The 7 Best Drugstore Lipsticks, All Under $12

My top lipstick picks, in shades for every mood and season.
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Natacha Medeiros
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My top lipstick picks, in shades for every mood and season.

Up to now, you know which drugstore blushes I'm crushing on and got the scoop on my fave, inexpensive lip glosses. Now, it's time for me to share my must-have lipsticks. 

Over the past few years, I've come to love lipstick more and more. It's a great, easy way to bring a pop of colour to your face, and now that fall's here, I can't wait to experiment with deeper, darker colours on my lips. So get your notebooks out, girls! You'll want to remember these for your next trip to the drugstore.

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor in Hot, Bombshell and Sweet

Available in a ridiculous number of colours (44 to be exact—how does one choose?), you can find your perfect shade in CoverGirl's Lip Perfection Lipcolor range. I somehow narrowed it down to these three:

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor swatches

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor swatches

Hot, Bombshell, and Sweet. Yep, they're that pretty on the lips, too.

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Hot

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor in Hot

Gosh, who doesn't love a classic red lip? Hot is smooth and creamy; definitely not matte. That means it's never drying on my lips (A+) and keeps a nice shine. I also like this lippy because once it starts to fade, it leaves a super-pretty raspberry stain on my lips—so if I don't remember to re-apply, I'm still covered. 

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Bombshell

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor in Bombshell

A bright, creamy pink is perfect for any time of year, and Bombshell is no exception. With the same great formula as Hot, it leaves my lips nice and moisturized throughout the day and never settles into fine lines. Love this colour!

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Sweet

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipcolor in Sweet

This peachy shade gives me a real spring/summer vibe, and I (already) can't wait for those seasons to make their way back so I can wear something Sweet. (See what I did there?) Lame jokes aside, how pretty is this? Same awesome formula as the ones above and the colour is as gorge as can be. The only drawback to these lipsticks is that they could smell a little better... that's it!

Where to buy: Well.ca, Drugstore.com, ULTA Beauty, Target, Amazon.caAmazon.com

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick

Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 01, 04 and 05

Anything by Kate Moss must be good, right? From her Topshop collaborations to these Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipsticks, I'm really digging the Moss movement. 

Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss swatches

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick swatches

These come in 10 shades, and swatched here are 01, 04, and 05

Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss 01

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 01

I think 01 may be an even more classic red than CoverGirl's Hot, and I love that it's got a little oomph to it for evening drama. This one is super-pigmented and goes on like silk—very creamy and dreamy. Even though I'm super-pale, I think this red looks great on me, so I'll go ahead and say I'm pretty sure it's universally flattering. I found it wore off really nicely and left me with a subtle stain, which I really don't mind when wearing reds. 

Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss 04

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 04

Whoa, Nelly! Talk about intense. While I'm too pale to pull off 04 without looking like a Goth, this rich purple would look awesome on darker skin tones. Since it's the same formula as the other two here from Rimmel, I'd say it's a winner. 

Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss 05

Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 05

Ah, now that's more like it. This pink, 05, is right in my comfort zone, perfect for every day, don't you think? Since it's a little lighter, I found I could get away with fewer re-applications, or even just applying it once in the morning and then balm throughout the day. Like the others, this had a buttery-smooth application.

Where to buy: Well.ca, ULTA BeautyDrugstore.com, Amazon.com

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge in Charismatic Coral, Persistent Plum and Perennial Pink

After picking up one of these (Persistent Plum) last winter, I knew I had to have more Infallible Le Rouge in my life. They promise 10 hours of wear and are available in 19 colours, from neutral pinks to those rich fall shades I'm lusting after right now. Plus, I love how there's virtually no scent in these, so if you're sensitive to perfumes or hate that play-doh smell some lipsticks have, these should do the trick. 

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge swatches

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge swatches

Here's what Charismatic Coral, Persistent Plum and Perennial Pink look like when swatched. (But I could've done without the alliterations, L'Oréal.)

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge Charismatic Coral

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge in Charismatic Coral

How pretty! Rich, creamy and moisturizing is how I'd describe this line—with Charismatic Coral being no exception. This shade had the slightest bit of shimmer in it, but it was hardly detectible once on the lips, so don't fret if shimmer isn't your thing.  

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge Persistent Plum

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge in Persistent Plum

Love this shade! Persistent Plum is the one I picked up last winter, in search for a deeper plum shade that I could actually pull off (i.e. not as intense as Rimmel's 04), and I'm a big fan. There's a photo of it in action here (total selfie-style) if you'd like to see how it works with my mug. It works for me because it's a little more of a red plum rather than a purple plum, and the creamy formula means I can wear it all day without it drying out. I definitely have to reapply this one a few times over the day—it doesn't last 10 hours as claimed—but even between applications I'm left with a nice stain. Totally breaking this out again for the cooler weather!

L'Oreal Infallible Le Rouge Perennial Pink

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Le Rouge in Perennial Pink

Perennial Pink is one of those everyday pink shades that can be worn with virtually anything. It's coming off a little frosty in the photo (I'm thinking due to flash), but I can promise it's not frosty. It has a hint of shimmer, but again it's not really noticeable once on the lips. The pretty colour along with the great Infallible formula means we've got ourselves a winner. 

Where to buy: Well.ca, Drugstore.com, ULTA Beauty, Amazon.com

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in Hot Plum, Electric Orange and On Fire Red

So you want some brights in your life? Look no further than Maybelline's Color Sensational Vivids. There are only eight shades to choose from, but having less options does make our lives (and trips to the drugstore) a little easier. There's some yummy honey nectar in this stuff for soft, supple lips. 

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids swatches

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids swatches

That's On Fire Red, Electric Orange, and Hot Plum when swatched. So vibrant! 

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids On Fire Red

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in On Fire Red

I love red lips, can you tell? Nothing bad to say here about On Fire Red. Like all of the Vivids lipsticks, this gives you a glossy finish and is hydrating, plus the red leaves a nice stain on the lips after it fades. 

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Electric Orange

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in Electric Orange

A bright orange that I'm not terrified of? It exists! I'm kind of amazed at how pigmented these Vivids shades are. Electric Orange only took one swipe for full coverage... and look how nice it is! It's super-creamy on (thanks, honey nectar!) and stayed supple on my lips for a long time.

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Hot Plum

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids in Hot Plum

Hot Plum is right. Just look at how intense that colour is! I love it. For some reason, I feel like this would look so nice in fall, even though it's crazy bright. Like the rest in this line, super-pigmented, super-soft and glides on the lips so smoothly. Nothing bad to say about these Vivids—which is, I guess, why they made the list!

Where to buy: Well.ca, Drugstore.com, ULTA Beauty, TargetAmazon.com

Essence Longlasting Lipstick

Essence Longlasting Lipstick

Essence Longlasting Lipstick

Nothing beats a $2.99 price tag. Nothing. So duh, these Essence Longlasting Lipsticks made the list, of course. But they're not just inexpensive—they're actually gorgeous on. Let's take a look! 

Essence Longlasting Lipstick swatches

Essence Longlasting Lipstick swatches

Check out these shades: Dare To Be Nude, Wear Berries, and On the Catwalk! As you can see, they're not matte and have a nice shine to them. 

Essence Dare To Be Nude

Essence Longlasting Lipstick in Dare To Be Nude

Talk about your lips only better. Dare To Be Nude is just one of those easy-to-wear colours that'll look good any time of the year. The formula is nice and creamy and, while this won't last you all day without re-application, I can't complain about the lasting power. Again, $2.99!

Essence Wear Berries

Essence Longlasting Lipstick in Wear Berries

I love this berry shade, Wear Berries. It's a little richer in person than it's coming off in the photo, making it perfect for fall if you're not quite ready to delve into much deeper colours. This is easily wearable and, like Dare to be Nude, lasts pretty decently throughout the day.

Essence On the Catwalk

Essence Longlasting Lipstick in On the Catwalk!

I'm kind of obsessed with this shade, On the Catwalk! It's like a red-toned berry colour and it's perfect. Plus, it might surprise you that these lipsticks are pretty pigmented. I didn't really have to build up this colour, it just glides on nice and smooth. I think I'll be reaching for it all fall-long.  

Where to buy: ULTA Beauty 

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick in Romance, Innocence and Yours Forever 

These Gosh Velvet Touch Lipsticks are pretty in and out of the tube, with great pigmentation. Plus, you get to choose from 22 colours. Yay! 

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick swatches

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick swatches

Romance, Innocence and Yours Forever all have a little sheen to them when swatched. 

Gosh Velvet Touch Romance

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick in Romance

Romance is gorgeous! Another one that's great for every day. As far as all the lipsticks on this list go, I definitely found Gosh to be the creamiest of them all. They literally went on like butter. I'm loving this shade for all year round and its lasting power is pretty good, though it does need touching up mid-day. 

Gosh Velvet Touch Innocence

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick in Innocence

For those of you searching for a baby pink with an amazing formula, Innocence might be the answer to your prayers. At first, I found this one a little hard to get the colour evenly on my lips, but it works better if you blot it with a tissue and spread it on with your fingers.

Gosh Velvet Touch Yours Forever

Gosh Velvet Touch Lipstick in Yours Forever

Another reddish berry hue that I'm crushing on is Yours Forever. Just perfect for fall and the crisp weather. Gosh's amazingly creamy formula never leaves my lips dry and this shade gives a pretty stain once faded. A total winner in my books.  

Where to buy: Shoppers Drug Mart

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color in Roseberry and Classic Red

Ah, Sonia Kashuk. This brand is quickly climbing my drugstore favourites ladder because everything they make is so good, including the Satin Luxe Lip Color. I have two of 13 shades and I'm lusting after the other 11. And don't even get me started on their packaging. Of all the lipsticks on this list, Sonia Kashuk's had the most luxurious packaging: sleek black tubes with colour swatches on the tops, and they just felt expensive. 

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color swatches

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color swatches

Here's Classic Red and Roseberry for you; just look at how intense that colour is! Oh, and did I mention these have SPF 16?

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Classic Red

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color in Classic Red

Oh mah gawd. Classic Red might be my favourite red out of the, what, four others on this list? It's just so pigmented and crazy gorgeous, I could wear this all day, every day. Plus, these are really creamy, so lips won't get all dry and uncomfortable during the day (or night!). I love this and that's all you need to know. 

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Roseberry

Sonia Kashuk Satin Luxe Lip Color in Roseberry

Roseberry is a muted mauve that's neutral enough to wear all the time. But it also gives a nice little something-something to the lips, making it special enough to wear for a night out, if you prefer. I wore this all day and it managed to stay put through most of it, and I didn't feel like I needed to apply a balm every half hour either. It's pretty perfect, if you ask me. 

Where to buy: Target

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Have Your Say

Have you tried any of the lipsticks on this list? Which shades are your favourites? Got any other drugstore lipstick picks?