On the Resurgence of Lip Gloss (and 5 New Formulas You Need to Try)

Rachel Krause

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Glossy lips

Photo: Imaxtree

High on the list of trivial things that have an abysmal reputation among modern women? Lip gloss. Once the obsession of our mall-hopping selves and precocious pre-teens everywhere, we’ve been laughing in the face of sticky gloss for years, opting instead for smooth matte lipsticks. But we’ll be the first to admit that a few new formulas have cropped up lately to prove us wrong. Rather than continue to write it off as cheesy or juvenile, we’ve been forced to reconsider our stance on gloss.

While top beauty brands’ new take on lip gloss has a lot in common with the stuff of yesteryear, there’s been some major improvements in quality. Yes, they’re still shiny with just enough color payoff to make your lips pop, but they don’t feel tacky, act like a magnet for errant strands of hair, or suddenly become uncapped and leave the insides of our purses coated beyond repair. (The worst.)

We’re not suggesting that they’ll replace our favorite lipsticks just yet, but we can confirm that the below five glosses will be put into heavy rotation this fall.

Urban Decay lip gloss

Photo: Urban Decay

Urban Decay has been known to set the precedent for what’s hot in makeup, so we can’t say we’re surprised that Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lipgloss ($22) seems poised to, well, start a revolution in favor of the shiny stuff. High-coverage and intensely pigmented in all 14 vibrant shades, from the bright purple Bittersweet to Liar’s easy-to-wear rosy nude, this formula is the perfect gateway into gloss, especially for color lovers.

Chantecaille lip gloss

Photo: Nordstrom

It’s been over four years since Angelina Jolie openly reapplied her lip gloss at the 2011 Golden Globes, but we’ll never forget the moment Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss made its first foray onto live television. A star in its own right, the slick, not sticky formula hydrates and creates the illusion of plumper lips with a comfortable gel-like finish. We’re partial to Flirt, a bright, flattering berry shade that’s perfect for fall.

NYX lip gloss

Photo: Ulta

We sometimes have a tough time choosing between quality and quantity—do we want one really great $30 lip gloss, or 5 decent ones in different shades for $6 a pop?—but with NYX Butter Gloss ($5), we don’t have to choose. (What a relief.) They have a soft, creamy feel and finish that makes them a little different from other glosses, and with options ranging from soft nude pink to a totally on-trend deep, dark plum, there’s one (or five) for everyone.

Marc Jacobs lip gloss

Photo: Sephora

If you’re not afraid to shine and shine some more, Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer ($28) is, as the name suggests, is more of a lacquer than a gloss: it coats lips in an incredibly shiny, borderline reflective layer of color that nobody will ever mistake for natural. The colors are just as delightful, with creamy pinks, sweet nudes, and bold shimmery shades among the options.

NARS lip gloss

Photo: Sephora

A long-time cult favorite, NARS Lip Gloss ($26) is the one to beat, especially with its recent reformulation—it’s even better than before, if such a thing is possible. Moisturizing, richly pigmented, and available in 24 sophisticated, flattering shades, including the brand’s iconic choices like Orgasm and Dolce Vita, this makeup bag stalwart is pretty much beyond compare.

MORE: The Best Grown-Up Lip Glosses