We can’t pinpoint the precise date and time when liquid lipsticks took over the makeup industry, but sometime within the past year, our Instagram feeds, makeup artists’ kits, and the beauty closet at Byrdie HQ all became overrun with the stuff.
The perks of liquid formulas are manifold, and we can see why many people prefer them over their traditional, solid counterparts.
Pros of a typical liquid lipstick:
- High impact color
- Super-long wear
- Budge-proof formula
But to be honest, most of us Byrdie editors kind of, well, hate liquid lipsticks. Perhaps hate is a strong word. What we mean to say is that despite the hype, for us, the negatives of liquid lipstick outweigh the positives.
Cons of a typical liquid lipstick:
- Hard to apply
- Requires frequent touch-ups
However, amid the scores of liquid lipsticks on the market, there exist five rare products that have beaten the odds. But don’t just take our word for it. We test-drove these non-drying products IRL and have the pics to prove it.
Here’s what we did: Five editors each applied our product of choice at 8:30 a.m., didn’t touch up a single time until 1 p.m., and then posed for the following photos. Keep scrolling to read our reviews of five extraordinary liquid lipsticks!
“Even though I love lipstick in the semi-stereotypical way girls are supposed to, liquid lipstick has never been for me. I much prefer a creamy formula in a traditional tube over the high-maintenance matte liquid lipsticks that are dominating the universe right now. To me, liquid lipstick is just something that exists on Instagram and makes zero sense in real life.
“So trust me when I say I was deeply shocked by how much I loved this one by Tarte. My favorite thing about the product is that it’s wildly pigmented, and five hours after wearing it, it still looks like you just applied. It also doesn’t budge or smear, and as long as you coat your lips in a tiny dot of lip balm before application, it doesn’t feel drying, either.”
— Amanda Montell, associate features editor
“This formula is not drying at all! As the name suggests, it is super lightweight and feels really moisturizing. I love the applicator and the color. My only complaint was that I felt the need to touch it up several times throughout the day. The color fades somewhat easily, so that is something to be aware of, but otherwise I do love this formula!”
— Aimee Jefferson, social media editor
“I’m firmly in camp #liquidlipstick but also hate the way many of them feel—like a layer of Benjamin Moore was slathered across my lips, slowly sucking all the moisture out and leaving them parched and begging for a drop of moisture. Who cares if it lasts through my salad (or Shake Shack, whatever)? I much prefer comfort over longevity and have taken it upon myself to test every formula that comes my way to weed out the paint-dryers. (I also wrote about some of my favorites right, if you’re interested).
“Maybelline’s Vivid Matte Liquid is a recent discovery, and I love it for the fact that it costs just $7, doesn’t dry out my lips at all, and smells like Skittles. For a nude-lipstick hoarder like myself, Nude Thrill is the perfect shade of taupe-y nude with slight peach undertones that work for day or night. The formula is light and glides on easily, coating your lips in color—then, instead of drying into a cakey, crumbly finish, it magically keeps your lips feeling soft and—dare I say it—moist (I will never use that word again, I swear).
It may not last as long as some of the other ones out there, but at least you won’t feel like your lips are dying a slow death by way of dehydration. It’s a true drugstore gem if there ever was one.”
— Faith Xue, editorial director
“This is only liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried that doesn’t leave my lips feeling dry, flaky, and (frankly) disgusting. The texture was smooth but soft, and my lips still felt hydrated hours later. And the color didn’t budge!”
— Victoria Hoff, news editor
“I actually am one of those people who hate liquid lipsticks, simply because my lips are dry. They always have been; I’m convinced they always will be. That said, the pigment payoff and long-lasting wear do intrigue me, so I’ve tried several. Too Faced’s Melted Lipsticks were probably the first I tried (they did precede the whole Kylie Lip Kit phenomenon). They’re the easiest to apply with a squeeze tube–to–foam tip applicator—much more control than you get with the lip gloss–style applicators.
“But most importantly, they don’t feel like liquid lipsticks. The formula is not heavy or filmy. It honestly feels like I’m wearing nothing at all. However, they’re not touch-up free. I drink water all day. So the majority of lipsticks don’t last as long as I would hope on me—this one included.”
— Deven Hopp, beauty director