If you love lipstick, you’ve been in this predicament before. You’re talking to an acquaintance, your boss, or that cute guy from 3E you’ve finally gotten the courage to speak to, but instead of providing your full attention to the conversation at hand, you can’t stop thinking, “When was the last time I reapplied my lipstick?” Because this should be the last thing on our minds at a holiday party (and especially as the ball starts to drop), I’ve tested out dozens of lipsticks to find five that need little to no reapplication—even with cocktails, h’oeuvres, and the occasional kiss.
Side note: This test was conducted along a timeline of several months. Please don’t think I consumed 30 glasses of wine in one sitting.
Lip Tar Matte
Texture: Applied with a small lip brush, this lipstick feels like you’re painting the lips. The initial liquid texture dries within minutes, so it stays in place. And although it’s matte, it doesn’t dry out the lips, but it doesn’t have that glossy feeling either. Lip Tar is not for the lipstick-phobes. As for the pigment, one light coat is all you need for a bold, bright lip.
Longevity: On a night when I knew I wouldn’t have a mirror handy, I grabbed the Lip Tar. And because the pigment is so bold, I painted on one coat before I left and didn’t even pack it in my purse as a backup. Drinks, foods, a few pecks hello—it never budged.
Grade: A. For color that lasts, grab a Lip Tar.
Texture: Although they pack a shine, MAC lipsticks have a matte feel when applied. And with such a strong pigment, drying does occur. I always start with a light lip balm or coat of vaseline before applying.
Longevity: It takes extreme effort to outlive a MAC lipstick. As my work staple, I apply a coat in the morning, wear it through two cups of coffee, a smoothie, lunch (no napkin, no smudging), and have to forcibly remove it when I return home. Out at a party—same thing. Wine, apps, and a kiss—or two—later, and the pigment is as rich as when I left the house. The most successful way to remove it? A hop in the shower. No makeup remover is strong enough for this baby.
Grade: A. After 12 hours the color still won’t budge. Just keep balm handy as the lips may dry out.
Holiday Pick: Russian Red ($15, maccosmetics.com). With such a strong pigment, a classic red is automatically maximized.
CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor
Texture: It’s so hydrating, you don’t even need to apply a balm prior. I like to call this my velvet lip. It has that silky shine finish that I always strive for but can never find. Well this, ladies, is the one. Packed with shea butter, an olive oil-based emollient, avocado oil and aloe, it has the ingredients of a lip moisturizer but the strong pigment to keep the color lasting all day and night.
Longevity: This formula lasted a full 12 hours. And the busy day that it was, I really put it to the test. With drinks, food and a few kisses (on the cheek hello, of course) I never reapplied. Although I will admit at the end of the night it was more a lip stain than a full pigmented lip. For bold color the entire time, reapply once or use your finger to just dab the product every few hours.
Grade: B. It lasts, but because it does needed to be reapplied to hold the bold color, we had to bump it from an A.
Holiday Pick: Passion ($5.99, covergirl.com). It’s a classic blue red with just a hint of fuchsia.
Dolce & Gabbana Monica Voluptuous Lipstick
Texture: For those who want a lip gloss-like finish without the stickiness, D&G’s Monica line is the one. Providing a thinner coat than bolder pigments, it allows you complete control of how much product you apply. For the office, I coat it lightly and amp it up for night with a few more coats.
Longevity: For a night out, it’s four coats for a bright shiny color. With a few glasses of wine, there was only a light smudge on the glass. After a few apps, the color went matte and I had to reapply for that glossy shine. All in all, color—whether matte or glossy—stayed on a full six hours.
Grade: C. The color lasts the night, but again, needs reapplication to keep the shine.
Holiday Pick: Only Monica ($33, dolcegabbana.com). A few shades lighter than a fuchsia, the pink is bright but understated.
Clé De Peau Beauté Extra Rich Lipstick in Satin
Texture: Inspired by “rose petals after a misty morning sunrise,” this is my favorite lipstick texture-wise. With most lipsticks, you sacrifice a soft balmy finish for pigment, which— we know from MAC—does dry the lips. I’ve heard countless women say they don’t wear lipstick because they constantly rub their lips together and hate that crunchy feeling. With the Clé De Peau, I rub my lips together all day (so soft), and don’t lose color in the process.
Longevity: With a smooth texture, you have to sacrifice the lips’ longevity. On a night out, a few cocktails didn’t have any effect. But after nibbling on some food, I needed to reapply. But because the texture is so smooth, I was able to apply on top—it’s really just adding another coat like you would a nail polish.
Grade: D. The less pigment, the more reapplication it needs. But with that satin-y texture, it’s still one of my go-tos.
Holiday Pick: Satin #103 ($40, cledepeau-beaute.com). A soft pink rose, this is the perfect option for a woman who is experimenting with lipstick. It offers just a dab of color.