For a long time, I would refuse to buy any type of drugstore makeup. I still skip on some of it, like powder or foundation, but I’ve recently been starting to check out the lipstick offerings. It turns out that lots of drugstore brands are upping up their game, because there’s a fairly decent selection of (good) lipsticks floating around. Here are my five favorites:
5. NYX SOFT MATTE LIP CREAM
A lot of people love NYX’s Round Lipsticks, but I can’t quite count myself as a fan. I’ve bought a number of them, but the formula and finish vary wildly from color to color for some reason. The Matte Lip Creams are a much safer alternative, as the formula is pretty consistent throughout the line. They don’t come in such a large variety of colors, but they are much more long-wearing and pigmented. The matte finish is decently comfortable, and not too drying. Granted, they’re not the most hydrating lip product, but it’s nothing that can’t be solved without wearing some lip balm underneath.
4. REVLON LIP BUTTER
Lip Butters have become a fairly popular lipstick, and for good reason. They’re hydrating and comfortable, and come in a decent array of shades. My only qualm with these is that some colors have more pigment and longevity than others. I’ve found that in general, the darker the shade, the better it performs. Some of the newer additions to the line aren’t as nice as the original, but they’re still pretty decent.
3. L’OREAL COLOR CARESSE WET SHINE STAIN
These are the drugstore version of YSL’s Glossy Stain, and although they obviously aren’t as good as the original, they’re still a very good (and cheap) alternative. Of course, they come in a much more limited color selection that lacks the complexity of pigment of the YSL stains, but they’re nevertheless still good. The wear isn’t as long either, but it’s still longer than most lipglosses. A word of warning, some of the lighter shades aren’t very pigmented and will have trouble showing up on darker skintones. The darker / brighter shades should be fine, however.
2. MAYBELLINE COLOR SENSATIONAL VIVIDS
I’d never tried any Maybelline lipsticks until the Vivids line launched, and I have to admit that I’m quite impressed. The color is incredibly bright, and the formula is lightweight, comfortable and hydrating. Granted, they don’t last terribly long, but that’s OK. They’re cheap. I own a fair amount of the range, and find that they work beautifully across the board.
1. PORTLAND BLACK LIPSTICK COMPANY
Ok, sure, these aren’t a drugstore brand like the others, but at $10 they fall only slightly above the price range. These lipsticks are actually some of my all-time favorites, as the formula is long-wearing and incredibly comfortable. Besides feeling great on the lips, they also come in hard to find colors like bright green, metallic blue and the titular black. Of course if those colors aren’t your thing, they also come in a variety of reds and pinks. My only issue with the line is the applicator — they come in a balm tube which can make application tricky.
What are your favorite cheap lipsticks? Are there any I might have incorrectly overlooked?
Veronica is an editorial fashion intern at 303 Magazine. She recently graduated from Bryn Mawr College as a History of Art major with a focus on fashion. Besides obsessively watching the latest runway shows, Veronica can usually be found waxing philosophical about makeup or building shrines to Rei Kawakubo and Rick Owens. Contact me: email@example.com