The past few years have seen the beauty trend pendulum swing back toward a dewy, more natural style of makeup. Glass skin, subtle highlighters, hydrating foundations, and of course, lip gloss–but showing off the last product in that lineup took a back seat to masking up for public safety.
Mask mandates are slowly easing as vaccine rates go up in the U.S. though, and soon (or possibly already, depending on your location) you’ll be able to show off your pout in its full glory once more.
To help you make it shine, we tested and loved the following glosses and gave you the rundown of their basics so you can choose the best for you. Whether it’s a subtle glisten or full-on plumping you’re after, you’ll find your next favorite gloss here.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer in Fade The Sun
Right from the box, this gloss is built to impress. It comes with a convenient top with built-in grip grooves that conform nicely to your fingers as you twist and pull out a petite doe-foot applicator. One dip coats the bottom and top lip with a thin layer of shiny, non-sticky gloss that looks amazing in this neutral shade, Fade The Sun, but there are plenty of other colors to choose from should you want more or less pigment.
Lancome Juicy Tubes Original Lip Gloss
Juicy Tubes were originally released in the year 2000 and quickly became a status symbol among all the coolest It Girls of all ages from middle school through adulthood. Though briefly discontinued in 2018, the company soon realized their mistake and brought the legendary gloss back early last year so you can relive your Y2K fantasies. Hydrating, luscious, and ultra-glossy, Juicy Tubes’ cushiony texture keeps your mouth glistening for up to four hours with their vitamin E-enriched formula, available in shades ranging from clear to Hello Cherry, a sheer but impactful red.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer
We love almost everything Fenty, so naturally this gloss is high on our list of favorite. Each shade has micro flecks of shimmer gleaming from the almost creamy formula. It has the grip needed to stay on for a while, minus the gloppy mess you’d find in older gloss formulas of days past. The scent is a delightful, fruity aroma that tickles the senses without overwhelming them, and, especially in the Fenty Glow shade pictured here, the tones complement nearly every skin tone beautifully.
Pat McGrath Labs Lust: Lip Gloss
Pat McGrath does no wrong when it comes to beauty, so unsurprisingly, her gloss formula is stunning. Shimmering, translucent, impactful, and graceful, these Lust glosses are the sophisticated big sister to your youthful Lip Smacker glosses that last for hours and look great on everyone. Layer over one of the company’s gorgeous matte lipsticks to transform the look for summer.
Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish
This plumping potion isn’t for the faint of heart, so those with sensitive lips beware: it stings a little. However, the plumping payoff if great for a short term juicy look and the colorful payoff is well worth the money. Try layering these over a great lip liner for a look that lasts hours and enjoy the bee-stung life.
NYX Butter Gloss
It smells great, it doesn’t feel sticky, and it’s $5. There’s a reason the NYX Butter Gloss is a cult classic! And check out that huge range of colors, from the pinky delight of Vanilla Cream Pie to the unexpected glamour of Blueberry Pie (layer over a deep matte red lipstick for purple-y glitz), you’ll never run out of options for experimentation on a budget with this fave.
Colourpop Twitterpated Lux Gloss Kit
Colourpop are living proof that budget isn’t always a bust, and they prove that more than ever with this stunning gloss kit featuring three pearlescent nudes in convenient mini sizes so you can stick one in every purse and never be without a quick touch-up. They also come from the Bambi collection, so you know the packaging is adorable.
Glossier Lip Gloss
If streamlined, simple, and natural looks draw you in, you’re probably already obsessed with Glossier. Their lip gloss follows the same general formula as the rest of their products by providing a clean, un-fussy shine that doesn’t feel sticky or too thick, and while the shades tend to wear similarly, there is currently a special edition gold that looks incredible over a nude matte lipstick or liner.