Lip Basics: Primers, Balms, Oils and Favorites for Fall
October 3, 2016
Lip products are among my favorite things in the beauty world. Something as simple as a nice lipstick or great lip balm can give that little pick-me-up boost. Lip products are great whether you need to feel a little more polished or if you need a bit of soothing hydration. I’ve done quite a few roundups on lip treatments, primers, favorite lipliners and versatile glosses in the past but thought it might be time to do an updated version for fall. I’ve teamed up with Nordstrom to roundup some of my favorites. I’ve picked out a wide range of options as I know everyone has different tastes and preferences for formula, texture, packaging and scent. There are a couple new items that I’ve tested and have been really excited about – so if you’re looking for new lip basics to add to your routine, I hope you enjoy this post!
Up first is the MAC Prep + Prime Lip which is my favorite lipstick primer. It’s a smooth easy to use primer that helps reduce lipstick feathering. It also smooths fine lines and really does make lipstick go on smoother. It’s oil-free and fragrance free so those with sensitive noses don’t need to worry about scent. While it doesn’t add hydration I find it works to help lipstick adhere better – especially if you wear matte lipsticks. If you’re more of a glossy finish/shine lipstick kind of person, this won’t really help the lipstick adhere as those have a lot of slip in them. But for regular cream, satin or mattes this is a must.
Next are lip treatments that come in tube format. There are quite a few good potted balms but I prefer a sponge tip or squeeze tube as I find it’s less messy on the fingers. I have very sensitive lips and some balms like the one from Kiehl’s and C.O. Bigelow (along with a number of drugstore brands) make my lips go numb and swell – I’m not sure what the ingredient is that causes sensitivity for me, but the ones below are super sensitive lip approved.
The Clarins Instant Light Lip Confort Oil in Honey is probably my favorite lip oil. This one is clear so it won’t add color but truly does add instant comfort. As far as oils go this one is easy to to apply, doesn’t migrate off the lips and is great for everyday wear. Sometimes I’ll add a bit of liner on top smudged on the lips for color. (Some of my favorites listed below.)
The Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade Color Reviver Instant Oil-Gel Care has been in frequent rotation lately. I’ve read it’s hit or miss on whether this will change color like the regular Addict Lip Glow (ones in the stick). For me the stick version turns my lips bright pink and this one in the tube doesn’t add any color but I’m willing to overlook it because it adds the perfect amount of moisture to my lips. It has a beveled tip to mold more to the round curves of your
lips. It’s smooth and isn’t sticky. I would say this is my go-to lip treatment of the moment.
Armani Prima Eye and Lip Contour is a multi-purpose product. When used on the lips it smooths, plumps and helps create a base to help lipstick stay put. The texture is very unique, it almost has a whipped velvet texture but blends like a cream. Once on the lips I can feel the plumping effect immediately but there’s no tingle. It’s creamy but feels matte. It’s incredibly unique and while extremely pricey does prevent lipstick feathering. It is slightly scented but in a soft sweet way and it’s not noticeable after a couple minutes. Over time with use the lip texture and surface becomes more smooth.
Diptyque Nourishing Lip Balm has been on backorder for a while but Diptyque repackaged their lip balm in a squeeze tube. I’ve been using it for almost a month now and it’s a thicker balm that adds a veil of hydration on the lips. If you don’t like thicker products you may find this too thick in which case I’d recommend an oil, a stick balm or the AmorePacific Moisture Bound Lip Treatment (which I’ve run out of and don’t have to show in this roundup).
Hourglass No. 28 Lip Oil is one of the most luxurious lip oils I’ve tried. It comes with a gold-plated applicator which adds a soothing cooling effect to the lips. It is scented with an herbal kind of scent. I find it to be like a spa treatment for the lips but if you can’t tolerate any kind of scent you may want to see if you can try before buying. It contains:
14 essential oils: bois de rose, lavender, geranium, petitgrain, lemon, rosemary, vanilla, clove, amyris, orange, ylang-ylang, eucalyptus, cedar, rose geranium
10 lipid-rich plant oils: hazelnut, kukui nut, rose hip, borage, olive, green tea, cherry pit, sweet almond, jojoba and evening primrose
vitamins A, B5, C and E
Next are some tinted balms that I’ve been playing with. Clarins and Dior are my favorite but many of you have been asking about Burberry and the new ones from Armani. I’ve had the ones from Burberry for ages but don’t think I’ve ever swatched them all.
Armani just launched a new lip treatment called the Him/Her Lip Care. There are 5 options total (4 tinted, 1 clear). I bought three of the shades and on my lips the color is pretty much clear but I’ve swatched them below to show you the colors. They are medium thick and you can
feel them on the lips so they’re not weightless. They do make the lips softer and the tints give a very slight hint of color.
Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors are my favorite tinted balms of all time. They do have a scent to them which is like a soft sweet vanilla scent but it’s not overpowering. The colors are sheer but have enough pigment to show up on the lips. I love the slim sleek packaging and they feel great on the lips.
Burberry First Kiss Fresh Gloss Balm which are pretty much clear on the lips. They come with a special applicator that gives the lips a cooled effect. Texture is very smooth and emollient. These are a hybrid gloss and balm in one but the color is very very sheer. If you’re a low-key kind of person when it comes to lips and just want comfort and shine these are great to add moisture. Color-wise though the pigment has little to no payoff except for the red and plum versions. Scent is almost non-detectable – I have to try really hard to detect a scent in these.
Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm in Coral is my favorite stick balm of the moment. The color will react and change depending on the chemistry of your lips. This one gives my lips a healthy very natural flushed glow. It’s an easy no fuss kind of balm and since it adds the perfect amount of color for me it’s great for on-the-go or for days where I don’t want to think about what makeup to wear because it works with everything.
Swatches of my picks from Armani Him and Her Lip Care. The other two tinted ones were almost a taupe and taupe purple greige. There is also a clear version. There is a very soft skincare like scent to them but it’s faint.
All the Burberry First Kiss Fresh Gloss Lip Balms swatched. They go on the lips very sheer and all look the same on me so I did not lip swatch them. The last two Crushed Red and Sweet Plum give my lips a very slight hint of color, but effect is very slight.
All the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors reposted as I’ve reviewed them in depth before. Love every single one of these!
For color you all know I love my nude lipsticks, but for those who find nudes and beiges boring, the next best thing for me is a soft mauve because it’s one of those shades I think is a universally flattering color.
Many of you have been asking for my thoughts on the NARS Velvet Lip Glides. I picked up four shades and will review them soon, but the shade in Bound is hands down my favorite. It’s the prettiest soft mauve pink cream that is great for everyday wear or even for nights out.
Another classic is Chanel Glossimer in Wild Rose. It has a soft silver shimmer and to me it’s the most classic mauve pink rose color you can find. If you’re new to Chanel Glossimers and want to know which one I’d recommend starting with, Wild Rose is it!
To extend the wear of your lipstick or lipgloss adding a good liner can help a lot. I am rather lazy when it comes to lipliner so I usually skip it. I have accumulated dozens of pencils but the ones I find most versatile include the MAC Lip Pencils. For me my favorite shades are Boldly Bare, MAC Dervish and MAC Whirl. For those wanting a more mauve pink color Kevyn Aucoin Hyacinth is the perfect in between. As far as neutral nude rose pinks Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillow Talk is as perfect as it gets in my opinion.
(MAC Stripdown added for comparison purposes to show how pink/mauve the other shades are.)
Swatched on the lips:
One last look:
If I had to pick three to stick with, it would be the MAC Prep+Prime Lip for primer, Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors for tinted balms and the Dior Addict Lip Glow Pomade for everyday moisture. Although I’m a lip balm/lip oil junkie and it would be very difficult for me to just stick with one for the rest of the season or even the rest of my life. If you can’t take any scent whatsoever, the AmorePacific MoistureBound Lip Treatment is among the best for very dry lips. If you can tolerate a little bit of scent the Clarins Lip Oil is also a very good one for instant relief.
That rounds up some of my favorites and thoughts on some newly launched items. I’m really liking the Armani Him and Her Balms although the color doesn’t really show up on my lips the formula is really good and I like the sleek packaging.
What are your favorite lip treatments and primers? I know there are quite a few other primers and clear lipliners people like to use to help extend lipstick wear but the MAC one is so good I haven’t looked into others for a while. If you have a favorite let me know! Always love trying new lip products.
Many thanks to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. Press samples include the Clarins Lip Oil, Clarins Lip Perfectors, Armani Prima Lip Care.