Lipstick vs. Lip Gloss – Which one Is Best For You?

Lip gloss or lipstick? That’s like asking someone if they want ice cream or cake! Both are amazing, it depends on the day and sometimes you want both! I always pick gloss because I like the feeling of wearing something hydrating on my lips. Both are classics and you really can’t go wrong so it depends on what you like.

Lipstick whether you choose a classic red or a neutral helps you look put together and very feminine. Lip gloss is great for a glossy, plump finish and can be worn alone or with lipstick. It’s hydrating and not as pigmented as lipstick but it’s super easy to apply and very on trend right now. Lipstick and lip gloss have a time and place when they work best so here’s how to know which one you should reach for.

What’s the difference between lipstick and lip gloss?

Lipstick is pigmented, matte and often has a thin consistency. Lipstick looks professional and feminine. If you want a matte, long lasting lip then lipstick is the way to go. If you like to wear a pop of color on your lips, lipstick is a better option because it has more pigment. Lipstick also works better if you’re trying to overdraw your lips to create the illusion of a fuller pout.

Lip gloss leaves a shiny finish to your lips and it’s more hydrating and thicker than a typical lipstick. It doesn’t last long on the lips like lipstick – maybe an hour or two. It’s also more sheer in coverage and sometimes sticky. The nice thing about gloss is, it’s easily applied with one swipe and you don’t need a mirror.


Lipstick and lip gloss both have their pros! In some cases they work even better together when you wear a lipstick paired with a similar shade of gloss over top. Lip gloss will always be hydrating and lipstick will always be better for pops of color and creating fuller lips.


  • Lipstick is definitely more long-lasting than a gloss is. They’re better suited for pictures, work or a night out.
  • Lipstick is great for defining and overdrawing your lips. If you have thin lips, you can over line and apply a lipstick to fake a fuller pout. Use a darker lip liner and lighter lipstick to create the illusion of a fuller lip.
  • Choose lipstick if you want a pop of color like pink or red. No gloss will ever beat a red lip.
  • Highly-pigmented. Lipstick comes in matte, cream and satin finishes so there’s an option for everyone. But when compared to gloss they are always more pigmented no matter the finish.
  • Lipsticks can work as a cream blush to create a monochromatic look.

Lip Gloss

  • Glosses offer hydration!
  • They create a feeling of a ‘slip’ on the lips.
  • They’re more flattering on the lips. (i.e Hides lines and imperfections. )
  • Glosses conceal chapped lips much better than lipstick.
  • Easy, one swipe application doesn’t require a mirror.
  • Gloss can be reapplied throughout the day with no issue.
  • Glosses come in glitter and non-glitter formulas.
  • Lip glosses now often contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. This helps to hydrate your lips while you wear them.
  • If you like a natural lip, you’ll love the way a gloss looks and wears. It’s a pumped up chapstick.
  • Glosses can have plumping abilities that help your lips to appear fuller with less lines.


There are much fewer cons then there are pros for both lipstick and lip gloss! As formulas grow and improve, you are able to find matte lipsticks that aren’t drying along with lip glosses that last longer. But for those that wear lipstick and lip gloss, you likely have one you favor over the other.


  • Lipstick is drying on the lips. Especially matte formulas.
  • Emphasizes fine lines. Lipstick can bleed and settle into fine lines which ages you.
  • Lipstick is notoriously known for transferring on to your teeth.
  • Lipstick doesn’t last through meals.
  • Some lipstick will transfer on to your cup.

Lip Gloss

  • Gloss will transfer on to your cup.
  • If you want pigment, most glosses can’t compete with the pigment of a lipstick.
  • Some sparkly glosses can feel gritty.
  • If it’s windy, your hair will get stuck to your gloss.
  • Some glosses are very sticky.
  • Glosses are heavier and thicker than lipstick.

When should you wear lipstick?

Save lipstick for the days when you want your lip to last and when you want a lot of pigment. No lip gloss will ever be able to beat a classic red or vampy berry lipstick! Lipstick photographs well so if you’re getting professional photos taken it’s a good way to go! (And even better with a smidge of gloss layered on top.) Lipstick tends to feel more polished and even feminine so think work, dates, events and such when you want your lip color to last.

When should you wear lip gloss?

Honestly, lip glosses work for every occasion. They’re good to reach for when you want some extra hydration in your lip routine. If your lips are chapped definitely go for a gloss over a matte lipstick. Another time when glosses shine is when you’re doing a bold eye!

Since glosses are sheer, they let the eyes be the focal point of your makeup. They also tend to be more casual than lipsticks. If you ever need lip gloss inspo, go look at Fenty Beauty. Their Gloss Bombs have single handedly changed the beauty community and glosses will always have a seat at the table, now.

How long does lip gloss last?

Lip gloss does not last very long – maybe an hour or two. Think – anything dewy or wet won’t last as long as something matte. But, lip gloss wins because it’s much easier to apply. Reapplying lipstick usually requires a mirror and some finesse. Gloss takes one swipe and you don’t need a mirror to make it look good.

How long does lipstick last?

This depends on the lipstick. Longer then gloss and likely a few hours but you’ll need to reapply after a meal or drinks. A liquid lipstick is the longest lasting lipstick – you could get a good 6 hours + with the right formula. A traditional, bullet lipstick won’t last as long – maybe 3 hours but it will need to be touched up throughout the day to stay fresh looking. If you want something long lasting, always go for a matte formula.

Final Thoughts

There’s a time and a place for lip gloss and lipstick, it just really depends on your preference and how you like your makeup to look. If you want a polished, full pout or a pop of color — lipstick is the way to go! A lip gloss will never replace the look of a red lip.

But, lipstick will never beat the ease, hydration and shine of a lip gloss. Lipstick and gloss together are perfect for adding color to your lips with a little hydration. So instead of trying to choose one, pair them together. It’s the perfect combo and you get the pros of both!