Whether it's a long day at work or a night out, you want a lipstick you can trust. And by trust, we mean a long-lasting lipstick that doesn't dry out lips, smudge, smear, transfer, or require reapplication and constant mirror checks.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab regularly tests longwear lipsticks both in the Lab and with consumer testers all over the country. Over years of testing, we've parsed through well over 124 lipsticks and whittled down the field to the best formulas with good smudge resistance, high pigmentation, and great opacity. The final products underwent both Lab and consumer testing for color retention, transfer resistance, ease of application, overall satisfaction, and more.
In our most recent category-wide test of longwear lipstick, we disseminated 88 products, tallied responses from over 1,230 questions, and evaluated 176 images from the VISIA complexion analyzer which assesses color immediately after application and after five hours of wear. If you want your lip color to last all night, these long-lasting liquid, stick, and cream formulas are your best bets, according to our experts.
- Longest-lasting formula; won't fade, feather, or smear
- Precise, simple application and vibrant color
- Lips may look slightly dry during extended wear
In our Beauty Lab's test of liquid lipsticks, this was hands-down the longest-lasting option after five hours of wear. Testers found that there was almost no residue after taking a sip of coffee, and said the color remained vibrant. It got top scores across the board for not feathering, smearing, slipping, or fading. Consumers liked it the most of any formula and thought the applicator was easiest to use, too: "This is my new favorite lipstick!," raved one. "It stayed put throughout the entire day (and a full meal and snack) without fading or streaking."
- Smoothest, most precise application
- Non-drying matte finish
- Not as long-lasting as other picks
- Color transfers through the day
Say hello to your new everyday lip color: Testers gave this pick highest scores for its smooth and precise application, thanks to a wide and flat applicator for full coverage in one pass. "I also love how substantial the product feels so there's no streaky application or need to go over my lips multiple times," said one tester. "It dries to a nice matte that isn't drying but stays on and doesn't smudge." Despite the color fading through the day, our testers gave it the second-highest satisfaction score of the whole lot.
- Minimal smearing and transfer
- Staying power
- Highly pigmented shades
- Some testers complained it cannot stand up to meals
- May look dry on lips
Perfect for a night out of big event, this MAC formula earned top scores in Beauty Lab tests for withstanding smears, resisting transfer, and staying vibrant after five hours of wear. Some users complained that though the formula doesn't feel drying, it can make lips look dry, but loved that the thick formula was easy to apply and "that the pigment was strong and not see-through."
- Lasts all day without smearing, fading, or drying lips
- Rich, velvety color payoff
- Some testers found the texture gritty when applying
This stick formula topped tests with the highest immediate satisfaction score: It was best at resisting smudges and staying vibrant, and second best for lasting the entire day without smears, transfers, or drying lips. A tester favorite, this product had the highest number of testers still reaching for it three weeks after testing concluded! They loved that the matte formula "helps with longevity and smearing," while still feeling smooth, lightweight, and "not too drying but not too moist."
- Longest-lasting in tests
- Easy-to-apply shape
- Though color doesn't fade, it does transfer
- Can be drying
For days you don't want to reapply ever, this pick by Fenty was the longest-lasting product in both Lab and consumer tests. Testers loved the color saturation and the uniquely slim shape helps with precise application, eliminating the need for lipliner. "The color got me compliments and it lasted one meal, almost two," said one tester. The main drawback: Though the color stays bright on lips, most testers reported it transferred a lot through the day. If you prefer a liquid formula, try another favorite from the brand: Stunna Lip Paint.
- Hydrating formula
- Great vibrancy and staying power
- Square shape takes some getting used to
Looking for a longwear lipstick that doesn't dry lips? This creamy matte formula ranked tops for not drying out lips in consumer tests, and was the runner-up for long-lasting color in Lab tests. With "lots of pigment and saying power," testers thought it produced a gorgeous, even color that lasts, saying, "It has definitely stayed the most vibrant of the colors I've tried. It didn't transfer as much as others either." Its angular shape makes for sharp lines, though some found the unique shape made it "hard to be precise when applying."
- Fast-drying for precise application
- Subtle vanilla scent
- Most drying formula we tested
- Difficult to remove and can stain skin
If you always smudge your lipstick right after applying, this budget-friendy pick will be your new BFF. It nabbed the second-highest overall performance score in Lab tests and a high satisfaction score, as well. It dries quickly after application, which earned it near-perfect scores for not smearing after application and remaining vibrant even after sipping a hot drink. Testers did find this formula drying: It can crumble and look patchy after just a couple hours of wear, so be sure to layer on a hydrating lip balm first.
- Smooth, creamy texture
- Resists transfers throughout the day
- Slim shape makes for easy application
- Other products provided a more even color
- Low scores for long-lasting color vibrancy
If you're heading to a dinner party, reach for this smudge-free lippie: In Lab tests, the crayon scored highly for resisting transfers and smearing and our testers agreed, saying, "I liked ... the lightweight feel of it. There was also minimal transfer throughout the day." Our testers loved the product's consistency, calling it smooth, creamy, and easy to apply thanks to a solid, "not too wet or creamy" texture. The tradeoff: Some testers wish the color vibrancy was more true and even.
- Long-lasting color vibrancy
- Smooth application and great opacity
- Subpar scores for feathering, bleeding
- Some testers found the formula "very drying"
A full coverage pick with a soft matte finish, this drugstore lipstick scored highly for looking vibrant and resisting transfers and smears even when sipping hot drinks, lasting through the day, and gliding on smoothly and evenly in just one pass. Our testers were blown away by the lasting power of this pick, raving "the color went on very smoothly and lasted much longer than expected," and, "The lipstick stayed so bright throughout the entire day and didn't come off at all. Huge fan!"
- Highly pigmented color
- Smoothing, hydrating formula doesn't look dry
With over 553K "loves" at Sephora, it's a cult favorite for good reason. The creamy formula adheres to lips in a flattering way that doesn't look cakey or crumbly, but hydrated and smooth and the high pigmentation means you only have to apply one coat for serious color payoff. We haven't tested this liquid formula in the Lab, but GH's products and reviews editor swears it won't transfer, feather, or fade through the day, no matter what you eat or drink!
- Dual-ended, long-lasting formula
- Reviewer favorite with over 1.1K five-star ratings
A top-seller on Amazon with over 3.5K reviews, reviewers swear this formula is trustworthy for the Big Day: "I used this lipstick for my wedding day and it did not budge one bit! It stayed on during the kiss, meal, everything!" wrote one. Though we haven't tested in the Lab, reviewers love the dual-ended long-lasting formula. Swipe on the liquid lip color, and top the patent clear lip gloss top coat infused with vitamin E, chamomile, and soy extract for hydration.
- Opaque, true-to-color pigmentation
- Dries quickly
- Can feel drying
A cult-favorite liquid lip, this Stila option has amassed a whopping 2K+ 5-star reviews at Ulta, with many saying they had finally found their favorite matte lipstick. Reviewers love that the product is long-lasting, true to color, and easy to apply with a wide color selection. Though we haven't tested this pick formally in the Lab, we were impressed to see that several wore it on a daily basis, and one claimed it survived their entire Thanksgiving meal. Reviewers say it can be a bit drying, but love that "it goes on opaque, dries quickly, and wears comfortably."