Read the Label: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask was designed as an overnight treatment to increase and provide long-lasting hydration to lips, leaving them feeling softer and healthier.
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask was designed as an overnight treatment to increase and provide long-lasting hydration to lips, leaving them feeling softer and healthier.
Photo credit: Olga

Laneige is a well-known and beloved Korean skin care brand that launched in the 1990s. The brand is arguably known best for its top-selling Lip Sleeping Mask, which the website boasts "is the #1 lip treatment brand in the U.S." and one is sold every 5 seconds, according to an aggregated global unit sales data from 2022. The Lip Sleeping Mask most recently won the 2023 Allure Reader’s Choice Awards.

Many of us are in the midst of winter months, and the drop in temperature and lack of humidity in the air can cause dry, cracked lips. To counteract these effects, the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask was designed as an overnight treatment to increase and provide long-lasting hydration to lips, leaving them feeling softer and healthier. The potted lip product is scooped out using a small silicone applicator an worn over night so the user awakes with lips feeling smooth and more nourished.

Following, we break down the ingredients to assess which are responsible for moisturization, aesthetics and the stability of the formulation, and how formulators might recreate this iconic product.*

See related: Read the Label: The Ordinary Soothing and Barrier Support Serum

Ingredient Disclosure

(bolding added for emphasis):

Diisostearyl Malate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Polybutene, Microcrystalline Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Synthetic Wax, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Mica, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Candelilla Wax Esters, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Titanium Dioxide, Fragrance, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Methicone, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Yellow 6 Lake, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Red 6, Ascorbic Acid, Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, BHT, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Fruit Juice, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Juice.

Hydration and Moisture

Looking at the ingredient listing, we can identify a few familiar ingredients. Shea butter, coconut oil and murumuru seed butter are plant-derived butters and oils known for their emollience and semi-occlusive properties that add an extra level of moisturization to the lips and smooth the product's feel as the lips rub together. Pomegranate, raspberry, and grape juice are also present in this formula, as plant-derived juices may boost hydration — although, this is not the main source of hydration in this formula.

Diisostearyl malate, the ingredient in the largest quantity in this formulation, provides high water-holding capacity, resulting in increased hydration and improved barrier function — an important factor for relieving dry, chapped lips. Phytosteryl/isostearyl/cetyl/stearyl/behenyl dimer dilinoleate is a plant-derived ester and lanolin alternative. It imparts an occlusive layer to the lips, decreasing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and retaining the water pulled into the lips by the diisostearyl malate. It also assists in texture modification for an appealing sensorial experience, as well as adhesion to the lips for all-night wear. Thus, consumers head to bed with glossy lips and may still feel a little of the product left over in the morning.

Structure and Texture

The consistency of the product is dependent upon the blend of structurants that solidify the product and increase its viscosity; plasticizers to add creaminess without increasing viscosity; and texturizer, to modify texture and feel. Polyethylene and microcrystalline wax provide structure to the formula and ensure the product solidifies once it reaches room temperature. Hydrogenated polyisobutene is a synthetic hydrocarbon polymer with a hydrophobic (water-hating) property. It creates a gel-like consistency to stabilize the formulation through viscosity-increasing abilities while providing the added benefits of emollience and moisturization. It also may have a tacky consistency that could provide an added benefit of adhesion to the lips.

It is a common myth that all waxes only provide structure and hardness, as some waxes are meant to act as plasticizers and texture modifiers. Carnauba wax is a natural vegetable wax containing esters and free fatty alcohols and is the hardest natural wax, with a melting point of 85°C. Candelilla wax, also a natural vegetable wax, is softer than carnauba wax and contains hydrocarbons, esters and free fatty acids with a lower melting point. Both impart their natural thickness to increase the viscosity, while candelilla wax enhances the consistency of a product due to its plasticizing abilities.

See related: Laneige Names Sydney Sweeney First Global Brand Ambassador

Sensory Effects

Lastly, sucrose tetrastearate triacetate is an oil phase texture modifier added to improve sensorial properties such as spreadability across the lips and after-feel as the lips interact with the formula. The sensorial properties impact consumer experience with the product and their view of the level of moisturization, such as how long the product lasts on the skin and the smoothness, stickiness and tackiness.

Product Form

It is important to note that this formulation is an emulsion with a semi-solid texture. As most formulators know, the formulation is divided into three phases — oil, water and fragrance. The main phase is the oil phase, containing the ingredients in this disclosure up to the water, but not including fragrance. The oil phase may be as high as 90% of the formula. Due to the semi-solid texture, this is a hot-pour product into the component. The ingredients could be melted up to 85°C and poured around 60°C.

Retail Details

This product comes in a variety of colors and flavors, such as pomegranate, grapefruit, mango, berry, vanilla and gummy bear. Laneige also launches seasonal flavors such as pink lemonade, peppermint, hot cocoa and chocolate mint. The product retails for $24 for 0.7 oz and can be found at retailers such as Sephora and on the Laneige website.

*Disclaimer: While the "Read the Label" series provides an overview of the ingredients in a product and their related claims, without use levels or access to clinical studies, the author is drawing conclusions based on speculation —albeit from training, formulating experience and, in some cases, evidence in the literature. The information provided is for your consideration and further investigation; including any patent protections.

More in Skin Care