Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has beaten rivals including the iconic Chanel Rouge Coco as Which? tests reveal the red lipstick with the greatest staying power.
Red lipstick may be a staple item in every make-up bag, but finding one that can survive a busy day, especially now face masks are a part of everyday life, can be a challenge.
Which? tested 10 matte and satin lipsticks, from brands including Chanel, Maybelline and Tom Ford, to find the lipstick that held up best when faced with the rigours of modern life.
Three Which? researchers, aged between 24 and 56, tested each lipstick in different scenarios: while wearing a face mask and reading out loud, eating three different types of food, and kissing the back of their hand.
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint was the top choice for all three Which? experts and was awarded a Which? Editor’s Choice. It maintained its colour through all tests and was the only lipstick that did not require a touch-up or additional application.
Described by Fenty Beauty as a “weightless, long-wear liquid lipstick with a soft matte finish”, the Stunna Lip Paint triumphed when tested with face masks, which involved the researchers wearing a white face mask, with the lipstick on, and reading aloud a 900-word article. The Fenty Beauty Lip Paint left only a faint stain on the masks.
The £20 Lip Paint also performed well and retained its colour during the food test, which involved taking two bites of a muffin and an apple while wearing the lipstick, as well as tackling 40g of plain buttered spaghetti. Which?’s researchers noted that the matte formula “wasn’t drying like some of the other matte lipsticks”.
While Fenty Beauty claimed the top spot as the best lipstick for staying power, L’Oreal’s affordable Matte Liquid Lipstick was the second favourite for two Which? researchers and joint-top for another.
As a worthy contender, it was also awarded a Which? Editor’s Choice. At just £10.99, the lipstick retained its colour well throughout all tests, with the testers also commenting that it was hard to remove after the tests were completed.
Chanel’s Rouge Coco in the Carmen shade, which at £33 was the second most expensive lipstick tested, performed disappointingly in Which? tests and finished at the bottom for two of the three Which? experts.
The Chanel lipstick failed to maintain its colour during the tests, struggling particularly with the eating and kissing tests. For the latter, which involved researchers placing their lips on the back of their hand, the Rouge Coco left large red stains on their hands and testers noted colour loss on their lips.
Other lipsticks that failed to impress Which? testers included NARS Lipstick, which had the most loss of colour and bleeding during the food tests, and Maybelline Color Sensational Made for All Lipstick, with one researcher noting bleeding and smudging throughout testing.
While the Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick was also a contender with impressive staying power, other lipsticks such as Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution, Mac Matte Lipstick and Tom Ford Lip Colour earned mixed reviews.
Matthew Knight, Which? Product Testing Expert, said:
“No make-up bag is complete without a staple red lipstick, and for a long-lasting product that won’t fade after wearing a face mask and a bite to eat, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty beat contenders from some iconic brands in Which?’s tests.
“For a more affordable lipstick that retains its crimson colour during a typical day, consider L’Oreal’s Paris Rouge. Our tests revealed that if you’re looking for a long-lasting lippy, it’s worth opting for a liquid, matte finish lipstick over traditional bullet-style products.”
Notes to editor
Which? tested ten red lipsticks in various scenarios which included: wearing a white face mask with the lipstick on while reading a 900-word article, taking two bites of a muffin and an apple and eating 40g of plain, buttered spaghetti.
Which? awards “Editor’s Choice” to products and services which have satisfied or exceeded specific criteria based on the results of rigorous comparative tests and analysis carried out by Which? experts.
Please see a link below to video on the investigation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWGy11V8avQ
Please see below a list of all brands tested and the recommended retail price:
- Chanel Rouge Coco – Carmen – £33
- Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution – Red Carpet Red – £25
- Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Colour – Uncensored – £20
- Huda Beauty Power Bullet Matte Lipstick Icon Collection – El Cinco De Mayo – £22
- L’Oreal Paris Rouge Signature Matte Liquid Lipstick – I Don’t – £10.99
- Mac Matte Lipstick – Lady Danger – £17.50
- Maybelline Color Sensational Made For All Lipstick – Red For Me – £7.99
- Nars Lipstick – Bad Reputation – £22
- NYX Professional Makeup Shout Loud Satin Lipstick – Red Haute – £8.00
- Tom Ford Lip Colour – Ruby Rush – £44
Four lessons from testing lipstick
- Liquid lipsticks are more impressive than traditional bullet lipsticks. The two liquid lipsticks Which? tested were all voted as favourites by the testers.
- Matte finish lipstick seems to stay put better than satin finish lipstick. Which?’s testers’ first and second choice spots were filled almost completely with matte lipsticks.
- Condensation from wearing a mask can remove your lipstick just as easily as your lips making contact with your mask. One Which? tester voted Chanel worst in the mask test but although the lipstick had bled, it had barely left a mark on the mask.
- Buttered spaghetti posed the greatest challenge for the lipsticks. The greasiness from the butter broke down the formulas, showing which lipsticks could really stand the test of time and which couldn’t.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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