Why I'm Giving Lip Gloss a Second Chance After All These Years

It's like lip gloss showed up to the 10-year high school reunion and everyone's like, "Dammmmnnnn, lip gloss, you grew UP!"
Publish date:
June 29, 2016
bareMinerals, mac, maybelline, tom ford, lip gloss, black lips, nude lips, Manic Panic, mascara

When beauty brands started reintroducing gloss into their lip ranges about a year ago, everyone was like, "Oh that's nice." *buys liquid lipstick instead.*

Matte lips are where it's at these days. But they keep trying to make lip gloss happen, promising modern finishes and wear. Guys, it's lip gloss — it does one thing. Something about lip gloss always read as corny or too sticky and "a bit much" to me. I've been happy to leave it in the past when I had a dozen rollerball glosses from Claire's in my high school locker.

Lip gloss conjures up images of early-2000s pop and R&B singers, which consequently has me thinking of super-low-rider jeans, navel piercings and extremely flat-ironed hair. Lip gloss was a lifestyle staple of the young and fabulous, a demarkation of "not quite womanhood" but still youthfully sexy, which is weird and confusing.

But now, it's like lip gloss showed up to the 10-year high school reunion and she got hot, and everyone's like, "Dammmmnnnn, lip gloss, you grew UP!"

You'll now find lip gloss being marketed as lip "vinyl," "lacquer," "shine," "varnish" or basically any other synonym for gloss to make it sound edgy and cool. But I'm on to you, lip gloss!

The cool thing about these newfangled post-Ambush-Makeover lip glosses is that they've really come into their own in the pigment department. These modern ones offer loads of pigment, rather than leaving a wimpy layer of clear goo on your mouth. Ultimately, I thought, "OK, OK, I will give you a second chance, lip gloss, but if you pull my hair or drip down the side of my mouth like drool, you are so out of here."

Here are a few cool things about that new-new lip gloss.

They make finding the right nude color so much simpler.

I don't know if it's just because I'm olive/warm-toned or whatever, but finding a nude lipstick is HARD. There are so few that compliment my skin tone and don't make me look ill, but with lip gloss, since there's a bit of sheerness and light-manipulation to the finish, the likelihood of smearing one on and looking like I just ate flesh-colored paste is nil.

Also, mixing glosses is way easier, thus you can custom make your own "nude." Hurray!

I laid down bareMinerals Buttercream Lip Gloss in Tantalize (from their indulgent new launch of all nude lip colors, the GEN NUDE line) and then topped with MAC Lipglass in Dej Loaf for a glittery high-budget-porn effect.

Lip glosses make for A+ stains and gradient lips.

These Tom Ford Patent Finish Lip Colors found their way to me unsolicitedly and DAMN do they mean business. This clicky-pen gloss is like a shiny concentrated pigment. It has a doe-foot applicator that the gloss oozes from so it's easy to dab placement wherever you want it, and it's thick enough that it doesn't travel — which is how I made this incredibly easy gradient lip look.

Plus, this gloss makes for a perfect stain, so you can go light and sheer or totally opaque. Obviously $52 for a lip gloss is MONEY, but you get what you pay for.

Be the reddest lip in the room with GLOSS.

It's one thing to show up someplace and someone is wearing the same outfit as you, but to have everyone also wearing a red lip to said event is (to me) leagues worse. I can joke about wearing the same dress or shirt with a stranger, but if everyone has the same makeup, it somehow infers a much more sinister just-another-brick-in-the-wall feel to me and that makes me depressed. Maybe I'm overthinking it.

But hey, either way, if you want your makeup to stand out because maybe you're going to a very plain, stuffy, formal event, let me tell you, red lip gloss is the best kind of "Who's that girl?" move to pull. It is, according to some cool moms, the right amount of tacky.

A red-on-red ombre throws some added dimension into an already pretty multi-dimensional look. The only thing that could top it is red glitter. And if I had some, it would be on my lips, but I don't, so you have to settle for this ombre.

Ombre is way easy to do with lip gloss, by the way. You just smear one color on the center of your lips, smush together, and then line with the other color and pat your lips together until they blend. Dunzo.

Goth looks fresher in gloss.

Black lipstick is kind of like old '90s "Don't do drugs, drugs are bad!" PSAs aimed at young kids and teens; your take-away is "I'd never do that!" and then you grow up and probably try some drugs recreationally and depending on the drugs you think, "I like this" and it's not the worst thing in the world.

Everyone square is all, "Black lipstick is gross and no one should wear it and why does it even exist?" so it only comes out on Halloween or on true goths; but personally, I think black lipstick is incredibly chic. It is, however, a high-maintenance lip look. You constantly have to be checking that it isn't smudged, on your teeth, or bleeding over your lips — something about black lipstick pigment is extra-troublesome.

But gloss! Gloss is much easier to slap on — even black lip gloss, like Manic Panic Cross Gloss in Raven.

Side note: this Maybelline Spider Effect mascara doesn't not fuck around. The brush is perfectly engineered to give you the most classically hideous lashes ever, and I love it. Swipe on bottom, swipe on top and then (like I did here) tap the brush on your eyelid to stamp mascara into a winged shape for a finely tuned messy eye look.

  • Have you noticed this whole lip gloss resurgence? Are you sold on it? Or maybe you've always been pro-gloss?
  • What lip glosses did you carry around when you were a young'n in lip gloss's heyday? I remember having a tube of Benefit lip gloss in some mauve shade that tasted like cake batter. Mmmm... cake gloss.