Straddling that wide gap in the lipstick market between hydrating lip balms and lacquer-finish lip glosses, lip oils are a sort of makeup/skincare hybrid that offers up a favourable solution in terms of both hydration and colour. First and foremost, they're an oil that (as you'd expect) plies lips with a sleeping bag of moisture. But as they're far lighter than a buttery lip balm, they're way more enjoyable to wear if you're not big on coating your lips in anything weighty.
The reason I'm such a massive fan of lip oils, however, is all down to their colour. Now, you're never going to get an opaque block of high-pigment colour here. No, lip oils offer a tint more in line with a sheet of cellophane: It's glossy, it's juicy and it simply tones your lips to a subtle shade. Think of it like the colour filter tool on Instagram. Considering I struggle keeping lipstick in place for more than 10 minutes, the best lip oils are just the very level of maintenance I can manage.
Quite frankly, they're bloody brilliant.
Now, there aren't many around, so to help you figure out which lip oil will work for you, I've picked out the ones that I've grown to love, including luxe options from beauty's biggest heavyweights as well as affordable drugstore alternatives.
Burt's Bees' lip oils are probably the best at hydrating, which makes sense as they contain coconut and meadowfoam seed oil—both brilliant at providing moisture that doesn't just disappear by the first smack of the lips.
Don't be frightened by that neon turquoise shade—on the lips, it shows up as little more than a violet tinge, which is actually pretty flattering. It's a bit thicker than most but isn't gloopy at all and tastes like After Eights.
If you're not wholly sold on the idea of a lip oil, Barry M's are a good place to start. The colour is really sheer, but the formula has such a nice shine to it. It'll just feel like you're wearing clear lip gloss, without any of the uncomfortable stickiness.
YSL's lip oil is particularly sheer, making it a good entry point into the world of lip colour if you're not used to wearing any. It comes in so many shades, but my favourite is this poppy tangerine one.
A great high-street option, 3ina's lip oils don't have loads of colour punch, but they are super sheer, so they feel like you're wearing nothing at all. This plummy shade looks divine on darker skin, too. Our editorial director uses these on her eyelids as well to create a glossy eye look.