One of the first products I ever put on my face was the Lancome Juicy Tubes Original Lip Gloss. It was the early/mid-2000s, and my mom gifted me a tiny sample-size tube that someone had given her. It looked terrible on me (I don’t look good in cool-toned pinks!!) but I remember feeling so cool — and also, so sticky. Wearing that lip gloss with even the slightest breeze around was basically a guarantee that your hair would get caught on your lips. Even when you managed to detach the strands of hair, thick globs of gloss would be stuck in your hair for hours.
I stopped wearing lip gloss a while ago, mostly because of the texture, and also because I live in New York and avoiding a slight breeze is near impossible. I had resigned myself to a life of matte or blotted lipsticks, or maybe even tinted balms — basically anything that isn’t sticky. That is, until I found lip oils. Well, a more accurate phrasing is that lip oils found me thanks to the scarily-good algorithm that powers my TikTok FYP. I was scrolling TikTok one night last year, and saw that the Dior Lip Glow Oil ($38) was going viral.
Turns out lip oils have all of the fun that lip glosses do, but without the stickiness. They’re just as shiny as lip glosses but infinitely more hydrating, making them great for my perpetually chapped lips. They aren’t as bold in terms of color payoff as, say, a lip stain or lipstick, but then again, neither are glosses! If a shiny, softer look is what you’re after, a lip oil can definitely help you get there.
The exact blend of oils used in each lip oil will vary. Dior uses cherry oil in the aforementioned (and admittedly quite expensive!) option. It’s also so popular that it’s often sold out. The Clarins Lip Comfort Oil is a bit cheaper ($27) and a solid alternative, relying on a trio of sweetbriar rose oil, jojoba oil, and hazelnut oil. I have heard it doesn’t last as long as Dior, but IMO the Clarins shade range is more interesting!
If you’re after clean beauty, the ILIA Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil is a great choice. It uses meadowfoam sea oil and is around the same price point as Clarins ($26). There’s also the Ami Colé Lip Treatment Oil ($20), made with baobab, camellia, and passion fruit seed oils. It only comes in one shade, but that one shade is designed to be universally flattering, especially for melanin-rich skin. The product is this gorgeous brownish-red color and honestly, it’s supposed to be amazing.
It’d be unfair to write a piece about lip oils without including the MERIT Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil ($24) — it’s another I’ve seen on #beautytok quite a bit. The Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil is one of the most affordable options, coming in at just under $10! The applicator is also super cool and shaped like a pen! A cheaper option is the MILANI Fruit Fetish Lip Oil ($8), which folks seem to love, especially in the shade Cherry Lime.
And if, after all of this, you’d much rather have a chapstick…Rachel has an excellent guide for you.
Ooooh thank you for this. I am a big lip oil fan but the Sephora collection recently discontinued what used to be my go-to tinted lip oils…now I’ll have some new ones to check out!
I would also add Tanais to your list, a small, queer-owned beauty business. I haven’t used their lip oils but their lipsticks are incredible. studiotanais.com
Been wanting to try that Ami Colé for a while but it’s not available in my region yet 😭
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