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For many of us, our introduction to makeup came in a glass roll-on tube of fruit-flavored lip gloss. They were often less than $5, available at every drugstore and dollar store, addicting to apply, and easy to remove if our mothers ruled makeup out of our adolescence. How could we forget the glitter-speckled glosses that came in a little pot with a wand attached? Or the teeny toothpaste-looking aluminum tubes of fruity gloss (all of which were offered by your go-to lip brand of the time, Naturistics, which had pre-Gilmore Girls Alexis Bledel as their poster girl)?
At some point in a girl’s life, after lip gloss comes lipstick, which offered so much more color, depth and attitude that we had to dress up with. Some of us never looked back, and some of us still hold on to the sheer, glossy predecessors of our bold lip colors. The latter however have so many great brands offering amazing lip colors and formulas that would convert any matte lip junkie. These new formulas have definitely baited our most sophisticated tastes as well as our party-pouts, with simple swipes of sheer to bold color, moisturizing non-tacky formulas, and much more subtle scents (think vanilla instead of cherry). Oh, and there’s not a roll-on in sight.
One of our favorite indie makeup brands, Alchemy, recently launched lip glosses. We knew they’d be great, judging on how marvelous their lipsticks are. What you get are a range of glosses from clear to deep vampy burgundy, all of which are so richly pigmented and—true to their name—luminescent. (Alchemy Cosmetics Luminescent Lip Gloss, $20, Alchemycosmeticsbk.com)
Armour Beauty is the brainchild of Theo Kogan, model and former rockstar front woman of The Lunachicks. Kogan’s rockstar pedigree clearly gives Armour a cool edge with their lip glosses (Armour’s only cosmetic offering, by the way) many of which are inspired by and named after pop culture icons and rockers. With shimmers and opaque formulas, Armour also offers vegan glosses—all of which are makeup artist and celeb favorites in and of themselves. (Armour Beauty Lip Gloss, $24, Armourbeauty.com)
Other than how clearly awesome the packaging is, Manic Panic’s lip glosses are legit. The famous hair color brand does a nearly full line of cosmetics, and their glosses are nothing to sneeze at with opaque vibrant colors that apply on your lips the way they look in the tube, all without the heavy tacky feeling you’d expect from an opaque gloss. (Manic Panic Lethal Lips Cross Gloss, $15, Manic Panic)
We are actually quite enamored with Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquers. With a faintly peppermint scent, these glosses are the epitome of sophisticated lip gloss. The color here, “Love Drunk” is our go-to for a slightly shimmery dusty rose-mauve lip. It takes the nude lip look a level up. (Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer, $28, Marc Jacobs)
Your favorite lip balm just went gloss, with these new sheer fruity-scented moisturizing lip glosses. Wearing them feels a bit like you’re just wearing a LOT of lip balm, so you can feel moisturized while wearing a shiny lip texture. Some of the colors are shimmery and sheer and others are sans shimmer, but still impart a sheer pale color onto your lips. (Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss, $4.49, Ulta)
While it’s not technically marketed as a gloss, Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Rouge lip colors are for all intents and purposes, a glossy color on your lips. The big plus is that it does NOT budge for anything for hours. After applying the lip color, let it set and dry for a minute and then apply the clear glossy top coat to seal it in, giving you high shine and zero smudging. It’s pretty incredible how long this lip color lasts. (Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge Lip Color, $24, Sephora)
NYX’s Butter Gloss is hailed as a brand favorite because it gives you opaque lip colors with a glossy finish that feel like butter on your lips. What more can you ask for, other than a beauty product delivering just what it says? Oh, they’re less than $10 so you can stock up on all the colors. (NYX Intense Butter Gloss, $6, NYX Cosmetics)
One of our fave nail polish brands just threw down into the gloss game, with their new lip lacquers available in eight shades with fun names like “The Queen Is Dead” and “Her Name Bubbles.” The colors walk the line between opaque and sheer with a subtle shimmery finish while feeling moisturizing on the lips. We love how Smith & Cult founder, Dineh Mohajer, named and created these glosses through a narrative told through the perspective of a beauty junkie in her imaginative color-soaked Diary Of A Beauty Junkie. Goes to show that gloss isn’t all just fluff. Just like their nail colors, these glosses are all vegan to boot. (Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer, $22, Smith & Cult)
You don’t have to resort to theater makeup to achieve a truly metallic lip look. Just grab one of Vincent Longo’s Meta Glosses, which deliver a high-impact color payoff. What you see in the tube is what you swipe onto your lips, giving your pout a super dimensional look with the metallic and glossy finish. This is definitely a grown-up gloss. (Vincent Longo Meta Gloss Lip Gloss, $24, Vincent Longo)