A Guide to Lip Products

In this post, I’m going to talk about the different types and finishes of lip products there are out there. I’ve already talked about priming the lips in this post, which you need to do in order to get the best of your lip product.

There are going to be a lot of images below, which I hope make reading the post a lot easier, and will help give you a better idea on what I’m talking about. =)


Sheer coverage means that it’s just a very slight tint on your lips. Your natural lip colour is still dormant. Sheer coverage is usually seen with  some lip glosses and, some tinted lip balms. If you have pigmented lips, chances are, you won’t see much of a difference. Some lipsticks are also deliberately formulated to be sheer. Some of Revlon’s Colorburst Lipbutter lipsticks, like Creme Brulee (which is now my favourite nude lipstick). Lip glosses are typically formulated as sheer. MAC’s Lustre lipsticks tend to be fairly sheer, like Honeyflower and Freckletone are some examples.  MAC Nymphette from the Lip Glass range is also a sheer pink with gold shimmer.

I also use tinted lip balms to get a hint of colour. Korres Lip Butters (I own Mango and Wild Rose) are great for that, as well as to keep your lips well moisturised.


Korres Lip Butter in Mango and Wild Rose. Click here for my review on the products, as well as swatches and photos of the products on my lips.

Sheer lipsticks are great paired with dramatic eyes, so your makeup doesn’t end up looking too overwhelming.


Here I’m wearing green smoky eyes with Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter Creme Brulee. For  more info on the look, click here.

Medium coverage lip products usually deliver fairly full colour, but are translucent enough that some of your natural lip colour will still come through. Like if you have any lip freckles or pigment spots on your lips, the lipstick still won’t cover them. These are great for beautifully coloured lips, but you don’t want it to look like you’ve painted something over them. Some of the more pigmented lipsticks from MAC’s Sheen Supreme lines have a medium coverage, like Impressive Sheen and Insanely It. The more opaque shades in Revlon’s Colorburst Lipbutter line also provides medium coverage, like Raspberry and Lollipop. Korres Lip Butter Glazes have a medium coverage. 


I’m wearing Revlon Colorburst in Colorburst Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie here. You can see that my lip colour is noticeably changed, but has a degree of translucency with it. Click here for more info on the look.

Opaque coverage products cover the lip entirely in just a couple of coats. As always, if your lips are extremely pigmented, it’ll still affect the product somewhat, no matter how pigmented. For instance, certain pinks look slightly redder on more pigmented lips. OOC Lip Tars, MAC Mineralize Lipsticks and Maybelline’s Vivids line give opaque coverage.


Maybelline ColorSensational Vivids in Vivid Rose. Click here for more info on the look.

Personally, I prefer to buy opaque and medium coverage products. It’s easier to sheer out an opaque lipstick with petroleum jelly, or apply a thinner layer with a lip brush than to achieve a more pigmented shade by layering on  a sheerer lipstick. I especially need the pigmentation because when I started out with makeup, I was mostly helping out backstage with theatre productions and needed highly pigmented shades for stage lights. However, since I’ve started going into everyday makeup, I’ve begun to appreciate sheerer lipsticks. Revlon’s Creme Brulee has become my favourite ‘My Lips But Better’ shade.


Lipsticks are well, lipsticks. They’re solid wax things inside of tube that you can either apply directly to the lip, or use a lip brush to apply. They come in a variety of coverages, and finishes (see below). I… really don’t know what else to say about lipsticks.


A stick of lipstick. This is NYX Snow White, click here for more info on the product.

Liquid Lipsticks are becoming more common these days. They’re stored in tubes and applied with an application wand like lip glosses, but are highly pigmented, and feel like melted lipstick (tackier than traditional lip glosses) on the lips. They usually have a lacquered finish to them. They are also extremely long wearing. Drugstore brands like Revlon, as well as more high-end brands Stila, Hourglass, Guerlain and Shiseido.


Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red. Image from Marie’s fantastic blog, click here for more information!

Lip Glosses can have any level of coverage. Like liquid lipsticks, they’re stored in tubes, applied with applicator wands. They can be worn on their own, or layered over another lip product, like a lipstick or lip stain for more opaque colour, and for either a glossy or shimmery finish (depending on the product).


Layered MAC Pure Flattery on top of a peach lipstick for this look for a glossy finish. Click here for more info, this was a Japanese inspired look.


I’m wearing MAC Vivi Glam Lipglass in Cyndi in this one. It has medium to opaque coverage on its own. Click here for more info on this look. The lipglass is a limited edition product, but Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Papaya is a dupe.



Dior Addict’s lipgloss ad. I love the colours here, and I think they chose the right model to show off the lip gloss.

Most Tinted Lip Balms give sheer coverage and (like any good lip balm should be anyway) are moisturising. I love my Korres Lip Butters. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stains are another popular one.

Brands are developing pigmented products with more moisurising formulas too, so I guess they come under this category. (They can never replace a good dab of petroleum jelly though). Examples of these are Clinique’s Chubby Stick Intense Moisturising Lip Colour Balm.


Emma Stone wearing Revlon’s Just Bitten Balm Stain. Image from http://www.tonguechic.com/beauty/review-clinique-chubby-stick-intense-vs-revlon-just-bitten-kissable-balm-stain/


Clinique’s Chubby Stick Intense Moisturising Lip Color  Colour Balm. Image from http://www.tonguechic.com/beauty/review-clinique-chubby-stick-intense-vs-revlon-just-bitten-kissable-balm-stain/

Lip Stains can range from sheer to medium coverage, and can usually be doubled as a blush. They’re typically drying, but they wear a good long time on the lips. I’ve heard excellent things about Benetints, but I’ve never tried them out. (They look fabulous in photos though.) I love Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rogue, which I own in Raspberry. I’ve recommended it to a couple of friends, and they have loved it.

IMG_2313Bobbi Brown Pot Rogue for Lips and Cheeks Raspberry

I’m wearing Bobbi Brown Pot Rogue in Raspberry in this one. The stain is a dark colour, but doesn’t look heavy on the lips. Click here for more info on the look.


Benefit’s Benetint and Posietint. These are great for the beach, they don’t come off easily or anything.


Revlon’s Just Bitten Balm Stain are supposed to be lip stain and balm hybrids.

Lip Pencils can leave a glossy, satin, or matte finish. They’re supposed to be more long wearing than lipsticks, but I have lots of friends who don’t think so. Mostly, people use them in order to fill in the lips, or outline the lips to shape them in a completely different manner. They also help get a perfectly defined lip (I usually use a lip brush when applying, so I don’t really feel the need for a lip pencil). Additionally, people layer lipsticks over the lip pencil in order to make the lipstick last longer. I like using them to get a matte finish to the lips (with a lip pencil with a matte finish of course). Urban Decay’s Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color are highly glossy and pigmented. NARS Satin Lip Pencils have a beautiful soft satin finish. Jordona lip pencils are cheap (really really really cheap, like $2 for one) lip pencils I’ve picked up at Walgreens.


Wearing Jordona Lip Pencil in Tawny in this one. It has a satin finish, and adds just a bit of sheen to the lips while evening out and darkening my lip colour very slightly. Click here for more info on the look.


NAR’s Satin Lip Pencils. Image from Temptalia. These give a soft satin finish, and are highly pigmented.


NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl. Like the Satin Lip Pencils, these are supposed to have intense colour, but they give a matte finish instead. Image from Temptalia. (I think this is absolutely beautiful by the way.)


Note: Of course, each brand has got lots of different, sometimes unique finishes (MAC has got very many). These are just the basics.

Creams and satins are some of the most common lipstick finishes there are. They’re often used interchangeably, but there’s a very subtle difference between the two. Creams are slightly thicker than satins, but a characteristic of the two is that they are smooth, and give a beautiful soft smooth finish.


MAC Hang-up has a Cremesheen finish, which is a creamy lipstick with a slight glossiness to the colour. Click here for more info on this look.


Lovely subtle subtle sheen in this cream finish. Image from Rae Morris’ site, one of my favourite makeup artists.


This image is taken from a Chanel ad. http://www.eyeshadowlipstick.com/17145/helene-desmettre-by-shun-sasaki-for-vogue-japan/ for more info and images.

katie-holmes-bobbi-brown_620x350 (1)

Katie Holmes in a Bobbi Brown ad.

Mattes are flat colours without any kind of sheen. They’re fantastic for creating iconic looks, like the 1940s glamour era.They’re also wonderful for creating looks for formal events. Old matte formulas (like MAC’s Ruby Woo) tend to be very drying, but wear well. MAC Russian Red is another matte red from MAC that’s more hydrating. Bobbi Brown has a fantastic line called Creamy Mattes, which is creamy and moisturising, but still delivers the classic matte lip. It also has a nice range of colours. NYX also carries a load of budget friendly options.

Like I said above, matte finishes can also be achieved by applying lip pencils.


Wearing MAC Ruby Woo here, a matte red. I love using this for formal events.


Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Matte ad.


Revlon’s matte lipstick ad.

Frosts are lipsticks that have shimmery finishes. These tend to be drying on the lips. MAC’s frosts are a good example of them. MAC has produced some Dazzle Lipsticks, that are supposed to give you a glitter effect, but the reviews say that they’re gritty and drying.

IMG_1665MAC CB96

Wearing MAC’s CB96 in this one. It’s an orange with a frosty gold finish. See here for more info on the look. (This is possibly one of the most underrated MAC lipsticks there are, check it out the next time you’re at a MAC counter. I think it’s beautiful.)


Milani’s Pink Frost lipstick. Image from http://www.cosmetically-challenged.com/2013/02/12/milani-color-statement-lipsticks-corals-and-pinks/

Metallics have a kind of distinctive sheen, very different from glosses, and somewhat similar (though there is a subtle difference) to frosts. There’s a higher shine to them than frosts. MAC released a ‘Nudes and Metallic’s collection not too long ago (though the metallics were a bit of a flop; they were dry and had uneven colour).


MAC Pre-Raphaelite from the Nudes and Metallics collection. Image from Temptalia


OCC Lovecraft Metallic Lip Tar. Image from Temptalia


Gold metallic lipstick. Image from http://thestylebugs.com/lipstick-shades/lipstick-shades.php/attachment/gold-metallic-lipstick 

Glosses have a wet kind of shine on them. This is mostly achieved by applying lip gloss (of course), but some products, like Urban Decay’s Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color, and Revlon’s Lip Butters are lipsticks that are also extremely glossy. Applying petroleum jelly on top of your lipstick can also give a subtle glossy sheen.

IMG_1868UD Glinda

Wearing Urban Decay’s Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Colour in Glina. Click here for more info on the look. Glinda’s a limited edition colour, but Naked is a good dupe!


Wearing Urban Decay’s Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Colour in Theodora in this one, I love how amazingly glossy this is. Theodora is a limited edition, but F-Bomb is a dupe.


Image from http://www.magazine.ayurvediccure.com/how-to-apply-lip-gloss/


Glossy eyes and glossy lips. Image from Rae Morris’ Facebook page.


Image from http://aromaticembrace.com/wiki/how-to-get-soft-lips/

Glitters are well, glittery. They’re have a more pronounced shine than frost. I like to just layer a Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipgloss (like Canary or Firefly) to get a sparkly effect. Alternatively,  some people pat a glittery eyeshadow on top of their lip to get this effect.

Stay far away shoddy quality glitter lip glosses. These have uncomfortable gritty textures and probably won’t wear well on the lips. The reason why I love Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Glosses is because they wear well and are so smooth on the lips, despite the high amount of glitter in them.


Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lipgloss in Canary. Image from Temptalia


Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss in Firefly. Image from Temptalia


More of Bobbi Brown’s High Shimmer Lip Glosses. They are so beautiful.


This looks like plain arts and craft glitter patted on the lips (there’s probably clear lip balm on the lip to ensure the glitter adheres). I wouldn’t recommend this except for editorials because you’re likely to swallow a lot of the glitter (and these glitter particles are larger than the ones sold in conventional makeup) but the effect is so so pretty. Image from http://favim.com/image/266340/

Please add anything if you have some more information to contribute, or if you spot a mistake!

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16 Responses to A Guide to Lip Products

  1. estycare says:

    Great post, super informative! ❤

  2. ciaraj22 says:

    Really great post! Absolutely love the colour of the NYX lipstick, it’s sooo pretty! 🙂

  3. I love pink, and coral shades. Great post!

  4. Olivia says:

    This answered so many of my lip product-related questions it’s crazy. Thanks for posting!!

  5. I nominated you for the Shine On Blog award because I just LOVE reading your blog!! Stop by my blog and check out the post! 🙂

  6. bubliibeauty says:

    Great post dear 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a amazing post 🙂

  7. Amria says:

    Lipsticks are my favourite choices 😀

  8. The green smoky eye look looks so nice on you!! Good read!

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