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

Because nobody ever said 'I have too many lipsticks' and meant it

best lipstick
(Image credit: IMaxTree)

Because nobody ever said 'I have too many lipsticks' and meant it

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

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, wearing your favourite shade can be a very empowering shade.

Even the celebrities have their go-to shades and finishes. The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle favours a Charlotte Tilbury matte lipstick inspired by one of the Spice Girls, for example.

So whether you're after a new dark berry matte or fresh tube of satiny red, keep scrolling for our pick of the best lipstick buys.

Best matte lipstick

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution, John Lewis

best lipstick Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution

Ask any Charlotte Tilbury counter rep and they'll tell you that Very Victoria (pictured) sales skyrocked when people got wind that the pinkish brown nude is reportedly Meghan Markle's go-to lipstick. And we can see why she loves it – rich colour and a non-drying finish that stays put, Matte Revolution comes in a square shape to mimick a lip brush and make for easier application.

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

Buy now

Best liquid lipstick

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, 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.

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

Buy now

Best long lasting lipstick

NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment, Fabled

best red lipstick NARS

With the boldest colours and some of 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 25 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 some industrial strength make-up remover.

Buy now

Best red lipstick

Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored, Harvey Nichols

best lipstick Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint

MAC's iconic Ruby Woo is an excellent red, and probably one of the most (if not the most) famous. Big names like Chanel and Dior are 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. But really, the beauty of make-up is that you can (and should!) wear whatever you love.

Buy now

Best matte liquid lipstick

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick, Selfridges

best lipstick Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Lipstick

Internet sensation and businesswoman 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 the camera. The liquid lipsticks are intensely 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.

Buy now

Read on for more of the best lipstick shades that a collection shouldn't be without. Time to treat yourself to a new one (or two... or three).

Lucy Abbersteen
Beauty Contributor

Lucy is a freelance beauty editor and contributor at Marie Claire, and has written for titles including Glamour, Refinery29, Popsugar, woman&home and more. She was previously Marie Claire’s junior beauty editor. During her career, she’s covered everything from backstage beauty at fashion week to interviews with famous faces like Drag Race royalty and Little Mix. As for her beauty ethos, she’s a big advocate for not having to spend a fortune on beauty products to get good results, and when she’s not got beauty on the brain you’ll find her reading or hanging out with dogs.