Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
I don’t do makeup in the summer because I’d rather look unfinished than cake-y and sticky, you know? So reuniting with that part of my beauty routine is something I look forward to in the fall — especially when it comes to lipstick.
I love everything from subtle nudes to deep burgundies and bright reds that distract from my eyebrows that haven’t been threaded in two weeks. But I’m equally enthusiastic about eating a lot of snacks and messy foods and not having to constantly reapply throughout the day. You would think that wouldn’t be an issue given the number of lip products on the market touting long-lasting wear, right? Wrong! (I’m 100 percent looking at you, CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lip Color.)
Finding a formula that won’t smear all over your face (or cup, or teeth, or burger), that doesn’t dry your lips out after just a couple of hours, and will actually last throughout the day isn’t easy — so we tried a bunch out to save you the trouble.
From cult favorites to drugstore steals, check out six of the best lipsticks that will actually stay on your face.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, $22: This formula has been around longer than most and is still so damn good. The creamy formula glides on smoothly, smells really good (!?), and is super pigmented, so you really only need a light-handed sweep of color. It feels as comfortable on my lips as any matte liquid ever could (it can start to feel drying, but not overwhelmingly so, like my lips are about to crack). It rides the fine line of staying on through eating and drinking without being a nightmare to take off.
Milani Amore Matte Lip Crème, $9: Milani brings a little bit of glamour to the drugstore aisles. With a 25-shade offering, this lipstick is packed with pigment for just $9. It’s a good dupe for MAC’s iconic Retro Matte Lipstick — which is nearly triple the price of the Milani option — if you’re on a budget or want to test out a new color. For a matte lipstick, it didn’t dry my lips at all, although after eating the inner corners of my lips did fade a bit. But for $9, I don’t mind reapplying after a burger.
Sephora Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick, $14: There are more than 4,000 five-star reviews on Sephora’s liquid lipstick, and they’re no joke. It’s super smooth, easy to apply, and comes in 40 different shades. I’ve tried a handful, from deep reds (my favorite is rose wood!) to light blushes. The darker shades have the best lasting power, where the lighter shades can look a little chalky after a few hours.
Revlon ColorStay Overtime Lipcolor $11: This drugstore pickup gives you a liquid lipstick on one end and a clear gloss on the other — instantly a deal. There’s a decent amount of shade options whether you like to keep it simple or like something more flashy. It can be a bit sticky when you first apply, but after it dries and you throw some gloss on, you’re fine. It truly doesn’t budge after that, even after eating every snack the New York Vox Media office has to offer. That said, it is not! easy! to take off. But given the fact that this is what it was designed for, I’ll let it slide.
Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment, $26: This guy came out earlier this summer, and it truly is so good. The formula is velvety and flexible; it’s one of the only matte lipsticks I can wear and forget I have on. It’s lightweight and super pigmented, and the doe foot applicator makes it really easy to make perfect lines around the edges of my lips. And because it’s more of a gel than a cream, it layers seamlessly on top of previous applications once I needed to touch up around hour six. I would strongly recommend this one even with the hefty price tag; it’s so worth it if you have a favorite color you know you’ll wear often.