Lip oils are exactly what they sound like they are: They’re oils, but for your lips. But to get a little more granular about it, lip oils combine the shine and tint of a gloss (think less stick, more slip) with the moisture-sealing properties of a balm and, occasionally, the deep-healing of a treatment. The best lip oils are a little bit of this, a little bit of that, like that old Santana-Michelle Branch song that’s definitely stuck in your head now (sorry).
Because lip oils are made of highly concentrated blends of plant-derived, vitamin-enriched oils, they can act as emollients and/or occlusives — so they’ll soften and condition lips, and seal in moisture, but they won’t necessarily impart moisture. For that, you need a humectant, which hydrates skin at a cellular level (or to put it in layman's terms, they attract moisture). So if your lips are extra-dry, try applying a lip serum that actually contains a humectant, like hyaluronic acid or glycerin, before swiping on your lip oil.
Otherwise, there are lots of uses for lip oils. Glide an oil over your lipstick for extra shine, under lipstick to prevent dryness and cracking in a matte finish, wear it on its own in lieu of a lip balm or gloss, or put it on before bed as an overnight treatment.
Whether you’re looking for a wash of color, a conditioning solution for chapped lips, or you just like the idea of coating your lips in a rich, nourishing oil (I’m not sure who wouldn’t like that idea), I’ve got you covered. Here are just three of the best lip oils you can get.