How Wearing Lipstick Is Going to Be Different in 2021

The pandemic isn't over, but that doesn't mean you should stop wearing lipstick.

Wearing a Bold Lip in 2021
Photo: Getty Images/Instagram/Erin Glover/

No other beauty product is as resilient as a tube of lipstick.

During times of economic recessions and downturns, sales of small indulgent items like lipstick skyrocket because people are willing to spend a little of money on much-needed pick-me-ups.

While few beauty products can instantly boost your mood, confidence, and make you feel empowered like a swipe of red lipstick, the tumultuous era of COVID-19 makes it a little difficult to wear a bold matte lip when wearing a face mask is recommended whenever you're outside of your own home.

Traditional matte lipstick isn't going anywhere, but in the immediate future, people are gravitating towards more mask-friendly formulas like lip stains. Hybrid products like lip oils that treat lips while simultaneously coating them with a bit of color, are also becoming increasingly popular as people look to simplify their skincare and makeup routines during the pandemic.

According to WGSN's 2022: The Future of Lipstick trend report on how the pandemic has affected the lipstick category, people will continue to adapt the way they wear lipstick to face masks, opting for formulations that offer long wear and ease of application. In addition to hydration to counteract any dryness caused by face coverings.

"I think people want longer wearing lipsticks that don't smudge and stay on forever," says Erin Parsons, celebrity and editorial makeup artist. "I also think gloss is coming back and I am obsessed with the Maybelline Lifter Gloss because it hydrates your lips in the winter."

In fact, "non-sticky lip gloss" was up 90% in Google search in the last 90 days of 2020, as of Oct. 13.

"Before COVID, the trend of super glossy lips were beginning to make a comeback," adds Jamie Dorman, celebrity makeup artist. "COVID put a stop to all lip trends for awhile, but that is still the texture that people are gravitating towards."

If you don't want to ditch your go-to lipstick, but want to partake in the shiny lip trend, Parsons suggests layering a gloss over your lipstick for extra shine and dimension.

Another hack, according to Dorman, is to apply a lip stain as a base and then add a coat of lip gloss whenever you take your mask off. "It isn't feasible to wear a gloss under a mask, but having a lip stain already in place makes it easy to quickly gloss up," she says.

VIDEO: Shopping for Makeup Post COVID-19 Lockdown Will Never Be the Same

Lip colors are truly up to personal preference, but Parsons predicts berries and nudes will trend in 2021. "The look where your lips are a bit pink from the cold," she explains.

Dorman says soft pastels will also be extremely popular, but when masks finally come off (for good), people will want to make up for lost time with vibrant shades.

Ahead, a few of our favorite lip stains and glossy lip products to try in 2021.

Stained Lips

Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick

2021 Lipstick Trends

Turn your favorite liquid lipstick into a transfer-free stain. "I like to use Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick with my fingertip for a stained effect," Parsons says. "It doesn't budge!"

The drugstore-favorite liquid matte lipstick comes in shades for every lipstick vibe, from navy blue to classic hot pink.

To shop: $8;

Victoria Beckham Beauty Bitten Lip Tint

2021 Lipstick Trends

This true stain adds a just-bitten wash of color that doesn't dry out or get flaky on lips. It's infused with MVP hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and squalane, to help lips stay soft and smooth.

To shop: $36;

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Stain

2021 Lipstick Trends

On top of impressive color payoff, this lip stain has a matte finish that's both long-lasting and comfortable to wear. Rosewood is a cool neutral shade, but if you're into bold colors, the stain comes in violet, hot pink, and deep red.

To shop: $18;

Glossy Lips

Tom Ford Beauty Lip Lacquer Vinyl

2021 Lipstick Trends

Tom Ford's Lip Lacquer vinyl combines the color payoff of a liquid lipstick with the high-shine finish of a gloss. Thanks to a blend of emollient ingredients, the color stays smooth on the lips and doesn't have that sticky, tacky texture commonly associated with lip gloss.

To shop: $57;

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Cream Color Drip Lip Cream

2021 Lipstick Trends

This creamy, buildable lip color offers more coverage than the average gloss, but doesn't hold back on shine. Choose from classic red or four other floral and desert-inspired shades.

To shop: $21;

Ilia Beauty Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil

2021 Lipstick Trends

Multitasking makeup products infused with skincare benefits have become wildly popular with people looking to keep their routines simple while quarantining at home. Lip oils offer a touch of color and treat dryness with ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil, salicornia herbacea extract, and hyaluronic acid. Ilia's tinted lip oil comes in classic lipstick shades like rosy pink, coral, and mauve.

To shop: $26;

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