What’s the secret tip to making your lipstick last longer? According to Lucas Dean Bowman, a makeup artist in New York: Start with freshly exfoliated and hydrated lips. He recommends doing so five to 10 minutes before launching into your beauty routine, ensuring your lips are well-moisturized. “It’s a good call to treat our lips with some TLC. The better we treat our lips, the better they like to behave,” he says.
Camara Aunique, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Camara Aunique Beauty, prefers making a lip scrub and applying before lipstick. She combines brown sugar with coconut oil because it “allows the product to last longer on your lips and keep them hydrated.”
Applying lip liner to and filling in the lips is the most effective way to keep the color lasting for over five hours at a time.
Gina Brooke, celebrity makeup artist
How to make your lipstick last longer
If you don't have time to exfoliate your lips every day, some products can help prepare your lips for long-lasting lipstick or keep regular lipstick effective longer.
After you finish your face and eye makeup, turn your attention to your lips and use a primer. One of Bowman’s favorite lip primers is from Bite Beauty, a clean and vegan-friendly cosmetics brand. “It’s a clear lip primer and lip liner in one and it works so great as a base before lipstick and does a great job eliminating the chance of any feathering,” he says. Antioxidant-rich jackfruit extract and kiwi oil condition and soothe your lips while peppermint oil leaves behind a light, refreshing scent.
Some days Bowman will use Urban Decay’s clear lip primer, a chubby lip pencil with a creamy texture. The pencil is wide enough for you to prime your pout in just a couple of swipes. It’s infused with hydrating jojoba oil, which is rich in antioxidants and Vitamins E and B. Consider ordering a pencil sharpener that’s wide enough to fit your lip primer pencil.
The thinner the layer, the longer the wear.
Jenny Patinkin, clean-makeup artist
Bowman and Gina Brooke, makeup artist to Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Madonna, also recommend lip liner. “Applying lip liner to and filling in the lips is the most effective way to keep the color lasting for over five hours at a time,” she says. Talia Favale, makeup artist at NakedPoppy, a clean beauty online retailer, agrees and notes lip liner prevents your lip color from feathering into fine lines around your mouth.
The 10 makeup artists we consulted have different views on which lipstick formula is most longwearing. Although their go-to long-lasting lipstick formulas vary, you can consider their combined decades of professional experience alongside your preference for finishes in mind as you shop.
Dusting a small amount of translucent powder over your lips after applying color will create a barrier between your mask and your lips.
Talia Favale, makeup artist, NakedPoppy
Tasha Reiko Brown, makeup artist to Tracee Ellis Ross, Alicia Keys and Yara Shadidi reaches for lipsticks with creamy textures over a “totally liquid, matte, dry mouth.” You don’t have to use creamy textured lipsticks exclusively. Bowman is “very much into lip stains” because they will “for sure last all day.” Jenny Patinkin, a clean-makeup artist, says “the thinner the layer, the longer the wear.” She advises that you start with a stain all-over, line and fill your lips with a freshly sharpened lip liner and blot with a tissue. For longwear, Favale prefers swiping on mattes, stains and liquid lipsticks over shiny and satin lipsticks.
Regardless of the lipstick that you reach for, though, the pros say there’s one final step to help extend the wear of your lipstick: Translucent setting powder. “Dusting a small amount of translucent powder over your lips after applying color will create a barrier between your mask and your lips and keep color from smudging or transferring too much to your mask,” says Favale. Patinkin calls this technique a “great red carpet trick” and suggests holding a tissue over your lips and then lightly dust translucent powder on top of that. “Translucent powder makes it super transfer-proof,” she says. Patinkin adds that there are lipstick sealants you can apply on top of freshly-powered lips “to hold everything in place, but user beware as they can be pretty drying,” she says.
Best long-lasting lipsticks
“NARS Velvet Matte Lipstick Pencil is perfect, not only because of the elegant texture but with the pencil shape it goes on with ease,” says Reiko Brown, who also counts Letitia Wright and Lupita Nyong’o as clients. “Moments after application, the creamy texture sets into all-day, long-lasting color.” Mysterious Red is her signature shade. “The formula is so comfortable and lightweight on the lips that I often forget I’m wearing it,” she says. Tobi Henney, makeup artist to Ashley Graham, Ellie Golding and Nathalie Kelley, says she“always” keeps this lip pencil in her pro makeup kit. “It has beautiful tones in the range and lasts for hours without drying out the lips,” she says.
Reiko Brown calls this Maybelline option her “top wallet-friendly, long-lasting lipstick.” She says it’s easy to apply and pointed enough to give you a crisp lip line — there’s also a built-in sharpener at the crayon’s base. “I like to use this as a diffused color wash, starting in the center of the lips, then slowly feathering out, working quickly before the cream sets down into a stain,” she says. Reiko Brown adds that the lipstick “truly lasts” through meetings and meals, “as the color stains down into the lip below the top layer.” These longwear pencils smell like vanilla and are available in 12 colors, including Treat Yourself, a hot pink, Own Your Empire, a classic blue-based red and Accept a Date, my personal favorite berry drugstore lipstick.
“These lipsticks don’t require much pressure to get a bold opaque color. I love using them to just wash over the lips by pressing it in and dabbing with a finger to get a more stained glass-like effect versus a very bold look,” explains Bowman. He says that regardless of your desired effect, Bowman appreciates the “beautifully long-lasting product” available in 40 colors. These vegan-friendly lipsticks are refillable ($36 per lipstick and $22 per refill).
When Georgie Eisdell, makeup artist to Gwyneth Paltrow, Alicia Vikander and Carey Mulligan, wants non-drying, longwear lipsticks, she swipes one of the 32 colors from Pat McGrath Labs. Eisdell says these are her "absolute favorite long-lasting lip colors" because they are "gorgeous on the lips."
When Aunique, whose clients include Angela Bassett, Ava DuVernay and Naturi Naughton, wants long-lasting lipstick, she looks for a non-drying matte formula. She “loves” to use Wonderskin’s Wonderblading Peel & Reveal Lip Color and calls the lip system innovative and easy to apply, adding it doesn’t dry out your lips and lasts up to 10 hours. “I recommend it for all women who still love to wear lipstick and don’t want it transferring onto masks when we’re outside,” she says. First, apply two or three layers of the lip masque, mist the activator, let it dry for 30 seconds and peel away the mask film for a long wear lipstick.
“This is the perfect long-lasting, matte, intense lip color, which fuses with the lips, so the color doesn't bleed or migrate,” says Naoko Scintu, makeup artist to Charlize Theron, Sophie Turner and Karlie Kloss. “It has super strong pigment and comes in such beautiful shades. I love this product for red carpet looks.”
Scintu, who also works with Florence Pugh, Carey Mulligan and Caitriona Balfe, says this lip product is “one of the only long wear glossy products that really works and holds its reflective finish on the lips.” Noting she “loves” the nude shades and high color payoff meaning, “you only need a single stroke to achieve the mirror effect.”
Scintu says these liquid lipsticks are a “firm favorite” that she’s kept in her kit “forever.” She likes to use these on long filming days because “the color doesn't budge for up to 24 hours.” Scintu adds the array of red lipsticks are her favorite and they are “a great formula with perfect bold matte pigment.”
Henney, who also works with Sara Bareilles, Barbara Palvin and Poppy Delevingne, says she “always” keeps this lip pencil in her pro makeup kit. “It has beautiful tones in the range and lasts for hours without drying out the lips.” There are 29 pigmented shades to choose from like Wifey, a pinkish nude, Spice Girl, a brownish mauve inspired by the ‘90s and Heartbreaker, a pinkish-red.
Once Brooke has an initial wash of color from lipliner, she’ll reach for Hermès Rouge Matte lipstick. “It’s loaded with profusions of color and one application will last hours,” she says. Choose between two finishes: Satin which is available in 10 shades or matte, which comes in eight colors. These bullet lipsticks have squalene oil extract, which helps hydrate your lips.
One of Favale’s go-to long-lasting lipsticks is Kosas Weightless Lip Color. It has a “super pigmented formula partnered with nourishing ingredients for the lips,” she says. Mango seed, shea and cocoa seed butters help smooth and soften fine lines while green tea seed, rosehip and jojoba oils have antioxidants and vitamins add moisture and help protect against free radicals. Shades include Rosewater, a cool-toned pink, Dark Room, a vampy bordeaux and Thrillest, a warm orange-red.
Liquid lipsticks get a bad reputation as drying, however, coconut oil, Vitamin E and shea butter, found in this formula nourish your lips and prevent cracking and flaking. “Even a matte formula like Clove and Hallow's Lip Velvet feels hydrating instead of heavy and dry like most mattes,” says Favale. The colors range from demure like Darling, a dusty pink to risk-taking like Jetsetter, a deep navy.
Patinkin layers a hydrating gloss or balm on top of her lip stain of choice: Ere Perez Beetroot Cheek and Lip Stain. She describes the two shades — Fun, a fuschia and Joy, a cherry red — as “very flattering colors for most people.” The pigment of these “multipurpose” stains is made with beets, which are rich in antioxidants. Use the doe foot applicator to apply the stain, blend with your fingers and layer to amp up the intensity. Dot the vegan stain to the apples of your cheeks, then blend with your fingers or blend with a duo-fiber blush brush, like the one from Bdellium Tools.
Patinkin recommends these clear lipsticks which transform into a custom pink shade based on the pH balance of your lips. The long-lasting lipsticks smell like coconuts and each bullet has a decorative, dried chrysanthemum at the center.
I own over 100 lipsticks and Stunna Lip Paint is one of the longest-lasting lipsticks on the market. It’s a non-drying, liquid lipstick available in eight shades including Uncuffed, a mauvey-nude, Unlocked, my favorite hot pink for the summer, Uncensored, a classic crimson along with Uninvited, a jet black. The small, doe foot applicator makes lining and filling in your lips a breeze. Just be prepared to work quickly — once this longwear lipstick sets, you’re locked in with that color for 12 hours. Yes, even after drinking and eating (and wearing a face mask).