I Just Tried the 12 Most Iconic Lipsticks—These Are the Ones Worth the Hype

Giselle La Pompe-Moore
·8-min read

There are some questions that keep me up until the early hours of the morning. The one that seems to be recurring recently is, wondering how many lipsticks there are in existence. It's impossible to even think of a realistic number. There are matte lipsticks, creamy lipsticks, satin ones, liquid, sheer. The list goes on. Not to mention that every brand will have up to 50 colours in each of these categories sometimes. That's a whole lot of lipsticks.

So, this leads us to our second question. Where does one even begin with choosing a lipstick? A shortcut to finding your next lipstick is by looking to the most popular ones. These are the best-sellers, the beauty icons and the classics. The ones that if you look at most lipstick-wearers lips and wonder what they're wearing; it's probably in this list.

As much fun as it is to experiment and swatch lipsticks on the back of your hand until it looks like an artist's canvas or at least a child's version of one, that's way too much legwork.

I know you don't have that kind of time on your hands and neither do I, but I do know about lipsticks. I decided to dive into my extensive lipstick collection and also try out some others, to see if some of the most popular lipsticks around are actually worth the hype. Keep scrolling to see which ones have made the cut.

MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo

I'm pretty sure that most people either own this lipstick or at the very least they've heard of it. No shade if you haven't, by the way. All you need to know is that it's a classic red and suits everyone. Its been an insider favourite and a bestseller since it launched in 1999 and the matte finish is iconic. Regardless of what job I've been in, where I've lived in the world or what age I am, I always seem to have a Ruby Woo in my makeup bag. The formula is matte but in the best powder meets velvet way and as you can see from the photo, the shade is absolutely everything.

MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo (£17)

NARS Lipstick in Schiap

Me? In a hot pink lip? Never. I was so nervous about trying this as I avoid pink lipsticks at all costs. They always give me flashbacks to the free chalky lipsticks that came with magazines when I was growing up, that never suited my skin tone. So, this was quite the revelation. It's surprisingly wearable and flattering and NARS never disappoint with their formulas. There's no better way to channel Elsa Schiaparelli.

NARS Lipstick in Schiap (£22)

Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in Brown

I've been cheating on my beloved red lipsticks with nude ones, for quite a while now. They're easy to apply and if they wear off throughout the day, no-one will even notice. But, finding a nude lipstick that's suitable for dark skin is like hunting for the extra sugary and crispy piece of popcorn in the bag. People always refer to this shade as one of the OG nudes and I'm into it. I always use a brown lip liner under my nude lipsticks as it gives a more natural finish and this one hasn't left my side since I tried it on.

Bobbi Brown Lip Colour in Brown (£25)

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick in 001

When you're in a drugstore and need a trustworthy lipstick, this is the one to go for. This collection is as the name implies, long-lasting. It doesn't budge, but that's not the only thing going for it. The colours are rich, vibrant and you don't need 6 layers to give you the finish you're looking for. This shade is one of my favourite reds around and I've been known to grab this on the go when I forget my lipstick at home.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick in 001 (£6)

Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick in Elson

When the incredibly influential and talented makeup artist Pat McGrath launched her own collection, the beauty world held its breath and we were in for the biggest treat. This lipstick has cult status and its understandable because it's a pretty perfect matte lipstick. It's opaque, nourishing and doesn't dry lips. The line usually sells out and I'm constantly having conversations with myself about buying back ups of this vampire-vibe red I've long been dreaming of.

Pat McGrath MatteTrance Lipstick in Elson (£35)

Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in 99 Pirate

I've always wanted a tinted lip balm that's bold enough to look like a lipstick but also makes my lips feel just as soft and smothered in nourishing goodness. Clearly, Chanel heard my pleas and delivered this beloved lipstick. This is the kind of shade that can make an entire outfit. I've thrown on some jeans and a jumper with this lipstick and it looked like a personal stylist had put the entire look together.

Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in 99 Pirate (£31)

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Pillow Talk Medium

One of the world's most talked about lipstick shades and with one being sold every 2 minutes, we can see why. The original shade is a little light for me, so I always go for Pillow Talk Medium which is more flattering for darker skin tones. Its still got all of the nude pink energy that the original has but with some berry brown added. The Matte Revolution lipsticks are well known as being one of the most popular formulas for matte lips and when you combine it with this shade, it's the perfect match.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk Medium (£25)

Dior Rouge Dior Lipstick in 999 Matte

A red that looks like its been mixed with a dab of orange eyeshadow. The colour looks just as sleek as the packaging does and while it has a matte finish, it's still very soft and buildable. I've worn it as a light stain by blotting off the excess, but also layered on when I'm in the mood for some drama. This popular shade launched in 1953 to complement the couture house's signature red dresses that would stand out in the collections. When I want to add some glamour to my daily life this lipstick always delivers.

Dior Rouge Dior Lipstick in 999 Matte (£30)

Tom Ford Lip Colour Matte Lipstick in Black Dahlia

There's a theme going on with Tom Ford lipsticks, whether it's Bruised Plum, Velvet Cherry or Black Dahlia; everyone's into the deep, dark berry tones that are instantly recognisable. These shades are not easy to get right but in Tom Ford, we trust. You can't make any application mistakes with a dark lip and the shape of this bullet is very precise. I use a lip brush to apply, but it's not necessary. This is the only brand I can rely on for incredible dark colours without being disappointed by the pigment sticking to any sign of dryness in my lips.

Tom Ford Lip Colour Matte Lipstick in Black Dahlia (£44)

Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy Lipstick in Carnal

The amount of beauty brands on the market feels infinite at times, but Estée Lauder continue to be a leader in the industry. For a lipstick that will never let me down, this is a stand-out. It's bold, bright and intense. I usually prefer more of a blue-based red but the hint of orange always warms up my complexion. The formula is creamy and smooth and almost feels like its hugging my lips which is everything I love in a lipstick.

Estée Lauder Pure Colour Envy Lipstick in Carnal (£27)

STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso

If you ask most beauty editors for their favourite liquid lipstick, this will most likely be their answer. You only need a solitary swipe to give you all the pigment you'll need. It dries into a super matte without cracking and it actually stays on for the entire day. I can always wear this without feeling the need to dive into a vat of lip balm once I take it off. Beso is the ultimate tomato red and I always grab it when I'm in the mood for making a statement.

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso (£17)

Revlon Super Lustrous The Luscious Mattes in Cherries In The Snow

This shade has earned its place in beauty history as this was the name of Revlon's first nail polish in the 1930's. The red meets pink hue is matte while still holding all of its moisture. Honestly, it just makes me feel good and while I have more red lipsticks than one person may ever need, this shade always spices things up a bit.

Revlon Super Lustrous The Luscious Mattes in Cherries In The Snow (£9)

Up next, these are the skincare brands worth spending a little extra on.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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