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If the last time you used a lip gloss was 2002, trust us, it’s time to hop on that bandwagon again. Today’s formulas are nothing like the sticky, cloyingly-scented options of your youth that may have turned you off gloss ever since. Just like you, lip gloss has grown up. They’re now more hydrating than ever and impart a (very on-trend) high-shine finish without any trace of tackiness. Plus, you can take your pick from sheer shades or opt for more pigmented hues.
No matter whether you’re looking to get back into the world of gloss—or are a devoted fan that never stopped using one—check out the best lip glosses we can’t get enough of.
Like all of the products in Ri-Ri’s line, shade inclusivity is a priority; the six shades of this gloss were specially created to be ultra-flattering on all skin tones. Pick from a range of clears, pinks, and nudes, all packed with mega-watt shine. The tube itself is small and compact, perfect for keeping in your purse, but the doe-foot applicator is extra-large, making application a breeze. Bonus points for the addicting peachy vanilla scent.
To test out the lip gloss craze, without breaking your budget, opt for this affordable drugstore newbie. Packed with hyaluronic acid, it’s insanely moisturizing (and not in the least bit sticky). An angled applicator delivers complete color coverage in just one swipe. And speaking of color, you really can’t wrong with any of the 10 gorgeous, wearable shades.
Jojoba oil is a natural oil produced from the seed of the Chinensis plant, a drought-resistant shrub native to southern Arizona, California, and Mexico. It mimics natural sebum and conditions and seals moisture in the skin without clogging pores or exacerbating acne.
Byrdie’s Senior Editor Hallie Gould loves this sheer gloss. It comes in three shades—clear, holographic (with multi-dimensional shimmer), and a red that delivers a subtle wash of color. All three are choice when you want just a little something on your lips, though the glassy finish really pops. Also nice: The addition of jojoba oil and vitamin E to keep your pout hydrated.
Gould raves about this formula, which, as the name suggests, is packed with skincare ingredients to help plump your pout. Namely, hydrating marine collagen that creates a plumping and smoothing effect, plus mustard sprout extract that boosts lip volume. There are four shades available, but you can’t go wrong with the nude-y pink Pillow Talk, the brand’s universally-flattering color we reach for time and time again. And while the heart-shaped applicator is super cute, it also serves a practical purpose, making it easy to swipe the gloss directly along the contours of your lips.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) making them plump.
Constantly battling parched lips? This is the gloss for you. The newbie boasts a trifecta of moisturizing ingredients: hyaluronic acid to attract moisture, meadowfoam seed oil to lock in that moisture, and salicornia herbacea extract, a plant-based ingredient that improves hydration by up to 6,000 times. It leaves lips soft and smooth, and the cushiony color has the perfect amount of pigment and shine.
It’s not just lipsticks that can pack a punch of color. This option delivers full-on, opaque pigment, though still feels surprisingly lightweight. There’s an extensive line-up of shades to choose from, as well as three different finishes—lacquer, shimmer, and metallic. It just may convince you to make the switch from lipstick to lip gloss for good.
If you’re anything like us, a clear lip gloss was probably one of the first makeup products you ever used. But despite the nostalgia factor, we guarantee this upgrade is nothing like that OG version you first swiped on back in the day. This one has an ever-so-subtle pink tint to it, enough to enhance your natural lip color if you’re using it solo, but still clear enough that you can easily layer it to add shine to any lipstick color. The formula is also packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid, plumping peptides, and protective primrose oil.
Those who like their lip color extra glimmery will love this option, another one of Gould’s go-tos. It contains actual pieces of crushed pearl that reflect light every which way for an intensely sparkly effect, no matter which of the nine shades you choose. Also nice: You can layer it both under or over lipstick.
Thanks to this formula, touch-ups are a thing of the past. Despite the fact that the intense shine is all gloss, the long-lasting color is more akin to what you’d get from a stain; swipe it on once and it stays put. Unlike most stains, however, it’s crazy moisturizing, thanks to the addition of softening (and antioxidant-rich) lychee extract.
For those who prefer their lip products have clean formulas, this pick is choice. It relies on a laundry list of natural oils—sunflower seed, jojoba, avocado, mango seed, just to name a few—to deliver both lots of moisture and shine. Peppermint oil and peptides also give it a slight plumping effect. We just wish it came in more than three shades—here’s hoping.
Love a glossy lip and a glossy lid? This pick can be used on both, imparting an equally beautiful wash of juicy color no matter where you swipe it. Already fairly pigmented, it’s also nicely buildable and is chock full of hydrating ingredients such as moringa oil and cupuacu butter. And while it’s definitely shiny, it’s slightly less so than the other glosses on this list, making it a good choice for those who want a more subdued effect.
Here’s a little blast from the past for ya, because your beloved middle school makeup staple is back. The insanely popular and iconic tubes—first launched in 2000—were discontinued back in 2018. Happily, the brand recently re-launched them, in celebration of the 20-year anniversary. The cult-classic may look the same, but it’s gotten an upgrade. The formula now boasts a four-hour hydration claim, and alongside the classic shimmer finish, there are now also jelly and creamy textures. Plus, the shade offerings have expanded as well, jumping from eight to 20, with plenty of fun brights as well as wearable neutrals.