I recently purchased and got really excited about my new NARS Oil-Infused Lip Tint. Before I even had a chance to try it out, I came across a Tower 28 Beauty display at Sephora and immediately noticed how similar their ShineOn Lip Jelly looked in its pretty, clear tube. And then, at CVS, the new CoverGirl Clean Fresh line arrived and included a new Tinted Lip Oil! With all of these shiny lip products available in a similar purple shade, I had to know how they stack up against each other. Can the drugstore version beat high end and save us some cash? Is one shade more vibrant than another? Or maybe all three are pretty much the same? Here we go.
Price: NARS $26, Tower 28 Beauty $14, CoverGirl $10.49
Tested March 2020
I was initially drawn to the NARS Oil-Infused Lip Tint because of the gorgeous orchid purple shade. I love this color, and have worn a lot of lipsticks in similar shades over the years. As I started to see more of these glossy lip oil/tint products pop up, I couldn’t believe my luck- more purple options! Do not be afraid of any of these just because they look super bright in the tube. They are all incredibly sheer. Repeat: incredibly sheer.
Let’s go through them one by one.
Clocking in with the heftiest price tag, Disco Infernal wins serious points for its packaging, which is my favorite of the three. I like the square tube and the pretty metallic purple cap; the applicator is nice, and it’s mess free (no gooping up anywhere in the cap, which can happen with other gloss packaging). The shade is more cool-toned, making it lean ever so slightly more purple than pink, which is what I was hoping for. The product claims to have a “non-greasy feel, while delivering a sheer wash of color and stunning shine”. I think all of this is true and, once applied, it feels smooth and lightweight on the lips. So much so that I actually forget it’s on.
This is the first item I’ve ever tried from Tower 28, and after using this Lip Jelly, I will absolutely explore more offerings from the brand. This product is vegan and certified Clean at Sephora, and it contains Apricot Kernel, Raspberry Seed and Rosehip oils “to soothe and protect lips from drying and peeling”. Calling this a “Lip Jelly” is a great way to describe the thicker consistency of this gloss. Thicker, but never in a gloppy, sticks-your-lips-together way. This is the shiniest of the three products, and I detect a very light scent here (maybe hints of coconut?). The clear acrylic packaging feels ultra-modern, and the paddle shaped applicator is almost the same as the NARS applicator, just a bit longer and narrower.
First of all, I have no idea why CoverGirl would name this shade Sour Grapes. Really, “sour” was the most appealing word to put on a makeup item in a line called “Clean Fresh”? Not Grape Gusto, or Gotcha Grape, or literally anything else? Sigh, oh well. In a somewhat shocking twist, the least expensive of our lip offerings packs the greatest color punch. This Lip Oil, which is supposed to last up to 6 hours and be “ideal for everyday use”, is definitely the most pigmented, and actually imparts a purple-toned tint to the lips. It is much less shiny than the other two, and feels and looks more like a lip stain. It does last a while (nowhere near 6 hours, but longer than the others), and is the most heavily scented.
It also sinks into lip lines like nobody’s business. I think it’s pretty obvious in the swatch at the beginning of this post; it’s even pooling in the pores on my arm! Ugh. The silver lining to this is that I genuinely think it’s more noticeable in the arm and lip swatch photos than it is in person.
I thought there would be a clear winner that might overtake the other two lip oils in this Best Coast Battle. I’ve used these for about two weeks, often applying all three in one day to see if one jumped out at me as better than the rest. Instead, they each win and lose in different categories. NARS wins Prettiest Packaging and Most Moisturizing, but might not be special enough to spend nearly 2 or 3 times more cash on than the others. Tower 28 wins Glossiest Gloss and Best Ingredients, but comes off as the most barely-there shade that looks more pink than purple. CoverGirl wins Longest Lasting and Best Color Payoff, but settles hard-core into lip lines. All are pretty and easy to wear on their own, and would also be great options to top off other lip colors for an extra dose of shine.