Our Favorite Lipstick: The 2022 List Beauty Awards

For the List Beauty Awards, we scoured Sephora aisles, Amazon carts, and celebrity "What's In My Bag" videos to find the best of beauty in 2022. The top products in various makeup, skincare, and haircare categories went through obstacles and rigorous tests so that we could weed out the weak and find the true winners. We're talking about the products that have probably never seen a bad review or a single return trip to the warehouse.

To put lipstick to the test, we handpicked five of the best products on the market, and our first impressions began with the initial stroke. We asked ourselves questions like, "How intense is the pigment?" "Is it true to its color?" and "Is it easy to apply?" The lipsticks traveled to restaurants, sat underneath masks during last-minute trips to the grocery store, and endured innumerable sips of tea. 

After examining the formula, tendency to smudge, and finish, we focused on what's really important: the outside. The bottles and tubes needed to be cute enough to pull out in front of someone you're trying to impress but small enough to fit into a clutch you bring on a night out. Thankfully, one product met every criterion. 

So without further ado, here are The List Beauty Awards: lipstick addition.

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint: Winner

In our humble opinion, Rihanna can do no wrong, and her Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint has joined the ranks of royalty with her. This winning lipstick, which comes in a stunning glass bottle packed full of pigment, offers a matte finish that doesn't feel too drying on the lips. With over 3,500 positive reviews on Fenty Beauty and 440,000 favorites on Sephora, it already has scores of fans — and after the first stroke, we understood why.

The liquid lipstick glided on easily, courtesy of the doe-foot applicator and hydrating formula. We were delighted to realize that lip balm is optional with this lipstick, a rarity in matte formulas. At the same time, the pigment was so bold that a second coat was unnecessary. But what was even more impressive was that it stayed that way through two meals, masked travel, and countless sips of water. There wasn't any feathering or smudging, and the pigment only felt slightly diluted after a long day. The fact that this lipstick doesn't require constant reapplication makes the $26 price tag more than worth it.

Of the eight shades this lipstick comes in, we found that the nudes are just as pigmented as the darker reds, which is definitely another plus in our books. The only possible downside to this product is how tall the bottle is. But in all honesty, this lipstick deserves a bag of its own.

KVD Beauty Studded Kiss Crème Lipstick: Runner-up

This in-demand lipstick once topped the best-seller's list at Sephora for its long-wearing formula and versatility in finishes (via Glamour). Therefore, we decided to put the brand's vegan relaunch of the product to the test. 

The new formula of KVD Studded Kiss Crème promised to be "the creamiest, most cushiony, and unbelievably pigmented" one we'd seen. And on two of the three counts, it certainly delivered. 

The iconic serrated black bullet revealed the shade we'd chosen to bring home: Misfit, a scarlet hue in a satin-matte finish. It was verifiably creamy and cushiony as it swiped on easily, although a lip balm underneath helped, too. However, the pigment wasn't as intense as we'd expected. We had to run the product over our lips a few times, but the buildable pigment really shines through after. Plus, it stayed on for a good six hours before we had to reach for the bottle once more.

This is the perfect collection for those who like to experiment with their shades, as KVD not only offers a range of colors but also includes a "White Out" lipstick just for mixing. You can also opt for metallic and glimmer finishes, but for $20 apiece, KVD Beauty doesn't let you make the decision too lightly. 

NARS Audacious Lipstick: Runner-up

Next up, The List tried the NARS Audacious Lipstick. This collection of covetable lipsticks was launched on the 20th anniversary of makeup artist Francois Nars' makeup brand and has gathered a steady stream of positive reviews ever since (via Harper's Bazaar). The sleek black cases have become staples in the bags of makeup artists and beauty editors alike, even eight years after its launch.

We tested out the shade Mona, which was slightly more red IRL than on the screen and reminded us of a deeper and browner version of M.A.C's shade Marrakesh. But the lipstick was true to its claim of providing "single-stroke coverage." The formula proved to be opaque upon the very first swipe, and it gave just the right amount of hydration — no stickiness, glossiness, or feathering. A lip-liner paired nicely with this one.

the product had impressive staying power, too. Although the lipstick wasn't exposed to the elements, it did experience the warm teas and coziness that come with colder weather — and didn't come off until tea number four. 

The Audacious lipsticks are a steep $34, which is the only reason it's not as high up on our list. But for those who take their beauty investments seriously, the NARS lipstick won't disappoint.

Maybelline Ultimatte Lipstick: Runner-up

Honestly, Maybelline will always be a drugstore favorite — and for good reason. You're guaranteed a high-quality makeup haul with every visit to your local pharmacy because of the brand. So we picked up the Color Sensational Ultimatte lipstick, a lightweight matte lipstick that comes in a skinny bullet reminiscent of the slim cigarettes advertised to women in the 1960s. It ultimately means that we can carry it in our purses or our pockets without compromising phone and wallet space.

But don't get us wrong, this lipstick is just as amazing on the inside. The formula is impressively pigmented and the circumference of the bullet doubles as a sort of makeshift liner. However, the finish of the lipstick feels more powdery than matte. Additionally, we did have to reapply this product several times throughout the day. The longer we wore it, the drier it felt, and it failed the mask test almost an hour in. But for $9, this lipstick's bold pigment, range of shades, and lightweight formula is definitely worth the trip to CVS.

Sephora #LIPSTORIES Lipstick: Runner-up

As a bonafide beauty giant, Sephora seemingly has its pulse on every trend that makes its rounds in the world of makeup, fragrance, and skincare. It comes as no surprise, then, that the brand's own collection of products appeals to its loyal customers, as it's been engineered especially for them. 

From the mostly-sold-out pencil eyeliner to the artist's color palette of eyeshadows, the Sephora Collection is arguably one of the best things to come from the store, and it's become well-known for its affordable but high-quality products. Therefore, The List put the Sephora #LIPSTORIES lipstick to the test.

This lipstick has more than 365,000 favorites, and we can certainly see the appeal — it's available in a multitude of shades and finishes, comes in quirky packaging, and can be yours for just $9. 

We tried the milk-chocolatey Snuggle Weather shade with a satin finish. The formula was super lightweight, which we appreciated, but it wasn't as pigmented as advertised; we had to apply it a few times to build pigment, but even then it waned as the day went by. The finish was silky and satin-like, but the downside was its inability to stay on for longer than an hour. However, the lipstick was definitely one of the most hydrating lipsticks we've tried. It's a great everyday option — but it just didn't have that wow factor like our number one pick.