As the field of lipidomics grows and its application becomes wide and varied it is important that we don't forget its foundation, i.e. the identification and measurement of molecular lipids.Advances in liquid chromatography and the emergence of ion mobility as a useful tool in lipid analysis are allowing greater separation of lipid isomers than ever before. At the same time, novel ion activation techniques, such as ozone-induced dissociation, are pushing lipid structural characterization by mass spectrometry to new levels. Nevertheless, the quantitative capacity of these techniques is yet to be proven and further refinements are required to unravel the high level of lipid complexity found in biological samples.At present there is no one technique capable of providing full structural characterization of lipids from a biological sample. There are however, numerous techniques now available (as discussed in this review) that could be deployed in a targeted approach. Moving forward, the combination of advanced separation and ion activation techniques is likely to provide mass spectrometry-based lipidomics with its best opportunity to achieve complete molecular-level lipid characterization and measurement from complex mixtures.