Home Health Best Drugstore Lipsticks Under $15: From Matte to Glossy

Best Drugstore Lipsticks Under $15: From Matte to Glossy

Best Drugstore Lipsticks Under $15: From Matte to Glossy


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You don’t have to spend a lot of money on luxury lipstick when some of the best drugstore lipsticks offer the quality of premium picks at less than a fraction of the price. Plus, most come in widely different colors and finishes, including matte, satin, and high-shine, leaving you (and me) spoiled for choice.

I’m no stranger to the drugstore beauty aisle, and many of my favorite lipsticks come from my neighborhood CVS. With that said, I know firsthand that some options are better than others in terms of wear, longevity, and what look you’re hoping to achieve, and often, you’ll have to kiss many frogs before you discover your perfect pick. If you want to save yourself the effort, I spoke to professional makeup artists Elaina Badro and Jackie Alves for their tips on choosing the best drugstore lipsticks—and as further lip service, I put dozens of options to the test. I zeroed in on formulas that were easy to apply, comfortable to wear, and long-lasting (with a few exceptions), the best of which you’ll see below. Better yet, the picks on the list come in a wide range of shades and will set you back $15 or less.

Best drugstore lipsticks, at a glance

Shop the best drugstore lipsticks under $15

Best overall: L’Oréal, Colour Riche Original Satin Lipstick — $11.00

Finish: Satin | Format: Bullet | Shades: 52

I fell in love with L’Oréal’s Colour Riche Original Satin Lipstick at first swipe. It’s creamy, packed with pigment, and keeps my lips smooth and velvety. It’s also long-lasting, and I experienced minimal transferring during eating and drinking, and throughout wear, it didn’t bleed or feather outside my lip lines. If you have to reapply it after a large meal, it layers beautifully without becoming cakey—a testament to its lightweight and moisturizing formula. It also comes in over 50 shades, including Berry Parisienne, the beautiful mauve hue pictured above. One tradeoff is that the lipstick has a potent fragrance, which might be unpleasant for people with sensitive skin or nose.

  • Pigmented
  • Lightweight on the lips
  • Solid transfer-resistance
  • Doesn’t bleed or feather
  • Wide shade range

e.l.f. Cosmetics O Face Satin Lipstick

Best pigmentation: e.l.f. Cosmetics, O Face Satin Lipstick — $9.00

Finish: Satin | Format: Bullet | Shades: 20

If you want a long-wearing satin lipstick with incredible color payoff, consider e.l.f. Cosmetics’ O Face Satin Lipstick. With just one coat, I achieved smooth, even pigmentation—and once applied, the lipstick didn’t bleed outside my lip lines or bunch up at the sides of my mouth. What was more impressive was how long it lasted. The lipstick stayed intact after I ate and drank, offering the longevity one might usually expect of a matte lipstick. If anything, it isn’t as lightweight as the other satin lipsticks I swiped on, but it’s a small price to pay for its long-lasting wear. I wore the shade Drive, a medium-brown hue, but you can choose from 19 other colors, ranging from classic neutrals to reds, pinks, and violets, and one dark, deep black aptly named All Night.

  • Pigmented
  • Transfer-resistant
  • Doesn’t bleed or feather
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • It isn’t as lightweight as other satin lipsticks

Maybelline Color Sensational Ultimatte Slim Lipstick

Best matte: Maybelline, Color Sensational Ultimatte Slim Lipstick — $7.00

Finish: Matte | Format: Bullet | Shades: 14

The Maybelline Color Sensational Ultimatte Slim Lipstick is lightweight and stays comfortable on the lips throughout wear—and it comes recommended by Badro. Just one swipe offers an even layer of color, and I loved that the lipstick applied smoothly without emphasizing the texture of my lips. As for its longevity, you might have to reapply it after eating; I ate a chicken sandwich while wearing it, and the color faded slightly after my meal. However, reapplication is made easy with the slim bullet, which allows for precise application. I sampled the color More Rust, a brick-red shade, but initially choosing among the 13 other options proved challenging—it comes in a wide range of deliciously wearable shades ranging from sandy nude to purple mauve to cocoa brown.

  • Makeup artist-approved
  • Lightweight on the lips
  • Impressive pigmentation
  • Doesn’t bleed or feather
  • Wearable shades

Maybelline Super Stay Vinyl Ink Liquid Lipcolor

Best long-lasting: Maybelline, Super Stay Vinyl Ink Liquid Lipcolor — $13.00

Finish: High-Shine | Format: Liquid | Shades: 20

Maybelline’s Vinyl Ink Liquid Lipcolor comes with the recommendation of Alves. Alves says, “It is long-wearing, andthe colors havea lot of oomph tothem.” I can attest that the liquid lipstick offers intense color in just one swipe while imparting a lacquered sheen that applies and wears smoothly on the lips. I opted to try the Ret Hot shade (a fire-engine red) and the doe-foot applicator made for easy and precise application. It takes a few minutes to set, but once it does, it stays put, and better yet, it doesn’t settle into lines, crease, or fade. If anything, it can feel slightly tacky on the lips but not so much as to be unpleasant to wear. On the contrary, it feels weightless, which is rare for a long-lasting liquid product. What’s more, it’s available in 20 shades, and if you aren’t keen on its high-shine finish, opt for the Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink ($11), which Alves also highly recommends.

  • Makeup artist-approved
  • Pigmented
  • Long-lasting
  • Lightweight on the lips
  • Wide shade range
  • Slightly tacky on the lips

Best glossy: NYX, Butter Gloss — $6.00

Finish: High-shine | Format: Liquid | Shades: 35

The NYX Butter Gloss is a cult favorite for good reason. It has a highly pigmented gel-like formula that is neither too sticky or slippery, and just one or two coats deliver full and even coverage. The gloss has the lightweight feel of a balm, with an understated shine that lent my lips a juicy-looking appearance. Its doe-foot applicator makes it easy to deliver the gloss where you want it and without missing any spots—and once applied, you won’t have to worry about it transferring or migrating around your mouth. If anything, I had to reapply it after eating and drinking, but other than that, it stayed right where I wanted it—on my lips—without fading. You can select from among 35 colors, from everyday neutrals to bold and bright pops of color. I opted for Red Velvet, a deep red hue that is equal parts playful and sophisticated.

  • Neither too sticky or slippery
  • Lightweight on the lips
  • Doesn’t bleed or feather
  • Wide shade range
  • It isn’t very long-lasting

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick

Best shade range: Revlon, Super Lustrous Lipstick — $10.00

Finish: Satin | Format: Bullet | Shades: 84

Makeup artists and celebrities love the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, and it’s easy to see why. Its satin formula is creamy, buildable, and hydrating, and it doesn’t bleed or settle into lip lines. While the formula is excellent, its expansive shade range makes it a cut above the competition. It currently comes in over 80 shades (including the Black Cherry shade pictured above) that range in cool, warm, and neutral undertones, so everyone should be able to find a color (or three) that suits their preferences. Keep in mind that since this is a satin lipstick, it will wear off when eating or drinking. However, it’s a cinch to reapply—the lipstick glides onto the lips easily and offers a one-swipe color payoff.

  • Over 80 shades
  • Buildable pigmentation
  • Moisturizing on lips
  • Doesn’t bleed or feather

Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick

Best moisturizing: Neutrogena, MoistureSmooth Color Stick — $8.00

Finish: Satin | Format: Stick | Shades: 17

The Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick is akin to wearing a balm but delivers the high-impact pigment most would want from a lipstick. It’s comfortable and lightweight on the lips, and just one swipe deposits rich pigmentation. It’s easy to apply, too: The lipstick looks like a crayon, making coloring within my lips’ outer lines a breeze. The color remained intact throughout the day. However, I had to apply it after eating—a process that required little to no effort, thanks to its convenient applicator. Overall, I loved the barely-there feel of the lipstick and how moisturizing it is—in fact, it left my lips soft and smooth long after wear, earning it bonus points in my book. I selected the Pink Nude shade, but there are 16 more options, including pinks, reds, and browns.

  • Pigmented
  • Incredibly moisturizing
  • Lightweight on the lips
  • Easy-to-use applicator
  • It isn’t as long-lasting

What to look for when shopping for a drugstore lipstick

Finish: Lipstick comes in a variety of finishes. There are matte lipsticks, which are highly pigmented and, according to Badro, “typically last longer than satin or glossy [lipsticks].” On the opposite end of the spectrum are glossy lipsticks that lend a juicy shine to the lips, but are usually“more sheer” than its matte counterpart, she says. Alves adds that glossy lipsticks tend to be “sticky,” or if not sticky, then “slippery,” and as such, require more frequent reapplication. Satin lipsticks are a happy medium between matte and glossy varieties. Generally, satin lipsticks provide a slight sheen and more pigment than glossy lipsticks and while they won’t linger on the lips as long as matte ones, many still offer a punch of color. Ultimately, the best option for you will come down to personal preference.

Formula: You’ll also find lipstick in various formulas. Similar to selecting your ideal finish, the choice is largely up to you. In any case, you might want to choose a lipstick with hydrating ingredients to prevent it from drying out your lips, says Badro. I’ve found drugstore lipsticks formulated with hyaluronic acid, squalane, and plant oils like avocado and jojoba, many of which are found on the list, that lay down the groundwork for long periods of comfortable wear.

Shades: Drugstore lipsticks have come a long way in recent years and come in a wide variety of shades—and to find your ideal color of lipstick, think about which shade you would feel most confident in. “Makeup is a medium of expression,” says Alves, “but if you’re looking to complement your [skin], you’ll want to consider your undertones.” If you have warm undertones, for example, you might want to opt for lipsticks in warm shades (think brick red or terracotta brown), she says, whereas people with cool undertones might want to opt for lipsticks with blue or purple tones. Of course, selecting a lipstick according to your undertones isn’t mandatory: “At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel good wearing it,” says Alves. With this in mind, I’ve made sure to include lipsticks that come in dozens of colors in the list above. That way, you’ll be sure to find a shade (or two) that suits your personal preference.

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.


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