I know, I know: Lip gloss tends to get a bad rap for feeling super sticky and very early 2000s. But TBH, I’m still obsessed with it! And no, I’m not living in the past (even though I’ve definitely been reminiscing over my ~youth~ with Disney+). The lip glosses of 2021 are actually nothing like their sticky, thick, gloopy counterparts of your childhood. Nope, instead, today’s glosses are shiny but non-sticky, have shockingly lightweight finishes, keep your lips hydrated and soft after just one coat, and can even give your lips a fuller, plumper appearance—all without feeling like a layer of glue. Here, the 17 absolute best lip glosses you need in your bag (and your desk and your car) ASAP.
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Best Red Lip Gloss
Tower 28 Beauty Clean ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss in Spicy
If you’re a fan of classic red lipsticks, then you’ll def be a fan of this lip gloss from Tower28. One swipe of it coats your lips in sheer, cherry-red color (more swipes = more intense red color) that won’t fade, feather, or get patchy throughout the day.
Best Sustainable Lip Gloss
PYT Beauty Dew Me Lip Gloss
This eco-friendly lip gloss from sustainable brand PYT Beauty is made with 25 percent recycled plastic, 38 percent sugarcane-based plastic, and is 100 percent recyclable too. Once you finish up the shiny, shimmery formula just drop the tube in your blue bin and go on your merry way.
Best Oil-Based Lip Gloss
Dior Lip Glow Oil
Part-lip gloss, part-lip oil, this hybrid treatment (it has a balmy texture that’s non-greasy and non-sticky) gives lips subtle shine and amplifies their natural color while preventing chapping and dryness with cherry oil. A win-win-win.
Best Nourishing Lip Gloss
Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss
Packed with protective evening primrose oil and hydrating hyaluronic acid, this nourishing lip gloss from Kosas is the perfect fit for anyone whose lips are currently chapped, cracked, and/or irritated.
Best Holographic Lip Gloss
Huda Beauty Lip Strobe Metallic Gloss in Mystical
Like a highlighter for your lips, this gloss is infused with tiny light-reflecting blue and pearl pigments that give your lips a lilac-colored holographic tint. You can wear it alone or over or favorite lipstick and even as an illuminator on the tops of your cheekbones in a pinch.
Best Long-Lasting Lip Gloss
Uoma Beauty Boss Gloss Liquid Marble
Listen, I get it: Lip gloss isn’t like matte lipstick—it’s not going to stay on your lips forever. But there’s nothing worse than reapplying your lip gloss every 30 minutes. Thankfully, you don’t have to stress about that with this one. It creates a long-lasting layer of color on your lips that doesn’t crack or settle into fine lines.
Best Multitasking Lip Gloss
Nars Multi-Use Gloss
I’ve been suuuper into the allover glossy look lately, thanks to this pick from Nars. At first glance, it looks like any other lip gloss, but it’s so much more than just that. The creamy formula (which is filled with hydrating coconut oil and vitamin E) can also be used on your cheeks and eyes, giving you a shimmery, glossy, and, more importantly, non-sticky finish.
Best Ultra-Shiny Lip Gloss
MAC Clear Lipglass
I literally always have this lip gloss in my bag. The jojoba oil-filled formula softens and conditions your lips while giving you a smooth finish that you can basically see your reflection in. Wear it alone or layer it over your favorite lipstick as a topper.
Best Clean Lip Gloss
Well People Bio Extreme Lipgloss
Not going to lie, I’m still a little sus when it comes to natural and clean makeup products. Like, are they just as good as the conventional makeup brands? According to this lip gloss, the answer is definitely yes. It leaves behind a sheer and soft color that’s long-lasting, and there’s a blend of coconut, aloe, and grapeseed oils that gives your lips a boost of hydration.
Best Non-Sticky Lip Gloss
Glossier Lip Gloss
If you want a lip gloss your hair won’t stick to (which, um, been there), look no further than this one from Glossier. It gives lips a reflective shine without the stickiness of your go-to from 2004.
Best Full-Coverage Lip Gloss
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss
I had been searching forever for a lip gloss with intense color payoff when this one finally came into my life. It was love at first sight—the creamy formula glided right onto my lips and left behind a fully pigmented hue that lasted for hours. It’s now forever a part of my lip gloss rotation.
Best Plumping Lip Gloss
Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath
So you want the nourishing and coddling feeling of a lip mask but the look of a gloss. Who doesn’t? This Charlotte Tilbury lip gloss (it’s infused with lip-plumping collagen) gives you the best of both worlds, with a heart-shaped applicator that spreads on a perfectly even, thin layer of product every time.
Best Neutral Lip Gloss
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer
This rosy neutral shade looks amazing on all skin tones (thanks to the fact that it’s so sheer) and also leaves lips with an unreal shine that feels more like a hydrating oil than a sticky lip gloss. My favorite way to wear it? Over a nude lipstick.
Best Lip Gloss Trio
Mented Cosmetics Summer Lip Gloss Collection
Each shade in this cruelty-free lip gloss trio looks amazing on everyone (yes, everyone) and gives you the perfect amount of color that you can easily build up without looking patchy. You can go from sheer to full coverage with two swipes and keep that summer glow all year long.
Best Lightweight Lip Gloss
Pat McGrath Labs Lust: Lip Gloss in Bronze Temptation
This gloss from Pat McGrath Labs glides on without skipping or tugging and feels just as good as it looks (read: really freaking excellent). It’s completely non-sticky and lightweight, so it almost feels like a lip balm while still looking like a high-shine lip gloss.
Best Inexpensive Lip Gloss
NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss in Crème Brulee
The major lip gloss dilemma: wanting to look like something is on your lips without feeling it. Luckily, drugstore makeup brand NYX solved the problem by creating an inexpensive—it’s only $5!!—lip-gloss formula that is totally weightless and still gives you a hint of long-lasting color.
Best Cooling Lip Gloss
Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish Gloss in Sofia
Slather on this lip gloss and you’ll immediately be left with tingles. And no, it’s not because you just fell in love (although, like, I wouldn’t blame you)—it’s because this formula is filled with a touch of menthol that leaves your lips feeling minty, cool, and plump.
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