input of a makeup artist and consumer reviews to compile the products on this list. 

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. 13 Best Lip Primers To Keep Your Lipstick in Place All Day. Elle. https://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/g12843920/best-lip-primer/

  2. Things I Wish I Knew Sooner: This Hack for Move-Proof Lipstick. Who What Wear. https://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/best-lip-primers/slide2

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