Beauty

Best Lipsticks for 2020 – 19 Formulas Recommended by Our Editor

Welcome to our updated guide to the Best Lipsticks for 2020! Every year, there are so many lipsticks launched that I can’t even hope to test and review every single newly-released shade, but I certainly give it a good try!  There are a few new entries this year, but for the most part, it’s a list of tried and true formulas that I’ve tested over the years. It may not be the year of the lipstick, but for those who are still rockin’ their lipstick, enjoy!

Every product recommended below has been tested and reviewed by me, your Editor-in-Chief, and I test thousands of products every year–so they’ve earned their way onto this list. To read more about a specific shade or view swatches, make sure to use the drop downs and buttons below, as we’ve tried to make this guide comprehensive and easy to use!

The formula is supposed to offer “mirror-esque” shine with “rich color” that has a lot of “hydration.” It’s part of the brand’s Lip Fetish range, which is a lip balm-based formula, but these appear to be the higher coverage offering within the various finishes available. They have a smooth, balm-like feel–light glide but not overly slippery, lightweight, and comfortable to apply and to wear. Read more…

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The formula is described as “the perfection sheer wash of colour in the comfiest, lightweight, super moisturizing formula.” Here’s the big takeaway… they are not that sheer; they’re not a wash of color. They have medium to semi-opaque, buildable coverage with a few shades being more true medium in coverage; I just wouldn’t say they’re sheer nor just a wash. That medium to semi-opaque level of coverage still allows for some translucency, which gives the color a lighter look that’s more like a stain. Read more…

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UltaColourPop

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The formula is supposed to have a “lighter-than-air texture” with “all-day moisturization” paired with “intense color and soft shine.” They had semi-opaque to fully opaque color coverage in a single layer, and most of the shades applied evenly and smoothly to my lips without emphasizing lip texture or sinking noticeably into my lip lines. Read more…

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The lipstick is supposed to have a “silky smooth melting formula” that yields “intense long-lasting color and high-shine” with “instant hydration.” Most shades were creamy without being so slippery that they felt that way or went on unevenly. They do melt quickly, though, so if they are left in a warmer area (with all my photography lights running) and applied, they feel substantially creamier than at room temperature (about 72 degrees). Read more…

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The consistency has more slip and a velvety-smooth feel that softly “clings” to the lips, so while the finish has a glossier look for the first few hours, the color stays on well. If you’ve ever used a silicone-based primer, there’s a bit of that feel to the formula overall. Most shades last between six and eight hours on me, are non-drying to lightly hydrating, and comfortable to wear. The formula is unscented and has no discernible taste. Read more…

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The formula is supposed to have “lightweight color and moisturizing shine” with “buildable color payoff” and a “gliding, smooth application.” It’s a good formula for those who like medium, buildable coverage with a smooth, balmy consistency that glides across lips easily but doesn’t feel too slippery while worn. Read more…

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The formula is supposed to have “one-stroke, full-coverage” pigmentation with a “soft matte finish” that is “long-lasting” and “hydrating.” The formula is best characterized by its texture: creamy, smooth, and slightly denser/thicker on (but not heavy) compared to the typical lipstick formula. Most of the shades are opaque, while “weak” shades are more semi-opaque. The majority of the colors I’ve tested have applied evenly and smoothly with good glide and feel comfortable on my lips. They tend to last between four and six hours and was lightly hydrating to non-drying. There was no noticeable scent or taste.

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The formula that is supposed to be a “creamy-matte” that “glides on like butter, doesn’t feather or bleed, and lasts so long you’ll forget you’re even wearing it.” The majority of the shades were quite pigmented with full color payoff in a single stroke with a few in the more semi-opaque coverage range. Read more…

Availability

UltaColourPop

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The formula is supposed to have “high levels of pigment” for “cushiony, comfortable, weightless color” that lasts for “six hours.” They had rich color coverage in a single stroke, just as promised, and they were creamy and emollient, which made them comfortable and easy to apply on my lips. Read more…

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The formula is supposed to have “intense colour” with a hydrating base that includes things like jojoba and mango butter as well as hyaluronic acid (and gugul resin) to “help to smooth and plum up lips.” I would describe the formula as somewhere between semi-opaque and opaque, often buildable, with a luminous sheen that seems like there’s very, very fine pearl but less distinctive shimmer (except for the shades that are actually shimmery). Read more…

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The formula is supposed to be “richly pigmented” with “”supreme hydration” and “opulent matte opacity.” The consistency was smooth, velvety, and dense without being too firm for one-stroke, glide-on application (I found the original shades to be slightly firmer compared to more newly released shades). They had nearly opaque to opaque coverage in one layer and most were buildable. Read more…

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The formula is supposed to be “lightweight” with “full-coverage color in one swipe.” The majority of shades were pigmented with semi-opaque to full color payoff in a single layer, as described. The more shimmery shades tended to be a bit sheerer overall, while the mattes and creams were usually closer to opaque in coverage. Read more…

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The formula is supposed to have “sheer” coverage that is “ultra comfortable” that “lock[s] in moisture.” It’s designed to be something you can apply without a mirror (which just really make it clear that it is a sheerer product), but it does say “buildable” with multiple layers. The consistency was moderately dense in the tube but melted subtly as I applied it to my lips, and it felt more emollient after a few seconds of wear. They felt lightweight without being tacky, and it had more of a light-medium level of slip, so it didn’t seem to slide around a lot during wear. It definitely has a balmy feel on the lips but has some staying power (but less than say, an opaque, satin lipstick). Read more…

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The Liquid Lip Velvet formula is described as having “rich pigment, smooth application” and a “velvet finish that lasts up to eight hours” that is “non-drying.” Overall, the formula is fantastic for those who want the fluidity of a liquid product without the drying aspect of more traditional liquid lipsticks while not sacrificing wear time. The formula does not dry down completely, so there will be transfer, but the product is so pigmented that the color lasts awhile. Read more…

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Urban Decay Vice Lipstick ($17.00 for 0.11 oz.) is available in six finishes, which are primarily distinguished by level of sheen, shimmer content, and coverage. I didn’t notice any scent or taste. Mega Mattes are the thinnest and have the most “cling” as they are drier and more matte (but most are semi-matte and not a totally flat matte) and can be drying, though they are longer-wearing. Read more…

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Best Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Color  is supposed to have one-stroke color coverage with a hydrating, smoothing formula, and “nourishing shine.” I was impressed with the formula as a whole, as the majority of the shades were very pigmented in one pass with a creamy consistency that glided on easily. There’s a richness to the texture that does feel more “luxe” in a way. Read more…

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It is supposed to be a “lightweight, bold lipstick with a satin finish”liquid lipstick that is “extra intense colour saturation” and “long-wearing,” but the brand is quick to note that it is “not completely kiss proof.” The consistency is very light to lightweight with a thin to mousse-like consistency–they feel a little heavier going on than the Ultra Matte formula, but they don’t feel heavy on. They dry down somewhat, but it isn’t a full, flat dry down like matte liquid lipsticks, and when you press your lips together, there is moderate tackiness there, but I didn’t notice any lifting or separating of color by doing so. Read more…

Availability

UltaColourPop

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The formula is supposed to have “intense color” with a “semimatte finish.” Most shades are opaque with a few falling short of full coverage that apply evenly and last between four and six hours. The fomrula is lightly creamy to moderately creamy with some slip that is comfortable to wear and typically moisturizing over time. It has a floral scent but no discernible taste.

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The Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick formula is supposed to have “high-intensity color” in a “single stroke” that “glides on effortlessly” and has “six hour” wear. More recent copy of the formula has been more specific as it having “medium-to-full coverage.” Read more…

Our Methodology

The way I approach my guides is by focusing permanent formulas that have stood the test of time–they are high quality, consistent, and all formulas that have performed well. Every shade is thoroughly tested and reviewed, and these are formulas where I’ve often tested every shade in the line of, so I really grasp each formula’s strengths and weaknesses!

More product guides: Best Blushes, Best Highlighters, Best Eyeshadow Palettes, Best Single Eyeshadows, Best Lip Glosses, Best Blush Brushes, Best Eyeshadow Brushes, Best Highlighter Brushes, Best Makeup Products of 2019.

Top Rated Lipsticks from 2020

Check out the current top 10 highest-rated lipsticks (individual shades) reviewed by the editor in 2020–this list will update automatically!

Guinevere is a deep red with subtle, neutral-to-warm undertones and a cream finish. It had a more noticeable sheen to it compared to other…

Guinevere is a deep red with subtle, neutral-to-warm undertones and a cream finish. It had a more noticeable sheen to it compared to other…

Flesh 3 is a medium-dark, reddish-brown with a satin finish. The lipstick had opaque color coverage that applied evenly and smoothly over…

Flesh 3 is a medium-dark, reddish-brown with a satin finish. The lipstick had opaque color coverage that applied evenly and smoothly over…

Fever Dream is a deep, slightly pink-leaning coral with a semi-matte finish. It was richly pigmented with opaque coverage achieved in a…

Fever Dream is a deep, slightly pink-leaning coral with a semi-matte finish. It was richly pigmented with opaque coverage achieved in a…

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Elson is a rich, medium-dark red with strong, cool undertones and a satin finish. It had nearly opaque color coverage in a single layer,…

Elson is a rich, medium-dark red with strong, cool undertones and a satin finish. It had nearly opaque color coverage in a single layer,…

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