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Lip Oil vs. Lip Gloss: The Ultimate Showdown

Ever wondered what sets lip oil apart from lip gloss? We've definitely been there! So, we decided to go straight to the pros and get the lowdown on this burning beauty question. According to the beauty gurus, there's a bunch of stuff that makes these two lip products similar yet different. Lip glosses, for example, …

Ever wondered what sets lip oil apart from lip gloss? We’ve definitely been there! So, we decided to go straight to the pros and get the lowdown on this burning beauty question. According to the beauty gurus, there’s a bunch of stuff that makes these two lip products similar yet different. Lip glosses, for example, give you that mega-watt shine and intense color pop, but they can also be a bit sticky. On the flip side, lip oils hydrate your lips while leaving them with a subtle hint of color and a nice shine. Basically, they both have their own cool perks, and you’d want them in your collection for different reasons. Stay with us as we dive into the nitty-gritty of lip oil vs. lip gloss.

Choosing Between Tinted Lip Oil and Lip Gloss: Picking the Perfect Formula for Your Preferences

Choosing between Tinted Lip Oil and Lip Gloss boils down to your lip condition and your specific goals:

  • If your aim is to shield your lips from external elements, reduce those pesky dehydration lines, and provide deep nourishment, then a tinted lip oil is your go-to. Keep in mind that the color payoff will be subtle, offering a natural finish that’s all about lip care.
  • On the flip side, if your mission is to make your lips pop and enhance your overall makeup look, lip gloss is your ride-or-die. Glosses deliver more intense color, adding a bold statement to your lips. You can even layer a gloss on top of a lip care product like our 9-ingredient transparent minimalist lip balm for a double whammy – the nurturing benefits of the balm combined with the aesthetic allure of the gloss. The choice is all yours, so go ahead and rock the look that suits your style and lip needs best!


Let’s break it down for you. Lip gloss, in most cases, boasts a sticky, somewhat weighty texture that tends to linger on the surface of your lips. While it does grant that coveted glossy sheen, it often falls short in the department of lip care, lacking the beneficial ingredients necessary to enhance your lip health.

Conversely, lip oils offer a feather-light finish that imparts a gorgeous shine without the bothersome stickiness. Say goodbye to those awkward moments when your hair gets tangled up with your lips! Moreover, natural lip oils are formulated with nourishing components that not only shield your lips but also elevate their innate beauty. In essence, lip oils bring both style and substance to the table, giving you the best of both worlds.


We’ve all been there, dealing with those annoying dry lips and reaching for a trusty lip balm. But here’s the deal: most lip balms are all about that waxy base. They kinda sit on your lips, giving you some short-term relief, but not much else.

Now, lip oils, they’re a whole different ballgame. These babies are made from natural oils that dive deep into your lips, bringing in moisture that sticks around for hours, no need to keep reapplying. Plus, they come with some nifty healing properties that do your lips a world of good over time. So, when you’re facing the dry lip dilemma, lip oil might just be your new best friend. It’s all about that lasting moisture and a little TLC for your pout.

What Is Lip Oil?

Lip oils fall right in the middle of the lip product spectrum, lighter than lip glosses yet a tad more substantial than lip balms. Their secret sauce usually consists of a blend of naturally derived or plant-based oils, often a mix of two or three, to create that cushy, comfortable feel. You’ll find ingredients like coconut, almond, avocado, sunflower seed, or jojoba oils, along with the powerhouse duo of vitamin E and hyaluronic acid in these lip-loving concoctions.

Now, why are lip oils a lifesaver for our lips? Well, our pout doesn’t come equipped with oil glands, which is where these beauties step in to keep them well-hydrated. To strike that perfect balance between comfort and protection, lip oils often include ingredients like polyglyceryl-2 isostearate and dimer dilinoleate copolymer. These components ensure that lip oils don’t feel overly greasy.

You might also come across hydrogenated polyisobutene, a familiar face in the world of lip products. It’s a go-to for adding shine while leaving your lips feeling soft and pampered.

But here’s the thing: while lip oils are top-notch when it comes to hydration and nourishment, they don’t pack a heavy pigment punch. Instead, they leave behind a sheer wash of color that’s more like a subtle stain. That’s why lip oils give your lips that natural, juicy look – perfect for those days when you want effortless beauty.

What Is Lip Gloss?

Lip gloss could be your ticket to achieving that glossy, almost vinyl-like finish for your lips. It’s the go-to for creating the illusion of plumper lips, thanks to its intense shine that surpasses what lip oil can offer. But here’s the deal – not all lip glosses are created equal.

In the world of lip gloss, you’ll find a spectrum of options. Some are on the sheer side, offering a subtle shimmer, while others boast rich pigmentation and may even dazzle with glitter or holographic pigments. What ties them all together is the presence of polybutene, a key ingredient responsible for that thick, ultra-glossy appearance.

In addition to polybutene, most lip glosses comprise a medley of oils, pigments, and waxes. According to experts, lip glosses often feature more thickeners and a higher pigment load to enhance their staying power. But, of course, the specific formulation can vary from one product to another, so you’ll want to explore and find the gloss that suits your style and preferences just right.

The Similarities


When it comes to the ingredients in lip oil and lip gloss formulas, there’s quite a bit of common ground. Let’s break it down:

  • First off, you’ll often find skin-soothing hydrogenated polyisobutene and thickening polybutene making appearances in both lip oils and lip glosses. These ingredients play a crucial role in achieving that desired texture and sheen.
  • But that’s not all – castor and mineral oils also join the party, making their way into both products, contributing to their overall formulation.
  • And let’s not forget about the natural oils; they’re a star player in many lip oils and glosses, adding their nourishing touch to the mix. So, whether you’re reaching for a lip oil or a gloss, you can count on these shared ingredients to keep your lips feeling and looking fabulous.


In the realm of lip products, the main hydrating players are typically naturally-derived oils, such as argan and coconut oil, along with the beloved hyaluronic acid. These ingredients are the secret sauce behind the moisturizing magic that lip oils and glosses provide.

Yet, here’s the catch: lip oils are often seen as superior hydrators compared to glosses, although it’s essential to remember that each formula has its own distinct character. As expert Fu points out, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule that states lip oils are always more hydrating than glosses or vice versa. It all boils down to the specific formulation, making it vital to explore different products to find the one that works best for your unique lip care needs.

Shine Factor

When it comes to achieving that luscious shine on your lips, both lip gloss and lip oil have got you covered, albeit in different ways. Typically, lip gloss is hailed for delivering a more intense shine, primarily because its formula forms a layer on the lips. In contrast, lip oil takes a deeper dive into your lips, working its magic to heal and hydrate from within while still leaving a lovely shine. So, whether you’re leaning toward gloss or oil, you can count on your lips glistening with a touch of brilliance.

Plumping Capabilities

When it comes to achieving fuller-looking lips, you’ll find a plethora of lip oils and glosses designed specifically for this purpose. These products often feature a lineup of ingredients like peppermint oil, cinnamon, and peptides, all working in harmony to give your lips that temporary plumping effect. Additionally, you’ll frequently come across pepper and ginger in the formulations of plumping lip glosses and oils. These natural ingredients create a tingling sensation and stimulate blood flow, resulting in a fuller appearance. So, if you’re in pursuit of that plumped pout, these are the go-to ingredients to look out for in your lip products.


Lip oil and gloss offer versatility by being perfect for solo wear or as a top layer over other lip products like lip liner and lipstick. Adding a gloss or oil as the final touch can truly elevate the overall look.

When you layer lip gloss over lipstick, for instance, you’ll experience a boost in color intensity, giving your lips a richer hue and added dimension. On the other hand, if you choose to layer lip oil over lipstick, you’ll create a beautiful shiny stain effect. So, whether you want to intensify the color or infuse a radiant finish, these lip products have the power to transform your lip game and enhance what’s underneath.

Ease of Use

Using lip oils and glosses is a breeze. Typically, they come equipped with a convenient wand applicator, although you can also find them in rollerball or squeeze tube packaging. Regardless of the format, applying these products to your lips is a quick and effortless process that takes just a few seconds.

The Differences


When comparing lip oils to gloss, you’ll notice a difference in weight and texture. Lip oils tend to be lighter in weight, offering a smoother and less sticky feel. Conversely, lip glosses often contain more synthetic ingredients, resulting in a thicker and stickier consistency.

It’s worth noting that certain lip glosses, especially those containing robust film-forming polymers (the components responsible for gloss stickiness), may lead to a sensation of dryness on the lips over time. So, while glosses provide that stunning shine, it’s essential to keep your lip comfort in mind when choosing your preferred product.

The Benefits

Lip oils keep your lips moisturized with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, plant-derived oils, and vitamin E, creating a protective barrier against the elements. Lip glosses usually lack this moisturizing feature.


Lip gloss imparts richer color due to its higher pigment concentration, providing a luscious, hydrating, high-gloss look. In contrast, lip oils offer a sheerer color, creating a charming popsicle-stained effect on your lips.

Staying Power

One notable distinction between lip oil and gloss lies in their durability on the lips. Lip oils, with their hydrating properties, tend to offer longer-lasting benefits compared to gloss. Gloss, on the other hand, typically sits atop the lips and may necessitate more frequent reapplication throughout the day.

The Benefits of Lip Oil 

We won’t hide our opinion… 9 times out of 10 we’re choosing lip oil over lip gloss. Not entirely convinced about the advantages of lip oil? Maybe these perks will sway you into hitting that “add to cart” button.

Seriously Hydrates  

One of the most significant advantages of lip oils is their ability to maintain lip hydration and smoothness, making them an excellent choice for individuals with dry lips in need of some much-needed moisture.

Softens & Plumps

Lip oils also play a role in maintaining soft and plump lips, potentially reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Nourishing Formula 

The oils used as a foundation in these formulas do a fantastic job of hydrating, smoothing, and plumping the lips. However, lip oil formulations often go the extra mile by incorporating additional skincare ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E, delivering a multitude of benefits in a single product. In some cases, lip oils even feature antioxidants, offering protection against free radical damage for your lips.

Long Lasting Shine 

Lip oils provide enduring shine and hydration to the lips, capable of revitalizing them on their own. They essentially serve as a dual-purpose solution, combining treatment and makeup into one product. These oils work to replenish the skin’s natural equilibrium while also acting as a protective shield against environmental factors.

Beautiful & Layerable 

Aside from the skincare perks they offer, lip oils also deliver a visually stunning result. The added shine imparts a subtle sparkling effect, which can create the illusion of fuller lips. What’s more, you have the flexibility to layer lip oils over balms or lipsticks to achieve that glossy finish while locking in moisture for your lips. It’s a win-win for both beauty and lip care enthusiasts!

Lip Oils to Try 

If you’re itching to give lip oils a shot, these makeup artist-recommended picks are a great place to start:

  • Fenty Cherry Treat Conditioning + Strengthening Lip Oil ($24; Sephora): This one is for those who adore the thickness of gloss but crave the benefits and silkiness of lip oil. It’s thick, yet smooth, non-sticky, and enriched with jojoba seed and rosehip fruit oils, as well as antioxidants.
  • Dior Addict Lip Glow Color-Awakening Lip Oil ($40; Sephora): We are absolutely smitten with this lip oil, labeling it a true showstopper. With a range of color options and a fantastic applicator, it offers high shine without the stickiness.
  • Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir ($40; Sephora): The splurge favorite, this lip oil boasts a powerhouse combination of eight potent ingredients that combat lip lines and provide 24-hour moisture. Plus, it’s infused with five different crystals for a truly distinctive shine.
  • ILIA’s Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil ($26; Sephora): Reviews rave about this one. It has a cushiony and smooth texture, according to Cantor, and Carr highlights the plumping effect and moisturization courtesy of hyaluronic acid.
  • Hourglass Cosmetic Nº 28 Lip Treatment Oil ($54; Ulta): For a bit of a splurge, we recommend this gorgeous lip oil from Hourglass Cosmetics. It’s a potent treatment packed with essential oils and vitamins to condition and protect the lips thoroughly.

These picks come highly recommended, so you can explore and find the lip oil that best suits your needs and style.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing between lip gloss and lip oil, there’s no definitive right or wrong choice— it all boils down to your personal preference. Opt for the formula that aligns with your specific desires, whether it’s prioritizing hydration and nourishment (in which case, lip oil is the way to go) or aiming for that ultra-shiny finish and heightened pigmentation (making lip gloss your top pick). It’s all about finding the perfect match for your individual needs and style.



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