The Best Lightweight Lipsticks, According to Someone Who's Tried Them All

I've written before about the importance of having a makeup routine tailored to your personal preferences and interests, and about having a makeup collection that excites you, even if that means owning few or no items of a certain product category. For me, the makeup product category that I prioritize the least is lip products. I’m so drawn to complexion products that will make my face look flawless and glowy — and don’t get me started on eyeshadow palettes with textured shimmers and elevated neutrals. But I have to admit, lip products rarely catch my attention, and I’ll usually only throw on a lip balm with almost any makeup look I create. 

I just don’t love the feel of lip products on my lips. My lips are pretty dry and textured, so a thick lipstick or a goopy gloss can just be so uncomfortable and not worth the aesthetic. I also don’t feel like myself in a bold, colorful lip.

Despite not being drawn to lip products, I have to say that even a subtle lip color can really tie a makeup look together, especially if you’re going full-glam for an event. So, I’ve curated my lip product collection to focus on thin textures, lipstick-lip-balm hybrids, and brown or mauve nude tones for an understated option. 

  1. 1. Glossier Generation G Sheer Matte Lipstick

    Glossier, $18; shop now

    Glossier is a very hyped-up brand as a whole, but dare I say that this lip product is actually underrated? I know that Gen G isn’t everyone’s favorite lip formula because it doesn’t give that juicy, hydrated look that’s typical of Glossier, and it doesn’t add any additional moisture to the lips. To be honest, I personally don’t mind because I don’t love the feeling of a thick lip product.

    This lip smudge is lightweight and feels like virtually nothing on the lips. It’s a bit stiff and waxy upon application, but if you apply a lip balm first, the product will glide on smoothly, and you can still feel that moisture underneath. This formula is really sheer, but not too patchy, and it can be easily built up. I wear the shade “Leo,” a brick-brown with '90s vibes. 

  2. 2. Colourpop Just a Tint

    Colourpop, $8; shop now

    Much like the name suggests, this lip pick is the most similar to a tinted lip balm. But unlike the name suggests, this product is actually pretty pigmented.

    Super comfortable on the lips, this lip crayon reminds me of 2010s makeup, and I’m not sure why this lip product format ever went out of style? This formula is super easy to throw on, whether you have on a full face of makeup or not. I love the shade “Z Boys” — it’s a warm nude, similar to Glossier’s “Leo,” but a bit lighter and much peachier. 

  3. 3. Colourpop Matte Lippie Stix

    Colourpop, $7; shop now

    Colourpop’s Lippie Stix were an OG favorite, and there are so many formulas and colors. I’ve tried the X-matte formula and the matte formula, and I personally prefer the matte formula because it doesn’t feather outside of your lip shape. The finish is more of a satin-matte than a true matte. It almost looks like a regular satin lipstick on the lips, but the formula is lightweight and doesn’t feel heavy.

    For something that claims to be matte, this formula isn’t drying at all, which is a plus. I love the shade “Parker” — it’s a nude leaning pink, “my lips but better” shade that I can just throw on, and it’ll match whatever other face and eye makeup I have on. 

  4. 4. Fenty Beauty Slip Shine Sheer Shiny Lipstick 

    Fenty, sephora.com, $22; shop now

    This product is the most similar to a lip gloss, both in texture and in finish. It’s super shiny and glossy, but it’s not sticky at all. The pigment is quite sheer, and the finish is shiny and reflective, so if you’re struggling to pick your ideal color, know that they’re really forgiving.

    I own the shade “Glazed,” which is a light pinky-nude. This product is pretty new to my collection, but I already know that it will be a staple. 

Bonus: What's On My Wish List

All of the following items are on my wish list for the same reason, and because they have similar claims to all of my current favorite lip products. They’re sheer, shiny lip products that are marketed as providing a soft, comfortable finish with a little more ~oomph~ than a tinted lip balm. If you’re looking for some more low-maintenance lip product recommendations, here are the ones I’m eyeing, but can’t personally vouch for: 

Even though lip products just don’t excite me the way that other makeup items do, there are so many different formulas and textures on the market to suit my desired feel and finish. No matter your preference, you're bound to find a lip formula that you feel confident in to complete your look. 

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