The 12 Best Hydrating Lipsticks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

You'll never sacrifice comfort for bold color payoff with any of these plush lipsticks.

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hydrating lipstick

Jessica Juliao

We never feel complete without a swipe of lipstick — that quick finishing touch instantly brightens our features and gives us a boost of confidence. Many lipsticks walk a fine line, though, offering vibrancy but not comfort. While some formulas impart a striking pop of color, they ultimately leave lips feeling dry, cracked, and flakey — and applying a lip balm overtop can only do so much. Choosing a hydrating lipstick instead can make all the difference.

Formulated specially to envelop lips in a plush cushion and provide you with head-turning color payoff, hydrating lipsticks are ideal for everyday wear. But countless lipsticks claim to be hydrating yet still leave lips parched — that’s why we set out to find the best lipsticks that will actually keep lips moisturized. We spent three months testing dozens of options, evaluating each one’s color payoff, ingredients, feel, and longevity. Through a process of elimination, we found 12 products that drench lips in long-lasting hydration.

Best Overall

Smashbox Be Legendary Prime & Plush Lipstick

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick


What We Love: The built in primer ensures a smooth application and enhances color. 

What We Don’t Love: Though the formula is long lasting it isn’t transfer-proof, so we found ourselves reapplying after meals.

It’s rare to find a lipstick that provides bold color payoff, intense hydration, and longevity, but this pick from Smashbox holds the trifecta. Aptly named, the renowned two-in-one formula features a built in primer that ensures the lipstick applies like butter and enhances the color payoff for a vibrant finish. Beyond the primer, the creamy bullet is also infused with moisture-boosting peptides and ceramides that kept out lips feeling comfortable and supple throughout the day. (We didn’t have any urge to apply lip balm under or over it.) 

Satin lipsticks often get a reputation for fading quickly, but this pick's color remained intact and vibrant while testing. That said, even though the formula is long lasting, it wasn’t not totally transfer-proof — we found ourselves needing to reapply after eating. Because it’s so lightweight, though, we didn’t have to wipe it off and start over when touching up. We were able to fill in the sheer spots that had worn away without experiencing any annoying pilling, which frequently happens with some of our favorite non-hydrating lipsticks. Although we had never made it through a full tube of lipstick before, we used this until there was nothing left — a true testament to just how fortifying, beautiful, and comfortable it is.  

With 30 shades to choose from, we found options for any occasion, too. Some of our favorites include Level Up, a nude-pink for everyday looks, and Some Nerve, an electric purple, that’s a bit more adventurous. 

Price at time of publish: $24

Key Ingredients: Peptides and ceramides | Shades: 30 | Finish: Satin

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best Budget

L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick

L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick

Ulta Beauty

What We Love: The pomegranate-infused formula drenched our lips in a burst of hydration, while still feeling totally weightless. 

What We Don’t Love: The swatches online don’t accurately showcase the lipsticks’ true colors.

We carry lip balm with us everywhere, but sometimes we want a pop of color that most balms can’t provide — that’s where this lipstick comes in. Made with pomegranate extract, a single swipe of this lipstick-balm hybrid provides a much needed burst of hydration with gorgeous color payoff. 

Contrary to run-of-the-mill lipsticks and balms, this one actually enhances lips with continued use: After using this for four weeks, our bare lips will feel smoother and softer. We appreciate that the gentle formula is also dermatologist and allergy-tested, making it suitable for sensitive lips. While there are 10 lustrous shades to choose from, the swatches shown on the brand’s site don’t accurately depict the lipstick colors, so we recommend watching Allura Beauty’s YouTube video of the swatches before making a final selection. 

Price at time of publish: $11

Key Ingredients: Pomegranate extract | Shades: 10 | Finish: Luminous

Best Splurge

Sisley Paris Phyto-Rouge Shine Refillable Lipstick

Sisley Phyto-Rouge Shine Refillable Lipstick


What We Love: It has the feel of a balm, shine of a gloss, and color payoff of a lipstick. 

What We Don’t Love: The color isn’t super long lasting.

We have a pretty extensive lipstick collection. In fact, if you take a peek in any of our purses, you’ll find a minimum of five lipsticks per bag. (What can we say? we like our options.) No matter where we are, though, we always find ourselves digging for this pick before anything else.

The luxurious formula features the brand’s unique Hydroboost complex, padina pavonica extract, and moringa oil to instantly nourish, plump, and moisturize. When applied, the lipstick beautifully melts into our lips, feeling like a buttery balm, and imparts a gorgeous, sheer pop of color with the shine of a lip gloss.

When we want more color payoff, we can layer it on — we’ve been pleasantly surprised that an extra swipe (or two) leaves our lips feeling extra hydrated rather than uncomfortable and heavy. With 12 luminous colors to choose from, this pick has quickly replaced our tried-and-true balm — and our favorite lipstick — making it our most-used lip product. (There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll feel the same way after trying it, too.) And when we inevitably finish the entire tube, we can purchase a refill at a lesser price and pop it into the cartridge we already have.

Price at time of publish: $60; refill $48

Key Ingredients: Hydrobooster complex, padina pavonica extract, vitamin E acetate | Shades: 12 | Finish: Shiny and Iridescent

Best Application

Armani Beauty Lip Power Longwear Satin Lipstick

Armani Beauty Lip Power Longwear Satin Lipstick

What We Love: The precise, teardrop-shaped bullet makes it simple to line and fill our lips. 

What We Don’t Love: The neutral shades tend to be more sheer than expected.

When it comes to longwear formulations, satin lipsticks are often left out of the conversation — but Armani Beauty Lip Power is changing that narrative. Once applied, this highly pigmented lipstick stays put for up to eight hours, so as long as you’re not eating it will maintain vibrancy (although, we did go to town on some tacos while wearing this, and only had to reapply near the center of our lips). 

If you do have to reapply, the teardrop-shaped bullet removes the need of a lip liner, as it precisely lines lips with minimal effort. On top of its impressive longevity, the formula is infused with special oils to keep lips feeling plush and smooth throughout the day.

While there’s 26 shades currently available, Armani regularly adds new hues to the lineup. If you’re after a vivid lip color, this is the lipstick to grab, but be wary of the shades that lean neutral because we found that they’re more sheer than expected.   

Price at time of publish: $39

Key Ingredients: Semi volatile oil, satin finish oil | Shades: 26 | Finish: Satin

Armani Beauty Lip Power Long Lasting Satin Lipstick

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best Gloss

Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Gloss

Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Gloss


What We Love: Made with five nourishing oils, this gloss keeps our lips moisturized for hours.

What We Don’t Love: Though there are 13 color options, the lighter shades don’t provide much pigment, especially for those with deeper skin tones.

Erase the preconceived notion that all lip glosses are tacky — this one from Tower 28 proved to us that gloss can be silky and hydrating. The jelly-like formula glides onto our lips, covering them in a nourishing cocoon of five oils (apricot kernel, raspberry seed, rosehip, castor seed, and avocado oils), leaving them feeling soft and smooth, and looking brilliantly glazed. We’ve gone through multiple tubes of this gloss and consistently find ourselves reaching for it instead of lip balm to rejuvenate our lips. 

Available in 10 sheer hues and two clear options (one that’s glassy and one that’s iridescent), each looks beautiful on its own or layered over lipstick. Though the gloss is sheer, we’d like the lighter shades to have a bit more pigment because they end up looking translucent on most skin tones, especially deeper ones. 

Price at time of publish: $15

Key Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil, raspberry seed oil, rosehip oil | Shades: 13 | Finish: Glossy

Best Longwear

Kosas Weightless Lip Color Lipstick

Kosas Weightless Lip Color Lipstick


What We Love: It melts into our lips, creating a hydrating, long lasting stain.

What We Don’t Love: Despite the name, it’s not totally weightless.

When we think of this lipstick, the first two words that come to mind are ‘melt’ and ‘longwear.’ We know what you’re thinking — these descriptors typically don’t go hand in hand (especially when it comes to makeup), but hear us out: The creamy bullet beautifully melts into our lips, saturating them with a longwear, rich pigment that truly lasts for hours. Infused with a slew of skin-softening ingredients (including mango seed butter, shea butter, and rosehip seed oil), this lippie cushions our lips with comfort, so they never feel parched or flakey. 

Note that while it is long-wearing, the color does eventually fade. With that said, though, it does so evenly so we’re left with a natural-looking stain. Our one gripe is that the name is a bit misleading — the formula isn’t totally weightless: We can feel the nourishing ingredients working overtime to keep lips well moisturized. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Key Ingredients: Mango seed butter, shea butter, cocoa seed butter | Shades: 11 | Finish: Satin

Best Matte

Sunnies Face Fluffmatte Weightless Modern Matte Lipstick

Sunnies Face Fluffmatte Weightless Modern Matte Lipstick

Sunnies Face

What We Love: From the comfortable feel to the vivid colors, there’s so much to love about this formula. 

What We Don’t Love: Because it’s matte, it’s inherently not as moisturizing as other options on this list.

Filipino brand Sunnies Face launched Fluffmatte in 2018, but it only debuted in the US last year — and now one is sold every 30 seconds. We’re rarely impressed by new lipsticks, but we can confidently say this is the best matte we've ever used. 

Despite swiping on formulas that claimed to be hydrating, we always found ourselves reaching for a balm to revitalize our lips soon after application. That all changed when we tried this. The high-quality formula is unlike any matte lipstick currently available thanks to its silk structure technology that imparts a hint of hydration while making it feel like a weightless second skin on lips. Many matte lipsticks quickly settle into fine lines, but this one maintains a plush integrity, so the color stays looking fresh for hours, too. And though it may not be quite as hydrating as satin or balmy options, it sets the standard for what every matte lipstick should feel like. 

Price at time of publish: $16

Key Ingredients: Silk structure technology, dimethicone | Shades: 24 | Finish: Matte

Best Refillable

MOB Beauty Cream Lipstick

MOB Beauty Cream Lipstick

MOB Beauty

What We Love: Not only is the tube refillable — it’s 100 percent recyclable, too.

What We Don’t Love: The bullet is very soft and has the tendency to melt if left out in the heat for long periods of time.

Listen, we know it’s a tough task, but finishing a full tube of lipstick isn’t impossible. If you find that you’re loyal to using one lip product until it’s fully gone, it could be a good idea to invest in a refillable option — and according to celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwin, MOB Beauty has the most lush refillable lipstick around. “The formula is vegan, and includes vitamin E, chamomile, and jojoba,” she explains. When combined, those three ingredients deliver abundant hydration. 

The bullet has a high pigment load of 20 percent, which ensures rich color payoff in a single swipe, too. Beyond being refillable, the cartridge is also completely recyclable, so if you ever decide you’re over this lipstick (we doubt that’ll happen) you can feel at ease knowing it will get another life. The only downfall of this pick is that it can melt if left out in the heat, so avoid keeping it in your car on hot days. 

Though Sisley Paris Phyto-Rouge Shine on our list is also refillable, this is a more economical option clocking in at less than half the price of the luxe pick’s original and the refill.

Price at time of publish: $27; refill $22

Key Ingredients: Chamomile, jojoba, and vitamin E | Shades: 17 | Finish: Satin

Best Vegan

Saint Jane Luxury Lip Cream

Saint Jane Luxury Lip Cream in Halo

Neiman Marcus

What We Love: It's infused with a variety of silky botanicals that envelop our lips in much needed hydration.  

What We Don’t Love: Three of the hues include sesame oil, which is a common allergen.

When you think of lipstick, you may not consider it to be a skincare product — but that will change when you swipe on Saint Jane Luxury Lip Cream. A favorite of celebrity makeup artist Renee Loiz, this ultra-nourishing lip cream delivers rich, silky color, but its main selling point is how it makes lips feel, both immediately and over time. With a plethora of vitamin-rich botanicals including shea butter, sunflower seed oil, orange oil, and lemongrass oil, the vegan formula soothed, hydrated, and repaired our lips from the inside out. 

Though there isn’t a large array of shades available, Saint Jane has our lip wardrobe essentials covered with a few stunning pinks, nudes, and reds. Note that three of the hues (Ritual, Amen, and Soul), contain sesame oil, which is a common allergen, so avoid those shades if you have a sensitivity to the ingredient.

Price at time of publish: $28

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, candelilla, and carnauba wax | Shades: 7 | Finish: Satin

Saint Jane Beauty Luxury Lip Cream

InStyle / Jessica Juliao

Best Plumping

Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump

Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump


What We Love: It plumps lips with hydrating hyaluronic acid — so we don’t experience that irritating tingly feeling that comes with other lip volumizers.

What We Don’t Love: The clicker mechanism dispenses product, but we can’t retract it, so it’s easy to accidentally use too much.

Many lip plumpers have irritants, like bee venom or peppermint oil, to make lips temporarily look fuller. Not only can these ingredients create a stinging sensation that’s plain uncomfortable, they can also be extremely drying. But hyaluronic acid actually acts as a natural plumping agent that also moisturizes — and it happens to be the star ingredient in this gentle yet effective formula from Tarte. We questioned why we put our lips through the pain of stinging glosses once we coated them with this pillowy, moisturizing lipstick-balm.

Along with hyaluronic acid, it’s jam-packed with over 10 superfruits (including maracuja oil, watermelon, strawberry, and peach to name a few), that are rich in antioxidants and aid in boosting hydration. A single swipe makes our pout appear glassy and plump, and feel juicy and tingle-free. The clicking dispenser differentiates this from other picks on our list, but make sure not to go click-happy — doing so will administer too much and result in wasted product.

Price at time of publish: $21

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, maracuja oil, and grapeseed oil | Shades: 9 | Finish: Shiny

Best Sheer

Honest Beauty Lip Crayon Lush Sheer

Honest Beauty Lip Crayon Lush Sheer

Credo Beauty

What We Love: The jumbo crayon makes it easy to get a sheer wash of color in one swipe.

What We Don’t Love: While the hydration factor is noticeable, it isn’t very long lasting, so we found the need to reapply every few hours to keep our lips comfortable.

Highly pigmented lipsticks have their time and place, but sometimes all we really need is a sheer wash of color to breathe life into our complexion. On those days, we find ourselves reaching for the Honest Beauty Lip Crayon. Available in seven velvety shades that complement all skin tones, this jumbo crayon has quickly become a staple for us. It contains a conditioning blend of shea butter, murumuru butter, and coconut oil that leaves our lips significantly softer in seconds. The oversized crayon allows us to easily fish it out of our purse in a pinch to achieve a perfect flush in a single swipe. While it does have an immediate moisturizing effect, it wears off pretty quickly, so you’ll have to reapply every few hours if your lips are prone to drying out, (like ours are).

Price at time of publish: $9 (originally $13)

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, murumuru, and coconut oil | Shades: 7 | Finish: Subtly shiny

Best Multitasking

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Shine On Lipstick

 Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Shine On Lipstick


What We Love: It provides vivid color when used on lips, but also manages to look very subtle when used as a blush or eyeshadow. 

What We Don’t Love: The packaging gives the illusion that the bullet would be bigger.

One trend that continues to stand the test of time is monochromatic makeup — and we understand why. The simplistic look can be completed with minimal effort, and only takes one product to master. Trust us when we say there’s no better thing to dust across your lips, cheeks, and eyes than Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Shine On. The creamy, hyaluronic acid-infused formula beautifully blends into the skin when used on cheeks and eyes, but manages to pack a striking punch of color (and hydration) across the lips with a high shine that lasts for 12 hours. The packaging is also a work of art, but due to its sculpturesque nature, it gives the illusion that the bullet inside would be bigger, which is slightly disappointing. 

Price at time of publish: $25

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid and red cranberries | Shades: 21 | Finish: Satin-shine

Our Testing Process

After researching the most popular hydrating lipsticks and asking makeup artists for their tried-and-true favorites, we put more than 30 formulas to the test over a three month period to see which ones keep lips moisturized and comfortable. During this process we considered the shade range and longevity of each lippie, and analyzed how soft our lips felt over the course of the day. After wearing every lipstick a minimum of eight hours, we narrowed the pool down to 12 formulas that we found ourselves reaching for again and again.

What to Keep in Mind


The finish of your lipstick can completely change your overall look, but ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Because juicy, shiny lips are often synonymous with hydration, moisturizing lipsticks typically have a satin or shiny finish.

Satin finishes, like what you get from Saint Jane Luxury Lip Cream, fall somewhere between a shine and a matte in order to look fairly natural depending on the color you choose. But on the other hand, shiny lipsticks, such as Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Plump, give the appearance of more voluminous lips thanks to the sheen. But that’s not to say a matte lip will automatically make your lips look chapped. Sunnies Face Fluffmatte offers a surprising amount of hydration for its matte finish, it just may not be as nourishing as other choices.


What’s inside your lipstick can determine whether or not it will provide your lips with much-needed hydration. Loiz says that butters, oils, and waxes are ideal for enhancing hydration. Beyond that, ceramides and peptides deeply nourish lips from within while also reducing damage from external aggressors — helping to keep lips soft and healthy in the long run. Our best overall winner, Smashbox Be Legendary Prime + Plush Lipstick, is infused with an array of oils and waxes, as well as ceramides and peptides. Hyaluronic acid is also an effective hydration magnet and can be found in a few of our picks, including Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Shine On and Sisley Paris Phyto-Rouge Shine.


Beyond the finish and the ingredients, the color of your lipstick is perhaps the most important aspect to consider because it can alter your entire look. There are thousands of lipsticks hues to choose from, ranging from nudes and pinks to bolder options like burgundy, coral, and even purple. 

First decide if you’re looking for an everyday shade or something for special occasions. For the former, you’re probably going to want to stick to neutrals or sheer options. Sisley Paris Phyto-Rouge Shine offers nine natural-looking shades that start sheer but can be built up for more impact. L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick also makes for a great day to day pick because each hue imparts just enough color to brighten your complexion without looking too intense. 

Special occasions are the perfect time to be a bit more adventurous with your lipstick color. If you’re looking for a new signature red that maintains vibrancy, Armani Beauty Lip Power Longwear Satin Lipstick has four scarlet hues to complement all skin tones. Smashbox Be Legendary Prime + Plush Lipstick created some less traditional eye-catching shades, like Some Nerve, a bold electric purple, and Super Bloom, a bright neon orange that makes a statement all on its own. Pick something that you feel confident in — it’s simply an added bonus that whatever lipstick you pick will also keep your lips exceptionally hydrated.

Your Questions, Answered

How does lipstick moisturize lips?

According to Irwin, it’s all in the formula. “Some formulas are meant to work as skincare, too, while some lipsticks are purely meant to be color only,” she says. Looking at the ingredients will be a good indicator as to whether or not your lipstick will be moisturizing. Loiz recommends looking for formulas that contain butters, oils, or waxes — these ingredients will help keep your lips well-hydrated. Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides are also powerhouse hydrators. 

How can you keep your lips hydrated while wearing lipstick?

Ensuring your lips stay hydrated while wearing lipstick starts in the prep. Remember: Your lips are a part of your skin, so you should care for them just like you would the rest of your body, says Eddie Duyos, professional makeup artist and Senior Manager of Pro Education & Artistry for Make Up For Ever. Before applying your lipstick, “apply a thin layer of your favorite lip balm or salve, then lightly blot the excess,” he explains. This hydrating layer will prevent dryness and flakes and offers an extra layer of hydration when wearing a moisturizing lipstick. Before bed, you can apply a lip mask to lock in essential moisture, too. 

Can you keep your lips moisturized when wearing matte lipstick?

While some matte formulas can be hydrating (like Sunnies Face Fluffmatte) mattes are notoriously drying. To make sure your lips stay comfortable and smooth while wearing matte lipstick, you’ll want to adequately prep them. Irwin suggests using a scrub beforehand because “matte formulas tend to enhance dry skin.” After the scrub, let either a super moisturizing lip balm or lip mask sit on your lips for 10-15 minutes. Then, wipe off the excess before applying the matte lipstick. “Doing this will always give you a beautiful end result, and your lips won’t feel dried out or uncomfortable later,” says Duyos. 

Why Trust InStyle?

Mary Honkus is a Beauty Commerce Editor at InStyle with over four years of experience covering makeup, skincare, and hair care. She is partial to lipsticks, and has over 30 currently in rotation. To find the 12 more hydrating lipsticks available, she tested every single product on this list and consulted with three professional makeup artists (Renee Loiz, Eddie Duyos, and Mary Irwin) to find out what ingredients will impart the most hydration. 

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