I'll be completely honest when I say that I own drawers (yes, plural) of lipsticks and glosses. Super-pigmented mattes, creamy bullets, shiny glosses—you name it, I've tried it and worn it to my heart's content. But as any true, full-time lipstick wearer knows, lipstick without primer is the equivalent of peanut butter without jelly. Even my favorite, most coveted formulas will fade, crack, and dry without the help of a powerful balm to keep them in place.
And after testing just about every priming cream, balm, pencil, and gloss on the market, I've homed in on the seven best lip primers. Ones that yield such excellent results, even skeptics will fall in love. Shop them all, below, and watch your lipstick stay where it belongs—on your lips, not your coffee cup.
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick, $11
Matte-lipstick fiends, listen up. One layer of this unassuming French chapstick creates the perfect, non-sticky canvas for an incredibly smooth, crease-free lip that will legitimately stay put through a full day of work (i.e. snacking and more snacking).
Hourglass No. 28 Lip Treatment Oil, $44
This high-end, vape-like tube houses a cocktail of 14 essential oils—including lavender, rosemary, and vanilla—which leaves any lipstick formula with a semi-glossy, incredibly hydrating finish.
Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil, $18
Resist the urge to slather this formula all over bare lips. Instead, use a light hand and gently trace the edges of your lips to create a barrier against smudging and feathering. And if shaky lipstick application is a thorn in your side, the stick can also be used as a corrector to clean up smudges and mistakes post-application.
Wander Beauty Rise and Prime Balm and Primer Duo, $39
This dual-ended stick is the ultimate throw-it-in-your-purse product: The clear balm is loaded with skin-soothing shea butter and olive oil to soften lips, while the tinted end preps skin and locks in your lipstick with a combination of green tea extract, vitamin E, and willow bark extract.
Plus, this stick isn’t just for your lips—it’s safe to use on your face and body if you've got a few dry patches that need some TLC.
Gabriel Cosmetics Vegan Lip Primer, $14
Proof that you don’t need to shell out the big bucks for a solid primer. This natural, drugstore option coats lips in vitamin E to lock in skin’s natural moisture. Layer it underneath your favorite lipstick, or wear the beige tint on its own for a subtle hint of color.
MAC Prep + Prime Lip, $17
Spread this tried-and-true, color-free formula across your lips before swiping on your lipstick, and you’ll be left with a soft, velvety (and we don't use that word lightly) canvas that magically locks in color all damn day. Bonus: The thin tip allows for über-precise clean up and lip-lining, in a pinch.
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Lip-Fix Cream, $22
If dry, cracked lips have made you a lipstick hater, allow this ultra-nourishing cream to change your mind. While the formula doesn't promise extraordinary staying powers (sorry, but you can't have everything in the world all at once, okay?), a tiny drop on bare lips creates a silky-smooth base that'll keep your lipsticks—especially the matte liquid variety—from settling into cracks.