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Though your lips only occupy a small area of real estate on your face, they can succinctly communicate the woman you want to be at any given moment: The mysterious chick, the girl next door, the sexy siren, you name it. Well, that's if you paint them with the right lip makeup. We here at Total Beauty understand how important it is to wear the right lipstick (shade, texture, formula), and the difficulty that comes with the hunt. That's why we took on the grueling (note the sarcasm) task of trying and testing the newest lip colors on the shelves and counters to bring you the crème de la crème of lip makeup today.

See the editors' best lipstick finds now.

We know that lipstick shades are subjective (and specifically tailored to certain skin tones, hair colors, personality types, etc.), so when testing and judging these lip colors, we focused on the brilliance of their pigments, the smoothness of their application, their longevity, and, of course, their scents (this is a bit odd, but if you don't want your lips to smell like roses or grandma, you better sniff that stick before you buy). Basically, we touched on all of the characteristics we find important in a lip color and weeded out any products that didn't live up to expectations. In the end we wound up with these 12 superstars.

Once you've found the perfect lip makeup for you, follow these tips to avoid making any lip color faux pas:

• Use a lip scrub to slough off dead skin cells so you have a smooth canvas for color. This is especially important to do before wearing bold or dark shades.
• Wipe off any lip balm or moisture that might be on your lips before applying color so it doesn't slip off.
• When using red or bold colors, always use a nude lip liner, or one that exactly matches the color you're applying, to prevent it from bleeding.
• After color application, blot your lips on a tissue then dust loose powder around your mouth to help ensure long-lasting color.
• After applying a bold hue, stick your index finger in your mouth and pull it out while your lips are puckered around it. This will prevent color from transferring onto your teeth.

OK, what are you waiting for? See the editors' best lipstick finds now.

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color SPF 12, $25
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Tester: Kristen Oldham Giordani, Executive Editor
Rating: 8

What she thought: "I'll ask myself some FAQs for your sake. Ready? OK. So self, does it last? Yes, I only had to reapply it twice in a longer-than-12-hour day. Is it drying? Surprisingly, not really. Though the pigments are intense and gorgeous (I tested the Sweet Nectar hue, a warm, coral shade which garnered many compliments), thanks to the 'colorless base' it feels lightweight and slightly moisturizing on your lips. How many shades does it come in? 12, from a bubblegum pinky hue to a deep crimson color. Any other redeeming qualities? Yes, it contains SPF 12, so that one area on your face that often gets forgotten where sunscreen is concerned will now be covered. Pretty great, huh?"

Jouer Hydrating Lipstick, $22
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Tester: Sharon Yi, Assistant Editor
Rating: 8

What she thought: "I put this on dry lips in the morning -- without using any Chapstick or balm first -- and though it's a lipstick, my lips felt instantly moisturized. And they didn't dry out or feel tight hours later. The color stayed true and matte and didn’t settle in my lines or emphasize chapped areas, which is awesome. And as for any nasty lipstick scent? Jouer had no fragrance at all. I mean, who wants their lips to smell like makeup when we lean in for a kiss, right?"

Dior Rouge Dior Replenishing Lipcolour, $30
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Tester: Anna Jimenez, Associate Editor
Rating: 8.5

What she thought: "The pigment is rich and deep. It glides on effortlessly without caking in any areas (my number one pet peeve with a lot of lipsticks) and stays put ALL day long. I literally put it on when I woke up, ate two meals and still found the color to be in tact by dinnertime. All I had to do was dab a bit on the middle of my mouth and I was ready for the evening. Crazy. Only downside to this product is that it smells like your grandma's perfume. If you hate a strong-scented lipstick, you will not enjoy this product, but if you don't mind it, it might just be your new favorite."

Benefit Full-Finish Lipstick, $18
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Tester: Sarah Carrillo, Senior Associate Editor
Rating: 8.5

What she thought: "Benefit always has the cutest packaging and shade names; sometimes those alone are enough to make me want to buy the products. But luckily this lipstick is more than just a pretty box. The coverage is full, but it doesn't look too thick or goopy -- except for a slight frosty sheen it's very natural looking. Plus it feels moisturizing, there's no lip chapping when you're using this. I also love that it has no scent at all (I'm not a fan of perfume-y makeup) and it lasted through my morning tea."

Though your lips only occupy a small area of real estate on your face, they can succinctly communicate the woman you want to be at any given moment: The mysterious chick, the girl next door, the sexy siren, you name it. Well, that's if you paint them with the right lip makeup. We here at Total Beauty understand how important it is to wear the right lipstick (shade, texture, formula), and the difficulty that comes with the hunt. That's why we took on the grueling (note the sarcasm) task of trying and testing the newest lip colors on the shelves and counters to bring you the crème de la crème of lip makeup today.

See the editors' best lipstick finds now.

We know that lipstick shades are subjective (and specifically tailored to certain skin tones, hair colors, personality types, etc.), so when testing and judging these lip colors, we focused on the brilliance of their pigments, the smoothness of their application, their longevity, and, of course, their scents (this is a bit odd, but if you don't want your lips to smell like roses or grandma, you better sniff that stick before you buy). Basically, we touched on all of the characteristics we find important in a lip color and weeded out any products that didn't live up to expectations. In the end we wound up with these 12 superstars.

Once you've found the perfect lip makeup for you, follow these tips to avoid making any lip color faux pas:

• Use a lip scrub to slough off dead skin cells so you have a smooth canvas for color. This is especially important to do before wearing bold or dark shades.
• Wipe off any lip balm or moisture that might be on your lips before applying color so it doesn't slip off.
• When using red or bold colors, always use a nude lip liner, or one that exactly matches the color you're applying, to prevent it from bleeding.
• After color application, blot your lips on a tissue then dust loose powder around your mouth to help ensure long-lasting color.
• After applying a bold hue, stick your index finger in your mouth and pull it out while your lips are puckered around it. This will prevent color from transferring onto your teeth.

OK, what are you waiting for? See the editors' best lipstick finds now.
BY SHARON J. YI | SHARES
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