Sheer lipsticks are among my all-time favorite makeup items: They’re uniquely capable of zhuzhing up a no-makeup look and making me look and feel wholly more put together in a matter of seconds. That being said: Not all sheer lipsticks are made equal. I’ve tested dozens, and have noticed many of the formulas on the market just don’t last through the day — they look great when you first apply them, but the pigment can hardly withstand a cup of coffee. For a sheer lipstick to become one of my go-tos, it must be able to last at least several hours, and also — perhaps even more importantly — be easy to apply in a rush (ideally without necessitating a mirror at all). Below, a roundup of five perfectly casual, sheer daily-wear lipsticks. Each have different formulas — some are more matte and powdery, some are more conditioning on the lips, and others are more buildable — but are extremely easy to apply, long-lasting, and have earned permanent places in my makeup arsenal.
Best glossy tint
These Silk Slip tinted lip oils are certainly the sheerest option of all the tints on this list, but they’ve quickly become some of my most favorite lip products in general. They’re packed with vitamin E as well as jojoba, sesame, and camellia oils — a deeply moisturizing and protective blend that helps soothe and hydrate chapped or dry lips. When you first apply this product, it looks like a nice tinted gloss. But as the day goes on, the high gloss effect slowly fades, leaving a super-pretty, discrete, bitten tint. These come in three different shades: Ruby (a cherry red), Fig (a berry jam), and Blossom (a baby pink) — I love them all.
Best matte tint
Glossier’s Gen G, one of the first sheer lipsticks I fell in love with, is a super-matte formula that gives your lips a hint of powdery, soft color. Or in other words: This product makes it look like you applied a full coat of lipstick, and blotted most of the pigment away on a napkin. I’ve long loved these lipsticks — the berry-colored Jam, and the light, cool pink shade Like are some of my everyday staples. But I’ve found that the formula is a tad drying, so I always moisturize my lips before applying Gen G with my Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm.
Best smudgy tint
I am so obsessed with the formula of these Ohii lip tints. Unlike Gen G, which is super-matte and powdery, these lip smudges are waxy and smooth. And if Glossier is a lipstick look blotted down, these lip smudges are your natural lips but better. As my friend Joelle put it, “These lipsticks make your lips look like you’ve eaten a popsicle that happens to be the perfect color for your mouth.” This is perhaps the most flattering lip tint I’ve ever tried in my life — they’re matte but not too drying and give your lips that effortless tint of color that I’m constantly striving for. I also happen to be in love with every one of the colors of Ohii’s Lip Smudge — I’m currently wearing Punch, which is a gorgeous bubblegum-pink shade.
Best dewy tint
If you prefer a satin finish rather than matte, these Allure Best of Beauty–approved lip crayons from Honest are a must-try. They’re not as intensely conditioning or glossy as the Versed Silk Slips, but the murumuru and shea butter–rich formula glides on the lips and leaves behind a slightly dewy pigment that lasts all day long. These lip crayons are perfect for a minimal effort, fresh-faced, everyday makeup look. My favorite shades are Chestnut (a lovely terra-cotta) and Rose (a dusty nude).
Best lipstick-y tint
The most full-coverage formula of the bunch is this $8 gem from Colourpop. While it might not be quite as “no makeup makeup” as the Versed, Honest, Glossier, or Ohii, it is the perfect thing for those who want a sort of lipstick-but-slightly-less look. I don’t believe there is a lipstick out there that goes on as effortless-looking, blotted, and perfectly smudged with a single swipe. And if you keep swiping, it gently intensifies — you get that same blurry, slightly messy Parisian look, just with more pigment.
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