We’ve gone from a spattering of lip oils being available to the beauty shelves being saturated with them. And lip oils success may be totally justified. We take a look at what makes them so special and our pick of the best
They’re the makeup product that has slightly appeared from left field, so why are lip oils suddenly appearing everywhere? Well Selena Gomez, who has just launched one with her brand Rare Beauty says the reason she loves them so much is “one swipe and your lips look so full and smooth! I love how easily you can build up the color without it getting sticky”. And if there’s one a-lister we are more than willing to take advice from it’s Selena Gomez’ beauty tips.
Why a lip oil?
Well, from a practical point of view lip oils fill a void that you may not have even realised was missing in your life and makeup bag. Unlike lip balms that are made from fairly thick ingredients like butter or petroleum jelly, lip oils are made from ….you guessed it, oil. Oil, because it has a smaller molecular size, can sink into the skin hydrating as it goes rather than just sitting on the top of the skin keeping dryness out.
Then there’s the moisturising factor, oils are super nourishing and just like on the skin leave a gorgeous sheen which then also can make them a more pleasing and convenient alternative to a lip gloss as there’s zero stickiness with a lip oil.
The only lip oil negative we can see so far is the name. You might hear ‘lip oil’ and have visions of an overly greasy and, well, oily product going on your lip, but that’s really not what they are. All of the ones we’ve tried below have felt more velvety and like a more fluid version of a lip balm.
When do you use a lip oil?
Lip oils score a ten out of ten for versatility because they can be worn on their own whenever you feel your lips needs some hydration or over the top of your favourite lipstick if you want to give it a bit more sheen and moisture.
It’s doubtful that lip oils will ever be able to create the show-stopping lip look that a liquid lipstick can, they are far more about creating a sheen and shine of colour rather than anything too ‘done’ but if understated and an easy aesthetic is more your vibe then lip oils may well be the product you didn’t know you couldn’t be without.
Read on to discover our pick of the best lip oils, all trialled by the GTG team.
9 of the best lip oils
1. The best luxury lip oil: Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil, £32
Number of shades: 5
Our verdict: This was one of the first lip oils to launch and it has remained a classic since. It contains plumping ingredients but unlike many lip-plumping products doesn’t come with the tingling effect. It’s packed with hydrating ingredients such as cherry oil and it glides over the lips really easily and very speedily.
2. The cult lip oil: Merit Shade Slick Gelées, £26
Number of shades: 4 gelées and 8 classic lip oil shades
Our verdict: Merit is all about creating easy-to-use products for that barely-made-an-effort vibe, so lip oil fits in perfectly with the brand and perhaps explains the fairly extensive shade options. The brand initially launched with 8 classic lip oils that range from a clear oil, through some soft pinks, orange and red shades, with a sheer dark brown being the deepest. They have just launched four gelée options which are slightly more transparent in consistency but more vibrant in tone - ideal for summer. They feel super silky on the lips and leave a really high shine.
3. The best budget lip oil: NYX Professional Makeup Fat Oil, £7.49
Number of shades: 8
Our verdict: Don't let the terrible name of this product put you off buying it because it’s a brilliant product to have in your makeup arsenal. It comes with a supersized doe applicator (hence the name) which makes slicking it on, wherever you are whatever you're going, even easier. All eight shades are super wearable and it has a scent that’s reminiscent of strawberry jam which we quite liked.
4.The best-pigmented lip oil: Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Tinted Lip Oil, £20
Number of shades: 8
Our verdict: Love the colour impact of a gloss? This is the best lip oil for you as it carries the most amount of pigment in it. It goes on just like a gloss, in fact, it looks identical to one whereas nearly all the other lip oils come in smaller, dinkier packaging. And the pigment payoff is good but with the oil consistency so you won’t have a moment of stickiness to contend with. There is one element that you will either love or loathe and that’s the minty, cooling sensation that happens when you put it on - we liked the feeling but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
5. The best shimmer lip oil: Vieve Lip Dew, £17
Number of shades: 4
Our verdict: If glitter isn’t your bag, then this isn’t the lip oil for you but if you love nothing more than a shimmering shine then *add to basket* immediately. As with all Vieve products, the feel of the product is gorgeous on the lips - really hydrating, velvety smooth and the four shades are sheer so they all work whatever your colouring.
6. The best buildable lip oil: Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss, £20
Number of shades: 8
Our verdict: The small applicator that comes with this lip oil means you can be a bit more precise with your placement, almost lining the lips with it first and then filling in the rest for a slightly more ‘done’ effect. However, it also works equally well just slathered all over with little care and attention. The pigment is buildable when layered up but we liked the sheer effect of just one light coat.
7. The best-scented lip oil: Fenty Skin Cherry Treat Lip Conditioning Oil, £17
Number of shades: 1
Our verdict: Scented with cherry, although it reminded us more of bubblegum when we first smelt it, this slightly pinky-red tinted lip oil has been designed to drench lips in hydration without feeling sticky or greasy, which is exactly what it does. It feels slightly thicker on the lips than the others which definitely makes look like they’re plumper (there are no plumping ingredients in this) and as though they have more dimension to them.
8. The best classic lip oil: Clarins Lip Comfort Oil, £22
Number of shades: 10
Our verdict: One of the OGs of lip oils is this version from Clarins. It contains a combination of oils including jojoba and briar rose oil and comes with a very pleasing, oversized applicator that you can almost push the oil into the lips. Three of the ten shades are pH reactive which means they adjust to the pH levels of your own lips, creating a completely bespoke tone that's unique to you and your lips.
9. The best simple lip oil: Gisou Honey Infused Lip Oil, £24
Number of shades: 1
Our verdict: In a way, this is the most straight-forward lip oil of the bunch, but we don’t mean that in terms of its efficacy just that it has one purpose; to hydrate lips. And it does that very well. That’s thanks to a combination of honey, a unique oil blend and hyaluronic acid. It comes in the one, clear shade but it’s focused on nourishing and reviving lips that need some extra TLC. If you find most lip balms too greasy or not hydrating enough then this is what you could have been looking for all this time.