There are lots of qualities that a good lipstick has to have. It has to be easy to apply and it should glide over your lips. It should deliver the perfect amount of color and have a pretty finish, be it matte, glossy, or somewhere in between. The perfect lipstick should also be long-wearing and transfer-proof. You do not want that unsightly lipstick mark over every glass you use, and you definitely do not want your partner to end up with lipstick marks all over his or her face. It doesn’t matter how much product stays on your lips; if you leave embarrassing lipstick marks everywhere, it’s never good.
Valentine’s Day is coming up, so the need for a kiss-proof lipstick is just as critical as finding a good dress and gift. I decided to put a few long-wearing lip products to the test to see which ones were really kiss-proof without using any lip primer or topcoat. Since no Sexiest Man Alive winners were available, I tested each lipstick out on my arm to see how well they stayed. For each test, I did 10 kisses per lippy.
Take a look at the results:
1. Vesuvius Liquid Lipstick in Vesuvian Red ($24, Lipstick Queen)
This lippy goes on exactly like a gloss and the first thing you experience is the fresh minty sensation. It has a high shine but it doesn’t feel sticky. It also promises long-wearing color with no feathering. It doesn’t bleed, but the shiny color did transfer to my wrist.
2. Salvation Velvet Lip Lacquer in Rebel ($5, Makeup Revolution)
I had high hopes for this one. It dried almost instantly as I was applying it to my lips. It’s described as touch-proof and long-wearing. In the kiss test, there was a little bit of transfer which explains the vampire bite-like marks on my arm. Overall, the majority of the product did stay on my lips. When it came to removing it, even the marks on my arm required makeup remover to get off. For the price point, it’s a great option.
3. Gossamer Lip Stain in Have a Heart ($9.99, H&M)
I have reviewed H&M’s Lip Stains before and I was impressed with how long-wearing they were, but I did not test out how kiss-proof they were. The stain goes on like a non-goopy gloss and takes a bit longer than the others to dry. Once it dried, it has a soft sheer finish. You can see that it did not transfer any color onto my arm. There is a very, very slight residue from the stain but it is barely perceptible. A winner.
4. Full Moon Party Lipstick in Burgundy ($22, Chosunagh 22)
This chubby lip pencil has a flat bullet as opposed to a pointed one. It’s a long-wearing lipstick and liner in one. It goes on creamy like a lipstick and the flat bullet is handy because you can use the side to get a precise outline then color in the rest. As for the kiss test, there was some faint color transfer onto my arm.
5. FlowerColor Lipstick in Sangria ($19.95, Ecco Bella)
This lipstick is a lot lighter than the others. It was more like a tinted lip balm than a bold lipstick. It is formulated with vegetable waxes, oils, and mineral pigments… There was some transfer but the good thing about it is because it is so light, it isn’t as noticeable.
6. Velour Lovers Lip Color in Foreplay ($28, Laura Mercier)
Hello, sexy lipstick name alert. This is a pigmented long-wearing lippy with a semi-matte finish. It’s a bold color, so it is very obvious when it comes transfer. The product did come off on my arm, but considering it is such a bold shade, it could have been a lot more obvious.
7. Tarteist Lip Paint in Manbun ($20, Tarte)
This lip paint dries almost instantly on application to a matte finish. I was expecting this one to hold pretty well, but alas, my arm ended up covered in lip prints. There was still a lot of color on my lips, but the dense opaque color was gone and all that remained was a faint lip stain.
8. Matte to the Max Liquid Lipstick in Gigi ($20, Velvet 59 by Paris Manning)
This liquid lipstick has an easy-to-apply light glossy consistency that glides onto lips. It doesn’t dry as fast as a lip stain so you have a chance to correct it if you make any mistakes before it goes into a matte finish. It is a definite winner in the kiss department. There is not one mark on my arm. My lipstick looked exactly the same before and after the kiss test.
9. Lasting Lip Color in Brazilian Nut ($25, Osmosis)
This creamy lipstick was easy to apply thanks to the skinny bullet. It promises long-lasting color that will stay put through eating and drinking. It felt great to wear but came off with each kiss. The kiss prints were subtle so it does make a valiant attempt at hanging on.
10. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Beso ($24, Birchbox)
This liquid lipstick is described as a lippy that glides on like a gloss but lasts like a stain. It went onto my lips easily, then dried to matte stain. It also definitely lived up to its name. There is not one transfer mark on my arm. It held up to the kiss test and didn’t initially want to budge when I tried to remove it. Another winner.
11. Moisture Matte Lip Color in Smoke ($32, Le Metier de Beaute)
This lipstick doesn’t go on as intense as the bullet looks. However, you can layer the color to make it more bold. In terms of the kiss test, there was the transfer. It wasn’t an obvious amount, but you couldn’t call it transfer-proof.
12. Color Statement Moisture Matte Lipstick in 67 Matte Confident ($5.99, Milani)
This lipstick goes on very creamy for a matte lippy. It promises smear-proof, long-lasting wear that will stand up to a cappuccino cup. We’re not testing coffee, but in terms of the kiss test, it did transfer.
13. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Matte Lip Tar Test Tube in Strumpet ($16 for full size, Birchbox)
The peppermint oils in this matte lippy is great for a fresh breath feeling and it makes it comfortable to wear. However, that is probably what made it transfer more easily than other lippies.
14. Matte Revolution Lipstick in Matte Tilt ($18, Urban Decay)
This is one of the creamiest matte lipsticks in the bunch. It just glides on lips and it feels so nice to wear. Unfortunately, it didn’t pass the kiss test. If you are looking for a bold lipstick and you do not plan on kissing anyone, this is a good option.
Beauty Expert & Hairstylist, Contributing Editor
Dorothy has been a beauty fanatic since she was a preteen growing up in a small Idaho town. She honed her makeup and hair skills on her willing mother and she’s a pro with a pair of tweezers, having fixed many a friend’s unibrow in college. Susan believes the true secret to beauty comes from within, but the right application of mascara and lipstick can help.