No question about it, lip gloss gets a bad rep. Even at the height of the shiny lips trend (read: now), most of us still hesitate to reach out to sticky, icky gloss to plump our puckers. Relationship status: it’s complicated.
But it doesn’t need to be so! In fact, 2019 might prove to be a groundbreaking year for the trend — the slicked-up lips of the 90s has been quite the appeal for a while now, and beauty brands have started to take notice.
These new formulas are everything we love about lip gloss: that glorious shine that catches the light, just so. True, we’ve cheated with shiny lipsticks and highly-pigmented lip lacquers, but the illuminating sheen of a proper tube of lip gloss is second to none.
On top of the promise of long-wearing formulas that don’t disappear after a light smack of the lips, most of them have also conquered the one thing we used to hate — that cloying stickiness. These days, formulas feel light, airy, and non-sticky, while managing to keep our lips healthy and hydrated too.
In honour of our new — and more healthy — relationship with lip gloss, we’ve put them to the test through heat, humidity and bubble tea. Here are some of the NYLON beauty desk’s undisputed favourites:
Hourglass Unreal™ High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss
“Give me a luxurious matte lipstick any day, but for a natural, glowy look, lip gloss does the perfect job… until I step outside and my hair gets swept across my face. You know what happens from here. So while I’ve never found a lip gloss I haven’t been lowkey annoyed at, that’s about to change. Yes, I love this Hourglass gloss. The colour goes on more pigmented than most, which coats your lips in this beautiful rich texture, while the formula still remains lightweight. You’ll also notice a slight minty sensation when you first swipe it on — and boy, that first swipe is primed for perfection already, with its sturdy applicator that applies just the right uniform amount. The best part is, all this — somehow, miraculously — is there without the sticky, tacky feeling after. Life-changing? Possibly.”
— Amelia Tan, Deputy Editor
With the name “unreal”, Hourglass delivers on an innovative formula that gives you silky lips without that dreaded sticky feel. It certainly helps that the formula comes infused with ingredients that care for your lips too: Volulip™ and hyaluronic acid, along with nourishing shea butter and avocado, bring on intense moisture and even a plumping effect, so you won’t have to worry about the awkward mess of lip gloss on dry lips. Your lips will look naturally fuller too!
$50, Available at Sephora.
Stila Beauty Boss Lip Gloss
“I’m really not brown-nosing when I say that I will be regularly using Stila’s Beauty Boss Lip Gloss in Elevator Pitch. Described as “multi-dimensional shine“ with “everlasting wear” and “plumping effect”, this was a lip product that delivered on its many promises. My only gripe? The weird fruity scent. ”
— Sinead Lee, Writer
The first thing that caught our eye? The pretty packaging that sees the lip gloss liquid suspended in clear glass, an effect that’s best appreciated in the sun. Same for the lip gloss itself — pick a pearlescent shade for the best effect, since the formulas boast light-refracting, iridescent pigments that give your lips a whole new dimension. You can bet that it’s also hydrating and non-tacky, with what the brand describes as a “cushioned comfort”. Smart science and beauty? Sign us up!
$22, available at Sephora.
Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer
“At first glance, you’d think the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer by Fenty Beauty looked like any of the usual posh lip glosses you’ll find in Sephora — but that’s where you’re wrong. For some, the gloss may come off as a little too heavy in terms of its texture, but what supersedes it, is the fact that the colour is literally universal for every skin tone and it works for any outfit — be it day or night. Of course, it also adds loads of shine to your lips and makes your lips feel fuller with each swipe. It also comes with a really sweet scent (that I’m totally obsessed about) and it’s not too overpowering too. I can totally see myself adding this lip gloss to my list of empties!”
— Shazrina Shamsudin, Writer
One word: Rihanna. Can she do anything wrong? The answer’s clearly no, especially with her beauty brand’s dedicated cause to cater to all skin types and all forms of beauty. Fenty Beauty’s gloss gives you a luscious pout, especially in the original Fenty Glow shade that’s a universally flattering rose nude, while there’s also shea butter to condition your lips so they appear smoother and fuller. Quite the beauty essential to add to your makeup bag, really.
$31, available at Sephora.
NARS Lip Gloss
A perennial fave, the NARS Lip Gloss can boast of its longevity in beauty circles, thanks to a formula that manages to be light and comfortable without shying away from serious pigment — we mean, glitter that’s fully packed, not spaced out, for that multi-dimensional light. This summer, new shades range from nude neutrals, to a watermelon-pink, and the most alluring gold that you can layer or wear on its own.
$36, available at NARS stores.
6. Chanel Le Rouge Duo Ultra Tenue
Chanel’s makeup collections always impress with their attention to detail, but we have to say, this lip product still manages to stand out. If you’re the kind who can’t decide between matte and glossy lips, Chanel says: why not both? The dual-ended liquid lipstick holds two vastly different formulas in its slim tube — on one end, a pigmented matte liquid shade that promises an 8-hour hold (we can attest to its amazing holding power), and on the other, a clear gloss that you slick on for some crazy shine.
$52, available at Chanel boutiques.
Pat McGrath Lust: Lip Gloss
This comes highly raved about by many — and with good reason. Pat McGrath’s lippies feel wonderfully comfortable when worn, especially since the formula’s described as having the “seductive shine of a glossy balm”. What this means is that you get the conditioning effects of a lip balm — soothing oils, comfortable wear and all — with the epitome of high shine gloss that glimmers as you move.
$44, available at Sephora.