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

If you’ve spent any time in the never-ending consumer wormhole of beauty TikTok, you may have noticed the recent buzz around lip oil – or if you’ve managed to avoid TikTok altogether (we praise you), then just know that influencer shopping app LTK has seen a 1,000% month-on-month increase in searches for it.  

But why is everybody so obsessed? These lauded lip saviours are big news, mostly because they promise to be more long-lasting than regular lip gloss, more hydrating than lipstick and more pigmented than a regular balm. While we know that putting oil on your lips may sound unpleasant, there’s a viral Dior product that’s winning over make-up lovers everywhere. 

Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil promises to give gloss and “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?

Dr Najia Shaikh is a GP, skin doctor and 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, oils penetrate deeply to moisturise and nourish the skin. This is as opposed to ‘coating’ the skin, which lip balms – like 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 and unchapped.”

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The thought of a pigmented oil-based product may deter many from using lip oils, but Dr Shaikh attests to their efficacy, especially when the temperature decreases.

“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, Dr Shaikh 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: “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 and balms – in your make-up bag.”

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

  1. 1. Dior Lip Glow Oil

    A nourishing lip oil that I always make sure to pop in my bag, this non-sticky, high-gloss slick is the finishing touch when I wear make-up and when I don’t. Available in nine shades – including pinks, oranges, browns, purples and clear – I’ve converted a fair few friends to this hardworking, hydrating lip gem. 

    Shop Dior Lip Glow Oil, £30

    buy now

  2. 2. Lottie London Oil Slick

    Another non-tacky, super-shiny lip oil, Lottie London’s totally vegan formulation is enriched with almond oil to soften and smooth.

    Shop Lottie London Oil Slick, £5.95

    buy now

  3. 3. Gisou Honey Infused Lip Oil

    Part of the influencer-founded brand Gisou, this lip oil is richly moisturising, infused with hyaluronic acid and honey from founder Negin Mirsalehi’s family bee garden.

    Shop Gisou Honey Infused Lip Oil, £24

    buy now

  4. 4. Tower 28 Beauty ShineOn Lip Jelly

    Part of sensitive-skincare brand Tower 28, the ShineOn Lip Jelly is a vegan lip oil with a shiny, nourishing finish. A blend of five oils – apricot, avocado and raspberry to name a few – creates the perfect mix to soften and condition the lips. Available in seven translucent shades, a wash of shiny, sheer colour is a slick away.

    Shop Tower 28 Beauty ShineOn Lip Jelly at Cult Beauty, £18

    buy now

  1. 5. Clarins Lip Comfort Oil

    A tinted lip oil that’s available in eight light and deep shades, the comforting formula includes hazelnut and jojoba oil to treat the dry, thirsty skin on your lips. 

    Shop Clarins Lip Comfort Oil at Boots, £21.50

    buy now

  2. 6. Hourglass No.28 Lip Treatment Oil

    Part lip oil, part conditioning treatment, Hourglass has combined active ingredients, essential oils and vitamins in a tinted lip oil designed to help increase the plumpness and moisture levels in your lips. 

    Shop Hourglass No.28 Lip Treatment Oil at Cult Beauty, £48

    buy now

  3. 7. Ciaté London Fruit Burst Lip Oil

    Another one that rattles around the bottom of any bag, big or small, that I happen to be toting around, the Ciaté lip oil is smooth and silky, enriched with avocado oil to lock in moisture and soothe soreness.

    Shop Ciaté London Fruit Burst Lip Oil, £14

    buy now

  4. 8. Iconic London Lustre Lip Oil

    A lightweight lip oil that contains protecting vitamin C and hydrating hyaluronic acid, it comes in five shades ranging from pink to tan to clear.

    Shop Iconic London Lustre Lip Oil at Lookfantastic, £22

    buy now

  5. 9. Kosas Wet Lip Oil Plumping Treatment Gloss

    A brand beloved by celebrities, Kosas’s lip oil has cult status when it comes to high shine with skincare benefits. Packed with hyaluronic acid and peptides, the sheer oil-infused treatment softens, plumps and cushions lip in moisturisation. Plus, konjac root creates a gel-like barrier to keep hydration in and the environment out. Winning.

    Shop Kosas Wet Lip Oil Plumping Treatment Gloss at Revolve, £22

    buy now

  1. 10. Pixi Glow-Y Lip Oil

    The only rollerball applicator on our list, this pocket-sized product is perfect to take on the go. It’s refreshing and moisturising, packed with hydrating ingredients and feels wonderful to apply, thanks to the cool metal rollerball. 

    Shop Pixi Glow-y Lip Oil at Lookfantastic, £14

    buy now

  2. 11. Refy Lip Gloss

    While it’s sold as a gloss rather than a lip oil, the Refy Lip Gloss does contain jojoba oil to nourish the lips. Smooth to apply, it coats the lips in a genuinely long-lasting shine while also deeply hydrating. Wear alone or over lipstick for a wash of reflective moisture.

    Shop Refy Lip Gloss, £14

    buy now

  3. 12. Jouer Cosmetics Essential Hydrating Lip Oil

    This Jouer lip oil is made with 99% plant-derived ingredients and is cruelty-free and vegan. It’s also non-sticky for all of those worrying about those ‘hair stuck in gloss’ mishaps.

    Buy Jouer Cosmetics Essential Hydrating Lip Oil, £15

    buy now

  4. 13. Revolution Pro Goddess Glow Lip Oil

    Formulated with a blend of plant-based cherry, raspberry and jojoba oils, this lip oil provides ultimate nourishment with a barely there tinted look.

    Buy Revolution Pro Goddess Glow Lip Oil, £7

    buy now

Images: Getty; product shots courtesy of brands

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