November 24th 2021
32 best lipsticks of all time, according to makeup artists and beauty editors
July 19th 2021 / 0 comment
These are the shades our experts love the most, from matte to satin, liquid to bullet
Even though more of us are isolating than ever right now, it seems our love for lipstick is growing stronger. In fact, the 'lipstick index' (the idea coined by beauty legend Leonard Lauder, that in tough times lipstick-as-treat sales spike) is more true than ever in the current 'pingdemic'.
Boots has reported a 731 per cent increase in online searches for lipsticks, compared to this time last year. “We're expecting to see a lipstick and lip gloss boom," said No7's global trend lead Grace Vernon. "Women are relishing the fact that they can finally coat their lips without worrying it has smudged all over their face and onto the lining of their mask. Bold, vibrant, statement glosses are trending along with neutral, pared-back shades of lipsticks."
To get you in the mood for slicking on a pop of red of a burst or berry pink, we asked top makeup artists and beauty editors for their favourite lipsticks - and of course, our own GTG team picks. In order of price from budget to blowout here they are...
Image: Mike Blackett
Loved by: Beauty edior and author Ingeborg Van Lotringen
Created way back in 1952, this is infused with silk and vitamins and has a smooth application and comfortable wear. "It's is a glossy cream, a finish which I find far more flattering than matte textures," says Inge. "The red shade somehow has both pink and orange undertones which makes it universally flattering. The colour really pops on every skin tone and lights up your face."
Loved by: Madeleine Spencer, makeup artist, podcaster and GTG contributor
Vitamin E and antioxidants help this nude shade glide on. "This is my go-to for a perfect nude lip with a hint of pink in it," says Madeleine. "It's my ‘I’m not wearing lipstick’ lipstick, leaving my lips pillowy and enhanced but without stealing the show from my eyeshadow, which is usually where I like to add a bit of drama."
Loved by: Nathalie Eleni, makeup artist
For a matte that's still nourishing, try this lipstick from Italian brand Skin Labo. It's enriched with hyaluronic acid for hydration and plumps the lips too., you can feel the zing on application. "I feel I’ve finally found the perfect nude, not just for myself but for my kit as it seems to work wonderfully with all skin tones," Nathalie says.
Loved by: Danielle Roberts, makeup artist.
This cream matte lipstick has a comfortable mousse texture that lasts and lasts. “My favourite lipstick right now is this stunning hot pink with a subtle blue sparkle. I set it down with a translucent powder so I can wear it under my mask without it budging.”
Loved by: Jemma Thompson, GTG design and social media manager
A lipstick/balm hybrid with four weights of hyaluronic acid for a quenching moisture hit. There are nine vegan shades and the packaging is 50 per cent recycled plastic .“Although it was only released in June 2021, Ultralip has earned a permanent spot in my makeup bag, ” says Jemma. “It’s been dubbed ‘the (cashmere) sweatpants of lipstick’ because its buttery formula feels incredibly comfortable and nourishing to wear. The best part is that it has buildable colour to suit my moods, so I can wear it as a lip tint or layer it for a bold lip moment.”
Loved by: Louise Pentland, author, podcaster and lipstick fanatic
This combines the best qualities of lipstick (intense colour pay off) and lip balm (nourishing and softening), with a glossy finish. “There's nothing I enjoy more than a little mooch around the beauty halls, asking the assistant for the brightest pink they have," says Louise. "It's the brightest pink and is lovely."
Loved by: Joy Adenuga, makeup artist
This velvet finish lipstick gives a soft matte look with a veil of flattering colour. “I was introduced to this during the 2021 BAFTAS," Joy tells us. "It's a barely-there nude shade and has become a kit staple because of its soft matte effect and how it works amazingly well across all skin tones.”
Loved by: Jessica Noah Morgan, deputy editor, The Face magazine and mental health advocate
Favourite of US politician AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) this creamy matte lipstick makes a real statement. “It doesn’t at all budge through breakfast, lunch and dinner," says Jessica. "It’s completely untransferable and the shade suits all skin tones. In the winter when I look greyer, the lipstick elevates my skin tone. In summer, when I have a more bronzed look, the lipstick complements my tan! If I’m feeling nervous this lipstick will fill me with confidence."
MAC Fleshpot Lipstick, £17.50
Loved by: Claudia Winkleman, broadcaster
Everyone knows MAC's iconic bullets on sight. Claudia's pick has a satin finish that feels silky on the lips and is buildable for a more impactful look. "If I was out drinking margaritas with the girls and lost my phone, I’d cope, if I left my credit card at home, it wouldn’t be ideal, if I left my keys in the kitchen, I wouldn’t be over the moon but if I didn’t have my lipstick I’d feel bereft, small, lost," Claudia told us earlier this year. "This is the only lipstick for me. It was, quite simply love at first sight. When I first tried it on I just knew."
MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick, £17.50
Loved by: Keshia East, makeup artist
We don't know any makeup lover who hasn't had this iconic matte red lipstick in their stash at one point. "This is a total classic," says Keshia. "I tend to wear lipgloss every day, so when choosing a lipstick I like to go hard or to home! Ruby Woo is the perfect red for me – it’s a blue pigmented red so suits my skin tone perfectly."
Loved by: Hannah Martin, makeup artist
A non-sticky hybrid between a gloss and a lipstick, this gives a shiny yet natural finish. "It's so intensely moisturising, your lips feel beautifully nourished and it's a beautiful tinted shade that is less intense than a lipstick," says Hannah. "It has more of a lip balm feel with a glossy finish so your lips feel conditioned and look full and plump. It's also got a slight vanilla scent which I find most pleasing."
Loved by: Ashley Dayes, makeup artist
This creamy lipstick is made from just 19 ingredients – the average lipstick is made from 40 per cent more than this! It's vegan too and contains a bundle of vitamins and minerals to deliver its hydrating powers. "My current feel-good shade is this bright orange-red," says Ashley. "Being a new mum I don’t have much time to spend on makeup but a swipe of this shade instantly takes any makeup look up a notch. It's the ultimate mood-boosting shade for summer.”
Loved by: Melanie Macleod, GTG digital writer
More balm than lipstick, this slides onto the lips leaving a wash of moisture and sheer pink colour in its wake. "This smells like the most subtle of vanilla pods, is enriched with cherry oil for moisture and gives a sheer pink wash of colour that I can't stop applying," says Melanie. "It lives in a case that is too pretty to be hidden in my handbag and the shade looks different on everyone for a bespoke hue that suits whoever is wearing. I'm smitten with it."
Loved by: Francesca Abrahamovitch, makeup artist
Holly Willoughby and Laura Whitemore both love Highr's vegan lipsticks. This one is a suits-all satin nude beige with the subtlest hint of shine. "My kit go-to is this universally flattering nude shade that looks great on all my clients," says Francesca. "The best part is, it’s clean and carbon neutral with a clever hidden built-in mirror for easy touch-ups on the go."
Loved by: Bryony Blake, makeup artist
This comfortable and conditioning satin lipstick boosts moisture levels and has the strongest colour payoff of any of the Bobbi Brown lipsticks. “I first discovered this when I worked on a Bobbi Brown counter when I first came out of uni and I used to change my lipstick every hour," says Bryony. "I had never worn a bright lipstick before but after experimenting with different shades I fell in love with a bold lip and Flame was always a firm favourite. It made me feel fabulous and it’s been my go-to ever since”.
Loved by: Patsy O'Neil, makeup artist.
This soft cream lipstick delivers a powerful punch of colour, with a silky matte effect. "It's the best orangey-red shade ever. It never dries out, stays put and is a lovely consistency," says Patsy.
Loved by: Ateh Jewel, journalist, GTG contributor and diversity advocate
This matte ruby red shade is iconic among Charlotte Tilbury fans. "I found this a game-changer during lockdown," Ateh told us. "It signified a total shift in me, turning up the volume of who I am."
Loved by: Marie-Louise Pumfrey, fashion PR and GTG contributor
Moisture leads the way with this smoothing, hydrating lipstick. "This is the perfect everyday lipstick with a sheer, natural finish," say Marie-Louise. "It plumps and protects; formulated with neuropeptides, hyaluronic acid, and SPF15. Win, win and a permanent fixture in my handbag, now life is back on the move."
Image: Matt Lever
Loved by: Rosie Green, columnist and author
This wet-look balm launched in 2021 and was an instant hit with Tilbury fans for its smooth application. "I’ve never met a lip balm I didn’t like but this is next level," Rosie says. "It adds colour, definition and a shot of moisture.'
Image: Colin Dack
Loved by: Hattie Sloggett, GTG contributor
Vegan red lipstick isn't easy to find but Bite Beauty, on a mission to make clean beauty less 'beige' has just landed in the UK with 20 vegan shades. Says Hattie: "Their creamy, velvety matte lipsticks are amazing, packed with cocoa butter and 100 per cent vegan they are nourishing for my lips and for the planet. Chai is my go-to for day or night, because of its warm yet spicy shade it gives me all the sultry summer vibes of my favourite islands - just what I need to perk me up, while travel is off the table."
Loved by: Lisa Caldognetto, makeup artist
Created by MUA Lisa Eldridge this is a highly pigmented, creamy matte with a subtle sheen. "This looks like velvet and feels like pure luxury," says Lisa. "It delivers a remarkable pigment and your lips mimic a rose petal texture. When you put this lipstick on, you feel like you can do anything as you feel powerful and beautiful!"
Loved by: Pauline Briscoe, makeup artist
Code8 blended a collection of moisturising waxes to create this moisturising lip shade, designed to suit every skintone. "This is a vibrant cerise, popping pink shade which really suits me. I didn’t think it would suit my dark skin tone; normally I stay away from really bright colours but this pink is amazing and ultra-pigmented," says Pauline. "Also pink is my favourite colour so it’s an absolute winner for me!”
Loved by: Nicola Bonn, beauty podcaster
Your search for a comfortable lipstick ends here, with this easy-to-wear, non-drying formula. "The minute I put the bright red silky formula on my lips I was struck by how much brighter and luminous my skin looked, how my teeth sparkled and I felt a million dollars," says Nicola. "It feels soft and light even as it dries down matte."
Loved by: Mira Parmar, makeup artist
"I love a red lipstick but finding that perfect shade for you takes time and effort... however this red is universal, easy to use, stays put even on the longest days and does not feel drying on the lips! It really is a game changer on the lip front and goes well with or without a mask!"
Loved by: Emma White Turle, makeup artist
Despite being matte, this has a second-skin feel when you're wearing it; ultra-soft and not at all during. “This is my absolute favourite red lipstick," Emma told us. "It’s the perfect matte red lipstick that is also luminous and easy to wear all day. To use it generally cheers me up and makes me feel empowered."
Image: Jin-Woo Prensena
Loved by: Monika Blunder, makeup artist and founder of Monika Blunder Beauty
This matte finish lipstick is enriched with nourishing flower extracts. "This is my all-time favourite Lipstick. It’s such a classic red that fits any kind of skin tone and is super versatile. I have had this shade in my makeup kit for years and I also use it on myself. I love the texture and the finish, I think when you choose a red, it should look modern and sophisticated, so a matte finish is key."
Loved by: Ruby Hammer MBE, makeup artist
This gel tint is enriched with squalane for ultra-nourishing wear. "I simply love the fuss-free texture of this lightweight nourishing and smoothing hybrid tint," says Ruby. "I can be sure I look polished without looking over the top every time."
Loved by: Victoria Woodhall, editorial director
For a satin finish and long wear, you can't go wrong with this sumptuous, easy to apply lipstick. "Hourglass was one of the first brands to make a refillable lipstick and when I spied it in Mary Greenwell’s Chanel handbag (it was the only item of makeup in there) I had to find my own shade," says Victoria. "I'm Looking is the perfect pink nude, the texture is creamy, the colour doesn’t budge and the holder is slim and sophisticated. Mary’s Shade was You Are My, a warm-toned light plum, but it was limited edition. Try If I Could for a true plum tone."
Image: Liz MaCauley
Loved by: Jane Druker, beauty editor and GTG contributor
This is a richly pigmented pale matte lipstick that makes your eyes pop."It's the perfect pop of matte lipstick that lifts your look effortlessly so that when you take your face covering off you look pretty and radiant," says Jane. "It seems to bring out the gold in my eye colour and sets off my blush too."
Image: Jem Mitchell
Loved by: Wendy Rowe, makeup artist
For hydration, pigment and a posh pout, this slim lipstick wins Wendy's heart. "The Victoria Beckham Posh Lipstick in Girl is something I never leave home without. This is so natural for the day, just gives you the right hit of hydration and hint of colour you need and then at night it the best lip colour for a smokey eye. Sexy. Win, Win," says Wendy.
Loved by: Justine Jenkins, makeup artist
This is a plastic-free satin lipstick with skincare benefits, with organic oils, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. "As a lifelong red lipstick lover and a sustainable beauty expert, this is my perfect lipstick. It's a gorgeous wearable red, in a plastic-free bullet that you can pop into your recycling bin. Guilt-free and genius!”
Loved by: Ophelia Froud, GTG contributor
These four plumping lip shades can be combined to create a bespoke shade just for you. “My hands-down favourite lipstick is the oh so clever vegan lip suede palette in Les Rouges by Westman Atelier," says Ophelia. "The shiny red pebble palette contains genius rows of fuchsia, brick, tomato red and dusty rose shades free from nasties, packed with antioxidants and collagen-boosting peptides.”