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There’s a drawer of lipsticks sitting in my bedroom that I’m sure need to be thrown away. Of the dozens I own, there are probably two or three that I consistently use. And by consistent, I mean every once in a while when there’s a work dinner or by some miracle–a random date night. The others are merely collecting dust underneath what I deem to be the best lip glosses ever.
I wouldn’t call my beauty routine full-on lazy, but it’s definitely what most would describe as minimalist. Before sprinting from my Brooklyn stoop to a subway that will inevitably run with delays, I’ve got just enough energy to apply BB cream (with my hands), a little mascara, my brows and maybe a pop of color on the cheeks. Sometimes, there’s a moment when I think a lipstick will bring it all together, but then I think of how many times I’ll have to reapply and wipe it from my teeth. Lip gloss wins every time. It’s moisturizing, goes with everything and if you still want color, there are ample options.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that there are more lip gloss options than lipstick, which I find hilarious since at least half of the glosses in existence are clear. The variety isn’t as apparent, but it’s definitely there. As someone who wears gloss every. single. day., I can confirm that there are three very important factors to consider before investing in one. First, it must have just the right amount of stickiness; enough to keep the gloss in place, but not so much that it slips and slides everywhere. Second, it has to have staying power. And third, it should have some level of shine, depending on your preference. Personally, the amount of shine I want really just depends on the day and mood. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks putting a bunch of top-rated lip glosses to the test these are the ones that come out on top.
The Beauty Supply Throwback: BR Lip Glow Kissing Lip Gloss
This is the first beauty product I ever wore. The beauty supply store around the corner from my mom’s go-to laundromat sold them for just 25 cents, which meant I was able to build a full collection of colors and flavors. I’m not sure exactly when I stopped wearing it, but after spotting in the beauty supply about a month ago, I decided it was time to put this one back in rotation. Unsurprisingly so, it’s still just the right amount of sticky and smooth with a scent that smells good enough to eat. The roller ball applicator also glides too perfectly onto my lips, also making it impossible to come a part in my purse. My only caveat is that the moisture doesn’t last long, but it’s still so much fun to wear.
$1 at Local Beauty Supply Stores
The One With a Celebrity Co-Sign: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer
There’s a reason this is Rihanna’s favorite Fenty product. Besides the fact that it smells like dessert and has her co-sign, it’s also the most dramatic of my top picks. The gloss is high-shine to the max and not for the faint of heart. At the same time, it’s versatile in that it can be worn ultra-sheer or built upon for an almost lipstick-like finish. It also stays put through tea, lunch and whatever else you much on at your desk. Long story short: if you want to make a statement, this is the one you need.
$18 at Fenty Beauty
The Lip Stain With Just Enough Color: Glossier Play Vinylic Lip
The newest kid on the lip gloss block does not disappoint. Though it technically isn’t a lip gloss, it’s got the easy feel and color stain of one. What makes Glossier Play’s lip product is the cushion applicator. It distributes just the right amount of product so you don’t go overboard with color and can maintain a laidback, “I woke up like this” vibe. It isn’t sticky at all; almost feels like a Chapstick or drugstore lip balm. My only qualm is that it could use a bit more staying power.
$16 at Glossier
The Low-Key Multitasker: NARS Multi-Use Gloss
If you love lip gloss, but also want to wear a full face of makeup, this multitasker is a godsend and the ultimate time-saver. The applicator isn’t my favorite because it feels too flimsy and flat. However, the color payoff is unreal. There are a myriad of shades to choose from, but all of them have just enough shimmer for selfies, but not so much that’s it’s completely impossible to take off at the end of the day. I’ve worn this as a lip gloss, eyeshadow and cheek highlighter; sometimes all at once and sometimes just one or the other. Either way, it’s brought me one step closer to achieving dewy-looking skin with little effort.
$24 at Ulta
The Smell-Good, Juicy Pout Option: Pat McGrath Labs LUST: Lip Gloss
Mother McGrath simply slayed this lip gloss recipe. This one’s a bit high in terms of stickiness, but the great thing is that it stays on and looks even better when layered with a similarly-colored lipstick. It looks like a gloss (and technically is one), but it feels like a comfortable balm. And the best part is you’ll never get bored with the collection because there are a whopping 27 shades to choose from with high-shine, glitter, and shimmer finishes. Variety is truly the spice of life.
$28 at Sephora
The Stay-Put, Sticky One: Sara Happ Lip Slip
If you like your gloss extra sticky and extra pink, this is your new holy grail. It may feel like it’s simply sitting on top of your lips, but makes it a cult favorite is the oil-infused formula that actually penetrates beyond those top layers to hydrate as well as provide that cashmere cream finish. A little also goes a long way which makes spending almost $30 on a lip gloss feel a whole lot better.
$28 at Sara Happ