Lip Service: The Best Treatment Lipsticks at Any Price

Makeup is basically medicine now—but way more fun

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Lady Gaga attends the "Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology" Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City.
Lady Gaga at the Met Gala, wearing NARS Velvet Lip Glide in Mineshaft.

The rise of products that treat the lips while coloring them is one of the most welcome beauty trends in decades. These days, the balms, glosses, and lipsticks you love in summer are finally moisturizing enough for colder seasons. Many of these products are loaded with hyaluronic acid, one of the few buzzed-about ingredients that totally lives up to its hype. Just one gram of hyaluronic acid can retain up to a quart of water, helping skin stave off dehydration. This means lipstick is basically medicine now, but way more fun. Best to stock up.

NARS Velvet Lip Glide.
NARS Velvet Lip Glide.

The superstar product I’ve spent the past year favoring is Lancome Shine Lover Vibrant Shine Lipstick ($26). It feels more like a tinted balm than any lipstick I’ve ever used, leaving lips plumped and smooth. Emollient and highly pigmented, yet sheer and soothing, it’s one of only two lip products I’ve used up completely and repurchased multiple times.

The other is Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Tint-In-Oil ($32). With hydrating, subtle colors that are glossy yet completely lacking stickiness, I never have to worry about my long hair getting glued to my lips in a gust of wind when I’m wearing this. And just in time for fall, NARS enters with perhaps my favorite of all: Velvet Lip Glides ($26). NARS is known for bold yet wearable colors. But Velvet Lip Glides also have a superb formulation, spiked with a healthy dose of NARS’ Oil Infusion Complex. Easy like a gloss, without any of the tackiness, Velvet Lip Glides last a good five hours per coat.

If you’re looking for budget options, drugstore brands are also bringing it in this space, although with more limited color ranges and less luxurious packaging. Their prices vary depending on where you buy, but with these bargains, you can’t go wrong. Cover Girl’s Oh Sugar Vitamin Infused Lip Balm and Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm impart the opaque color of lipstick while feeling like balms. Meanwhile, Milani Moisture Lock Oil Infused Lip Treatment is a near-duplicate of the YSL lip oil, at about one-third of the price.

Jackie Danicki created one of the first and most popular beauty blogs in 2004, and has consulted some of the world’s most iconic brands on digital content strategy and innovation. Jackie blogs at, and you can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat as @burnedoutbeauty. Lip Service: The Best Treatment Lipsticks at Any Price