Glossy lips are back! This is how to get grown-up gloss right

No more fear of windy days: this season's glossy lips trend features softer, non-goopy textures perfect for a chic everyday look

glossy lips main collage image of woman wearing lip gloss against gloss swatches
(Image credit: Future/Getty Images)

Glossy lips are one of summer's biggest beauty trends, but sidestep sticky, gloopy textures with our roundup of the best glosses for chic, comfortable, all-day shine.   

Makeup trends come and go, so it was only a matter of time before glossy lips came back into fashion. While the Early Aughts trend might conjure up memories of tacky lips and gusts of wind making your hair stick to your face (ugh), this year's take is far more sophisticated. 

Embracing the glossy lips trend for summer is all about its application with other products; grab your best mascara for thick, fluffy lashes, opt for skin tints rather than heavy foundations, and then take lips to shinier, dewier places.

How to wear glossy lips now

Milky textures, hydrating formulas with added skincare benefits, and myriad shades to choose from makes plumped, glossy lips the summer trend that’s comfortable to wear. Because of their subtle appeal, glossy lips make a great partner to barely-there beauty finds, such as the best cream blush, which you can employ as part of a natural makeup look.  

We asked Caroline Barnes, Makeup Artist and Max Factor ambassador, for her thoughts on the glossy revival. “The formulas of glosses now are so balmy and not sticky—the appeal is because they are now so pleasant and versatile to wear. Glosses also add light to your makeup and make your lips look healthy and plump.”

If you haven’t worn glossy lips in a while, Caroline has a few tricks you can follow to keep things looking flawless. “Use a lip-colored lip pencil first and sketch in your best lip shape. Pop your gloss over the top, and then put your index finger in your mouth and suck on it to remove any excess color, which could go onto your teeth.” 

Not sure whether to go for clear or color? Think about what might complement other parts of your beauty look, such as your summer nail colors. Or go for Caroline's summer must-have, coral. “You can wear it matte, balmy, or glossy. This color complements every skin tone and is so beautiful in sunlight.”

Choose the right gloss

The glossy lips trend is here to stay—but don't let beauty terminology bamboozle you. From balm to satin textures and stains to lacquers, allow us to decipher what they all mean with our glossy lips dictionary:

  • Glitter gloss: Shiny, with flecks of glitter or sparkle to add further shine 
  • Lip balm: Essential moisture for dry lips—hydrating, no-color, shiny and non-shiny formulas. Tinted lip balms will have a hint of color
  • Lip gloss: Wet, glassy looking lips without color. Tinted lip glosses will have a hint of color
  • Lip lacquer: High pigment, thick formula, very shiny and glassy
  • Lip oil: Shiny texture, hydrating, stickier than a balm but less sticky than a gloss. Tinted lip oils will have a hint of color
  • Lip stain: Low levels of shine; long-lasting and 'stains' lips with color

Top products for glossy lips

Maybelline Lip Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid in Stone


RRP: £8.99 | No. of shades available: 8

Everyone's favourite acid, hyaluronic acid, offers up a solid shot of hydration to this juicy gloss, giving your pout an overall plumped effect. The coral-caramel shade, Stone, is a wear-anywhere winner too.

Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Oil-Infused Lip Shine


RRP: £24 | No. of shades available: 1


Add a glossy topcoat to any of your favorite go-to lipstick shades with this moisturizing gloss that uses avocado, jojoba and sunflower oils to keep lips soft and supple while leaving an impactful finish in its wake. With a lightweight coverage and no sticky residue it works well with layering without smearing the color underneath.

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lip Cushion in Baby Star Coral


RRP: £9.99 | No. of shades available: 7

If you're in the mood for a bright pop of colour for everyday wear, look no further. The doe-foot, soft-touch applicator ensures just the right amount of product is dispersed, while the vitamin E-infused formula nourishes lips to keep chapping at bay.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Heat Lip Luminizer and Plumper


RRP: £19 | No. of shades available: 1


The original Gloss Bomb was already a steady favorite with lip gloss fans but this version takes things to the next level. The clever formula plumps lips for a dramatic look while shea butter and vitamin E moisturise and soften. All while delivering a red tint and super glossy finish.

NYX This is Milky Gloss in Milk n Hunny


RRP: £9 | No. of shades available: 8

The ideal shade of J.Lo-worthy neutral nude gloss, if there ever was one. Perfect to accompany that daytime smokey eye, it's made of vegan milk and has an addictively sweet scent. At this price, we'd snag a few—for the office, car, gym, home...

Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss in Truth


RRP: £29 | No. of shades available: 18

Offering up plumping effects without the sting, the contents of this status-symbol tube boast hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and avocado oils for truly unbeatable hydration. The beige-rose shade is also a wildly wearable hue—we're pretty obsessed.

Clarins Natural Lip Perfector in Rose Shimmer


RRP: £18.50 | No. of shades available: 6

Shea butter and wild mango combine for a formula that's moisturizing and shiny, yet still kissable. Wear alone or layer over your favorite nude lipstick for some romantic appeal. 

Lisa Eldridge Gloss Embrace Lip Gloss in Go Lightly


RRP: £18 | No. of shades available: 10

As the shade name suggests, this 1960s-inspired salmon pink is equal parts pretty and glamorous—much like the irrepressible Breakfast At Tiffany's protagonist it's named for. We like pairing this mod peachy lip with a sharp cat-eye look.

Glossy lips inspiration

Choose the right glossy lips look for you. We've scoured Pinterest for the most beautiful ways to wear a glossy lip:

Glossy lip lacquer

Highly pigmented color with incredible shine, lip lacquers are uber glam. 

Glitter gloss

Get super shine with a glitter-laden gloss—holographic glitter will make lips appear even plumper. 

Clear gloss

Making lips look fuller since 2001, clear gloss is the original plump-pout product.  

Ombre gloss

Use a deeper shade in the center of the lips with a lighter, or clear, shade on the outer rim of your lips to achieve the ombre look. 

Satin lips

Creamy, satin lipsticks give great color and shine, while feeling like a balm. 

Colored balm

Keep dry lips comfortable, as well as looking glamorous, with a tinted balm that adds a touch of color. 

Stained and shiny

Long-lasting color that will stain your skin, so be careful as you apply it! 

woman&home thanks Caroline Barnes of Max Factor for her time and expertise.

Emma North

Emma North is a Beauty Writer who works for digital titles including woman&home, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own, Chat and GoodtoKnow. Emma’s career in beauty journalism began with internships at publications including Vogue, Elle, The Telegraph and Glamour. She was then taken under the wing of Funmi Fetto, Contributing Beauty Editor at Vogue where Emma assisted with Funmi’s debut beauty book, Palette.