Beauty Clean Slate The 14 Best Clean Lipsticks of 2023 for a Long-Lasting Bold Lip We love how creamy the Physicians Formula Organic Wear Nourishing Lipstick applies, as well as how hydrating it feels on the lips By Michelle Rostamian Michelle Rostamian Michelle Rostamian has been writing about makeup, hair, and skincare for the last 12 years. She covers beauty trends, how-to’s, and commerce roundups and reviews. In addition, she writes about topics relating to travel, food, wellness, and home tech. InStyle's editorial guidelines and Erin Lukas Erin Lukas Instagram Twitter Erin is a Brooklyn-based beauty editor and has been with InStyle since 2016. She covers all facets of beauty for the site. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on October 12, 2022 @ 12:33PM Pin Share Tweet Email In This Article Expand Jump to a Section Our top picks Reviews What to Keep in Mind Your Questions, Answered Why Shop With Us We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Thrive / Ulta No matter how delicious fruit-inspired shades of makeup may look, it's not recommended that you taste test your products. However, it's kind of impossible to keep lipstick away from your mouth. So, if you're concerned about potentially ingesting the ingredients in your lip products, there are a variety of lipsticks out there that use natural and vegan ingredients in lieu of synthetics found in traditional formulas, all without sacrificing color payoff or performance. The Physicians Formula Organic Wear Nourishing Lipstick won our Best Overall for a few different reasons — namely, the fact that it's loaded with butters and oils to keep dryness at bay. Ready to find your next signature lip? From liquid matte lipsticks to sheer tinted oils, we've rounded up the best clean lipsticks to add to your stash. Our Top Picks Best Overall: Physicians Formula Organic Lipstick at Amazon Jump to Review Best Drugstore: Maybelline Lip Blush at Amazon Jump to Review Best Splurge: Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Lipstick at Bergdorfgoodman.com Jump to Review Best Long-Lasting: Thrive Causemetics Headliner Lipstick at Thrivecausemetics.com Jump to Review Best Pink: Pur Creamy Lip Pencil at Ulta Jump to Review Best Red: Kosas Weightless Lip Color Lipstick at Amazon Jump to Review Best Nude: Honest Beauty Matte Lip Crayon Jump to Review Best Matte: Mented Cosmetics Matte Lipsticks at Amazon Jump to Review Best Moisturizing: Mineral Fusion Lipstick Butter at Amazon Jump to Review Best Organic: Highr Lipstick at Anthropologie Jump to Review Best Overall Physicians Formula Organic Wear Nourishing Lipstick Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart View On CVS What We Love The shape of the bullet makes it foolproof to follow the curve of your lips. What We Don’t Love A minor packaging flaw: the tube of the actual lipstick bullet is slick, making it a tad cumbersome to get a good grip when you're twisting up the product. The Organic Wear Nourishing Lipstick from Physicians Formula is shockingly good for being under $10. For one, the tip of the bullet is cut into a square shape, making it seamless to follow the natural curve of your lips (including those sometimes tough-to-reach outer corners). If you're struggling with dry, chapped lips, you'll appreciate that the formula is laced with organic shea butter, coconut and jojoba oils, and vitamin E to condition, nourish, and hydrate. On top of this, the formula is free of parabens, packed with color, and boasts an ultra-creamy finish that makes applying it a dream — no tugging required. The packaging is a bit slick, making it difficult to twist up the lipstick, but that’s truly not a big deal. Price at time of publish: $9 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 6 Best Drugstore Maybelline Green Edition Balmy Lip Blush Amazon View On Amazon View On Target View On Walmart What We Love The balm consistency makes this a good cold-weather lipstick pick. What We Don’t Love This doesn't have as rich of a color payoff as a traditional lipstick. We do categorize Physicians Formula as a drugstore brand, but we love seeing a classic drugstore makeup brand develop more natural formulations, as is the case with Maybelline's Green Edition Balmy Lip Blush, which is made with 93 percent natural-origin ingredients. Think of this lipstick as the lovechild between a lipstick and lip balm — it locks in moisture while simultaneously coating lips with some color. While you'll need a few swipes to reap intense payoff, it's a great buy for those who crave options when it comes to how pigmented their lip color applies. Overall, the fact that it's made without parabens, mineral oil, or silicones (and instead infused with lip-nourishing mango oil), makes it worthy of being in your purse. You won't miss your higher-end lipstick, we promise. Price at time of publish: $10 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 10 Best Splurge Victoria Beckham Beauty Posh Lipstick 4.5 Victoria Beckham Beauty View On Bergdorfgoodman.com View On Victoriabeckhambeauty.com View On Violet Grey What We Love This tube is slimmer than your traditional lipstick, making it easy to carry even in smaller purses. What We Don’t Love Though this is a buildable formula, it goes on slightly sheer. Victoria Beckham's '90s-inspired shades will spice up any lipstick wardrobe. The collection includes poppy red, caramel, and every shade in between. Each one wears beautifully due to nourishing oils and waxes that hydrate and provide a shiny finish. And, the packaging just feels luxe in your hand. We appreciate that the tube has a skinnier design — it makes it easier to tote around if you're sporting a clutch. These apply slightly sheer — making them great for no-makeup-makeup days — but they're also incredibly easy to build up if you like to apply your lipstick in layers. Price at time of publish: $38 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 14 Best Long-Lasting Thrive Causemetics Headliner Lipstick Thrive Causemetics View On Thrivecausemetics.com What We Love The magnetic closure of the cap ensures you'll never run into issues with it falling off and rolling around in your purse. What We Don’t Love The formula doesn't glide on as well as some of the others on our list. If you're looking to reap the longevity of a matte liquid lipstick without the drying effects, you've met your match in Thrive Causemetics' Headliner Lipstick. This is the formula to turn to if your lipstick tends to feather, smudge, or bleed throughout the day. The secret? A built-in primer, which extends the formula's wear whether you're eating, drinking, or conducting a presentation on a Zoom call. Beyond this, the lipstick just feels so comfortable on the lips — that's all due to the mashup of antioxidants and oils that keep lips looking brand new. I'm a huge fan of the shade Ilene, a pink that has just the right amount of coolness to it. The "hello, gorgeous" on the inside of the tube is also a nice self-affirmation. Price at time of publish: $26 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 7 Best Pink Pur Silky Pout Creamy Lip Chubby Pencil Pur View On Ulta View On Hsn.com View On Lookfantastic.com What We Love We appreciate that this can be used on the lips and cheeks. What We Don’t Love We wish there was more shade variation. Gone are the days when chubby lip pencils only came in sheer finishes — this option from Pur proves you can still reap the same pigmentation of a traditional lipstick, but via a user-friendly chubby lip pencil that's easy to swipe on sans mirror. This formula went on super smooth and hydrated my dry lips thanks to a mix of moringa and sunflower seed oils as well as rosemary leaf extract. There are only four shades to choose from (we wish there were more), but Raspberry Spritz is the perfect mid-tone neutral pink that'll complement any skin tone or makeup look. For a monochromatic look, you can also dab this onto your cheeks for a natural flush of color (brownie points for multi-use appeal). Price at time of publish: $18 Type: Pencil | Refillable: No | Colors: 4 Best Red Kosas Weightless Lip Color Lipstick Kosas View On Amazon View On Nordstrom View On Sephora What We Love The colors are bright and opaque and have a wearable texture even if your lips are dry. What We Don’t Love We'd love to see this offered in more earthy tones. This buttery lipstick falls directly between a matte and satin finish. The moisturizing, antioxidant-rich formula melts effortlessly into lips without getting dry or flaky (thanks to mango seed butter, shea butter, and jojoba oil). While all 11 shades are gorgeous, Fringe, a brick red, is a fan favorite that's wearable for both new and experienced red lipstick users. The best part: it doesn't feather throughout the day (a common issue among red lipsticks) and doesn't need a lip liner to keep it in place. Plus, the cap is magnetic to ensure it stays put. We only wish it came in neutral tones. Price at time of publish: $22 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 11 Best Nude Honest Beauty Demi Matte Lip Crayon Amazon View on Ulta View On Amazon View On Target What We Love Even though this is formulated with butters and oils, it doesn't feel sticky or tacky on the lips. What We Don’t Love This feels slightly drying. Honest Beauty's easy-to-use crayon feels light-as-air on your lips, but that doesn't mean it sacrifices color payoff. The high-impact shades contain a blend of lip-conditioning ingredients (like jojoba oil and shea butter) so it glides on effortlessly without tugging. Go for the shade Honey if you're looking for a your-lips-but-better type shade that'll round out any makeup look. This formula has a demi-matte finish so you'll likely need to pair it with a balm if you're sporting dry lips, but it doesn't feel heavy post-application (which means it's less likely to get on your teeth). Price at time of publish: $9 Type: Pencil | Refillable: No | Colors: 7 Best Matte Mented Cosmetics Matte Lipsticks Mented Cosmetics View On Amazon View On Mentedcosmetics.com View On QVC What We Love These feel comfortable and lightweight on the lips. What We Don’t Love Some of the shades look inconsistent online, which means you may need to lip cocktail a few shades to get it just right. Matte lipsticks have a bad rap — we get it. But Mented Cosmetics is a prime example of a matte lipstick done right. This castor seed oil-infused lipsticks feel velvety as you glide them on, and their pigmentation certainly isn't for the faint of heart (after all, Mented is short for "pigmented"). There are four rich shades to pick from, from a deep nude to warm pink, all of which offer an impressive wear-time and silky-smooth feel. The brand as a whole excludes parabens in their formulas — and as an added bonus, they're made in the USA. Price at time of publish: $18 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 4 Best Moisturizing Mineral Fusion Lipstick Butter Amazon View On Amazon View On Walmart View On Jcpenney.com What We Love The packaging is slim, short, and compact, making it easy to travel with and take on the go. What We Don’t Love The price is a little high considering how much product you get. So, you want the shine of a gloss but the hydration of a balm? Mineral Fusion's Lipstick Butter does it all — and then some. The formula is made with cocoa seed butter, avocado oil, and shea butter to offer the same moisturizing and conditioning benefits as your favorite lip balm, but the glossy finish makes it look like you're sporting a gloss. While this won't be your go-to for bold makeup looks that require an intensely rich lip color, it's great for chiller days you just want to look and feel more put together. You'll find this vegan formulation in eight shades, none of which contain fragrance, parabens, or phthalates (perfect for folks with sensitive lips). Price at time of publish: $14 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 8 Best Organic Highr Lipstick Anthropologie View On Anthropologie View On Highrcollective.com What We Love The mirror on the inside of the cap is helpful for on-the-go application. What We Don’t Love When it comes to sustainability, this lipstick prioritizes using renewable energy, but we wish it were refillable. We love a thoughtfully-designed beauty product as much as the next person, so the fact that Highr's Lipstick comes equipped with a mirror on the inside was enough to make us want one in every color. During testing, the consistency of the formula stood out to me — because the base is made of organic plant butter and oils, the lipstick had a balm-like feel that applied creamy onto my lips without clinging to any dry areas. But even though it felt hydrating and comfortable on my lips, it didn't skimp on the color payoff. The shade Chateau (a universally-flattering nude with a tinge of pink) was my favorite and only required one swipe for an opaque finish. Price at time of publish: $32 Type: Tube | Refillable: No | Colors: 7 Best Liquid Natasha Moor Molten Matte Liquid Lipstick Amazon View On Amazon View On Macy's View On Verishop.com What We Love This has the most extensive shade range out of all the lipsticks on our list. What We Don’t Love The formula is on the more liquidy side. This vegan matte liquid lipstick slides on like a gloss, but dries down to a vibrant, opaque matte. Perfect for those who need their lipstick to really last, whether it be for a special event or to join Happy Hour after work, this longwear formula doesn't budge until it's time to remove. Plus, it's made with vitamin E so dryness is a non-issue. For how rich the colors are and how long this lasts on the lips, we think that the price tag is definitely reasonable, but it does appear liquidy upon first swipe. Price at time of publish: $20 Type: Liquid | Refillable: No | Colors: 23 Best Refillable Kjaer Weis Lipstick Credo Beauty View On Kjaerweis.com View On Credo Beauty View On Bluemercury.com What We Love We love that this comes in a refillable tube to help cut down on single-use plastic packaging. What We Don’t Love This is on the pricier side. Kjaer Weis is one brand that has always kept sustainability top of mind. This creamy matte lipstick's sleek silver tube is refillable in an effort to eliminate single-use plastic packaging. As for the actual formula, it's infused with shea butter and jojoba oil to keep lips soft and smooth. We love that all the fragrance comes from essential oils (not from any synthetic ingredients or petroleum byproducts). This is a no-fuss lipstick that has a cushiony texture, varied shade range, and luxe packaging. Take your pick of nine different gorgeous shades and let the compliments come pouring in. Price at time of publish: $48 Type: Tube | Refillable: Yes | Colors: 9 Best Sheer Merit Signature Lip Lightweight Lipstick Sephora View On Sephora View On Kohls.com View On Meritbeauty.com What We Love The site's shade finder makes it easy to sort through your skin tone to find the perfect match. What We Don’t Love This formula is prone to fading. Now here's a lipstick brand we can get behind. Merit is all about keeping the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. Formulated with Hollywood esthetician Biba de Sousa, the brand hasn't just eliminated the use of toxic ingredients like parabens from their products — they've also cut ingredients that are typically associated with being "clean" but tend to be problematic for those with acne (think: coconut oil). This means everyone can use the products without worry of triggering a breakout. The Signature Lipstick is a sheer formula that's customizable — layer it on for a more opaque finish or keep it at one layer for a subtle hint of color. Either way, you'll fall in love with the formula's satin finish and moisturizing, anti-aging formula (which consists of plant-derived squalane, vitamin C, papain enzymes, and sunflower seed oil). Price at time of publish: $26 Type: Lipstick | Refillable: No | Colors: 8 Best Tint ILIA Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil Sephora View On Amazon View On Nordstrom View On Dermstore What We Love Because this contains hyaluronic acid, it makes lips look plumper. What We Don’t Love This doesn't have the best staying power. For anyone who prefers a wearable, everyday color, a tint is your best bet. This option by Ilia is the modern-day lip gloss you never knew you needed. It fuses together everything you love about lip balm and gloss into one gorgeous oil that moisturizes and plumps lips without any stickiness. Plus, it's made with Salicornia herbacea extract and meadowfoam seed oil to attract and trap moisture into dry lips. You'll be able to put the lip liner aside with this option, as it's made with hyaluronic acid to give your pout a plumper look. All six of the shades are gorgeous, but we have a soft spot for Petals, a pink that pairs beautifully with lighter makeup looks. Price at time of publish: $26 Type: Gloss | Refillable: No | Colors: 6 What to Keep in Mind Ingredients Waxes and emollients are two big ingredient types to look out for in a natural lipstick. "Waxes such as microcrystalline, beeswax, candelilla, and carnauba function as structuring agents that allow for molding the lipstick into the desired shape," explains cosmetic chemist Laura Lam-Phaure. "For the lips, combining different types of waxes and butters will assist in optimizing payoff and performance." Also, emollients (like sunflower, safflower, almond, and meadowfoam oils as well as triglyceride) are used to impart hydration, slip, softness, suppleness, and shine on the lips, says Lam-Phaure, which may be helpful when temps dip. Finally, Lam-Phaure notes that while balms don't typically contain water on their ingredient list, your lips are still wetted by things like salvia and drinking water, and thus, can be a potential risk for microbial growth. "As a preventative measure, preservatives such as phenoxyethanol, 1-2 hexanediol and ethylhexylglycerin may be added," says Lam-Phaure. Aside from the ingredients themselves, look at where they lie on the ingredient list. "If a lipstick contains shea butter in the bottom half of its ingredient list but lists petrolatum as the first ingredient then the biggest percentage of the lipstick is made of petrolatum and the shea butter benefits [may be] lost," says Maria Velve, makeup artist and green beauty expert. Pay Off "A natural lipstick will not have the same binders, silicones, and polyurethanes (polymers that leave a film on the skin to prevent pigment transfer) as a conventional lipstick," notes Velve. That being said, natural and synthetic lipsticks can both have great color pay off due to something called a dispersing agent, says Lam-Phaure. "Pigments are used in the form of a powder and will often get chunky if not properly dispersed, however, some emollients can double as a way to carry pigments for lipsticks." Your Questions, Answered What makes a lipstick "natural" or "clean" While the terms "natural" and "clean" are tossed around a lot, some people use them interchangeably as they’re not regulated by the FDA or any other governing body, says Velve. "To me, a natural lipstick would be one made of a base of natural ingredients like plant butters and waxes — the focus here is on what is in it." On the other hand, when it comes to "clean" lipsticks, the focus is on what's not in it. If you're looking to go cleaner with your formulas, stay away from parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and mineral oil. Do natural lipsticks fade faster than non-natural lipsticks? Generally speaking, natural lipsticks often opt out of using safe and effective silicones and polymers that help allow the lipstick to last longer on the lips, says Lam-Phaure. Still, Mented Cosmetics CEO KJ Killer says you can still find high pigment-load formulas that are also vegan and non-toxic lipsticks. She recommends opting for a velvet matte formula if you're looking for rich color payoff. Why Shop With Us Michelle Rostamian is a freelance beauty, wellness, and lifestyle writer with nearly 10 years of experience in the beauty industry and bylines at PEOPLE, Byrdie, Real Simple, InStyle, and more. For this story, she worked with InStyle beauty editor Erin Lukas, interviewed Laura Lam-Phaure, cosmetic chemist, and Maria Velve, makeup artist and green beauty expert, for more information on what can be considered “clean” as well as the ingredients to look for.