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Chances are you’ve worn (and loved) lip glosses at some point, regardless of whether you apply a full face of makeup on the regular or just pop on a bit of mascara and brow gel daily. If you haven’t, though, you’re in for a treat—the category has majorly evolved over the years. Gone are the ultra-sticky formulas of the past and in their place is a wide range of hues and finishes for all occasions. What's more, applying lip gloss is simple and can easily be done on the go—just swipe across your lips and get yourself ready to take on the day (or night).
Ready to find your new favorite? Ahead, the best lip glosses to wear today and every day.
Best Overall: Kaja Gloss Shot Hydrating Lip Gloss
Adds hydration and shine
Versatile shades look great on all skin tones
The definition of a crowd-pleaser, this Kaja lip gloss does double duty by adding a dose of moisture and shine to your lips. Its four shades—Crystal Clear, Milk Tea, Honey Drizzle, and Pink Drink—are versatile and look good on all skin tones, making it one of our all-time favorites. Wear it alone or pair it on top of your favorite lipstick for a look that’ll wow either way. Plus, we’d be remiss to mention that its formula is also non-sticky.
Key Ingredients: Squalene, jojoba seed oil, rosehip seed oil | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.14 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Runner-Up, Best Overall : Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer
Gorgeous shimmery finish
Delicious vanilla-peach scent
Formula is a little sticky
A top-notch formula and an inclusive shade range are both givens in every product from Rihanna’s line—and this lip gloss is no exception. Available in ultra-flattering hues ranging from clears to pinks to nudes, it not only looks incredible on all skin tones but also has a gorgeous shimmery finish. The tube itself is small enough to throw in your purse yet still manages to hold a doe-foot applicator that makes application a breeze. “The applicator is so soft and plush, which makes applying and reapplying fun,” explains Sandy Lin, a beauty expert and digital creator. Bonus: It has a delicious peach-vanilla scent.
Key Ingredients: Shea butter | Shades: 8 | Size: 0.30 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"I drank and ate wearing the gloss, as well, and noticed there was little to no transfer at all. I would continue to wear this formula regularly, and the color payoff is fantastic." —Ashley Rebecca, Product Tester
Best Budget: Maybelline New York Lip Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid
Angled applicator for complete coverage
Non-sticky, hydrating formula
May experience a mild tingling sensation
Looking to dip your toes into lip glosses but not quite ready for color? Opt for a clear gloss, like this one from Maybelline. With an angled applicator, it only requires one swipe for complete color coverage. Its non-sticky formula is also packed with hyaluronic acid for added hydration throughout the day. Plus, it comes in 13 other gorgeous shades for when you’re ready to take it to the next level.
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Shades: 13 | Size: 0.18 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Drugstore: Mented Cosmetics Lip Gloss
Smooth, non-sticky formula
7 pigmented shades
Buildable, so it needs a few layers of color
With a buttery-smooth texture and non-sticky, moisturizing formula, this lip gloss from Mented Cosmetics is a hidden drugstore gem. It comes in seven pigmented shades that look fabulous on all skin tones. Plus, it provides buildable coverage, so you can truly make the gloss your own. Plus, it can easily be worn from day to night with any outfit in your wardrobe.
Key Ingredients: Castor seed oil | Shades: 7 | Size: 0.26 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Plumping: Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath Gloss
Smoothing and plumping
Versatile nude and pink shades
Heart-shaped applicator that allows for seamless application
Slight tingling sensation with application
If you’re aiming to add some volume to your lips sans filler, opt for a plumping lip gloss like this one from Charlotte Tilbury. Packed with skin-friendly ingredients like marine collagen, it claims to create a smoothing and plumping effect that instantly adds the appearance of volume to your pout. Its five shades—all versatile nude and pink variations—are universally flattering. And, while its heart-shaped applicator is adorable, it also serves a practical purpose by allowing us to swipe the gloss directly along the contours of our lips.
Key Ingredients: Marine collagen | Shades: 5 | Size: 0.26 | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Clear: Glossier Lip Gloss
Adds a subtle sheen or wash of color
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.
This sheer gloss comes in four shades (clear, holographic, red, and gold) that all deliver a beautiful sheen. Some of the hues, like red and gold, add a subtle wash of color, but even the clear one provides a glassy finish that truly makes your lips pop. It also has the addition of jojoba oil and vitamin E to add hydration, making it suitable for everyday wear.
Key Ingredients: Jojoba oil and vitamin E | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.14 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Glitter: Patrick Ta Major Glow Lip Shine
Glittery high shine finish
Non-sticky formula with zero feathering
Can be worn alone or with bold makeup looks
May leave stray specks of glitter as it wears off
Those who love their lip gloss extra glittery will love this option from Patrick Ta. Its three versatile shades provide a gorgeous high-shine finish, perfect for wearing alone or with your favorite bold eyeshadow look. When applied, it glides on effortlessly and ensures even coverage without any feathering. Plus, its formula promises to add hydration, too.
Key Ingredients: Peppermint oil | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.23 do oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Long-Lasting: UOMA Beauty Boss Gloss Liquid Marble
Adds moisture to your lips
Available in seven vibrant hues
Searching for a lip gloss that’ll stay on all day? This one from UOMA beauty is your best bet. Even though it looks like a gloss, the long-lasting color acts like a stain, staying on through anything you put it through. However, it’s also very moisturizing (unlike most lip stains) and has a beautiful high-shine finish. Plus, it comes in seven colorful shades.
Key Ingredients: Lychee fruit extract | Shades: 8 | Size: 0.10 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Pigmented: EM Cosmetics True Gloss
Comfortable to wear
15 different shade options
Honestly, lip glosses aren’t always super pigmented, which means many require a couple of coats to make a difference. Thankfully, this one from EM Cosmetics is just the opposite. According to Lin, it’s not only highly pigmented but also super comfortable to wear. “It has amazing color payoff and I love that it comes with some extra ingredients, like vitamins C and E, that may infuse some skincare benefits to my lips.” Also worth noting: It comes in 15 different shades, so finding your perfect match (or two) is a breeze.
Key Ingredients: Mineral oil | Shades: 15 | Size: 0.13 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Shimmer: Artist Couture Plush Pout Lip Gloss
High-shine, glassy finish
Medium coverage with a cushiony soft feel
Gives lips a fuller appearance
A cooling sensation which many don’t love
Those who want their lip color to be a little extra shimmery will love this option. “It gives your lips a beautiful high-shine, glassy finish with a non-sticky formula, '' explains Garrett Hahn, beauty expert and digital creator. “It also gives your lips a fuller appearance and can be paired with your favorite lip liner for a more wearable daytime look.” Bonus: Its teardrop applicator hugs your lips during application, so no need to worry about feathering or using too much product.
Key Ingredients: Castor seed oil | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.22 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Non-Sticky: Jouer Cosmetics High Pigment Pearl Lip Gloss
Provides a gorgeous pearlescent finish
Shades don’t work for everyone
Hahn raves about this lip gloss, which includes moisturizing ingredients (like jojoba seed oil) to keep lips looking smooth and hydrated. “It has a wide variety of shades to choose from and each gloss is full coverage with a beautiful pearlescent finish without feeling sticky,” he says. Another thing we love: the doe-foot applicator, which was specially designed for all to use—including those with disabilities.
Key Ingredients: Jojoba seed oil | Shades: 8 | Size: 0.20 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Splurge: Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss
26 shades to choose from
Dual-sided applicator ensures precise application
Ultra-light, non-sticky, and moisturizing
Yes, this Chanel Beauty lip gloss is a splurge, but it’s truly worth every penny. You’re getting an ultra-light, non-sticky formula that truly applies like a dream, which is reason enough to adore it. But, it also leaves lips looking visibly smoother and includes a dual-sided applicator for super-precise application. Plus, it comes in a whopping 26 shades.
Key Ingredients: Coconut oil, peptides, vitamin E | Shades: 26 | Size: 0.19 oz | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Moisturizing: ILIA Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil
Leaves lips looking and feeling soft and smooth
Cushiony color for easy wear
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 dealing with dry, chapped lips? This ILIA gloss is precisely what you need. Its trifecta of moisturizing ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, claims to help lock in moisture and improve hydration with each use. In addition to leaving lips feeling soft and smooth, it imparts lovely pigment and shine, too.
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, salicornia herbacea extract, meadowfoam seed oil | Shades: 7 | Size: 0.14 oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Lip glosses impart a subtle touch of color and sheen with every single use, which is why they’re a necessary makeup cabinet addition. The Kaja Gloss Shot Hydrating Lip Gloss and Fenty Beauty's Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer are two of our all-time favorites. They both have top-notch formulas and a barrage of versatile shades, suitable for all skin tones. For those looking to add heaps of moisture to their lips, ILIA Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil simply can’t be beaten. It uses a trifecta of hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, to help lock in moisture and keep hydration in tip-top shape each time it’s worn.
Meet the Expert
What to Look For in a Lip Gloss
Unless you’re going for a clear or subtle makeup look, go for one that’s highly pigmented, advises Lin. “It needs to stand out.”
Each gloss feels different on your lips, so it’s super important to pay attention to its texture and how it feels. “The texture of the gloss is also really important because that's really what plays into how comfortable the lip gloss will be,” Lin explains. “You don’t want a gloss that’s super sticky or one that’s goopy.”
There’s nothing wrong with adding some TLC to your lip gloss routine, so opt for one that has some extra skincare benefits in its formula. “Ask yourself if it has any skincare ingredients that are good for your lips or if it includes benefits like hydration or plumping before you purchase it,” she says.
How do you apply lip gloss?
At the end of the day, it’s truly about personal preference and how you want it to look. “I normally apply lip gloss to the middle of my top and bottom lip,” explains Hahn. “Whenever I apply it to the outer corners of my mouth, I always run into the issue of the product smudging past my lip line, creating the infamous lip gloss ring around the inner corners of my mouth.”
Does lip gloss dry out your lips?
It depends on the product you’re using. “If you stick with glosses that have moisturizing or nourishing ingredients, your lips will feel hydrated and you won’t run into any issues of your lips feeling dry throughout the day,” says Hahn.
How long does lip gloss stay on?
Unfortunately, lip gloss never stays on for long periods. “Typically, I have to reapply gloss every three to four hours,” explains Hahn. “It’s impossible for a gloss to last all day, especially when you are frequently talking, eating, or drinking.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Rachel Dube has written for some of the biggest beauty publications out there. Along her journey, she became completely enamored with finding the best lip glosses. A lip gloss connaisseur herself, you’ll find her testing two or three new ones at least once a week.
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