Nineties Lip Gloss Is Back. Here’s How To Wear It Now

When it comes to lip products, matte has reigned supreme as the finish of choice, thanks to its undisputed staying power and the Instagram-worthy, velvety effect. Every brand from Anastasia Beverly Hills to NYX Professional Makeup got on board, launching intense mattes in all manner of colours, be it a Kylie Jenner-inspired nude or a vampy red. But with 2020 on the horizon, it looks like we might completely ditch matte lipstick in favour of something a little more nostalgic.

Searches for lip gloss are up by 144%, according to Pinterest, while the NPD Group has reported a rise in sales of the '90s makeup staple. But unlike past formulas, which felt cloyingly sticky and trapped hair in the wind, 2020's offerings are smarter and much more wearable.


Ranging from Charlotte Tilbury to Glossier, we tried and tested some popular lip gloss formulas. Here are our thoughts.

Serena Brown, Creative Assistant

Lip gloss has always been my favourite. It’s just about all I can deal with applying on most days! I don’t usually splash out on gloss but I finally got the chance to try out Glossier's Lip Gloss and I’m not sure I’ll ever look back. A little definitely goes a long way and it honestly left my lips feeling super soft and didn’t dry them out like my usual hair shop own brand £1 lip gloss. I think I may have been converted. You’ll never catch me with a dry lip again!
Glossier Lip Gloss, $11.00 Buy
Tierney Cowap, Social Manager

You can tell I'm having an off day when I'm not wearing my trusty red lip. Until now, I've always been a matte devotee because I can't be the only one to be infuriated by lip gloss sticking to my hair! I was pleasantly surprised by how similar the application and colour payoff of this gloss is to a matte lipstick. It goes on very easily, and is not sheer or overly shiny. That said, it does feel sticky on the lips and it isn't that transfer-proof compared to a matte. I'm not quite converted yet.
Illamasqua Loaded Lip Polish in Vain, $19.00 $15.20 Buy
Jessica Morgan, Staff Writer

I haven’t religiously worn lip gloss since Juicy Tubes were a thing, but Charlotte Tilbury’s offering comes close. It offers a subtle gloss and strawberry tint to match my pink lips, while the formula delivers a soft and hydrating coating that doesn’t dry out my lips after a few hours. I have so far drunk two coffees and eaten a salt beef bagel and my lip gloss is still standing the test of time, so I’m impressed. The only downside is that it doesn’t smell as nice as other lip glosses I’ve tried in the past, nor does it taste of anything, which I would have preferred. But it does look bloody good on me, doesn’t it?
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in High Society, $19.00 Buy
Crystal Brewis, Creative

The first time I tried Stila was when a friend of mine raved about the Liquid Lipstick Stay All Day. She had me try it and I was impressed at the longevity and colour, so it became my go-to brand for lip love afterwards. The Stila Beauty Boss Lip Gloss in Win Win is a juicy lip gloss with a hint of colour. The applicator is flat, which allows an easy glide onto the lips. Though some lip glosses leave your lips feeling sticky and tingly, this one has a natural feel and look to it. It's not too flashy. Instead, it's just the right amount of subtle. A good gloss option for daytime.
Stila Beauty Boss Lip Gloss in Win Win, $14.00 Buy
Emily McDonald, Senior International Partnerships Manager

Lip gloss isn’t usually my go-to. I worry about it feeling too sticky and distracting but actually I loved this gloss. It had a really nice, natural shine to it (despite appearing very glittery in the tube). It was long-wearing and while I could definitely tell I had something on my lips it wasn’t so sticky that I ended up wiping it off. I would recommend!
Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss Lip Gloss in Shock, $23.80 Buy
Jacqueline Kilikita, Beauty Editor

The last time I wore lip gloss was probably 1999, so I was apprehensive about giving up my trusty matte. That said, I think Soap & Glory’s makeup range is seriously underrated. This lip gloss glides on easily and lends a very subtle, tinted sheen. My lips but better. It doesn’t completely weld my mouth together, either, like I remember formulas of the past doing. This is a plumping gloss, which claims to make lips appear ever so slightly bigger, and it does a little, but the tingle really took me by surprise! It felt like my lips were fizzing or buzzing. In terms of staying power, a couple of swipes lasts well past lunchtime and the texture feels really moisturising, which is great, as I’m usually a lip balm addict. I think I'm sold on gloss again.
Soap & Glory Pillow Plump XXL Lip Gloss in Nude In Town, $10.00 Buy
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