Lip color is one of the easiest and most versatile parts of your makeup routine, supplying that finishing touch when you need a pop of color or glossy sheen. Unfortunately, your perfect pout can also be frustratingly fleeting as the color wears off in a matter of hours—or even minutes. If you find yourself checking the mirror every 30 minutes for a touch-up, it may be time to ditch your trusty tube in favor of a new, long-wear product. Every one of these 15 under $15 lip products come recommended by college women and beauty professionals, so you can finally put down the mirror and rest assured that your lips look as flawless as they did hours before.
Sonia Kashuk Lustrous Shine Lip Crayon, $8.99
Sonia Kashuk, beauty expert and founder of Sonia Kashuk Cosmetics, which are sold exclusively at Target, gave us the inside scoop on lip color and how to make it last. She’s not a big proponent of products that are advertised as “long-wear” since they tend to dry out the lips. Instead, she suggests finding a product with a comfortable, smooth texture that can be layered or incorporated with other products for long lasting definition. “Lip crayons create a matte coating of color and then you can add gloss if desired,” she says. “This allows you to control the texture.” Her other pro tip? Always use a lip pencil to get the most out of your lipstick and try using your regular foundation to trace the outline of the lips or even coat the surface for a smooth base.
Sonia Kashuk Lip Definer, $5.79
Sonia’s lip definer is a must-have! She encourages using a lip pencil with every color, whether you want to use a nude shade to complement a pale pink lipstick or a deep red to prevent your favorite burgundy from bleeding. “You can apply a whole layer of pencil for a matte base,” suggests Sonia. “Lip pencils can really perfect lips and nude or natural pencils help fill out the lips even more.” Sonia also notes that matte lip colors will always last longer than glossier textures, so using a matte pencil as a base will ensure that any of your favorite lip products stay in place.
Clinique Pop Lip Color + Primer, $8.50
This multi-action lip product combines the smoothing, hydrating effect of a primer with the long-wear color of a lip stain. HC Notre Dame contributor, Abby, recommends this new product after receiving it in a Clinique Bonus pack, one of the perks of buying the brand’s products in store at places like Nordstrom or Macy’s. “It doesn’t dry out your lips but isn’t glossy or sticky either,” says Abby. “The primer is just part of the lipstick so there aren’t two steps!” While a full size tube of Clinique Pop will cost $18, you can buy minis for only $8.50, allowing you to stash a few different colors in your bag for an instant makeover.
ColourPop Cosmetics Ultra Matte Lip, $6
ColourPop lip products are one of the highest rated when it comes to affordable color. While there are many products to choose from, the Ultra Matte Liquid Lipsticks are a favorite among our college women for their lightweight feel and rich color. HC Howard contributor Darsheene recommends “Limbo,” a versatile shade of brown or “Be Dazzled,” a vibrant purple. “They can be hard to get off,” Darsheene says of their staying power, “but a little Vaseline works perfectly to take the color off without hurting your lips.” The best part about this product is the bargain price. At only $6 a tube, you can afford a rainbow of colors.
Maybelline Super Stay 24 Lip Color, $10.49
Makeup artist Sarah Mohamed recommends this dual-purpose product for any occasion. “It comes with two products in one, dual-ended, providing a lip stain and a gloss to finish,” she says. “If you happen to have a few extra seconds in your routine to exfoliate your lips before applying the stain portion (I try to each time before special events!) I guarantee through champagne and dinner this product will stay put!”
Each tube of Maybelline Super Stay will only cost around $10 and since you’re basically getting two products for the price of one, it’s definitely a bargain. Stock up on a variety of the shimmery shades to add a little glamour to any look.
Revlon Color Stay Just Bitten Balm Stain, $9.49
This chubby stick lip color is the perfect blend of a smoothing lip balm and colorful stain. Where other liquid stains can be runny and difficult to apply, this one is velvety and glides into every corner of your mouth with no mess. This product comes highly recommended from Allure and a variety of beauty bloggers, in part because the unique formula is comfortable and gives a glossy finish. There are 12 shades to choose from and each tube will cost you about $9.50.
Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick, $12.50
This line from Sephora is a total game changer because it combines the shimmer of a gloss with the rich hue of a lipstick in one great product. Each tube is packed with moisturizing ingredients like vitamin E and shea butter, while vibrant color pigments and carnauba wax give you that luscious wet lip look that will last all day. Mohamed notes that natural moisturizers like the ones found in this product are key for avoiding flakiness that can occur after only a couple hours of wearing lipstick.
HC George Mason contributor Juliane loves this product for its smooth finish and comfort. “This lipstick comes in both high shine finish and shimmer finish, as well as a variety of colors,” she says. “This is a great option because it’s only $12.50!”
MAC Velvetease Lip Pencil, $14
If you gave up on trying to find a great MAC lip color that you can actually afford, this one’s for you. You’ll get the best of MAC’s signature rich colors and smooth finishes, but in an easy-to-use creamy pencil. Like the name suggests, this product feels like velvet on the lips, but is lighter than a traditional lipstick. You can snag this beauty bombshell for only $14 and choose from 12 shades ranging from “Frolic,” a demure pink, to “Velvet Teen,” a blend of rich burgundy and deep plum.
Revlon Ultra HD Lip Color, $8.99
This powerful lipstick from Revlon packs a punch with vivid color that won’t fade. It’s made with a special gel formula that locks in color with only one swipe, meaning you won’t have to waste a whole tube on just a couple applications. You can find the Ultra HD Lip Color in traditional formulas, or matte, which HC UConn contributor Nicole likes best. “They don’t make my lips feel tight or dry like a lot of matte liquid lipsticks do,” she says. These pigmented powerhouses are only $8.99 each and come in 16 matte shades and 20 traditional shades.
Milani Amore Matte Lip Crème, $8.99
Nicole also recommends the Matte Lip Crème from Italian-inspired cosmetics brand, Milani. This super rich formula starts as a liquid, then dries into a buttery, matte finish. Even the brush on this product is made for long-wear with a flexible, pillow-like applicator that gets to every corner of your lips. Nicole’s pro-tip? Go for the “Adorable” shade, a pinky nude that’s super versatile and vegan friendly. At $8.99 and with lasting color for up to 16 hours, this is one product you’ll want in your arsenal.
NYX Lip Lingerie, $8
This line from NYX delivers a weightless, smooth layer of color in 12 neutral hues. HC contributor Caroline recommends this $8 bargain gloss over more expensive products like Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits. “They don’t dry out my lips, unlike other liquid matte lip products, and I actually have to use makeup remover to get them off,” says Caroline. Her go-to shade? “Push-Up,” a sultry blend of warm mocha tones and peachy pink.
NYX Full Throttle Lipstick, $7
Mohamed also puts her makeup artist’s stamp of approval on this powerful lipstick from NYX. Each tube is filled with waterproof, super-saturated color in some standout shades. “This lipstick is creamy and not at all flaky or drying to lips, so there isn’t much of a need for any form of top coat,” she says. The stick also has a unique, beveled edge which makes getting into the small corners of the mouth much easier. Use the finest tip to line the edge of the lip for a professional quality application.
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream, $6
With so many products for every type of look, it’s no wonder that NYX is a favorite. This Lip Cream line is like velvet on the lips with an extra smooth application that dries into a stay-all-day layer of color. There are 34 shades to choose from, but at only $6, you can grab a few. Kayla recommends “Cannes,” a rich, rosy mauve or “Copenhagen,” a dramatic shade of deep plum. As an added bonus, each tube is delicately scented for a fresh feeling all day long.
Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color, $1.99
This bargain lip color from Wet n Wild is the perfect choice for an evening event. It’s got a 4-hour wear with hydrating ingredients like vitamins A & E as well as hyaluronic microspheres that adhere to lips for lasting color and a smooth finish. Plus, the variety of elegant colors give you plenty of selection for matching with any party dress. Ashley recommends a warm, brown shade called “Mocha-licious.” “Its durability is amazing,” says Ashley. “Even when I’m eating or drinking something! And it’s a beautiful natural color.”
Rosebud Salve from Rosebud Perfume Co., $6.00
This product is a must-have for any makeup minimalist. It does double duty as a rich, restorative moisturizer and pale pink lip color. It will leave your lips looking healthy and plump, with a subtle sheen that’s perfect for daytime. HC Skidmore contributor, Dani, loves the classic Rosebud Salve tin. “It’s basically rose-infused Vaseline that keep your lips moist all day,” she says. “It’s around $6 and lasts forever.” You can order any of the Smith’s products online, but retailers like Sephora and Urban Outfitters sell the cult classics as well.