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What’s the Difference Between Lip Oil and Lip Gloss?

Our Ultimate Guide To Lip Oil vs. Lip Gloss

05 Apr 2024

Over the past year or two, lip oils have gone from a relatively under-the-radar product to one that you’re likely to find in every beauty buff’s makeup bag. But to the untrained eye, the reason for this rise in popularity may not be totally clear—after all, lip oil can look a lot like lip gloss. If you’re wondering what’s different about the two, we’re here to clear the air about the difference between lip oil and lip gloss. Ahead, we’ll clue you in on what lip oil is, what it does, and why we love it so much. Plus, we’ll introduce you to our favorite lip oils to add to your routine for hydrated, healthy-looking lips.

What Is Lip Oil?

Lip oils, as the name suggests, are oils (or oil-based products) intended for use on your lips. They’re skincare-makeup hybrids that offer hydrating benefits and may come tinted or untinted, depending on the formula you choose. Some leave the lips with a subtly shiny finish—not quite as reflective as gloss, but shinier than a satin lipstick or balm. Others are super glossy and boast a glass-like finish.

What Is Lip Gloss?

Lip gloss is a makeup product primarily designed to give the lips a shiny (in other words, glossy) finish. Like lip oils, they can come in both colorful and clear varieties, and they can be more pigmented than lip oils (which tend to be on the sheerer side).

Lip Oil vs. Lip Gloss: Similarities

Lip glosses and lip oils are both liquid makeup products that leave the lips with a glossy-looking finish.

  • Formula: Lip glosses and oils are both liquid makeup products and typically come in a tube with an attached applicator.
  • Finish: Both lip glosses and oils boast a shiny finish, though glosses may be slightly more reflective than oils.

Lip Oil vs. Lip Gloss: Differences

There are a few differences between lip glosses and lip oils, including their benefits, texture, level of pigmentation, and ingredients.

  • Benefits: Lip oils are designed both to help hydrate the lips and give them a subtle reflective sheen. Lip glosses, meanwhile, are designed primarily to give the lips shine—while some formulas may hydrate, that’s not their main purpose.
  • Texture: Lip oils tend to feel lighter on the lips, while glosses—particularly full-coverage varieties—can have a thicker, richer texture.
  • Pigmentation: Lip glosses can run the gamut from totally untinted to pigment-packed. Lip oils, meanwhile, may provide subtle color, but it’s typically on the sheerer side.
  • Ingredients: By definition, all lip oils contain oils (such as squalane, avocado oil, or other plant oils). Gloss may contain oil, but it isn’t a requirement.

Does Lip Oil Help Chapped Lips?

While lip oils typically contain lip-loving ingredients and help hydrate the lips, most aren’t explicitly designed to help address chapped lips (there are, of course, exceptions—it really comes down to the product you choose). If you’re facing dry, chapped lips, we recommend adding a nourishing lip balm to your regular lip care routine.

Does Lip Gloss Moisturize Lips?

Some lip glosses may help moisturize the lips, but it depends on the formula and the ingredients it contains. If moisture is your main priority, consider looking for a gloss with ingredients like squalane or avocado oil or laying a moisturizing balm under your lip gloss for added hydration.

Are Fat Oil Lip Products a Lip Oil or a Lip Gloss?

There are two products in our Fat Oil collection: Fat Oil Lip Drip Lip Gloss and Fat Oil Slick Clicks. The former is a tinted lip oil-gloss hybrid, while the latter is an oil-infused tinted lip balm. Both offer up to 12 hours of hydration and come in a range of shades to flatter different skin tones—and both boast a non-sticky, high-shine finish.

How to Create the Ultimate Lip Oil Look

Whether you’re after a subtler look for summer or love a bold lip, here’s how to create a luscious look with lip oil.

Spring Lip Oil Look

Channel the first blooms of the season with a bright pink lip look fit for a garden party. To start, line and fill in your lips with a bright pink liner—opt for a cooler-toned pink if you have cool skin, and a warmer coral or salmon shade if you have a warmer skin tone.

Then, apply a layer of Fat Oil Lip Drip in the shade Supermodel. It looks neon pink in the tube, but don’t be fooled—the hydrating formula provides a sheer wash of poppy-pink color perfect for ushering in warmer weather. Want a little more coverage? Try Fat Oil Slick Clicks in Clout—the baby pink shade practically screams spring break.

Summer Lip Oil Look

If you ask us, barely-there makeup is made for summer days. After completing the rest of your no-makeup makeup look, swipe on a nude lip for a dose of shine with a hydrated, natural-looking finish. We love Fat Oil Lip Drip in Missed Call for those with fairer skin, while the bronzy golden tones of Follow Back are ideal for those with medium skin tones (or a solid faux tan). If you have darker skin, try Scrollin—the deep, chocolatey shade will complement your skin beautifully. And for those who prefer a little bit more color, we recommend reaching for Fat Oil Slick Clicks in Hits Different. The bronzy pearl flecks in this terracotta shade are perfect for bringing out that natural summer glow.

Fall Lip Oil Look

While you can (and should) wear any lip color you want, whenever you want, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t drawn to a slightly vampier look in the autumn. If you feel the same, give your lips a wash of seasonal color with Fat Oil Slick Clicks in the shade In a Mood. The rich, wine-y red shade is like fall in a balm—and it looks stunning on fair and dark skin tones alike. Wear it alone for a softer finish, or pair it with lip liner in a similar shade for a bolder, more defined look.

Winter Lip Oil Look

Even if you love winter, there’s no denying that all of the clouds and snow can feel a little monotonous after a while. While you can’t speed up the seasons (we’ve tried), rocking a red lip can add a bit of much-needed color to your every day. For hydration and shine, try Fat Oil Slick Clicks in Double Tap. The high-shine raspberry shade is vibrant, vivid, and cheerful—exactly what you need to spice up a chilly February day. Wear it alone, or pair it with an equally vibrant gloss, such as Fat Oil Slick Clicks in Newsfeed, for added color (and tons of look-at-me shine). .

No matter how you incorporate lip oil into your look, we expect you’ll find it’s far more than a passing trend or a substitute for lip gloss. Oils are a distinct product, complete with their own benefits, ranging from hydration to high-shine.

Next: How To Use Lip Liner—The Right Way.

Calling all lip oil lovers—we’d love to see how you use Fat Oil! Share a picture on social and tag us @nyxcosmetics.


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