The best lipstick shades in matte, sheer and everything in between

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Because nobody ever had too many lipsticks

When it comes to beauty, few things are as iconic as a tube of the best lipstick.

You only have to look to the history books to see just how important it is in helping us feel like we can conquer anything – over 100 years ago, Elizabeth Arden created a shade of red lipstick for the Suffragettes to wear as a symbol of power and female strength. Suffice to say, the best lipstick can be a game-changer.

Even the celebrities have their go-to shades and finishes; soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle favours a Charlotte Tilbury matte lipstick inspired by one of the Spice Girls.

Whether you’re after a new dark berry matte or fresh tube of satiny red, keep scrolling for our handpicked guide to the best lipstick buys.

Best matte lipstick

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution, £24, John Lewis

best lipstick Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution

Ask any Charlotte Tilbury counter rep and they’ll tell you that Very Victoria (pictured) sales have skyrocketed recently, following the revelation that the pinkish brown nude is Meghan Markle’s go-to lipstick. And we can see why she loves it – with uber rich colour and a non-drying finish that stays put for hours, Matte Revolution comes in a square shape to mimick a lip brush and make for easier application. The colour intensity and staying power are 10/10, plus the copper packaging is so Instagrammable…

Other great buys for matte are MAC, Tom Ford and Bobbi Brown, but if you’re on a budget, opt for Maybelline’s Colour Sensational mattes, which have a great colour finish that’s not too drying.

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Best liquid lipstick

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, £16, Fabled

Stila’s Slay All Day lipsticks live up to the name, providing long-wear colour in a matte finish that doesn’t transfer easily – it’s no wonder that they’re subject to rave reviews from beauty editors and bloggers alike. The range comprises of mostly nude and dark shades, with a few fun brights thrown in for good measure.

Always apply a little balm as a base beforehand, as matte formulas tend to be more drying than your classic lipstick, and for a shinier finish mix a little gloss or balm over the top.

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Best long lasting lipstick

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment, £23, Fabled

best lipstick

With the boldest colours and the best staying power we’ve seen in a long while, NARS’ Powermattes are giving the Audacious lipsticks a run for their money. Super fluid when they go on and soft matte in their finish, they come in 18 different shades and just. Don’t. Budge. You can sip coffee or cocktails safe in the knowledge that this isn’t going to come off, at least not until you tackle it with several soaked cotton pads.

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Best red lipstick

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored, £19, Harvey Nichols

best lipstick Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint

While MAC’s (rightfully iconic Ruby Woo) is a great red, there are other great options out there – and let’s face it, every lipstick lover already owns a Ruby Woo. Chanel and Dior are unequivocally excellent, but it was Rihanna who climbed straight to the top of the red lipstick ladder when she released a truly universal red, Fenty’s Stunna Lip Paint. We’re yet to find someone who can’t pull it off.

Not sure which shades of red to look for elsewhere? As a general rule of thumb, warmer-toned skin tones suit orange reds better, while cooler skin tones should lean towards blue reds (think cooler and darker looking in hue).

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Best matte liquid lipstick

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick, £18, Selfridges

best lipstick Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick

Internet-breaking beauty blogger Huda Kattan launched her eponymous line in 2013 and has since rolled out dozens of make-up products with a finish that’s ideal for photos (we dubbed her most recent launch one of the best foundations for pale skin. The liquid lipsticks are insanely pigmented and last all day without that dry, chalky feeling we all hate. Once you’ve collected them all, try the lip strobes for holographic or glitter lip looks for night time.

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Lip primer

Too Faced Lip Insurance, £14.50, ASOS

best lipstick lip primer

If you’re the kind of person who can’t keep their best lipstick on for more than a couple of hours, the (not so secret) secret to making it last the day is by using the best lip primer. They’ll smooth over the surface of your lips and, lock down the colour and stop your lipstick from feathering. Too Faced’s has a semi-matte finish that grips your colour for hours – plus, it’s cruelty free and vegan.

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Read on for more of the best lipstick shades that beauty afficionados shouldn’t be without.

Time to treat yourself to a new one (or two or three), we say.

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