You’re probably a big fan of beauty. Which means you probably recall the first product you ever fell in love with. And that product was probably a lipstick. We’re not trying to make assumptions — though it feels fairly safe to guess that someone reading the Lips category of the 2023 Allure Best of Beauty Awards might be a fan — only to acknowledge a fact that every red-blooded beauty-lover already knows: No cosmetic inspires more passion, optimism, or ardor than lipstick. It’s why nine out of ten kindergartners will snoop through a parent’s makeup bag and excavate a worn-down tube with the same awestruck expression as Indiana Jones. It’s why our search for “the perfect nude” has resulted in countless tubes rolling around in our handbag like loose change — too valuable to toss, but not precious enough to use.
And it’s why the task of testing hundreds (and hundreds) of lip colors, pencils, glosses, tints, crayons, and balms never gets old for Allure editors. Even though our search involves kissing plenty of frogs (“too drying,” “too slick,” “too goopy,” “too frosty,”), nothing can duplicate the heart-racing thrill of finding The One (or, in this case, The Fifteen). Here, the most supremely flattering lip colors and formulas to fall in love with this year.
Scroll below to see all the best lip products of the year, then see our full list of 2023 Best of Beauty winners, or check out the year’s top picks in the Skin Care, Eye Makeup, Base Makeup, and Splurges categories.
Best of Beauty Awards 2023: Lips
Jump to your favorite category or keep reading to see every lip gloss, balm, and liner:
Lipstick, Matte: Gen See Pick Me Up Lip Matte Lipstick
Why it won: The pure pigments and weightless dry oils in Gen See Pick Me Up Lip Matte Lipstick effectively float across lips, rendering a powdery finish with an airy feel. Wear-wise, you don’t have to worry about this one budging — our testers found that its “nondrying saturation” has serious staying power.
Liquid Lipstick, Matte: MAC Locked Kiss Ink Liquid Lipcolour
Why it won: Pumped full of fruit oils and shea butter, MAC Locked Kiss Ink Liquid Lipcolour lays down a flexible matte veil that conforms to lips like a second skin, lasting hours and hours (and still more hours).
Lipstick, Sheer: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey
Why it won: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is worth all the buzz. And boy, is there buzz. This Gen X favorite (the shade debuted in 1971) is now beloved by Gen Z (and every gen on the Allure staff) for its sheer, raisin-tinted sheen. After recent TikTok-fueled sellouts, it’s back in stock — with one tube selling every four minutes, worldwide.
Lipstick, Sheer: Hourglass Phantom Volumizing Glossy Balm
Why it won: If you’re looking for less sheen and more color, we’re equally besotted with Hourglass Phantom Volumizing Glossy Balm. The slim stiletto stick delivers potent pigment with high gleam — without the tacky texture.
Lipstick, Cream: Sunrider International Kandesn Lip Color
Why it won: Sunrider International Kandesn Lip Colors turned our “I don’t usually wear lipstick” senior visual editor Lauren Brown into a daily user. Creamy in texture, velvety in finish, and saturated in moisture, this lipstick unicorn feels like it belongs in a category of its own.
Lipstick, Satin: Pat McGrath Labs SatinAllure Lipstick
Why it won: To be honest, Pat McGrath Labs SatinAllure Lipstick had us at Pat McGrath (and allure). But we’ll also take the potent color, moisturizing plant-based collagen, and extravagant dewiness. Bonus: The chic case with its sculpted bow makes touch-ups a treat.
Liquid Lipstick, Glossy: Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Color
Why it won: The encapsulated water molecules in Makeup by Mario MoistureGlow Plumping Lip Color deposit a fresh wash of color and shine, without turning lips into a Venus hair trap. “It creates a gloss-like effect without being sticky,” says senior editor Jesa Marie Calaor. “I have about seven glosses rolling around in my bag at any time and this is the one I reach for first.”
Lip Crayon: Ere Perez Coco Crayon
Why it won: Packed to its tapered tip with omega-rich coconut oil, Ere Perez Coco Crayon is that rarest of saturated mattes: It blurs and softens fine lines instead of emphasizing them. It also brings the promise of copious compliments with every wear — trust us.
Best Lip Gloss
Lip Gloss, Clear: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Ice Cooling Lip Luminizer
Why it won: Like a mini mojito, Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Ice Cooling Lip Luminizer quenches mouths with a clear glaze of moisture and a refreshing infusion of mint. “It’s cooling but not spicy,” says senior editor Jesa Marie Calaor, “and high-shine without being sticky.”
Lip Gloss, Color: Buxom Cosmetics Plump Shot Collagen-Infused Lip Serum
Why it won: When you want color with your shine, the see-through, sheer-tinted pigments in Buxom Cosmetics Plump Shot Collagen-Infused Lip Serum make lips appear fuller, softer, and sexier. The long-lasting tint is an added bonus.
Lip Oil: Clarins Lip Comfort Oil
Why it won: Clarins Lip Comfort Oil comes in an array of eight dewy shades that smack of the orchard (cherry, apricot, plum) and smooths lip texture with a delicate blend of plant-based (rose, jojoba, and hazelnut) conditioners. It’s so good we awarded it for the second year in a row.
Best Lip Balm
Lip Balm, Untinted: Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Gloss Balm
Why it won: Balm-level rich and gloss-level smooth, Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Gloss Balm transforms parched lips with hyaluronic acid (to plump) and vitamin C (to polish).
Lip Balm, Tinted: Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm
Why it won: For that elusive your-lips-but-better effect, Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm combines supple moisture with seven wear-anywhere tints.
Best Lip Scrub
St. Ives Juicy Watermelon Lip Scrub
Why it won: Every bit as mouthwatering as the name suggests, St. Ives Juicy Watermelon Lip Scrub buffs away dullness with sugar crystals for a just-bitten flush. Although it’s tempting to taste the formula post-slough (please don’t), just tissue off any excess and follow with your lip color of choice.
Best Lip Liner
LYS Beauty Speak Love Smooth Glide Lip Liner Pencil
Why it won: With its pitch-perfect point (not too creamy, not too stiff), LYS Beauty Speak Love Smooth Glide Lip Liner Pencil glides on and defines without a hitch, revealing a luscious Cupid’s bow we never knew we had.
Like what you see from Allure‘s Best of Beauty Awards?