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Spoiler alert: We loved Bobbi Brown’s Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss for its non-sticky, lightweight formula that provided deep hydration to our lips
With the return of Y2K makeup, we’ve swapped out our matte liquid lipsticks for lip gloss once again. Only lip gloss in 2023 is much different than the sticky, goopy gloss of the early 2000s. With the popularity of skincare makeup, lip gloss adds shine while also promoting lots of skincare perks, such as hydration, environmental protection, and exfoliation — and some lip glosses even boast anti-aging benefits.
According to Clarissa Luna, a celebrity makeup artist who has worked with the likes of Megan Fox, Sarah Ferguson, and Ellie Kemper, lip gloss is the quintessential makeup must-have because it can add moisture, elevate your lipstick, and give you a juicy, high-shine finish.
Although it has come in and out of style throughout the decades, it’s now more popular than ever. “Whether it’s traditional lip gloss, highly pigmented lipstick gloss, sheer tinted gloss, balmy gloss, or lip oils, lip gloss is having a moment, and I’m most certain it’s here to stay,” she tells PEOPLE.
With its multitasking makeover, we can’t get enough of the glossy lip finish and have spent weeks testing different formulas to find the best lip glosses. After much deliberation, we landed on 15 formulas that provide ample hydration while also promoting a long-lasting glossy finish.
Keep reading to discover the best lip glosses, tested by PEOPLE.
Best Overall: Bobbi Brown Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss
It doesn’t have a sticky texture — instead, it feels more like a lip cream.
The lightweight formula feels comfortable enough for everyday wear.
Formulated with lip-nourishing oils for deep hydration.
The lip gloss stays put on the pout, even after wearing it all day.
It has a higher price tag compared to other options on our list (for a more budget-friendly best overall pick, consider the Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid).
The Bobbi Brown Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss is enriched with several different types of skin-nourishing oils — including apricot kernel, olive fruit, kukui seed, and avocado oil — to support hydrated, supple lips. It comes in nine different colors and features an easy-to-apply lip gloss applicator brush, too.
While testing this formula, we were most impressed by its glossy finish, which never feels sticky on the lips and instead has a more creamy consistency. We love that it is formulated with skin-benefiting oils, and despite the added oils, it still feels ultra-lightweight.
Aside from when we wiped our mouth on a napkin after eating, we rarely felt the need to reapply this lip gloss throughout the day as it boasts impressive staying power. And when we did remove it, the added oils left our lips feeling more moisturized than before the initial application.
We recommend this lip gloss as an everyday option because it feels lightweight, stays on for a long time, and has skincare ingredients that support softer, smoother, and more hydrated lips. On top of that, it has a more buildable formula so that you can achieve both a subtle and a bold look from the same product.
Price at time of publish: $33
Size: 0.2 oz. | Key Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil, olive fruit oil, kukui seed oil, avocado oil | Shades: 9
Best Overall, Less Expensive: Maybelline New York Lip Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid
The formula has a lightweight consistency with hydrating skincare ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and coconut oil.
It boasts a buildable consistency that makes it easy to achieve a more customized makeup look.
The applicator wand is easy to use and applies an even distribution of formula.
It feels a little sticky at first, but that goes away after a few minutes.
If you’re looking for the best lip gloss at a lower price point, we were also impressed by the Maybelline Lifter Gloss made with hyaluronic acid. While testing this formula, we found that it has a lightweight consistency that still adds ample nourishment to the pout thanks to its inclusion of the coconut oil and aforementioned hyaluronic acid.
On top of that, it has a buildable consistency that makes it easier to achieve a more customized finish, so you can either keep it simple and subtle with one coat or go for a bolder finish with several layers. The applicator wand also played a major role in its buildable possibilities as it was easy to use and evenly distributed the formula onto the pout so you could get more even coats.
While it felt sticky at first, the overall sticky texture disappeared after a few minutes, and our lips felt like they had a more creamy lip balm on instead. In addition to its texture and formula, the drugstore lip gloss also features one of the more impressive color collections on our list, with 25 different shades to choose from.
Price at time of publish: $10.99
Size: 0.18 oz. | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, coconut oil | Shades: 25
Best Budget: NYX Professional Makeup Butter Gloss Non-Sticky Lip Gloss
This layers well for more customized coverage (plus, you can easily layer it on top of lipstick).
It has a nice, smooth consistency that feels thick enough for coverage but not so thick that it’s hard to spread across the lips.
The comfortable texture feels more like a lip balm than a gloss.
We found it had a slightly sticky consistency.
For a cheaper yet still high-quality lip gloss, we recommend the NYX Butter Gloss, which costs just $6 and has a highly pigmented formula that rivals those of luxe makeup brands. With 29 different shades to choose from, this lip gloss is also at the top of our list for one of the best color ranges, as it not only features everyday nude tones but also comes in some more unique hues, such as blue and black.
During testing, we thought its buildable coverage was one of the most noteworthy features, especially since it not only layers nicely with itself but also works well on top of lipstick for a glossy finish. While it has a slightly stickier consistency compared to other options on our list, we found that it still feels smooth on the lips and is thick enough for coverage but not so thick that it’s impossible to spread across the pout.
Price at time of publish: $4.55
Size: 0.27 oz. | Key Ingredients: Beeswax | Shades: 29
Best High-Shine: Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Non-Sticky Gloss
The consistency feels ultra-thick on the lips, which provides a punch of high shine that lasts.
It’s formulated with skin-benefiting ingredients that nourish the pout.
Albeit a bit goopy, it was easy to apply and spread evenly on the lips.
Despite its name, we did find the texture to be slightly tacky and sticky texture.
The application is a bit goopy but goes away once applied to the lips.
When it comes to high shine, the Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Non-Sticky Gloss is where it’s at. This formula has a thick and glossy consistency that provides a nice layer of high shine while also nourishing with ingredients such as apricot kernel oil, castor seed oil, rosa canine seed oil, avocado oil, and raspberry seed oil.
The formula comes in 13 different colors — including a Y2K-worthy clear gloss — and is easy to apply for an even coat, too. While it is expected with such a high shine, the formula has a more tacky and sticky texture (despite its “non-sticky” name), and it applies a bit goopy at first, but that wears off once it settles.
Price at time of publish: $16
Size: 0.13 oz. | Key Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil, castor seed oil, rosa canine seed oil, raspberry seed oil, avocado oil | Shades: 13
Best Balm: Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Balm
It has highly pigmented coverage with buildable capabilities.
The formula has a lipstick-like applicator that is easy to apply to the pout without needing a wand.
It doesn’t have a sticky or tacky consistency; instead, it feels creamy on the lips.
While testing, we found that it bled slightly on our lower lip.
For those who prefer a balm over a gloss, you can still get high shine without the liquid formula. With this in mind, we love the Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Balm, which is formulated with lots of skin-benefiting ingredients such as maracuja oil, grapeseed oil, goji, acai, acerola, pomegranate, watermelon, blueberry, peach, cranberry, and vitamin E to protect and nourish. With all of these hydrating ingredients in one formula, the product goes on like a lip balm but has a lip gloss-like finish that feels creamy and smooth to the touch.
Although the lip balm bled a little on our lower lip, we were overall impressed by its highly pigmented and buildable coverage, staying power, and how soft and hydrated our lips felt even once the formula was removed.
Price at time of publish: $18.99 (orig. $24)
Size: 0.09 oz. | Key Ingredients: Maracuja oil, grapeseed oil, goji, acai, acerola, pomegranate, watermelon, blueberry, peach, cranberry, vitamin E | Shades: 11
Best Hydrating: Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Lip Gloss Balm
It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid to deliver a dose of hydration and support softer and smoother lips.
We noticed more moisturized lips after just the first application.
Even though it has a thick, balm-like consistency, it doesn’t feel tacky on the pout.
It comes in a pot, which isn’t always ideal for a lip gloss (though, it does come with an applicator so you don’t have to use your fingers).
The lip gloss only comes in one color.
The best hydrating lip gloss is definitely the Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Lip Gloss Balm, which combines lip balm benefits with a glossy finish for ultra-nourished lips. As its name suggests, this gloss features hyaluronic acid in its ingredient lineup, which attracts moisture to the lips and helps soft and smooth, too.
Additionally, it has a Kakadu plum blend, which has lots of antioxidants and provides lips with protection against environmental aggressors. Throughout the testing period, we found that this gloss balm gave the lips a hydration boost after just one application and loved that we noticed a difference in our pout even after removal. Additionally, it has a thicker balm-like consistency that provides plenty of shine without feeling tacky and sticky.
Since it is a balm, it comes in a pot container instead of a tube, which might not be ideal for some preferences. However, it still comes with an applicator, so you don’t have to use your fingers.
Price at time of publish: $26
Size: 0.5 oz. | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Kakadu plum blend, raspberry extract | Shades: 1
Best Creamy: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Cream Color Drip Lip Cream
The creamy consistency feels like a balanced blend of lip balm and gloss, so it goes on smooth and provides plenty of shine without feeling sticky.
It has excellent staying power — we only had to apply it once.
We love the subtle finish that’s great for everyday wear.
It feels hydrating upon application, but we didn’t notice an overall improvement in our lips’ moisture levels.
For a lip gloss that feels creamy and works well for everyday wear, we recommend trying the Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Cream Color Drip Lip Cream. This formula has a creamy consistency that feels like a balance between lip balm and lip gloss, so it applies smoothly to the lips while also punching up the shine (without that sticky texture).
When testing this formula, we made note of its staying power as we only needed to apply it once throughout the day and found that it didn’t wear off, even while eating. It feels hydrating at first, but we wouldn’t recommend it for that benefit alone as we didn’t really see a difference in our lips’ moisture levels. However, it does feature vitamin A, which can provide some nourishment and, even more so, prevent cracking.
Price at time of publish: $22
Size: 0.3 oz. | Key Ingredients: Vitamin A | Shades: 5
Best Buildable: Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Glossy Lip Balm
The formula's texture is buildable and easy to layer.
While it has a lightweight consistency, it still boasts plenty of shine.
It features a long-lasting finish, so you don’t have to reapply often.
It’s not the most hydrating formula compared to others we tested.
When testing lip glosses, we were most impressed by Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Stay Vulnerable Glossy Lip Balm for its buildable coverage that feels smooth and creamy, making it easy to layer. The formula has a lightweight consistency that can give you either a subtle or bold finish, depending on how many layers you apply and, although it’s light, it still boasts plenty of shine.
Throughout the testing period, we were also impressed by its long-lasting finish, which provided that glossy finish without needing to apply that often. And, while we didn’t find it was the most hydrating formula on our list, it still provides some subtle nourishment with ingredients such as lotus, gardenia, and white water lily, which are known for their skin-nourishing benefits.
Price at time of publish: $20
Size: 0.12 oz. | Key Ingredients: Lotus, gardenia, white water lily | Shades: 5
Best Cooling: Jones Road Beauty Cool Gloss
Formulated with peppermint to provide the lips with a cooling sensation upon application.
The smooth consistency glides across the lips with ease and never feels too sticky.
The formula also features shea butter which provides deep hydration that lasts long after removal.
It transfers easily onto drink cups and doesn’t really stay in place while eating.
The best cooling lip gloss is the Jones Road Cool Gloss. Formulated with peppermint and shea butter, this lip gloss provides lips with a cooling and calming sensation that feels so nice, especially on chapped lips. In addition to its minty sensation, it also boasts a smooth consistency that glides easily across the lips and provides lots of shine without feeling too tacky or sticky. Since the formula also features shea butter, it can nourish the lips long after removing it at the end of the day.
While testing this formula, we found that its staying power didn’t hold up well when drinking or eating, so expect to reapply. Other than that, though, it has a really nice balm-like texture that we love (and, honestly, we don’t mind reapplying).
Price at time of publish: $22
Size: 0.49 oz. | Key Ingredients: Shea butter, peppermint | Shades: 10
Best with Shimmer: Pat McGrath Labs Lust Gloss
Features a potent formula that provides a shimmering glossy finish.
Available in 32 different colors, it has the best shade range of all the lip glosses we tested.
The formula has a thick yet smooth consistency with a highly pigmented finish.
It does transfer easily, especially on drink glasses, so expect to reapply.
If you want your lip gloss with some extra shimmer, the Pat McGrath Lust Gloss is for you. With over 32 colors to choose from and a high-gloss consistency, this lip gloss features a shimmering and highly pigmented finish that you can really only get with such a high-quality formula.
Throughout the testing period, we found that it replaced the need for lipstick, so it’s an excellent option for those who love a lipstick base with a glossy finish. Although this formula features a richly pigmented formula, we weren’t very impressed by its staying power and found that it transfers easily on drink glasses, so you have to reapply to keep that shimmering finish (which we don't necessarily mind!).
Price at time of publish: $29
Size: 0.15 oz. | Key Ingredients: Triglycerides, silica | Shades: 32
Best Staying Power: Lancôme Juicy Tubes Original Lip Gloss
We did not have to reapply this lip gloss often, even after eating.
The formula feels thick on the lips at first but has a creamy consistency versus being sticky.
Formulated with vitamin E, which provides deep nourishment and antioxidant protection.
It has a more tinted finish, so it’s not ideal for those who prefer a higher-pigmented gloss.
After testing many options, we found that the Lancôme Juicy Tubes Lip Gloss has the best-staying power. While this gloss doesn’t really have a sticky texture, its creamy formula feels a little tacky, which helps it keep its long-lasting shine and keeps it in place even after eating.
Enhanced with vitamin E, the formula provides the pout with nourishment and antioxidant protection, making it a two-in-one product. It might not be ideal for every preference, but we love that it has a more tinted finish that provides a subtle pop of color rather than a high-pigmented gloss, making it another contender for an everyday look.
Price at time of publish: $24
Size: 0.5 oz. | Key Ingredients: Vitamin E | Shades: 12
Best Overnight Treatment: Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm
It comes in a clear color for overnight wear as well as bolder colors like poppy and cherry.
The shea butter, murumuru seed butter, and vegan waxes help lock in moisture and protect lips with hydrating and long-lasting coverage.
We appreciate that the formula doesn’t bleed at all.
The formula has a slightly sticky consistency compared to some other lip glosses we tested.
Some glosses — including the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm — work well as an overnight lip mask treatment. With a formula enriched with shea butter, murumuru seed butter, and vegan waxes, this lip gloss is designed to lock in moisture and protect lips with hydrating and long-lasting coverage.
Available in a clear option that is ideal for bedtime wear, as well as bolder and nude hues, this lip gloss is one we can wear 24/7, thanks to its hydrating and comforting formula.
Price at time of publish: $24
Size: 0.5 oz. | Key Ingredients: Shea butter, murumuru seed butter, vegan waxes | Shades: 6
Best Investment: Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Hydrating Lip Balm
It’s both a lip gloss and a nourishing lip treatment with hydrating skincare ingredients.
The formula is sheer and creamy, so it’s easy to spread across the lips as well as layer.
It has impressive stay power, so you don’t need to apply that often (especially if you wear it for its moisturizing benefits).
For $38, we wish it came in a bigger tube (although we found a little does go a long way).
The Westman Atelier Squeaky Clean Liquid Lip Balm is a dual-action lip formula that is well worth the splurge. With hydrating skincare ingredients such as almond oil, plant-based seed oil, organic jojoba oil, and shea butter, this luxe lip gloss is both a gloss and a treatment, providing a burst of color and moisture to the pout.
From our testing, we found it worked well to keep our lips hydrated, even after the glossy finish wore off. We also love that it has a sheer and creamy consistency, which makes it easier to apply and layer. With its staying power, you also don’t need to reapply that often, so although we wish the tube were a little bigger for the $38 price tag, a little goes a long way.
Price at time of publish: $38
Size: 0.21 oz. | Key Ingredients: Almond oil, plant-based seed oil, organic jojoba oil, shea butter | Shades: 6
Best Plumping: Mac Squirt Plumping Gloss Stick
It provides lots of deep nourishment, which makes lips look more supple.
The formula features ginger root oil for an effective plumping effect.
While it goes on like a smooth balm, it has some slight tackiness to it for high-gloss shine.
The price is a little high for just its gloss finish, but we think the plumping effect justifies it.
Formulated with tingling ginger root oil, the Mac Squirt Plumping Gloss Sticks is our top pick for the best plumping lip gloss. This lip gloss formula features nourishing ingredients such as shea butter and avocado oil, which can promote a supple finish that looks naturally fuller while also creating a heating effect with ginger to plump up the pout even more. While it has a smooth consistency that is easy to apply to the lips, it still boasts a little bit of tackiness for a more high-gloss finish, too.
Price at time of publish: $24
Size: 0.8 oz. | Key Ingredients: Shea butter, avocado oil, soybean oil, ginger root oil | Shades: 10
Best Lightweight: Jane Iredale HydroPure Hyaluronic Acid Lip Gloss
The very sheer finish feels lightweight and subtle enough for everyday wear.
Features hyaluronic acid for an added boost of hydration — the lips stayed feeling hydrated even after removal.
Lactic acid helps keep lips smooth and the peptides add a plumping effect.
Since it is a more lightweight option, you may need to reapply a little more frequently.
The best lightweight lip gloss is the Jane Iredale HydroPure Hyaluronic Acid Lip Gloss. Formulated with hyaluronic acid for a burst of hydration, this formula features a sheer finish that is lightweight enough for everyday wear and gives lips just a touch of shine. Additionally, the lip gloss also features lactic acid for sloughing off dead skin, smoothing lips, and making it easier for them to absorb hydration, as well as peptides for a plumping effect.
Since it is a lightweight formula, you might need to reapply this lip gloss more frequently throughout the day as it tends to wear off; however, its subtle shine is an excellent option for makeup minimalists who want some sheen without the high gloss.
Price at time of publish: $28
Size: 0.17 oz. | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, peptides | Shades: 13
Things to Consider When Buying Lip Gloss
When shopping for lip gloss, Luna says to consider the color payoff. “For instance, if you’re looking for intense color, you’d want to look for more of a lip stain [or a lipstick gloss] over a traditional gloss,” she explains.
For a highly pigmented lip gloss, consider the Pat McGrath Lust Gloss which is more of a combination between lipstick and gloss and comes in 32 different colors, too. If you prefer something more subtle, we love the Jane Iredale HydroPure Hyaluronic Acid Lip Gloss, which has a subtle sheen to it with just a touch of tint.
Texture and Finish
Since lip gloss comes in several varieties, Luna says you also want to consider texture and finish — and your preferences for each. “Lip gloss texture can make or break a mood and narrowing down what texture and finish you want will make shopping much easier,” she explains.
If you’re not into ultra-glossy finishes, Luna says to consider a lip balm instead of a gloss. Our top pick for the best lip balm is the Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip Balm, which has lots of nourishing ingredients and feels creamy on the pout without looking too high-shine. For something with a little more gloss action, consider our top pick for the best shine, the Tower 28 ShineOn Lip Jelly Non-Sticky Gloss, which has a thick and slightly tacky consistency with a high-shine finish.
At the very least, lip gloss needs to provide lips with some amount of shine. However, it’s also worth looking beyond the gloss of it all and finding formulas that also nourish and protect the lips. When shopping, consider skincare-benefiting ingredients and benefits such as hydration, protection, and even exfoliation.
The Jane Iredale HydroPure Hyaluronic Acid Lip Gloss features lactic acid to slough off dead skin cells and make it easier for the lips to absorb all of its nourishing skincare oils for long-lasting nourishment. We also love the Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Lip Gloss Balm, which has hyaluronic acid for a potent burst of hydration and helps promote suppleness on the pout for a natural plumping effect.
How We Tested
To find the best lip glosses, our PEOPLE Tested team researched dozens of top-rated options and narrowed down the top 20 formulas for lab testing. While in the lab, our team began by cleansing their lips and applying a lip scrub to create an ideal canvas for lip gloss application.
From there, they reached for an applicator wand to apply the formulas to their pouts, making note of the texture, consistency, and feeling. To test for stickiness, the PEOPLE Tested team stood in front of fans to see if their hair stuck to the gloss (and also noted how easy it was to remove). We then conducted an eating and drinking test to better understand the gloss’s staying power.
Once these initial experiments were completed, the PEOPLE Tested team then set their timers for 20 minutes and went about their day without touching their lips or reapplying any gloss to see how the formulas held up over time. Upon completion of this test, we then compiled their notes and compared experiences to get a better understanding of how each formula held up in the lab before narrowing down their top picks for the best lip gloss formulas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which brand of lip gloss lasts the longest?
After testing several formulas, we found that the Lancôme Tubes Lip Gloss has the best staying power as its slightly tacky consistency means you don’t need to reapply all that often. The Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Cream Color Drip Lip Cream is another great choice and we found that we only needed to reapply it once throughout the day.
Is lip gloss bad for your lips?
At face value, lip gloss isn’t necessarily bad for your lips. However, it all depends on the ingredients the lip gloss is formulated with. “Older formulations for lip glosses that were popular several years ago often included ingredients like alcohol,” explains Dr. Jeannette Graf, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt Sinai School of Medicine. “This is often very drying to the lips and depending on your sensitivity can actually be damaging to the sensitive skin on your lips.”
With that said, lip glosses have changed a lot over the years and not all are bad. When shopping for lip gloss, Dr. Graf recommends looking at nourishing formulas with skincare ingredients that support hydration so that the gloss can provide nourishment while also providing color and a glossy finish.
What lip color goes with everything?
“When in doubt, a neutral lip color will go with everything,” says Luna. With this in mind, consider either more sheer formulas that provide just a touch of color to the lips, or nude color ranges. For the most part, the lip glosses on our list feature a range of neutral lip colors. However, if you’re looking for more options, consider the Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid or the NYX Butter Gloss which has several nude shades to choose from.
Why Trust PEOPLE?
Jessie Quinn is a contributing commerce writer for PEOPLE and has written for publications such as Byrdie, InStyle, The Spruce, NYLON, and more. When covering the best lip glosses, Jessie began by thoroughly reviewing the PEOPLE Tested team’s insights to learn about their experiences with each lip gloss. She carefully paid attention to the overall texture and hydration benefits while also considering the color range, skincare ingredients, and the glossy finish. Additionally, Jessie reached out to the below experts to learn more about what to look for in lip gloss and find out what exactly makes a lip gloss formula the best of the best.
Meet Our Experts
Clarissa Luna, celebrity makeup artist who's worked with Megan Fox, Sarah Ferguson, and Ellie Kemper
Dr. Jeannette Graf, board-certified dermatologist, anti-aging expert, and author of "Stop Aging, Start Living"
What Is PEOPLE Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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Read the original article on People.