Lip Balm Vs Lip Oil Vs Hydrating Lipsticks: What’s The Difference?

Hydrating Lipsticks Armani

Your lips get exposed to a number of elements every day that causes damage. They get exposed to UV damage, pollution, and drying makeup and not to forget, the hit they take due to spices and acidic drinks that can disrupt the pH and moisture levels. Plus, if your habit of lip-smacking, it’s not doing them any good either. Given that your lips take on so much and are often (just) glossed over when it comes to proper care, it’s a surprise that they even survive a busy day. Dryness, chapping, discolouration, and peeling are the major lip concerns. Fortunately, the market is overflowing with lip products that address all of these concerns. However, the different variants of hydrating lip products can be confusing. Leading the pack are lip balms, lip oils and hydrating lipsticks. Are these names a marketing gimmick or there is legit merit to investing in these different formulations? Let’s take a look!

First Up…Lip Balms

The OG lip moisturisers, lip balms are primarily formulated with ingredients like beeswax, petrolatum, vitamin E, glycerin, cocoa or shea butter, lanolin, and jojoba or coconut oil. Lip balms are occlusive in nature, meaning they sit on top of your lips to prevent transepidermal water loss thus, keeping your skin hydrated and plump. They do not get fully absorbed into the lips, which is why their effectiveness only lasts for a while. This is yet another reason why you constantly find yourself re-applying lip balms as they lack the ingredients, like lipsticks do, to make them stay on your lips for longer.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Arata™ (

So who should use lip balms? While you might not achieve long-lasting or deep hydration with balms, they work as excellent lip protectors when you are out and about. During winters, they can protect your pout from the harsh cold wind. And on sunny days, or otherwise, the SPF-infused balms can limit sun damage. Lip balms are also lightweight, with many formulas gliding on smoothly and not feeling heavy on lips. They also have a fun factor to them as you can experiment with flavours and fragrances. However, there seems to be a consensus among beauty experts that fragrances and flavours may lead to discolouration.

What Makes Lip Oils Unique?


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Clarins India (@clarinsindia)

Jumping right into it, lip oils offer longer-lasting results in terms of hydration and nourishment as they actually get absorbed into the deeper layers of your lips. As the name suggests, they are formulated with plant-based and botanical oils that are rich in fatty acids to provide vital nutrients to the sensitive lip-skin. The primary ingredients found in lip oils are almond, olive, avocado, hemp seed, castor, rosehip, apricot kernel, pomegranate seed geranium, lavender essential, and vitamin E oils, to name a few. The fatty and essential oil blends of lip oils are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants that work as food for famished lips.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SKÖG (@theskogofficial)

In terms of texture and feel, lip oils are generally heavier than balms. Some may even find the idea of applying oil on their lips too overwhelming, but given their fast absorption action, you will rarely find a trace of oil left on the surface after a couple of minutes. Lip oils also offer the benefit of being sheer, but there are a number of tinted products in the market if you’re looking for one. Many lip oils are also formulated with active ingredients to target issues like discolouration and wrinkles. Yep, you can find anti-ageing lip oils. So, if you need to add high-performance and target-oriented lip products that remedy more than just dryness, lip oils can be your ideal pick!

What’s Up With Hydrating Lipsticks?

Last, but definitely not least, hydrating lipsticks are the brainchild of brands who infused skincare benefits with makeup. Typically, matte or even creamy lipstick with a high colour payoff will be drying on the lips. This is because, in order to increase their staying quality, little to no emollients, oils or butters are added to them. But thanks to new innovations in formulations, you can find bright and vibrant lippies that don’t bleed and keep the pout hydrated.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @forestessentials

Simply put, hydrating lipsticks seem to be a combination of lip balms and oils. As different formulations can contain both occlusives like petrolatum and emollients like rich fatty oils. But a key leg up of hydrating lipsticks seems to be the use of nourishing serums in the formula to enhance their moisturising action. Popular serum ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalene and ceramides are increasingly finding their way into lipstick formulations to enhance your lip tint experience. So, if your priority is colour payoff and moisture, hydrating lipsticks are the ideal pick!

Photos: Instagram

More From

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content