Lip sticks, lippy sticks, balms, glosses and oils – so what is the difference?

Hi everyone

I love buying new lip products and I have so many in my little make up boxes staring at me now from my little stock up at Christmas (you can read about the ones I brought here and here. It is however like so many other areas of make up getting more confusing. We have lip gloss, lip balm, lip stick, lippy stick and so on. So what actually is the difference and what should you be buying?

So lets talk about the different products.

Firstly lipstick, so lipstick is made up of generally fat and/or wax with added colour. It is the wax that gives it is texture which is a little like soft crayons that you effectively colour your lips in with. Lipsticks come in tubes and although the packaging has become more and more spectacular over the years (think Christian Louboutin or Anna Sui) the basic remains the same which is a tube which you wind up from the bottom to produce a slanted crayon of lip product. Lips sticks largely come in a matte formula (i.e. no shine) and they can dry out your lips. Its basic job is to give the lip a colour.

Often the wax of fat used in lipsticks is animal fat such as beeswax, tallow or lanolin. I’ve written about animal products to watch out for in beauty products here. However vegan version such as the ELF lipsticks use synthetic version of fats and wax.

Lip glosses however are made up of light and often sticky liquid gel. There primary role is to give the lips a shine and a ‘glossey’ look’. The extent of that would depend on the brand. They often provide moisturise to the lips and have benefits such as plumping (making the lips look fuller). They do come in many different colours from bright reds and pinks to nudes  and glitters as well as clear to literally just add shine to the lips.

Traditionally lip gloss come in a tube with a brush attached the the lid to apply the gloss but they also come in squeezable tubes. I have been using is the ELF Jelly pop juicy gloss in the colour Apricot pop. This is a mixture of a gloss and a balm, it moisturising on the lips, it add a tiny bit of shine and colour and it actually feels really nice on. It is not sticky or gloppy but it does have really good staying power.

Lippy sticks relatively new compared to gloss and lip sticks and they are somewhere in between the two. They go on more like lip sticks but maybe creamier but they feel like a gloss on the lips. They are moisturisring and feel very buttery on the lips. Personally to me they feel like the modern version of a lip stick. Again they come in many different colour ranges

Lip balms are the most practical of the lip products. They add moisture to the lips and can also relieve chapped or dry lips as cold sores. For me they are less a cosmetic and more a skin care item. They come in little tubes like the lip sticks that wind up from the bottom. They are mostly clear but also come with a tint of colour often red, pink or coral.

Lip oils I have to say are my favourite. they have the benefits of a balm as they are very moisturising but have the look of a gloss. They don’t last as long as glosses but for me are less sticky and weirdly less greasy than the balms on the lips. They come in tubes often either with a brush like the lip glosses or sometimes a roller ball as well. They again can come in a clear or a colour, often a lighter version of the gloss and in nudes or pinks.

Lastly is lip treatments, of course there are masks but there are also balm like treatments. Vaseline is the most commonly known version of this and Beauty Kitchen do an amazing version. This works is the very same way of the balm to add moisture to the lips and soothe any chapped, dry or sore lips.

So there we have it, the different types of lip product, what they do and how you would use them. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and I would love to know your view on your favourite products.

AKL