Gloss·a·ry Love ‘em or Leave ‘em Lip Glosses
By Michelle Carney

I’ve tried dozens of lip glosses. Make that a LOT of dozens of lip glosses. Guess it comes with the territory. But as a lip gloss addict, I think I have a pretty critical perspective on whether to love ‘em or leave ‘em. Unlike other lip products like plumpers and protective balms, which are completely separate stories (stay tuned), glosses can be judged pretty easily based on two simple criteria – color and texture.

Lip gloss colors range from a sheer wash or tint to a rich pigmented hue, and your preference is just that, your preference. The same can be said for shimmer, glitter and sparkle. But it’s how true colors are portrayed from the tube to your lips that make the difference.

Textures are a totally different ball game and for me, literally make or break it. There’s nothing worse than a tacky texture that attracts everything in the wind to your mouth. When you’ve removed a sticky gloss, many times you still feel a sticky residue on your lips, and frankly, it’s annoying. On the flip side, a satiny textured gloss feels like silk on the lips and slides off as easily as it glides on. Although you’ll most likely need to reapply a silky gloss often, but for lip gloss addicts, that’s not really a downside.

Given the thousands of glosses on the market today, I could fill a book with recommendations. To narrow down the field, I’ve selected some of the most well-known brands to review. So everyone – from the pickiest lip gloss buyer to the novice beauty shopper – can recognize the name and decide for yourself whether to love or leave my opinion.

Love It: Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss
Never tacky, always shiny. Smashbox is a smash hit in my book. The brand’s selection covers a bright range of Sheer, True and Full Colors ($18 at – pale shimmers, deep shades and high-impact colors that deliver long-lasting shine. The Sheer line’s brush wand allows for precise application, and the True and Full line’s velour applicator provides perfect control with no smears.

Leave It: Mac LipGlass Lip Gloss
Although I give the high-end brand major kudos for its amazing face powders and vibrant eye shadows, the brand’s LipGlass is downright sticky. If you’re hair happens to be any longer than your ears you’ll undoubtedly get a strand stuck to your lips every time you turn your head. Then the gloss leaves a slick on said hair strand that doesn’t want to come off. It’s simply irritating.

Love It: Fresh Lip Shine
My perennial favorite for its flawless texture and satiny color and shine. Fresh Lip Shine’s ($20 at formula uses jojoba oil and shea butter for hydration, and glides on so super-smooth its like silk. Plus, Fresh is fragrance and flavor free so it never fights with anything else that comes in contact with your mouth, be it food, drink or another pair of lips.

Leave It: Lancôme Juicy Tubes Lip Gloss
I’m probably going to take a lot of heat for this since Lancôme’s Juicy Tubes are pretty popular with beauty insiders and beauty buffs, but its tacky texture feels like jelly on the lips. Not to mention each shade packs a powerful flavor like Daiquiri, Toffee and Cherry that have a tendency to overtake anything else you might happen to consume.

Love It: Chanel Glossimer Lip Gloss
The haute couture of lip gloss. Chanel Glossimers ($27 at have a luscious, smooth gel-like texture without any added fluff, as in smell or taste. The colors are true and intense and flatter a range of skin tones. The brand also does an expert job of reflecting and complimenting the latest fashion and beauty trends with each season’s new releases. And it’s worthy to note the deluxe packaging – luxurious looking on the outside, a generous amount of product on the inside and a long, slim application wand that’s comfortable to use.

Leave It: Laura Mercier Lip Glace Lip Gloss
Laura Mercier’s Lip Glace sure looks great in the tube, but the product quickly disappoints. A few minutes after applying, the gloss migrates and separates on the lips, and attracts hair like flypaper. Having a drink? Your lips will leave a tell-tale imprint, and don’t be surprised that it’s still there when you take the glass out of the dishwasher. I’m just being honest…and practical.

Love It: Clinique Almost Lipstick
An oldie but a goodie, Clinique’s Almost Lipstick ($14 at is sheer, glossy and never gummy. One of the main reasons I love it is because of its unique packaging. The tall, slim slanted lipstick-like tube makes it applicable anywhere even without a mirror. The line’s Black Honey shade (a light, red wine stain) is a time-tested favorite that looks good on almost everyone.





Love It: L’Oreal Colour Riche Lip Gloss
The closest you can get to a luxury department store brand in a drug store. The unscented formula, ultra-light texture and infusion of Omega 3 and Vitamin E for added healthy moisture make L’Oreal Colour Riche ($8.95 at drugstores) the cream of the under $10 crowd.





The gloss•a•ry is PrettyCity’s monthly roundup of all that glitters from our own wand-toting shimmer expert, Michelle Carney. Tune in each month for the latest and greatest in pout perfecting products utterly devoted to your sparkly, sexy and oh-so-shiny lips.  Please contact Michelle Carney with story ideas or product suggestions

Click here for Past Glossaries

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