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Which long-lasting lipsticks are best?

If you love wearing lipstick, then you already know how it can elevate any look. Once you discover your signature shade, you can make sure it stays in place all day with a long-lasting lipstick.

Long-lasting lipstick is specially formulated to stay put for up to 24 hours. Unlike regular lipstick, it won’t kiss off or transfer stubborn stains onto your drinking glass. To achieve all-day color richness, many long-lasting lipsticks are highly pigmented. Best of all, they won’t bleed or smudge, so you’re able to enjoy plenty of carefree meals or even swims.

Ready to choose a new all-day shade? Keep reading our buying guide on long-lasting lipstick. Our top pick, the NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil, features convenient pencil-like application and a high-pigment finish. 

What to know before you buy a long-lasting lipstick

Types of long-lasting lipstick

  • Liquid: Liquid is perhaps the most popular form of long-lasting lipstick. These lipsticks are applied wet and then dry to a matte finish, so you’ll need to allow ample time for them to set. However, liquid lipsticks can be somewhat drying, especially if you’re used to wearing creamy or moisturizing lipstick.
  • Bullet: Traditional bullet or barrel-style lipsticks go on matte and stay matte. While they don’t require the set time of liquid lipstick, bullet lipstick still needs a few moments to lock into place. This is especially important if you intend to apply additional coats. Few bullet lipsticks last as long as liquid, though the ones that do tend to come with a high price.
  • Crayon/pencil: These long-lasting lipsticks have a consistency similar to that of bullet lipsticks. They are either self-sharpening or require a sharpener with oversized holes. These can be somewhat drying, and there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to application with the large surface area of their tips.

Shade assortment

Beauty brands offer anywhere from a dozen to more than 40 shades in their lines of long-lasting lipsticks. Not all shades have the same formula though. Some are designated as matte versus ultra-matte or even extreme wear. Be sure to cross-reference these varieties to make sure you have realistic expectations for finish as well as wear time.

Wear time

Long-lasting lipsticks advertise their attributes with various catchy phrases: all-day wear, nine-to-five wear, and even kissable wear. Truth be told, these formulas still require touch-ups or re-application, though far less often than what’s required with regular lipsticks.

What to look for in a quality long-lasting lipstick


Matte finishes and long-lasting lipsticks often go hand in hand, as matte has a reputation for drying quickly and staying put the longest. There are also some long-lasting lipsticks with metallic, shimmer, and satin finishes, but they have a higher likelihood of transfer and bleeding.

Application style

Liquid lipstick is applied with either a sponge or a brush. Many users prefer brushes for precision reasons. Bullet, barrel, and crayon types swipe onto lips with a few strokes or coats.


Because long-lasting lipsticks tend to be drying, they often come with top coats. These are in the form of a balm or gloss, which provide enough moisture to keep lips from looking dry or chapped.

How much you can expect to spend on a long-lasting lipstick

Long-lasting lipsticks from drugstore beauty brands cost less than $15. For the longest-wearing formulas, turn to luxury beauty brands. These lipsticks cost between $15 and $30, though some long-wearing lipsticks can cost as much as $65.

Long-lasting lipstick FAQ

Do I need to use a lip liner with long-lasting lipstick?

A. There are two schools of thought here. Either you can forgo the liner and trust your long-wear lipstick or use both for extra protection against transfer.

What should I apply to my lips after I’ve removed long-lasting lipstick?

A. Once the color is completely removed and lips have been washed with soap and water, apply a moisturizing gloss. You could also apply an overnight restorative lip treatment.

What are the best long-lasting lipsticks to buy?

Top long-lasting lipstick

NARS’ Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil

NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil

Our take: Range of classic to edgy shades, including the beloved Dragon Girl. Stays put without stripping moisture.

What we like: Contains vitamin E for all-day softening and nourishing. Easy application and truly long-lasting.

What we dislike: You’ll need a top-quality sharpener and some skill to prevent the tip from breaking.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta

Top long-lasting lipstick for the money

Revlon’s ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick

Our take: Affordable option for all-day wear in luxurious shades like Brilliant Bordeaux. Smooth application.

What we like: Many high-pigment colors that last a full 24 hours with minimal re-application. A little goes a long way with this liquid formula.

What we dislike: Several shades have sparkle or shimmer but no matte counterpart.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

MAC’s Matte Lipstick

MAC Matte Lipstick

Our take: Top-rated for genuine matte finish that lasts all day without feathering or bleeding. Well-loved Ruby Woo shade.

What we like: Has a signature shade for every skin tone. Comes in 36 shades, including nudes and electrifying colors like Punk Couture.

What we dislike: Extreme matte finish can be somewhat drying, though it depends on the color.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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