Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

One of the things I am most thankful for is that by becoming a beauty blogger and having the opportunity to try so may different products is that it’s opened up my eyes to how many fantastic brands and formulas there are. Not every brand does everything perfectly, and there are a lot of great formulas that are just varying degrees of great. Picking a favorite really comes down to a less quantifiable factor, I think. It might be the color range, packaging, scent, or the overall feel. These are all lip products I personally recommend from brands’ permanent ranges.

Lip Balms/Treatments

  • Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ($7.00) is nice for those who prefer a thinner balm with no shine. It’s very, very slick and thin on the lips, but it does a good job at moisturizing.
  • Jack Black Lip Therapy Lip Balm ($7.50) is my all-time favorite lip balm, and I have them all over the house–at my desk, purse, pocket, nightstand–and a stock pile of them in reserve. So, so hydrating and comfortable to wear. My favorite flavor is Lemon & Chamomile, with Original as a runner-up.
  • Philosophy Lip Shines ($10.00) are kind of a balm, kind of a lip balm; because they tend to run so sheer and have the thicker feel of a balm, I’m going to go with it as a lip balm! I like that they’re fragranced with Philosophy’s signature scents plus have some shimmer and shine.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50) is a decadent balm that works well but wears away quickly–I like the product, not so much the price tag and how quickly it finishes, though! They do have tinted versions, though, and they’re some of the better lip stains because they’re more hydrating, but they are prone to uneven fading.
  • Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24.00) is my favorite lip scrub, because it holds together well, exfoliates lips, and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Baume Au Couer Lip Balm ($30.00) is tinted and feels like butter on lips; it wears for a few hours before disappearing, but it’s moisturizing the entire time.
  • La Mer The Lip Balm ($45.00) is probably the priciest lip balm I’ve ever used, but it really does work well. It hydrates lips while still wearing well (you won’t have to reapply every hour).


  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection ($6.99) is really rich in color, glides on easily, and wears for hours. The downside is the scent, so if you’re super sensitive to smells, you might look elsewhere, but these perform well overall.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipsticks ($8.29) is a good go-to for a more affordable lipstick brand, and of course, like other drugstore brands, you can catch it on sale for much less than $8 a pop. I find the creamier shades are the best!
  • MAC Lipsticks ($14.50) straddle that price point that doesn’t quite break the bank, feels a little more high-end than some drugstore brands, and is an all-around good formula. Their range is one of the most extensive that I know of, and with that, does come some inconsistency–not every single shade is as great as the last, but they do have several favorites. Some of these include Angel, Russian Red, Girl About Town, Crosswires, Sweetie, Cosmo, Plumful, and Media–just to scratch the surface.
  • Korres Mango Butter Lipsticks ($18.00) are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and come with a fairly glossy finish and semi-sheer color. Shades like Natural Pink and Natural Purple are really easy to wear.
  • Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors ($23.00) are long-wearing, opaque, and comfortable to wear. For cooler skin tones, try Bare Pink, Cosmic Raspberry, and Mod Pink. For warmer skin tones, try Cosmic Raspberry, Soft Coral, and Sweet Nectar.
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks ($30.00) are creamy, moisturizing, and long-wearing while delivering good color coverage in over forty different shades. Shades like #400, 402, 501, and 506 are really easy to wear on most skin tones.
  • Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipsticks ($30.00) are rich in color and long on wear. For cooler complexions, I think shades like Ballet, Edition, and Fresco would work. For warmer complexions, try Edition, Muse, and Whisper.
  • Dior Rouge Dior Lip Colors ($32.00) is long-wearing and moisturizing with a wide range of shades. For warmer complexions, I recommend shades like Pink Songe, Andalouse, and Red Muse. For cooler complexions, I recommend Pink Caprice, Devilish Pink, and Daisy Plum.
  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipsticks ($35.00) come really close to the Rouge G formula, but they are slightly less creamy, sometimes less opaque, and a smidgen less hydrating. They are really close but there is a noticeable difference on lips. I still really love the formula, though! For cooler complexions, I recommend Samsara, Cherry Blossom, and Champs Elysees. For warmer complexions, I recommend Violette de Mad, Rouge d’Enfer, and Coque d’Or.
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lipsticks ($47.00) is my all-time favorite lipstick formula, because it’s long-wearing, opaque, moisturizing, and the color range is really nuanced. For cooler complexions, I like Galia, Greta, Gabrielle, and Grenade. For warmer complexions, I like Galante, Gala, Gipsy, and Ginger.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00) feels like glossy silk on the lips; it’s super moisturizing and has a glossy shine. It wears well on me, too, despite how creamy it is. The shade range is really wearable and mostly universal, too.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick ($60.00) is a decadent formula that’s rich in color, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and has a formula that helps to plump and fill lip lines giving lips a smoother look. It’s totally over the top, but it’s an excellent formula, so you’re not just paying for brand name/packaging here.


  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($6.99) is a budget-friendly shimmery gloss that’s mostly sheer but delivers a fair amount of sparkle and dazzle. Like other sheer formulas, the range should work across skin tones.
  • Korres Cherry Oil Lipglosses ($17.00) are hydrating and comfortable tow ear, and about half the range delivers richer color, while others are sheerer (and are described as such). My favorites are #52, #52, and #22.
  • Make Up For Ever Lab Shine Lipglosses ($18.00) is a really wide range of glosses with three different finishes. I really like how Make Up For Ever has expansive color options for most of their products, and the lipgloss range is no exception.
  • Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses ($20.00) are a total must if you or someone you know loves opaque lipglosses–these are really rich in pigment, comfortable wear, long-wearing, and have a beautiful glossy shine. I recommend virtually all of them, but a few of my favorites are Belladonna, Hermetic, and Move.
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses ($23.00) are a new favorite for me; they’re very reminiscent of Chanel Glossimers but more affordable. Sheerer color with lots of dazzling sparkle! Because they’re on the sheerer side, the shade range is fairly universal.
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipglosses ($28.00) are super slick, comfortable to wear, and moisturizing. Some shades are sheer, some are more pigmented. Shades like Siren are beautiful and opaque with a really interesting metallic finish. Fortune is a great shade for everyone because it’s sheer and peachy-pink.
  • Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armanis ($28.00) may not be as long-wearing as the brand claims, but a gloss that wears six hours without drying lips out while delivering good color coverage is rare. I really love this formula, despite the shortfall in wear (relative to their claim). I love shades like #401, 402, 404, and 505.
  • Chanel Glossimers ($28.50) are a classic gloss for someone who loves lots of shimmer and glossiness. These took me awhile to appreciate, but they really do shine and sparkle. These days, most shades are sheer, so they should flatter the full spectrum of skin tones. I really like shades such as Aurore, Coral Love, Futile, Meteore, Spark, and Sundress.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Lip Cremes ($36.00) are extremely creamy, non-sticky, and hydrating. It was one of my first high-end glosses (and probably high-end purchases in general)–who knew that $36 would become “normal” to me one day–and I absolutely love shades like Fraise Creme, Framboise Creme, and Papaye Creme.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Lipglosses ($48.00) wear longer than the average gloss, have a great shimmer and shine, and are moisturizing. May I recommend #2? It’s a total staple for me.

What are your favorite permanent lip products?


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Kathryne Avatar

Happy Thanksgiving! If there is a patron saint for makeups, that would be Temptalia! Come to think of it, St.Temptalia sounds fab! Seriously, I’d like to thank you personally for the passion and knowledge you’re sharing to us women who can’t get enough of makeups and everything beauty-related. As a blogger myself, I find your advise absolutely helpful, it saves me buck and for that, you’re truly a blessing! Mahalo

Quinctia Avatar

My pick for Balms:
– Ditto on the Jack Black, and the Lemon (it’s like pez!), but I’m fond of the Blackberry/Tea and Grapefruit/Ginger flavors as well.
– Jordana Easyshine Lip Color – it’s two bucks, it’s lightly tinted, scented like the color name, and very shiny and moisturizing. No downsides.
– Revlon Lip Butters – These do feel nice, albeit thicker than the Jordanas, and I totally get why bloggers were raving about these.

– Nyx Round Lipsticks – Try a color for four bucks. It’s hard to beat. Packaging is basic but very efficient, wear time is averagey, and I don’t find them strongly scented.
– Nyx Diamond Sparkle Lipsticks – Only if you want to sparkle a lot, though. They’re a little drier, because GLITTER, but are great for the effect.
– Maybelline Color Sensational – I put these on par with the Nyx lipsticks, the only thing that makes them worth paying a little more (because they are, even on sale), is the fact that tons of brick ‘n’ mortar stores have Maybelline, only my Ulta has Nyx.
– Smashbox – I really think these lipsticks are high quality, but there is such a small color range, and to me they’re not quite worth their $22 price tag. I’ve purchsed these from cosmetic outlets, though, and I’m glad I did.
– Urban Decay – I have a certain love for the brand, I like the packaging on these lipsticks, the logo imprint on the bullet, and I like the scent. The price makes me cry, ($22 again), but I manage to get buy with limiting these to coupon/discount orders at Ulta/Sephora/UD. The color range isn’t huge, and the finishes run the gamut from sheer/opaque and cream/glitterbomb, so it’s hard to pick a color if you can’t swatch, and the shade you like may not have the finish you’d want. I do have the glitterbomb Midnight Cowboy shade, and I can vouch that it goes on like buttah.

I can’t really point out any as must-haves. Every gloss I own has some sort of sticking point that prevents me from raving over it: (Revlon Colorburst’s applicator, Zoya’s overbearing twizzler scent, UD Lip Junkie’s inexplicable stickiness on me/filigree cap breakage)

I rather enjoy UD’s Pocket Rockets, but they’re very strongly scented and have pinup dudes on the cap, so it’s not a universal recommendation. (They’re nice, not too sticky, shimmer/glitter shades last a rather good while, and they’ve got a brush applicator which is my gloss preference.)

Lyn Avatar

A big fan of Lancome especially their La Laque Fever range, my go to lipstick/gloss is their shade, 302 Lancome Rose but it seems to only be available on the UK lancome website 🙂

Sabine Ammann Avatar

I got my brother to bring me home some Jack Black lip balm from the states this summer because you and xsparkage are all fangirly about it and I really like it.

What do you think about Carmex Lip Balm? That is my go to that I have in all purses etc:)

Rebecca Avatar

Korres Lip Butters are to die for! They give just enough tint to be noticeable, a little bit of shine (but nothing overpowering) and so much moisture!
I also like the lip butter glaze from them, which is pretty much the same product but in tube form. They even have combo packs at Sephora of a glaze and butter, so affordable!

And Evolution of Smooth lip balms are adorable. The little egg shape is really cute and fits really well with lips. For quick moisture and a good scent/taste – at a super affordable price! – they’re unbeatable!

Happy Thanksgiving Christine! Thank you so much for all of the time and effort you put into making Temptalia fantastic and wonderful!

Anna Avatar

First off, Happy Thanksgiving Christine!
Could you please tell me how the Jack Black balm compares to the Kiehl’s #1 Balm? I’ve tried the Kiehl’s one, but I really hated it – I felt like it only dried my lips out! I am still on the hunt for the perfect lip balm, especially now when temperatures are dropping below freezing!
And also, your blog is fantastic! I’ve been reading it religiously for over a year now! Love!

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