We love a good drugstore find, but sometimes the stacked shelves can be overwhelming. To cut through the clutter, we reached out to top makeup artists for their picks—and suddenly the aisles just got a while lot smaller.
“I have three favorite lip products that I like to use on my clients, especially for these winter days. The weather and the cold wind make your lips very dry and chapped. e.l.f Professional Lip Exfoliator ($3) uses vitamin E, shea butter, jojoba oil, avocado and grape oils that gently exfoliate and remove dry skin from your lips, leaving them looking and feeling smoother. Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($5) is also a favorite. I love using this tinted lip balm to complement a natural makeup look. It comes in eight different shades and it is the perfect lip moisturizer. Lastly, my clients enjoy matte nude shades that are always soft and never dry—this Soft Matt Lip Cream by NYX ($7) is just that. All the products above are vegan and cruelty free; since I became a dog dad to a mini golden doodle named Miguel, it makes me feel good to use products from companies that don’t test on animals.”
—Ermahn Ospina, celebrity makeup artist
“For lip liner, the NYX Slim Lip Pencil ($4) has incredible shade ranges from nudes of all skin tones to all varieties of bold lip colors. For lipstick, I like the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick ($10). If you’re looking for a lip color to not move on you no matter what you eat and drink or how long you wear it, look no further. This removes easily with a makeup remover or some cleanser and water, otherwise they stay put until you want to take them off. The Maybelline Lifter Gloss With Hyaluronic Acid ($9) is the perfect dupe to your luxe lip gloss. They’re not sticky or tacky and help smooth and hydrate the lips.”
—Melissa Hurkman, international makeup artist
“I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm ($5) in Magnolia. It’s a sheer pop of red that honestly looks good on everyone, and is great for people who are scared of a bright lip color. It’s very easy to apply and very comfortable to wear. W3ll People Optimist Lipstick ($15) in New Mystic is a really well-balanced plum color—not too purple, not too brown—so it is really flattering across all skin tones. It has great wear time as well, which is a nice bonus. NYX Suede Matte Lipstick ($8) in Fuschia is surprisingly versatile. It’s not drying on the lips and gives a really playful pop of color. NYX is my go-to brand for experimenting with colors I wouldn’t otherwise invest in and this color was a very happy discovery.”
—Jenny Patinkin, makeup artist and brand founder
“I’m a huge fan of lip products that do double duty, and the key to beautiful lips, especially in wintertime, is hydration. One of my favorite products is Catrice’s Clean ID Lip Oil ($8). This product can be worn as-is or just as hydration, especially in the colder months. It can also be used as a clear lip gloss. One of my favorite tricks is just using this hydrating oil as-is. So many times I’m asked which lip color I used, but it’s the natural lip color with just this lip oil on top! Another favorite from Catrice Cosmetics is their Powerfull 5 Lip Care ($6). It comes in four shades and feels so light and balmy. If you’re looking for a hydrating balm that has color, this is your balm. Plus, the hyaluronic acid plumps up the lips, and its formula is not sticky or tacky. I’ve used this on the cheeks as well—definitely a double-duty product!
If you’re looking for a very pigmented and crazy long-lasting lip color, Maybelline Matte Ink City Liquid Lipstick ($8) is it. I’m amazed at the longevity of this product—it is literally on until it’s removed, and one swipe delivers ultra-pigmentation. I’m also a big fan of the color selection.”
—Robert Sesnek, celebrity makeup artist
“I am obsessed with drugstore lipsticks. I often spend too much time searching the shelves for great unexpected finds! Recently, I found the most amazing lipstick at Walmart! It’s called Lipstick Queen. They have several shades but I wear the shade called Highway 66 ($6.50). My lips get very dry and this shade-shifting lip color acts more like a stain! It’s a cactus-green lipstick that transforms into a hue that best compliments your skin tone. It’s enriched with shea butter and other nourishing ingredients that keeps my lips well- hydrated while staying put under my mask. You can also layer any liquid lipstick on top for more pop if needed. I love Rimmel’s Stay Matte Liquid Lip Colour ($5) in shade 110 Blush paired with a beautiful warm brown liner like NYX Suede Matte Lip Liner ($4). It makes the perfect nude go-to shade for any occasion.”
—Yolanda Fredrick, celebrity makeup artist
“I really like the e.l.f. range at the drugstore, its products are super affordable and all vegan and cruelty-free! I love its Sheer Slick Lipstick ($4) for days when I want a little natural kiss of color, but not too much. When I want a full-coverage cream lipstick, I find myself reaching for the Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick ($9). It’s a comfortable formula, but doesn’t slide around everywhere and they have some beautiful shades available. I also like the Peripera Ink Airy Velvet Lip Tint ($9). It’s very pigmented and lasts all day without feeling dry, and the packaging is adorable! I’ve used it as a blush in a pinch too.
—Monika Blunder, celebrity makeup artist
“I would love to say I use drugstore lip products but the truth is that I don’t. I use MAC Cosmetics and other high-end brands. But, if I were to use a drugstore brand, it would be Revlon. They have such great shades. I sometimes just buy them because of the colors!”
—Sandy Linter, makeup artist