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What Are the Differences Between Lipstick and Lip Gloss?

A plump pout is the perfect way to top off any outfit. The right lip product can help give your lips that lush look we all crave. Between lipsticks and lip glosses, there are plenty of products to choose from—and therein lies the problem.

Just what's the difference between lipstick and lip gloss anyway? How do you know when to wear each one? Here’s a quick rundown that will turn you into a lip product expert in no time.

What makes a lipstick vs. a lip gloss?

Let's start with the obvious: Lip gloss gives you a glossy finish. It's super reflective, giving you that shiny, eye-catching look you love. In contrast, lipstick tends to have a creamier, more matte finish. It absorbs light instead of reflecting it, creating a powerful pop of color.

That said, lipstick comes in various finishes. Frosted, sheer, and satin lipsticks are more reflective and lightweight, creating an effect more like a gloss. These formulas are also moisturizing.

In contrast, matte, semi-matte, and creamy lipsticks have a heavier composition and less shine.

So, what’s behind those varying finishes? It's all in the ingredients.

A traditional bullet lipstick—like our Soft Touch Lipstick—contains ingredients that help produce a long-lasting matte look, such as synthetic wax. Meanwhile, a lip gloss like our Wet Cherry Lip Gloss, contains mineral oil, giving you that ultra-shiny look without the stickiness.

How do lipstick and lip gloss differ in their final appearance?

Now for the most important point: How do lipstick vs lip gloss look once you've actually applied them? Finish is one major differentiator. But you'll also notice a difference in pigmentation.

Lipsticks tend to have bolder pigmentation, resulting in more striking hues. Lip gloss is less pigmented, prioritizing shine and sparkle over vibrant shades. You’ll still get a pretty tint that ties your makeup look together, but the finish is the real highlight.

Last but not least: Which one will last longer?

When you're on the go, reapplying your lip product might not be a priority. But as a rule, lip gloss wears off faster than lipstick.

Want the longest lasting lip color? Liquid lipsticks usually have a longer wear than bullet lipsticks, which require more regular reapplication to maintain their bold and bright appearance.

Pro tip: For long-lasting liquid lipsticks, check out our Velvetines Liquid Lipstick with a richly pigmented formula made for all-day wear (it's even kiss-proof). Want something more subtle but just as durable? Our Plushies Soft Liquid Lipstick enhances your natural lip color.

Lipstick vs lip gloss: Which one is right for you?

Real talk: There's no one "right" choice. It all depends on your priorities.

Got a hot date planned and need something that won't smudge mid-makeout? A long-lasting liquid lipstick is your answer. Looking for a quick hint of shine and don't mind reapplying throughout the day (or night)? A light-wear gloss is for you.

Our suggestion? Have a range of options in your arsenal—a product to create the pout you want, when you want it.

Shop our full range of lipsticks and lip glosses to find a color and finish for every mood. 

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