Best Lipstick: The 2023 List Beauty Awards

Lipsticks are among the most classic of all beauty products. A mainstay in the makeup bags of cosmetics connoisseurs everywhere, how we like to wear our lipsticks, in what finish, in what shade, and so much more, can say a lot about who we are and what we value. As such, finding the perfect lipstick is much more than just a way to expand our vanities, but an opportunity to reflect on how we really want to feel. Wearing a bright red liquid lipstick, for example, can make us feel powerful and feminine, as though we're wearing a pair of high-heels, stepping out into the night, ready to make a long-lasting impression on whoever we may meet. Wearing the perfect nude shade could give us that boost of confidence we need before heading into an important meeting — whether it's for work, or pleasure. 

In an effort to parse through the abundance of lipsticks on the market, bringing you closer to finding the perfect one for you, we've selected our five favorites: Best Overall, Best Pigmented, Best Cream, Best Sheer, and Best Clean Beauty. Each of these selected lipsticks were tested on several categories, including budget, shade range, packaging, wearability and comfort, coverage (or the appropriate lack thereof), and formula. What we ultimately compiled is a diverse list of five remarkable lipsticks, each with their own strengths, and, of course, minimal weaknesses. And, a quick spoiler to start: none of our top choices were liquid lipstick formulas. 

Read more about the 2023 List Beauty Awards methodology and all the top picks here.

Best overall: NYX Professional Makeup Suede Matte Lipstick

Matte shades can be historically difficult to get right on all counts. Sometimes, it feels smooth during application, but quickly dries and flakes. Sometimes, the formula can be too thick, and flat out uncomfortable to wear. Because matte shades are less forgiving than glosses, they need to be evenly pigmented, less they look spotty. And matte shades need to last with minimal to no transfer, where reapplication can be a pain. 

The NYX Professional Suede Matte Lipstick stood out to us because it hit not only every mark when it comes to mattes lipsticks, but also every mark as far as budget, shade range, packaging, and overall beauty goes! First, let's get into some specs. The NYX Professional Suede Matte Lipstick is accessible for most budgets, and comes in a large range of 35 shades, featuring shades both for color-lovers, and those who prefer a classic nude. Presented with a cute heart on the packaging, it is a traditional bullet lipstick and features a vegan formula.

Now, let's get into the look and feel of it — what you're here for! Swiping on this baby was a dream. The formula felt plush, and we were right away struck by its perfect coverage. The color tested, in the shade "Brunch Me," was a gorgeous, brightening, mauve. But perhaps the best part about this lipstick was how pleasant it was to wear, especially for a matte shade. One might even forget it was on! While it might not be completely transfer-proof, its versatile formula makes reapplication super easy. Simply put: this was our overall best. 

Purchase the NYX Professional Suede Matte Lipstick at NYX for $8.

Most pigmented: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick

The Urban Decay Vice Lipstick did, however, give our best overall a run for its money. But with a retail price of $21, this lipstick lost a few points in the budget department. Nonetheless, we chose this lipstick as our best pigmented because of its lush formula, and striking shades. Speaking of shades, this versatile lipstick comes in three different finishes: matte, satin, and high-shine, depending on your preferences. It boasts 16 satin shades, 13 matte shades, and 6, high-shine shades, for a total of 35 shades. Made with avocado oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower oil, and aloe vera, this vegan lipstick will keep your lips feeling moisturized, no matter how you wear it. 

The Urban Decay Vice Lipstick comes in a modern, reflective packaging that feels expensive to hold. We tested the matte shade "Backtalk," which is a cool, mid-toned mauve that wears slightly darker and more opaque than product photos seem to show online. Nonetheless, the pigment was strikingly beautiful with minimal transfer, and it did feel hydrating and comfortable to wear. Because of its highly pigmented nature, this lipstick is definitely for those who are not afraid to wander slightly past a no-makeup, makeup look. With more than 2,800, 5-star reviews, many of which sing the praises of its hydrating and beautifying formula, the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick could be the next virtue in your makeup kit. 

Purchase the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick at Sephora for $21.

Best cream formula: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick

Cream lipsticks are made to please. Versatile, classic, and reliable, we know that our favorite cream lipstick will be the finishing touch to even the most simple makeup looks. A good cream lipstick has sheen, but is not quite shiny; has pigment, but does not look chalky; and of course, feels comfortable on the lips, with a straightforward application. Because cream lipsticks tend to be among the most-loved products in our makeup kits, it should also be affordable, to ensure that we can use it over and over again. For these reasons, the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick was our favorite cream lipstick. This lipstick technically comes in two finishes, cream (no sparkle) and pearl (with sparkle), and is not quite as pigmented as a satin lipstick. Nonetheless, this lipstick had pigment power and was super buildable and comes in 25 classic shades. All in all, this lipstick can cater to a wide range of makeup lovers.

We tested the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in the pearl-finished shade, "Demure." At first, the lipstick appeared rather sheer, so it took another swipe to build up the coverage. The result was a subtle and pretty look that would be perfect to wear to the office or a meeting. Made with vitamin E and avocado oil, it felt comfortable on the lips, and we can imagine reaching for it again and again. 

Purchase the Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick at Target for $5.99.

Best sheer formula: MAC Lustreglass Sheer-Shine Lipstick

Sheer lipsticks are a staple in the makeup kits of beauty-lovers everywhere. Why? Because sheer lipsticks are well-rounded; easy to apply and feel comfortable on, feature a flattering shine, and still contain enough pigment to add that extra oomph to your makeup look. As such, finding the best sheer lipstick is serious business, and we are thrilled to present you with our favorite: the MAC Lustreglass Sheer-Shine Lipstick. We tested out the shade "Mars To Your Venus," an ultra-light nude. Mac is known for the enduring popularity of its lipstick formulas, and that this sheer lipstick won our hearts comes as no surprise. 

Now, if we're being honest about what we want out of a sheer lipstick, we definitely do still want some pigment — after all, spending $20 should entail more than the effect you could get from a little bit of Vaseline. Thank the gods and goddesses, this product delivers! Formulated with several plant oils such as raspberry oil, jojoba oil, castor seed oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and more, the feel of this lipstick is simply divine, and we appreciate its nourishing properties. The shine of this lipstick is, of course, absolutely beaming, and the pigment is just the right amount of sheer, providing light coverage that lasts. Should you be looking for a little extra pigment, the formula is also buildable. Keep in mind, however, that this lipstick is not vegan, as it uses carmine in its formula.

Purchase the MAC Lustreglass Sheer-Shine Lipstick at MAC for $20.

Best Clean Beauty: bareMinerals Mineralist Hydra-Smoothing Lipstick

Clean beauty is a revolution, and we would be remiss if we did not account for the beauty brands that both value safety and prioritize high-standards when it comes to the formulation of their products. Clean beauty products frequently feature skin-loving ingredients, with the added bonus of making us feel pretty — both on the inside, and out. One lipstick stood out for all of these reasons and more: the bareMinerals Mineralist Hydra-Smoothing Lipstick. This lipstick features castor oil, jojoba oil, pomegranate oil, olive oil extract, and shea butter, adding to its moisturizing properties. It also includes cold-pressed sea buckthorn, which is ripe with antioxidants. But just as important as what's in this lipstick, is what's not in it; bareMinerals has banned 2,500 ingredients from use in its products, including parabens, synthetic fragrances, and much more, going even beyond European standards. This lipstick is vegan and cruelty-free, as well as dermatologist tested. 

But, of course, this lipstick is more than just skincare. How does it look? We tried it in the shade "Memory," a pinkish, berry shade that offered surprisingly pigmented coverage, without feeling overpowering. All we needed was one swipe, a quick touch-up in the inner-corners, and we were good to go! It feels super light-weight on, and even has a faint, citrus smell, which, while we enjoyed, others may not. We think this lipstick would work wonders for those who tend to prefer a more natural look, but still want an extra pop of color on their lips. 

Purchase the bareMinerals Mineralist Hydra-Smoothing Lipstick at Sephora for $22.