The Real Difference Between Lipstick And Lip Gloss

When it comes to makeup, it seems that there are two teams: those who love lipstick, and those who go gaga for lip gloss. Which lip product you choose is entirely up to you, but it's important to understand the real difference between lipstick and lip gloss. The answer might make you do an entire about-face (ha).

But let's start at beauty basics, shall we? Lipstick is made up of essentially three ingredients: wax, pigment, and oil (via WebMD). And while lipstick only has three components, they're crucial in order to get the perfect pout. The wax portion ensures that your lipstick glides over your lips, while the oil keeps your lips hydrated. As you might have guessed, pigment is the color that you choose. Upping the amount of oil in any lipstick can decrease the amount of pigment present in your lipstick.

But unlike lipstick, lip gloss has a longer ingredient list. At its core, though, the main ingredient in lip gloss is emollients (via Byrdie). Emollients help keep your skin soft and smooth, per Healthline, and in the case of lip gloss, help keep your lips kissably soft. It's also what gives gloss, well, its glossy shine.

Here are other differences between lip gloss and lipstick

Now, even though emollients are essential, they might vary from brand to brand. For example, some lip gloss might use synthetic oils, while others (like organic or natural lip glosses), will use jojoba or coconut oil. Thing is, using oil as a base for lip gloss means that it provides a slippery surface for your lips, and as such, is much easier to wear off. That's why lip glosses also use thickeners — in the form of waxes or clays — to ensure that your lip gloss stays put (via Byrdie).

While pigment is an important part of lipstick, it's not as important to lip gloss, where sheen is the star. That said, many lip glosses do have color to them, and that can come via an FD&C dye, iron oxide, or mica, which can add sparkle (via Self). Additionally, many lip glosses have some flavoring added to them, (and potentially a sweetener so that it tastes good), along with ingredients to give it a stable shelf life. Some even have SPF (via Prevention) to prevent your lips from getting a sunburn.

And there you have it: the main difference between lipstick and lip gloss is in the amount of oil and pigment used, along with additional ingredients. But no matter what you choose, it's sure to make your pucker even prettier.