Which lipstick formula is best for you?

Which lipstick formula is best for you?

Discovering your perfect lipstick is like finding your soulmate. Once you find one that complements you in all the right ways, there’s no turning back. With so many different types of lip formulas and finishes, looking for ‘the one’ has never been so complicated. We’re spoilt for choice, which is great in theory, until we’re looking to settle down. Then we have to decide if we prefer matte or satin, liquid or shine…

To help you find your happily ever after, here’s our guide on how to choose the best lipstick formula for you.

RELATED: The best ‘my lips but better’ lipsticks


Liquid lipstick is the cool, new kid on the block. It comes in every colour under the sun and just about every price range. If you want a statement lip in a long-lasting formula, liquid lipstick is your guy. Trust me, once you’ve applied it, it’s going nowhere. It’s also highly pigmented so always use a light hand to apply. Alphie Sadsad, Pro Artist for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics says, “Liquid lipstick often has great colour intensity and staying power, but most formulas are matte and can feel drying.” So if you’re particularly prone to dryness, I’d look elsewhere.

bh loves: ModelCo LIQUID LIPSTICK, Lush Liquid Lipstick, Nutrimetics nc Vivid Liquid Lipstick, MODELROCK Cosmetics Liquid Last: Liquid to Matte Lipstick


Matte lipstick is iconic. There’s something so glamourous about swiping a matte lippie in a bold shade across your lips before heading out the door. If you’re looking to add a sophisticated finish to your makeup, a matte lip is the way to go. As with liquid lipsticks, matte formulas can be drying. If you have dry lips but still want to wear a matte, prepare accordingly. “Make sure your lips are ready by pampering them with lip balm and then using a toothbrush or washcloth to gently exfoliate any dry skin before you apply your lipstick,” explains Alphie. When you’re ready to apply your lipstick, prep lips with a collagen-boosting lip balm, fill your lips in with a liner in your desired shade and top with a matte lipstick.

bh loves: ulta3 Matte Lipstick, Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color, Chi Chi Viva La Diva Lipsticks, L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Moisture Matte Lipstick


“[A] satin finish is somewhere between a matte and a cream,” describes Alphie. “It’s not as glossy as a cream finish, but not as flat as a matte finish.” Satin lipsticks still give you a decent colour payoff, without being as drying as a matte or liquid formula. The finish is slightly glossy and will give lips a soft, smooth appearance. Although a satin formula isn’t long-wearing, it’s very flattering on the lips and almost foolproof to apply. If you have thin lips, you’ll find that a satin formula gives you the polished finish of a lipstick without drawing attention to the size of your lips. “To make lips appear fuller, dab a little gloss on the Cupid’s bow for a rich pout,” suggests Alphie.

bh loves: Clinique High Impact™ Lip Colour SPF 15, Innoxa Satin Sheen Lipstick, Estée Lauder Pure Colour Long Lasting Lipstick, NYX Butter Lipstick


A stain is great for anyone looking for a touch of colour that stays put all day. A stain isn’t as pigmented as a liquid lipstick, so you can achieve a more natural result. That being said, they are very buildable so you can simply apply more on top if you’re after more colour. If you have dry lips and want a long-lasting colour, a stain is better than a matte or liquid lipstick. Unlike other lip formulas, stains can be applied over a lip balm or gloss and will still leave your lips with a sheer tint. Although some stains contain alcohol which can be drying, you can always apply lip balm on top to hydrate your lips throughout the day. Stains are also highly versatile and “often multitask as a lip and cheek product,” adds Alphie.

bh loves: e.l.f. cosmetics Essential Lip Stain, The Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain, Revlon ColorBurst™ Balm Stain, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Pure Color Lipstick


A lipstick with a shine finish is like lip gloss for grown-ups. It’s low maintenance, low commitment and moisturising, making it perfect for beginners. The formulas often come in shades that are similar to your natural lip colour, so they’re a great everyday choice. These lipsticks are light-reflecting, making them amazing at creating the illusion of a fuller pout. “[Try] following your natural lip line with a lip pencil in the same shade, or a shade lighter than your lipstick,” suggests Alphie. Fill in your lips with a shine lipstick formula for luscious lips with a subtle sheen.

bh loves: Rimmel London Moisture Renew Sheer & Shine Lipstick, M.A.C Mineralize Rich Lipstick, Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color, essence sheer & shine lipstick

RELATED: 10 of the best matte lipsticks by shade

What’s your favorite lipstick? Were you using the right lip formula for you?

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