The cosmetics industry constantly adds new categories of lip coverage to their roster of “color” products. Here’s a quick glossary to help you wade through most types of lip makeups on the market today:
Lipsticks are packaged in (usually) stick form, although many creams are also considered lipsticks. The proof is in the texture – lipsticks offer thousands of colors from barely there tints to vivid hues – but all have a smooth, waxy, sealing-type lip feel. That said, lipsticks can be matte, satiny, glossy, glittery or even wet-looking.
Lip glosses range from clears to sheers and all the way up to full fledged color coverage. What makes a gloss unique from a lipstick is the (of course) glossier formula, decreased viscosity (ie – they are not packaged as solids) and very brief wear time. Most women wear gloss over lipsticks, lipstains or lipliners.
Some people, and especially younger women, wear lip gloss alone, and simply reapply as needed throughout the day.
Most lip balms are color-free ways to add a waxy, moisturizing sealant to chapped or dry lips. Lip balms often contain soothing agents like Aloe Vera or Vitamin E, lip sunscreens, or even pain relievers like aspirin derivatives (as found in Carmex).Some lip balms include a hint of color, essentially edging those balms into lip gloss territory. In addition, even the most pedestrian balm – say, a swipe of petroleum jelly – adds an attractive hint of clear gloss to lips.
For some people (including most men) lip balm is the only cosmetic routinely applied to their lips.
This product is the only item on the list created to subtract something from your lips – in this case, peeling lip flesh! Lip exfoliants usually contain a waxy base and/or scrubby bits to actually exfoliate dry or cracked skin from the lip surface.
Plumpers may or may not contain color, but all are intended to stimulate blood flow into the lips. This creates a fuller, more engorged appearance that is considered attractive and sensual.
Usually irritants are the active ingredients in plumping formulas, and some products do a better job than others to achieve the desired fullness.
Invented to provide longer-lasting color to lips than a long-wear lipstick, lip stains can be added (by manufacturers) to lipsticks, or applied in liquid form directly to lips in stick form or with a brush. Lip stains do not wear off by talking or eating, as they actually stain the skin of the lips with color. Lip stain colors are usually very bold or deep, and are not a subtle look.
Harder to find than lip stains, lip paints offer a compromise between the thin liquid feel of a lip stain and the comfortable coating of an actual lipstick. The wear-time is a compromise as well, but better colors are usually available in paint form than can usually be achieved via stains.
This includes regular, thin pencils and chunky/fat pencils. Some need to be sharpened and some have a twist-up dial, but all are created to actually line the lip with color. Many people use lip liners to actually provide full lip color, or to provide a longer-lasting base color for lipsticks and glosses.
Usually designed as a clean base for subsequent lip coloring, or to prevent lip color from “bleeding” past the lip line. Colors can be either clear or in various “foundation” shades, and may be waxy.
Some people take the permanent step of tattooing actual ink color into their lips, bringing tattooing into the realm of cosmetics.