If you’re fond of makeup—maybe you even love makeup—then there’s no need for me to tell you how difficult it is to emerge from a drugstore with nothing in hand but the stuff you went there to buy. I can’t imagine anything more painful than having to talk yourself out of a new $7 mascara on the sensible grounds that you don’t really need it, except maybe childbirth.
Simply put, there’s nothing like a good steal. (Not a literal steal, of course… but if you must go that route, just don’t get caught.) And as any budget-friendly beauty doyenne already knows, the best drugstore lipsticks are no less worthwhile than their $40 counterparts. That’s a fact. So with that said, 7 of our STYLECASTER editors revealed their picks for the cream of the under-$10 crop. The bad news is you’ll want to snag them all immediately; the good news is that theoretically, you can.
"Lip Kit who? I’ve been kind of freaking out about the new Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid ($7.99), with good reason—they go on like a gloss but stay on like a stain. Plus, they're noticeably hydrating and come in 10 high-impact colors including fuchsia, matte nude, orange-red (my fave), violet, and electric pink." (Perrie Samotin, editorial director)
"I love, love this ColourPop Matte Lippie Stix in Contempo ($5)—it’s a really pretty dusty rose color, and at that price, I wasn’t put off by having to order online without seeing it in person. The liquid ones tend to be pretty drying, but I didn’t have that problem with the stick at all; plus, it’s easier to apply." (Hilary George-Parkin, fashion editor)
"I don’t often wear grown-up lipstick—even the nicest brands tend not to work that well on my chronically dry lips (possibly a result of being addicted to lip balm for over a decade now?). It’s not technically lipstick, but Maybelline Baby Lips Electro Lip Balm ($3.99) delivers a ton of color along with a lot of moisture. I regularly stock up on Pink Shock and Strike a Rose. (Hannah Hickok, lifestyle editor)
"Tinted balms have never really spoken to me; in fact, I've always been a little vexed by them, like we're speaking a different language—I use lip balm when my lips are dry, and when your lips are dry the last thing you need is any kind of color to accentuate it, no? Anyway. All initial apprehensions aside, CoverGirl Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Lip Balm ($8.99) is seriously solid in a way I could never have anticipated when it was sitting on my desk and I was like, Oh hey, my lips are chapped, let's put this on. Is it moisturizing? Yes! Is it tinted? Also yes, but all ten shades provide a very subtle wash of color that does not make a disaster out of what's already a desert (your mouth). The product description invites you to 'compare to a $20 lip balm.' So I did, and this one came out on top." (Rachel Krause, beauty editor)
"My favorite is NYX Matte Lipstick in Whipped Caviar ($4.49). It's the perfect mauve shade and looks exactly like MAC's popular (and almost three times as expensive) Brave lipstick." (Candace Napier, designer)
"I am obsessed with Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm in Cherry Me ($2.84). It feels like the grown-up version of Lip Smackers in that it has a slightly cherry flavor, but that’s where the similarities end—it legit gives you an immediate and kind of mysterious lip-plump. My friend introduced it to me earlier this year, and it’s been on heavy daytime rotation of late. It’s so good! And so cheap!" (Bibi Deitz, entertainment writer)
"I’ve become a bit of a liquid lipstick fanatic as of late, and NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick ($5.24) is one of my favorites. It goes on ultra smooth, has a great matte finish, and lasts for hours, and since it comes in shades ranging from subtle (nude) to bold (hot pink), I may or may not own four and counting." (Leah Faye Cooper, editorial producer)