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Lipstick vs. Lip Gloss: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 20, 2023
Lipstick is a colored cosmetic for lips; lip gloss provides shine and may be clear or tinted.

Key Differences

Lipstick and lip gloss are both popular cosmetic products used primarily on the lips. Lipstick typically comes in a solid form and is used to impart color and texture to the lips. On the other hand, lip gloss is often a liquid or soft solid that provides a glossy finish, sometimes with a hint of color.
Lipstick can offer a matte, satin, or shimmer finish, depending on its formulation, while lip gloss generally gives a shiny or glossy finish. Lipstick usually lasts longer on the lips due to its waxy or creamy base, whereas lip gloss might need reapplication more frequently.
Both lipstick and lip gloss can be used individually or together. A common practice is to apply lipstick first for color and then top it with lip gloss for added shine. This combination enhances the appearance of the lips, making them look fuller and more vibrant.
Many makeup enthusiasts prefer lipstick for its pigment intensity and lasting power. In contrast, those who seek a more natural or subtle look might gravitate towards lip gloss. Regardless of the choice, both lipstick and lip gloss can be found in a plethora of shades and formulas, catering to individual preferences and occasions.

Comparison Chart


Solid or semi-solid
Liquid or soft solid


Impart color
Provide shine


Typically long-lasting
Often needs reapplication


Matte, satin, shimmer
Shiny or glossy


Creamy or waxy
Sticky or smooth

Lipstick and Lip Gloss Definitions


A colored cosmetic applied to the lips.
She wore a bold red lipstick to the party.

Lip Gloss

A typically translucent lip enhancer.
Her lip gloss added a subtle pink tint to her lips.


A mark left by colored lip cosmetic.
There was a lipstick mark on his cheek.

Lip Gloss

A cosmetic product providing shine to the lips.
She applied some lip gloss for a quick touch-up.


A symbol of femininity or makeup.
The lipstick and heels made her feel confident.

Lip Gloss

A makeup item for a moist lip look.
The lip gloss gave her a fresh, youthful appearance.


A tube containing lip color.
The lipstick case was ornate and vintage.

Lip Gloss

A tube or pot containing shiny lip substance.
She gifted me a beautiful set of flavored lip glosses.


A product in stick form for lip coloration.
She pulled out her favorite shade of lipstick from her purse.

Lip Gloss

A liquid or gel used for a glossy finish.
The shine from her lip gloss was noticeable.


A small stick of waxy lip coloring enclosed in a cylindrical case.


Can lipstick and lip gloss be used together?

Yes, many people apply lipstick for color and then top it with lip gloss for added shine.

What gives lip gloss its shiny appearance?

Lip gloss contains oils and sometimes light-reflecting particles that give it a shiny finish.

Can lipstick serve as a long-lasting base for lip gloss?

Yes, applying lipstick first can provide a lasting base for lip gloss to adhere to.

What is the primary purpose of lipstick?

The primary purpose of lipstick is to provide color to the lips.

Which is more moisturizing: lipstick or lip gloss?

Generally, lip gloss is more moisturizing due to its oil-based formulation.

Can lip gloss be worn over lip liner?

Absolutely! Lip gloss can be applied over lip liner to enhance color and shine.

Is lipstick generally thicker in consistency than lip gloss?

Yes, lipstick is typically thicker and more solid, while lip gloss can be more liquidy.

Does lipstick last longer than lip gloss?

Typically, lipstick has a longer wear time than lip gloss due to its formulation.

Are there matte lip glosses?

While the primary purpose of lip gloss is shine, there are matte formulas that provide color without the gloss.

How do I prevent lipstick from feathering?

Using a lip liner can help prevent lipstick from feathering beyond the lip line.

Do both lipstick and lip gloss expire?

Yes, like all cosmetics, both lipstick and lip gloss have a shelf life and can expire.

How do I remove long-wear lipstick?

Using an oil-based makeup remover can effectively remove long-wear lipstick.

Is there a difference between lip stain and lipstick?

Yes, lip stains are water or gel-based and provide long-lasting color, while lipstick is waxier and creamier.

Which is more popular: lipstick or lip gloss?

Popularity varies based on trends and individual preferences, but both lipstick and lip gloss have their dedicated fan base.

Is lipstick always opaque?

No, lipstick can range from sheer to fully opaque, depending on its formulation.

Are there natural or organic lipsticks and lip glosses available?

Yes, many brands offer natural or organic versions of both lipstick and lip gloss.

How does lip gloss differ from lipstick in texture?

Lip gloss has a smoother, often stickier texture, while lipstick is creamier or waxier.

Is lip gloss only for a glossy finish?

Primarily yes, lip gloss is designed for a glossy finish, though some might offer shimmer or sparkle.

Can lip gloss be used as a cheek highlighter?

Some people use clear or lightly tinted lip gloss as a cheek highlighter for a dewy finish.

Are there lip glosses with intense color like lipsticks?

Yes, some lip glosses are pigmented and can offer intense color, similar to lipsticks.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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