By Elise Tabin
Want perfectly plump, pretty, and kissable lips? Us, too. But if your parents didn’t genetically bless you with lips that have everyone asking who your injector is, no need to worry.
It all starts with a stellar lip gloss when it comes to achieving that an envious kisser —we’re not even venturing down the road of what’s available in the doctor’s office. According to makeup artist Lindsay Kastuk, glosses are essential because they enhance the lips by reflecting light.
“They also accentuate the lips by making them appear super hydrated, too,” she adds.
And hydration is the name of the game since drawing moisture to the lips lends fullness, volume, and even softness.
Shiny lips always look pretty, and as Brittany Lo, a professional makeup artist and founder of Beia, says, lip gloss is an easy way to give shine to the lips without necessarily adding color. “This keeps the lips very natural but elevated,” she adds.
You’ll want to ‘build’ up the lip with a lip liner for added structure and definition. “If the lips are slightly asymmetrical (as most peoples are), create a new lip line by ever-so-slightly overdrawing the natural outline to make them more even and give some additional fullness,” Kastuk says. You can even line the entire lip with lip liner and then top it off with sparkly gloss. From there, choose to layer on lipstick for added color and, of course, top it off with a mega-watt, shine-smacking gloss—for added application control, Kastuk suggests applying lip gloss with a lip brush which also helps prevent overapplying.
Gloss is your girl for an easy grab-and-go look that’s pulled together and on point. Helen Phillips Dagdag, National Artist for Sephora Collection, says that there’s little prep to pull off a perfectly glossy lip. “If there’s excessive dryness or flaking, you may want to exfoliate with a lip scrub, like Sephora Collection Lip Balm and Scrub.”
But not all lip glosses are created equal, and there is something for everyone when it comes to formulation and finishes.
“They come in everything from very opaque to very transparent shades and might also have a small amount of glitter in them for extra shine,” Dagdag says. “Opaque glosses are great if you want the full-color payoff, and metallic finishes work as toppers popped in the center of the lip to add dimension and the illusion of fullness.” Unfortunately, some glosses are sticky and goopy, while others don’t have any staying power. Dagdag recommends a clear lip liner, like Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Lip Pencil in Ozone, to create longer-lasting glossy lips that stay put around the outside of the lip line. “The nature of gloss is slippery and will come off easily, yet this pencil prevents gloss from running.”
So rather than playing a guessing game of which glosses are the best, we did the work for you and put these 10 to the test, all of which deliver envious lips that are perfectly pouty.
Crystal clear lip gloss is a necessary lip staple whether you like wearing it solo or mixed in with your favorite lip-flattering color. This wearable version is reminiscent of the mirror-like shine of glosses from years past: think long-lasting glossiness with lip-plumping ingredients plus a non-sticky finish wrapped up in a clean formulation. Does clear gloss get better than this?
Cute packaging aside (yes, you probably recognize artist James Goldcrown’s famous heart print here), this ultra-unique lip oil meets gloss is so much more than the average. In the tube universally flattering, pretty peach shade with flecks of pearl pigments is a solid formula, yet upon making contact with the lips, it quickly melts into a high-shine gloss as you’ve never seen before. As if that isn’t enough, this limited edition collab is chock full of good-for-your-lips ingredients like hyaluronic acid, watermelon, cucumber, and carrot seed oils, keeping lip full, plump, and oh-so-soft.
Lips like Kim K.? Yes, please. Straight from her makeup artist comes this multidimensional gloss with the creamiest finish. Each of the three shades features nude undertones and lots of reflective sparkles for a pearl-like finish that’s dream-worthy.
Get the shine factor of a gloss with the color of a stain and the comfort factor of a balm in this does-it-all lippie. Each of the translucent shades—the color is evident on the lips but not super opaque—leaves the lips coated in a gorgeous glossy shine that will have you so in love with it that it will be impossible not to keep reapplying it.
Like a daydream sparkle of rosy tones matched with pink glitter in a sophisticated way, this lip-plumping lip gloss leaves lips with a decadent layer of beautiful diamond-like gloss. Perfect for those days or nights, wearing gloss that delivers is necessary—it lasts up to seven hours—what’s even better is that it doesn’t leave behind a tacky or sticky finish but smooth, hydrating, pretty lips.
When a major splash of color that runs the gamut from the lightest nudes and pinks to deep, dark bronzes and ruby shades are in order, this is the gloss to reach for. The color is intense and dramatic, and the shine factor is out of this world for a glossy lip like no other. Dial it up or down depending on the thickness of the layers on the lips of the glass-like gloss.
Most lip glosses pack a powerful punch of high-shimmer shine, but this one is so that the lips appear almost wet—in a good way. The shades are suitable and flattering to all skin tones, and each features flecks of reflective shimmery particles with sheer coverage—big props for the peach-vanilla scent that’s somewhat addictive.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of these often sold-out tubes, consider yourself blessed by the beauty gods. Offering long-lasting hydration and serious lip-plumping capabilities (thanks to volumizing hyaluronic acid spheres), choose from different finishes, including a milky one, a shimmery one, and a high-shine one, which all glide on effortlessly for a beautifully plump and shiny kisser.
Perhaps one of the sexiest lip glosses ever made (hence the name), this never sticky and always shimmery gel formulation is a no-brainer for date night. It volumizes and creates fuller lips with a high shine finish for glamorous sparkle.
This easy-to-wear, super comfortable glossy formula that leaves behind a polish-like finish and twinkly lips is new to the Nars lipgloss family. Rich in pomegranate flower and lip-smoothing oils, like raspberry, it’s the custom applicator—it’s designed so that the gloss perfectly coats the entire lips, even those hard-to-reach areas—that does it for us. Think of this gloss as a next-level gleam and glow.