We Tried $332 Worth Of Lipstick — & These Took The Cake

The future of beauty is here — and you’re invited. Check out the rest of our 2018 Refinery29 Beauty Innovator Awards winners for a full look at the products, brands, and people that are breaking the rules and redefining beauty standards, one lipstick at a time.

We move pretty fast in relationships — when it comes to lipsticks, at least. Typically, we date around the beauty aisle, swatching different shades and formulas. Then we take a couple tubes home with us to wear for a bit... and if we fall in love and decide to take the next step? We're fully committed, just like that.


A ton of lipsticks launched this year, but only a few were worth locking down. Of course, we tested them, to separate the not-so-impressive from the cream of the crop. Among the elite were high-end tubes that became the most bougie of our collection, sheer tints that are better than lip balm, and powerful stains that that only look expensive. The 4 winners that are in our makeup bag for the long haul, ahead...

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

"The design of this product is gorgeous — the trapezoidal stick made it so easy to line my lips with color. I was really impressed with how smooth the formula went on, but it was also super easy to remove and didn't leave behind a stain. Even if you mess up and color outside of your lip line, you can easily clean it up and still have a rich color."—Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez, Senior Photo Editor
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture The Slim Matte Lipstick$39.00 Buy
"I thought I'd hate this product because I tend to wear more gloss than liquid lipstick, and I expected the formula to be thick and messy. Instead, I got a lightweight fluid that faded beautifully to an even stain by the end of the day. It also lasted through eating an apple, which is pretty damn impressive, if you ask me. " —Sam Sasso, Beauty Writer
Physicians Formula Physician's Formula The Healthy Velvet Liquid Lip$6.99 Buy
"This gorgeous lipstick makes me feel rich, and since I'm pretty broke, that counts for something. When you hear 'comfort matte' you really wonder how that's even possible, but then you try this and you change your mind. It goes on super pigmented and lasts for hours. " —Sasso
Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick$38.00 Buy
"I am not a sheer lipstick type of girl — I like my pigments bold and matte. But this Flesh formula made me realize that life is good on the subtle side, too. It gives me a nice wash of color that looks like my-lips-but-glossier. It's also super hydrating, so if you're on the go and forget lip balm, put this on and your lips will feel buttery soft." —Aimee Simeon, Beauty Writer
Flesh Beauty Fleshy Lips Lipstick$18.00 Buy
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