Lip gloss

Lip oils are going viral on TikTok but what do beauty experts have to say about them?

Winning over the internet one doe foot applicator at a time, the lip oil seems to be the latest make up product in everyone’s shopping baskets. But just how do they work?

If you have happened to find yourself in the never-ending consumer wormhole of Beauty TikTok, you may have seen the recent buzz around lip oil.

What essentially looks like a mini lip gloss is sweeping social media. These lauded lip saviours are big for autumn (when our lips need more TLC) because they promise to be more long-lasting than regular lip gloss, more hydrating than lipstick and more pigmented than a regular balm. But how do they work exactly?

Putting oil on your lips may sound unpleasant but this viral Dior one is winning over makeup lovers everywhere. The £29 Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil promises to give gloss and to “deeply protect and enhance the lips, bringing out their natural colour.”

But what does a beauty expert make of the recent lip oil phenomenon? Are they worth our time and money? And which are the best ones to try?

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Dr Najia Shaikh MBBS MRCGP is a GP, Skin Doctor & the Founder of One Skin Clinic on London’s Harley Street. When asked where a lip oil falls in terms of categorisation, Dr Shaikh says that “in general, lip oils are more nourishing than lip balms.”

“Lip balms tend to carry ingredients, like petroleum, that instead of penetrating deep to moisturise, only coat your lips. This means you have to constantly reapply them as there’s no real moisturising going on.”

So how do lip oils work exactly? “When applied to the lips, lip oils penetrate deep to moisturise and nourish the skin. This is as opposed to ‘coating’ the skin, which lip balms such as those containing petroleum do, meaning you have to reapply them constantly,” she explains.

“Additionally, many lip oils are formulated with moisture-replenishing and moisture-attracting ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to keep lips soft, smooth & plump & chapped-free.”

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The thought of a pigmented oil-based product may deter many from using these products but Dr Shaikh attests to their efficacy, especially as we draw nearer to winter.

“Lip oils are a good way to provide moisture to the skin and avoid dry, chapped or cracked lips which are more prevalent in the colder months. Aesthetically, lip oils are sometimes avoided as they can leave a shiny finish, however the shine should fade quickly once the oil has penetrated the skin.”

Hyaluronic acid is a star ingredient to look out for when shopping for a lip oil, she explains. “Make sure to look for an ingredient list that contains naturally-sourced oils as opposed to synthetic variants as these ingredients are said to mimic the lipid content of skin to protect, hydrate, and accentuate lips.”

Many of us know how drying lipsticks and lip stains can often be but Dr Shaikh says that “aesthetically, lip oils can be used as an alternative to lipstick when they include a coloured tint.” They will give a glossier effect than using lipstick on its own though, she explains. Essentially, “a tinted lip oil with top-tier ingredients can be a good two-in-one and help keep lips soft and protected without the need for having too many products - oils, lipsticks & balms - in your makeup bag.”

So with all of that in mind, here’s a mini roundup of some of our current favourites…

  • Clarins Lip Comfort Oil


    This lip oil is enriched with plant-based active ingredients and has a unique formula that nourishes lips while leaving a subtle taste.

    Buy Clarins Lip Comfort Oil, £19

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Images: Main image – Caroline Tompkins/Refinery29 for Getty Images and product shots courtesy of brands