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Lip gloss always reminded me of middle school—and not in the happy, nostalgic way. More so in the What was I thinking? and Thank goodness I'm no longer 13 kind of way. It'd transport me back to those beige-colored hallways and applying gloss after eating a brown-bag lunch in the cafeteria. It smelled of sugar and Coca-Cola, felt sticky, and always seemed to end up on my fingers and in my hair. Those years, let's just say, were not the best.
I spent most of my young adult life wearing matte offerings, the kind that felt classic and velvety. I steered clear of anything glinty, shiny, or sparkly. But, as I know now, the dry, flaky, crankiness of an hours-old matte lipstick lends to its problematic nature (and less-than-long-time wear). So I had to re-evaluate my no-gloss policy—apprehensively.
For the last year or so, I've taken on an entirely new collection of lip-enhancing favorites: balms. They're hydrating, plumping, and natural-looking but still add some extra oomph to a makeup look. Plus, you can reapply them sans mirror and never end up with marks and messes all over your cocktail glass (or burrito). Though the allure of a vinyl, lacquered gloss started to intrigue me.
I still fell somewhere in limbo for a while, that is until a cool Charlotte Tilbury's lip confection came across my desk. It's dubbed a "Collagen Lip Bath," and there's certainly no moniker for gloss more beguiling than that. Below, find out how one lip gloss changed my entire view on the category completely and why it's incredibly cool. I'm a gloss girl now—get into it.
Pros + Cons
- High gloss shine
- Very cute, heart-shaped wand tip
- Comfortable to wear
- Price per ounce is expensive
- Users complain about peppermint scent
- Users complain gloss doesn't last long on lips
The Bottom Line
The Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath does exactly what it's designed to do. It checks all my boxes for the perfect lip product. It hydrates and plumps the lips and offers a high-impact shine, all without the stickiness of traditional gloss.
Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath
Best for: Glossy, full lips
Star Rating: 4.5/5
Active ingredients: Mustard sprout extract, marine collagen, coconut oil, peppermint extract
Potential allergens: Coconut oil
Shade Range: Five shades
What's Included: Product only
About the brand: Charlotte Tilbury is one of the world's top celebrity and runway makeup artists. She founded her eponymous beauty brand, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, in 2013. The award-winning brand specializes in makeup and skincare designed to complement all skin types and tones.
How to Apply
Application for the Collagen Lip Bath is straightforward. Depending on what kind of lip look you want, you can line your lips first (I love the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liners), apply it over your lipstick for a high-gloss look, or wear it alone for my-lips-but-extremely-better look. Just take the adorable heart-shaped tip, smooth out over your lips, and reapply as needed.
Inspired by the filters certain apps offer to plump up your lips—you have to admit it's an astute jumping-off point for product formulation—Charlotte Tilbury's formula envelops your lips with firming marine collagen for a hybrid experience that feels just as much like a treatment as it does makeup.
Mustard sprout extract hydrates, plumps, and enhances lip volume to define the contours of your lips and create a fuller appearance, while a blend of coconut oil and peppermint extract nourish, soften, and create a fresh feeling directly after you apply. Then, the pearlescent pigments come into play, offering a milky, pink sheen that reflects light, making your lips look fuller, and IMHO, certainly more enticing.
"The world is dehydrated," Charlotte Tilbury says, "this is a lip bath that puts the moisture back in the lips, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and gives you the healthiest-looking, most sumptuous pout." She's not wrong. I am 100 percent here for any collagen bath she wants to give me.
This is a lip bath that puts the moisture back in the lips, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and gives you the healthiest-looking, most sumptuous pout.
I've been using the Collagen Lip Bath in the shade Refresh Rose, a slightly clear shade with a touch of baby pink that mimics my natural lip color. It does somewhat tingle upon application, but nothing too major or distracting. My favorite thing about this gloss is that you get the high-impact, reflective shine without the annoying stickiness you get with most other glosses. No hair sticking to my lips or those weird white streaks that can appear with those super sticky glosses—just a naturally lush sheen that's both hydrating and lip plumping.
I love wearing this alone on those days when I'm too tired to do a full makeup look, but I still want to look refreshed and put together.
This is one of those products where the price is a bit inflated but is worth the splurge if you're in the mood. Think of it this way: Is $35 too much to pay for a lip gloss? Yes. Should you buy this one? Well, if you love lip glosses that are infused with good-for-your-lips ingredients and are just a touch more special than your average product and you have the money to spend, then by all means, swipe that card.
Similar Products: You have options
SkinMedica HA5 Smooth & Plump Lip System: This lip duo is designed to address concerns lip injections prevent—minus the needles. It smooths fine lines and wrinkles while adding visible volume and definition to your lips. Available at $68, it's super glossy without any of the added stickiness.
Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss: At $34, this gloss offers a mix of collagen and marine-based fillers to smooth and moisturize the appearance of your lips, leaving them more voluptuous than you'd expect. It's tingly, it's cooling, and smells of vanilla mint.
Do you know how rare it is to have a single product change your mind about a whole category of makeup? Well, this is what the Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath has done for me. It's single-handedly changed my mind about glosses and has cemented itself as one of my new faves.