e.l.f. Discovery

Lip Oil vs. Lip Gloss: What’s the Difference?

By Brooke Sager

Glowy makeup has been having a serious moment as of late—there’s something about that glossy, dewy finish that just makes skin appear healthy and full of vitality! For the same reasons, this high-shine trend also transcends into lip makeup.

If you’re looking to achieve a glass-like, glowy lip look, you can always reach for your trusty lip gloss—it’s one of the most popular lip products out there that slicks lips with buildable color and all-out sheen.

But an awesome option B is to get your shine on with lip gloss’ nourishing, non-sticky cousin: a hydrating lip oil. This multitasking product is a makeup-skincare hybrid and is really revving up in popularity. Lip oils—like our Glow Reviver Lip Oil—work to hydrate and enhance your lips’ natural color while slicking your pout with nourishing oils and a super-shiny finish.

Read on to learn everything there is to know about lip oil, how it compares to your fave lip gloss and how to use it to achieve the lip look and feel you want.

Lip Oil and Lip Gloss Similarities

If you were to create a lip-loving venn diagram, lip oils and lip glosses overlap in a few ways with some commonalities:

  • Shine. If your lips are craving high-octane shine, you can’t go wrong with using lip oil or lip gloss. Both of these formulas will drench your lips in gorgeous, glass-like sheen for a glowy lip look.

  • Hydration. If you want a lip look with sheen and hydration benefits you’re in luck: there are both lip oils and lip glosses on the market that are infused with lip-loving ingredients to help moisturize your pout. Our Glow Reviver Lip Oil is infused with squalane and nourishing oils (apricot oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil and pomegranate oil) to help hydrate and soften your lips while delivering a shiny-as-e.l.f. finish. Our best-selling lip glosses, including our Lip Plumping Gloss and Lip Lacquer, are also both vitamin-infused formulas that help keep your lips happy and shiny with a hydrated feel.

  • Application. Both lip oil and lip gloss often come equipped with a cushy doe-foot applicator to ensure comfortable wear and an easy, even-glide application of your go-to formula.

Differences Between Lip Oil and Lip Gloss

There are also a few key differences between lip oils and lip glosses worth noting, depending on the look and feel you’re going after.

  • Consistency. Lip oil delivers a lightweight, high-shine finish with a non-sticky feel—so if you can’t stand when the wind blows and your hair sticks to your lips, a lip oil will be your makeup bag’s BFF. Lip glosses have a thicker, slightly heavier feel and sit on the surface of your lips. They also notoriously have a stickier feel to them, which isn’t a bad thing—some makeup-wearers prefer the tackier finish!

  • Color. Lip oils imbue your pout with a sheer wash of pigment that helps enhance the beauty of your lips’ natural color (think of it as a skin tint or glow booster for your lips). If you’re seeking a more color-forward finish that still has lots of shine, you may want to reach for a lip gloss.

  • Layerability. Who doesn’t love a makeup multitasker? Enter lip oil, which can be worn on its own for a subtle wash of color and healthy shine, or over your favorite lipstick—aka, it’s perfect for those nights you want to rock a bold lip while also adding a little sheen and some lip-nourishing benefits. Since lip glosses deliver a slightly more saturated wash of pigment, they’re a great wear-alone option for days when you want a pop of color and glass-like sheen in one step.

Lip Oil vs. Lip Gloss: Which One Do I Choose?

Trying to decide between a lip oil or lip gloss to create a shiny pout? Here’s the good news: you can’t go wrong! Makeup is a form of creativity and self-expression, which means there is no wrong choice. It really comes down to personal preference and the final look and feel you’re trying to achieve.

If you prefer a lightweight consistency and a sheer wash of color that enhances your natural lips, your first choice might be a tinted lip oil. Lip oils also lend themselves to adding a glossy finish on top of a bold lipstick, thanks to their sheer tint or you can even just use a clear lip oil.

If you like a thicker texture and a little stickiness and want buildable color with your sheen, try slicking on a lip gloss.

Line and Shine

Want to add sultry shine, yummy hydration and subtle definition to your lippie look? Then say hello to your dream duo: lip liner and lip oil. We have all the deets below on how to “line and shine” your pout in three simple steps.

Step 1: Exfoliate lips to remove any dead, dry skin with a moisturizing lip scrub—softer, smoother lips ensure a smoother product application to follow!

Step 2: Line your lips with our Cream Glide Lip Liner, starting at the center of your lips and moving toward the outer corners.

Step 3: Slick your lips with a complementary shade of Glow Reviver Lip Oil (refer to the graphic here for seven of our fave color pairings), and pucker up to a high-shine, perfectly defined pout.