Last updated: September 26, 2020

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Ask yourself the following: how do you personally define lipstick? Maybe it’s just another addition to an already massive beauty and cosmetic products market. Just another color-adding tool for eyes and face. Let’s just be crystal clear from the jump: it is so much more.

Over the last several years, the lipstick (and cosmetic industry in general) has changed dramatically. There are a staggering variety of lipsticks out there. Each one has distinct features, as well as pros and cons that were, just a few decades ago, unheard of. The lipstick industry is a nearly unrecognizable place now, in the best way possible.

Key Facts

  • A lipstick is a cosmetic made for adding color and depth to your lips
  • Lip care comes with health, cosmetic, as well as psychological benefits
  • Lipsticks vary widely in terms of format and finish

Our Selection: The Best Lipsticks on the U.S. Market

In the following section we have curated a list of 5 of the top lipsticks currently available on the U.S. market. Along with each product we have included a list of its most noteworthy features and descriptors. You can use this compilation to compare and contrast the different products and get the one that is best suited to you.

Best Moisturizing Lipstick

Burt’s Bees is synonymous with high quality skincare, and their lineup of lip balms, chaps, and lipsticks are popular with women all over the United States. This long lasting, all natural lipstick packs intense color into a product that comes with a wide range of skin-nourishing ingredients. Designed to go on smooth and give you satin, creamy finish, this paraben-free, phthalates-free, petrolatum and SLS-free lipstick is everything you could want in an ecologically friendlier lipstick.

Even the packaging is recyclable. It comes in 18 great shades and was winner of the 2016 Allure Best of Beauty Award. This lipstick is made for those who want bold, beautiful color without all of the extra and additives. Perfect for sensitive skin and sensitive lips, Burt’s Bees is a great product for anyone who might be prone to allergic reactions with certain cosmetics, or who have had adverse reactions to lipsticks in the past. For the price, Burt’s Bees is an all natural lipstick option that is hard to beat.

Best Cruelty-Free Lipstick

You have likely seen women wearing Milani’s cruelty-free, vibrant Color Statement Lipstick and thought “what a great lipstick” without even realizing it. It comes in 40 great shades, so their is something out there for any women, and for any occasion. Dazzling pinks, luscious reds, and fun purples let you make a statement and set trends anywhere you go. With added vitamin A and C, this lipstick not only looks great on your lips, but it leaves them feeling great as well.

This is a great lipstick for when you don’t have the time to put on extra makeup and want a cosmetic that is going to add some life and vibrancy to your face. Born on the stylish streets of East Los Angeles, Milani is all about confidence and attitude. Best of all, all Milani products are PETA-certified cruelty free, which means you get to look great, but never at the expense of innocent creatures. This lipstick stands up surprising well to more expensive designer brands at a much more accessible price point.

Best U.S.-Made Lipstick

Skin2Spirit’s Better’n Ur Lips is a 100% natural, and 85% organic moisturizing lipstick made with natural butters, extracts, and oils to help keep your lips looking and feeling great. The certified organic ingredients include mango butter, castor seed oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil and more. Complete non-toxic and cruelty free, this lipstick packs a big, bold burst of color in a format that you can feel righteous about. Your lips will never feel dried out after wearing this product, so they look great even when you aren’t wearing lipstick.

Made right here in the United States, Skin2Spirit knows what environmentally conscious U.S. ladies require to look their best. Because this lipstick is all natural and mostly organic, don’t expect to get 12 hours of color out of it as you would with a chemically-based product, but you can easily get four solid hours. This is a hard product to beat if you need style, attitude and unparalleled lip protection all from the same tube.

Best Lipstick for Shiny Lips

Maybelline New York should be instantly recognizable to any woman in the U.S. This company has been around for decades and understands the lipstick game like the back of their hand. Their Color Sensation Shine Compulsion Lipstick is the company’s first oil-in-stick lipstick that packs 60 per cent reflective oil for unprecedented shine. This is an extra-glossy lipstick designed to give your lips a major shine boost. Saturated pigments give you big, bold, shiny looks day or night.

This line of lipsticks from Maybelline is still quite young, so they are in the process of creating more colors and shades, but there is still surely something for any woman on any occasion. If you think this lipstick is too shiny for your tastes, or for the occasion after applying, simply blot lightly with a piece of tissue and problem solved. At just $10, this product packs a little into a lot and is a must-have addition to any woman’s lipstick arsenal.

Best Lipstick for Classy Women

This might just be L’Oreal Paris’ richest, most luscious lipstick line yet. Add to that, this lipstick has been infused with Omega 3s, Vitamin E, and Argan Oil to keep your lips kissably soft. Available in a staggering array of bold and beautiful shades, there is a Colour Riche lipstick that is right for any woman and occasion. This line of lipsticks was made to be worn any time of the day and night, and all year round. Whether you are older or younger, it is impossible not to look timeless with L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Lipcolour lineup.

This is a great, affordable product that was made to be kept in the work bag, the gym bag, every purse, and even at the office for emergency application. Whether you are going out of a first date, or making a splash at the Christmas party, this is a versatile product that will make your luscious lips even more luscious whenever, wherever. From “Sugar Plum” to “Toasted Almond” this is a broad line that is sure to have something for even the most discerning tastes.

Shopping Guide: What You Should Know About Lipstick

It is important that before purchasing a lipstick, you understand the main aspects of this product. In the below section we have put together the most salient features of lipsticks so that you have all the important information you need to make a wise purchase. We have also addressed and responded to some of the most common consumer concerns and questions.

Asian woman using lipstick

Although certain adverse reactions from the use of lipsticks has happened in the past, they are strictly regulated and safe products
(Source: Marctran: 82078466/

What exactly is a lipstick?

A lipstick is any cosmetic whose purpose is to provide color and texture to your lips. They are ancient beauty tools, dating as far back as ancient Mesopotamia, where lip coloring was common.

Nowadays, lipsticks are just another common cosmetic that are part of the makeup routines of millions of people. Lipstick is worn all over the world and for a variety of reasons. These lipsticks come in an array of colors and formats, with different finishes, ingredients, and prices.

Several lipstick

Pastel shades are very popular with users
(Source: Belchonok: 97002962/

Why is lipstick recommended?

Why do people paint their lips different colors? Many people assume its a purely aesthetic thing. The truth of the matter, however, is that lip coloring and lipsticks also come with noteworthy health and psychological benefits.

Aesthetically, lipsticks augment our mouths and smile. The make lips pop out more and can create the illusion of thickness and volume. Depending on the style of lipstick and its application, we can also give ourselves fresher, younger appearances.

A lipstick also makes teeth look whiter, which makes for a better smile. Lipsticks are also great at insulating your lips against the elements, especially those that have moisturizers and essential oils mixed into the formula.

Woman with red lipstick

For optimal results, it is recommended to follow certain steps when using lipstick
(Source: Marctran: 80999982/

Lastly, wearing lipstick can help boost our self-esteem, and feeling better about oneself is good for our mental well-being. Wearing lipstick can help make us feel more confident and stronger, can make us persevere harder in the face of adversity, and give us a necessary pick-me-up throughout the day. All of this, taken together, influences how we experience the world and how we enjoy it.

What are lipsticks made of?

Each lipstick may contain specific ingredients and in specific proportions depending on the brand or type of lipstick. But all lipsticks contain four primary ingredient: waxes, oils, pigments, and alcohol.

On top of these main ingredients, they can also contain preservatives, antioxidants, and scents. Oils and wax generally comprise around 60 per cent of a lipstick. Alcohol and pigments about one quarter. The below table provides a coherent summary of the characteristics of the primary ingredients found in most lipsticks:

Ingredients Characteristics Examples
Wax Provides body and consistency to lipstick. Facilitates its application Bees, candelilla, carnauba wax
Oil Helps distribute lipstick better while providing shine and hydration Mineral oils, vegetables, lanolin, butters
Alcohol Used as a solvent for waxes and oils Used as a solvent for waxes and oils
Pigment Provides color to lipsticks Iron oxide, fluorescein, talc, kaolin, titanium, mica
Preservatives and antioxidants Prevents cosmetic degradation and promotes cosmetic durability Prevents cosmetic degradation and promotes cosmetic durability
Flavors Provide a pleasant fragrance to the product Provide a pleasant fragrance to the product

What types of lipstick are there?

As cosmetics have evolved over the centuries, so has lipstick. Just a few short decades ago, the only lipsticks available were what today are considered classic colors (red, and reddish tones). Nowadays, however, there is a staggering array of lipsticks on the market. They come in a multitude of formats, shades, and finishes.

Asian woman with pink lipstick

It is also important to remove lipstick after use
(Source: Puhha: 101357853/

From a format perspective, there are five major types. These are bar, pencil, lipstick, cream, and liquid. They each provide different effects. With respect to the finish, there are matte lipsticks, long-lasting ones, as well as creamy and glossy ones.

Each format type has specific characteristics. The various properties produce different effects, and there are distinct pros and cons associated with each. In the below table we have laid out all of that information for you.

Lipstick format Advantages Disadvantages
Bar Convenient and practical format. Easy to apply. Deep hydration Short duration
In pencil Simple application. Maximum precision to create lips very well defined Variable duration. Requires technique to obtain optimal results
Liquid Long duration, great variety of finishes. Incorporates applicators to facilitate its use. Favors hydration Difficult application
Cream easy application. Pleasant and soft texture. Hydrates lips. Longer duration Usually leaves visible stains
Marker Dead easy to use. High precision. Long-lasting Dry lips
Permanent Long-lasting results. No stains Dry lips
Matte Finish Elegant and sophisticated effect. Opaque and intense color

. Long-lasting

Dry lips
Semi-Matte Finish Sophisticated and modern coloring. Better moisturization Less opacity and duration
Creamy Finish Wide range of tones. Pleasant consistency and velvety feel. Super hydrating Shorter duration and can leave spots or need touch-ups
Glossy Finish Gives an informal, fresh and carefree feel. Luscious lips. Combinable with other lipsticks Sticky texture, short duration

When should I use lipstick?

Lipsticks are versatile and multi-purpose, so there is nothing set it stone when it comes to appropriate use. You can use them whenever, wherever, and however you like. There is no age range for lipsticks, nor is there a gender restriction on them. Anyone should and can use lipstick.

Lipsticks also have a range of practical applications as well. You might want to impress at an event or for a special occasion. Additionally, you might choose to wear lipstick because it gives you a boost of confidence in your daily life and makes you feel better able to take on the world.

In short, there are multiple types of lipsticks for all tastes and situations in the U.S.. American women use lipstick for themselves, to make an impact on loved ones, and for a million reasons in between.

How do you apply lipstick?

Most people have likely worn lipstick at one time or another in their life. Knowing if you applied it correctly is another story. Below is a helpful step-by-step guide to good lipstick application technique.

To start, you are going to need to prep first. Exfoliate the lips and them apply a good moisturizing lip balm. Many women like to put a pre-base on, though this is not mandatory. Once you are ready to begin applying your lipstick, first trace the outline of your lips with it. Then begin the actual application. A good tip is to begin application in the center and work your way to the outer lips. It is also important to ensure you are covering any cracks in your lips while you are applying.

Woman with make-up

A lipstick is ideal to complete your overall look
(Source: Puhha: 71353636/

Following that, it is time to put on a second layer. If you have accidentally gone overboard, remove the excess with your finger and a tissue, gently dabbing. To ensure you get a long-lasting effect, press your lips together on either a piece of paper with lipstick fixative powder or apply a lipstick sealer. You can then apply a final, third layer of lipstick once that is done.

For a perfect look, touch up any excess pieces and streaks on your lips with a tissue. If you want your lips to look even more luscious, apply a coat of lip gloss over the top. Many people don’t fully understand just how involved a process lipstick application is!

Several lipstick of many colors

There are lipsticks available in many different colors
(Source: Stetsyk: 46774286/

Is removing lipstick important?

Putting on makeup is fun and entertaining, but taking it off is a major chore. This is especially true if you have just come home at the end of a long night and want nothing more than to slip peacefully into bed and off to sleep. If you want to know why it is absolutely necessary to remove lipstick, heed the words of Gervaise Gerstner, a dermatologist from New York City and his advice on removing makeup (including lipstick),

If you don’t thoroughly remove your makeup before going to bed, you can irritate skin, clog pores, and cause acne.

Removal cosmetics allow lipstick to be removed in a way that is respectful of our skin. They are effective even for permanent lipsticks.

What are the adverse effects of lipstick?

There have been some unpleasant stories surrounding lipstick side effects that have popped up on social media over the last few years. But you should put this information into perspective. While it is true that certain ingredients in lipstick can be irritating or harmful, The harmful effects of lipstick have created some controversy on social media over the years. However, it is important to analyse and interpret the information correctly.

On one hand, it is true that certain components of lipsticks can be harmful. These ingredients can cause lip irritation, cell damage or hormonal alterations, among others. However, it is important to keep in mind that lipsticks sold on the U.S. market are put through quite rigorous quality control and safety checks to ensure that harmful chemical are either banned, or severely restricted. This should give you peace of mind when choosing your lipstick.

Woman with natural makeup

When applying a lipstick you can also use a pre-base
(Source: Puhha: 68740526/

In summation, lipsticks can be considered safe as they are highly regulated cosmetics. Additionally, it is paramount that you understand your own genetics and sensitivities before purchasing any lipstick.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of lipsticks?

As we’ve seen, lipsticks are cosmetics with advantages that extend beyond just the aesthetic. Like any cosmetic, however, there are downsides to them as well. We have put together the below table to summarize these pros and cons so that choosing the right product is that much more straightforward.

  • Different effects depending on the product
  • They augment our smile
  • Lip protection from contaminants and the elements
  • They improve lip care
  • Greater self-confidence and positive attitude
  • Possible lip dryness
  • Variable duration
  • Unwanted reactions in specific cases

Shopping Criteria

When you purchase a lipstick, you have to know how to evaluate a product to get the best one for you. In the below section we have provided the most important shopping criteria to mull over when buying any lipstick. With that in mind, you can be sure you are purchasing something you will like, that looks good on you, and that is safe to use. They are:

Facial Features

When choosing a lipstick, it is of the utmost importance that you know what your face looks like. Every face is unique, and different lipsticks look better on different faces. Things to consider include how big your lips are, the shape and color of your eyes, your skin tone, hair color, and the overall shape of your face. All of this, taken together, will dictate which lipstick is right for you.

For instance, if you have smaller lips, lighter shades help create the look of volume. On the other hand, if you have larger lips, darker shades help make them look smaller. If you have thin lips, glossy lipsticks look the best. On naturally thick lips, matte colors are generally better.

If you are wondering how to go about matching a lipstick to your skin color, Yahoo Beauty Editor Julie Giusti offers this advice: “Rather than trying to pinpoint your “undertones,” do your best to assess your natural lip color. If you’re trying out a bold lip, this base color can help point the way. Women with pale lips look best in cherry red or coral; for naturally reddish lips, try hot pink, orange, or cranberry; for dark lips, brick red and burgundy are ideal.”


This is one of, if not these most important consideration when purchasing a lipstick for yourself, or anyone else for that matter. The color you opt for will depend on your personal taste, but it is also influenced by other factors too.

The time of the year and season, the occasion or event, and your physical appearance are all important factors. In the summer, for instance, cool, warm, and clear tones like pink, red, and fuchsia make better choices. Darker shades tend to be more suitable for winter use.

Your hair color is also something to consider. Blonde hair can help emphasize your lips if you are using red and brown tones. If you’re a brunette, raw colors and lighter tones make your lips stand out better. Redheads do well with corals and toasted tones. Take your own personal preference into consideration, but also factor in these other variable as well.


As mentioned earlier in the article, there are lipsticks available in a variety of different formats. Each format comes with pros and cons. For instance, people who need hydration would do well with lipstick bars and/or creams, which focus more on hydration. Those women with drier lips should avoid felt-tip pens because they can exacerbate dryness. For precision, pencils are hard to beat.

If you’re looking for a lipstick which stays on longer, try liquid lipsticks and felt-tip pens instead of creamy and bar lipsticks.


Another fundamental aspect to bear in mind is the finish of the lipstick. As you’ve seen, lipsticks can give very varied results depending on may factors. From a lipstick’s finish perspective, how do you choose between one finish or another? Well, there are actually several aspects. You have to take into account the pros and cons of each possible finish and evaluate the best one for you.

For example, matte lipsticks are quite fashionable these days. They are great for elegance or glamour, but bear in mind they can be quite drying. This is the same story with permanent lipsticks. They let you get more life out of your makeup (often many more hours at a time), but they are also hard on dry lips.

For improved hydration, creamier lipsticks are preferable. Glossy ones are also good choices for casual looks, but which still keep your lips moisturized. There are a lot of options to consider when it comes to finishes, so always go for the one you think will give you the results you’re looking for.


The different style of lipsticks make some more suitable for certain occasions than others. When picking out a lipstick, it is key to know when and how you are going to wear it. Here are some examples.

Light-colored and more natural shades are great everyday wear, and come in both matte and glossy finishes. Formal and elegant events, like business conferences or weddings, likely require pencil lipsticks for optimum precision.

Lipsticks with a long duration will be very useful to be radiant during the whole day or night. Perfect for those all day events or weddings that go into the night.


Finally, it is important to understand a lipstick’s composition before buying. Lipsticks in the U.S. have stringent quality and consumer safety standards applied to them, but there are still some ingredients that are considered potentially dangerous and/or irritating. You should know what these are, and what your body could potentially react to before buying.

Additionally, if you have allergies or preexisting skin conditions, you should always avoid anything that might set either of those off. Your health comes first.


At this point, you probably have a much different opinion, not to mention understanding of lipstick than you did when you started reading this article. These cosmetic products are not just for coloring lips, they can make us feel empowered, strong, confident, and all around better about our day and life in general.

If you are tired of always leaving the house looking the same, and want to spice up your image, a little lipstick goes a long way. There are so many formats to choose from, there is bound to be something out there that is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Highlight your best features, get bold, and boost your self-confidence with a great new lipstick today.

If you liked this guide and found it helpful, don’t hesitate to share it with friends and family on your social media. Additionally, you can drop us a comment in the below section.

(Featured Image Source: Сердечный: 68507699/

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