The lush shine you get from lip gloss? So pretty. The stickiness and flaky, dry feeling that can be left behind? Not so much. Enter the category of oil-based glosses, a.k.a. lip oils, which promise the same reflective, plumping look of a gloss along with the softening benefits of a lip balm or treatment — and less sticky feel.
So are lip oils really better than lip gloss? Yes, they can be. “These formulas are usually either lightly tinted or clear, sheer yet shiny on the lips, and feel less tacky than a typical lip gloss,” says Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab senior chemist Sabina Wizemann. And lip oils can be good for your lips, too: “The lip oils we evaluated typically incorporated a variety of naturally-sourced oils, mostly vegetable, fruit and seed, in combination with synthetic variants,” she explains. “These oil ingredients are said to mimic the lipid content of skin to protect, hydrate, and accentuate lips.”
The GH Beauty Lab is constantly evaluating product categories like lip oils. Lab scientists first compared the ingredients of lip oil samples versus a best-selling lip gloss formula to determine differences in texture and composition. They then evaluated the color (if applicable), look and feel of the lip oils on lips, staying power, and any potential for irritation to narrow down to the top performers.