Lip oils are a funny beast. Not quite a lipstick, not quite a gloss and way more fun than a utilitarian balm, lip oils are essentially the love child of all three.
How, you ask? These nourishing tubes cherry-pick the best of each product. They have the same rich pigment of a lipstick, the moisturising benefits of lip balm and high-shine finish of a gloss.
Don’t worry if you’re not on board with the trend yet. At one time, lip oils were simply a limited edition, wheeled out in summer as an alternative to the hair-trapping stickiness of glosses.
Now they’re considered a new category of make-up. So if you thought these were a slightly weird and unnecessary addition to your make-up bag, you’d be wrong.
Glossy, popsicle-stained lips are the perfect low-maintenance alternative when we want to lighten up from other lip formulas. But what’s also nice about lip oils is that the ‘oils’ in the name refer to nourishing jojoba or essential oils. These cushion dry skin so they winter-proof your pout, too.
Take Dior’s new Lip Glow Oil, for example. ‘Its intense lip care formula is infused with cherry oil,’ says Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director for Dior make-up. ‘Its flattering shades, its mirror shine and shape-enhancing texture leaves lips radiant.’
With more and more brands jumping on the lip oil train, here are a handful of the best we’ve tried…
One sweep delivers an extremely glossy and smoothing film that shapes the lips. Also nice: special technology ensures the rosy tint adapts to all lip shades so you get a custom shade.
Naturally the bougiest lip oil of the bunch. The shade is inspired by Louboutin’s legendary red soles, while the crystal-like vial is designed to look like a mermaid’s tale that can be worn as a pendant.
There’s a lot more to this lip oil than meets the eye. First, there are no fewer than 7 different shades in the range. Then there’s the cocktail of two plant oils in the base – organic jojoba and hazelnut – plus one additional oil specific to each shade. All of which makes this product feel more like a mini treatment.
We love how this creates a ‘just-been-snogged’ flush to the lips. Of all the lip oils featured, this one has more of a stained effect but the coconut and moringa oils ensure lips never feel parched.
The 28 in the title refers to 28 beneficial ingredients: 14 essential oils (including rose and lavender); 10 lipid-rich plant oils, including jojoba, and four vitamins (A, B5, C and E) to repair and soften. Add in actives that plump up your lips plus an antibacterial 24ct gold-plated tip and you can totally justify the higher price tag.
This nude shade is great for cheating a fuller lip. The colour pigments are captured within the jojoba and macadamia oils, so when they are absorbed, they plump up your lips and the pop of colour stays true.
Think a very subtle tint but a helluva lot of glow. It wouldn’t be Milk Make-up without good-for-skin vegan ingredients, too, like antioxidant-rich rice bran oil. Plus the stick applicator makes it ideal commuter make-up as you don’t have to worry about accidental spillages.
It looks like a cool mini cocktail shaker – and the premise is the same. Using Korean ‘shaker’ technology, you mix up vibrant pigments suspended in the oil base and then dab it on with the felt-tip applicator.