At this point, you have probably heard of or tried something from Glossier. The Insta-famous brand is known for its millennial pink packaging and cool girl (and guy) models and brand reps that sport the minimal-makeup-I-don’t-really-need-makeup kind of look. The release of a new item in their lineup is met with a strong social media campaign. Each item appears to be carefully created and curated to complement the brand. Not to mention, each product looks AMAZING on the vanity, which is a requirement in this Instagram-centric world. I’ve been following along and purchasing their products since the launch. Today, I share my honest thoughts about what I love, what is okay, and what to pass on (including similar alternatives).
A (Brief) History Lesson
Glossier is a baby brand. It began in October 2014 but has quickly grown into a highly profitable business with legions of loyal fans (and growing). It all started with founder, Emily Weiss, the one behind Into the Gloss, a highly addictive beauty blog that started in 2010 and shares all things beauty. Particularly interesting is the sneak peeks into the vanities of celebrities, well-known figures, and regular girls alike (i.e. What would Lisa Eldridge wear on a night out? How does Emma Watson achieve red carpet beauty with only natural makeup?). With years of interviewing women and cultivating the ITG community, Emily identified a gap in the beauty market that spoke to the niche ITG reader. Thus, Glossier was born.
When Glossier launched in 2014, it started off with skincare with an emphasis on perfecting the “base” aka skin. It launched with Phase 1, which included the rosewater spray, a universal skin balm, priming moisturizer, and skin tint. (Yes, I purchased it and review below). Since then, the brand has expanded their skincare offerings and introduced color makeup as well. Their products can be purchased at their e-commerce site (recently launched in certain international markets), their New York showroom, and the newly-opened Glossier LA (and yes, I visited their opening weekend).
The Glossier Girl (or Guy)
The overall feel of the brand is natural and minimal. “Skin is in” was their much touted slogan for a while. The brand emphasizes taking care of the skin and allowing it to peek through makeup. Therefore, their color cosmetics are usually a wash of color, and bases are dewy and skin-like. The older I get and the longer I try their products, I have developed a preference of the Glossier approach to beauty. I have to admit…all the Glossier models and reps I see on social media are all so darn naturally beautiful! Either way, dew you! (Pun intended.)
Breaking It All Down
Okay, those that are not as obsessed with skincare/makeup or don’t have a disposable income are probably not going to purchase the whole Glossier line. Over the past couple years, I’ve tried a lot of products from their line. Some I have really enjoyed and repurchased again and again, while a few have been passed on to my sister to try out. I am going to break down each product and categorize them into: 1) Good Stuff 2) Pretty Okay 3) Pass, Not for Me. I’ll explain what worked and what didn’t work for me, because beauty is very person-specific so you can make a more informed decision for yourself. Enjoy!
Boy Brow: This is probably my single favorite item in the Glossier line. The Boy Brow is a brow mascara that has a pomade waxy texture. It is unique, because it tames brows while slightly thickening and filling them in for a more natural, bushy look. It doesn’t give the dreaded “crunchy brow” but has long-lasting staying power. Win. The applicator brush is small and the bristles are soft to tame stray hairs. Also, it comes in blond, brown, black, and clear. I use brown and have repurchased it three times.
Milky Jelly Cleanser: I didn’t fully appreciate this until I finished using it. I’ve since purchased it two times. I use this gentle milky gel cleanser in the AM, which leaves the skin soft and slightly hydrated. It doesn’t sting the eyes. As the name suggests, it has an interesting slightly-viscous texture that does not lather. The brand suggests using it at a first-cleanse, but I prefer my Korean solid cleansers for that. It has a faint rose scent which is pleasant without being obtrusive.
Balm Dotcom: I have lost count of how many of these tubes I have gone through…like 4 going on 5? Besides the clever name, it is a multi-purpose salve that can be used to nourish and heal dry skin. I exclusively use this as a daily lip balm. The first ingredient on the ingredient list is Petrolatum, which has dissenting opinions on its benefits. For me, the Balm Dotcom is best used for daily lip care. However, if your lips are already chapped and cracking, I would opt for something that is more hydrating and healing. This balm has a Vaseline-like texture but not as thick. It comes in six different tints/scents including Original (non-scented and tinted), Birthday (untinted with subtle shimmer), Rose (translucent pink tint), Cherry (sheer red tint), Mint, and Coconut. I have tried Original and Rose and prefer the former.
Lash Slick: This mascara is the newest addition to the line. True to brand, it helps wearers to achieve beautiful, NATURAL lashes. Those that are looking for fake, full lashes, look elsewhere. The Lash Slick won’t volumize, but it will lengthen, separate, and lift. On me, it doesn’t smudge and won’t transfer unless I spritz facial spray immediately after applying mascara. Also, it stays on the lashes for a full day without flaking. This is great for daily wear for a natural eye look that consists of one or no eye shadow, no liner, and a healthy coat of mascara. How very Glossier girl…
Glossier You: Formulated to be base note heavy, their foray into fragrance hit a high note. It is supposed to smell unique based upon the body chemistry of the wearer (hence, the You in Glossier You). On me, it has a slightly musky scent that is appropriate for day and night time wear, but I lean towards the latter. It has fair to good lasting power. Also, can we talk about the packaging? It comes in an ombre glass bottle with a small indent for the thumb. Remember what I said about A+, Instagram-worthy packaging? Prime example here. The fragrance also comes in solid form for a portable format (it smells slightly different than the eau de parfum).
Lidstar: This dances between the border of good and okay. These liquid cream shadows provide a beautiful sheen to the eyes. They come in convenient vials with doe foot applicators that pick up the ideal amount of product for both eyes. It claims to be smudge-proof without primer. First of all, I adore the color selection! There are six colors available. I picked up the two most saturated colors: Herb (smoky green with yellow gold pearl) and Fawn (smoky taupe with violet and neutral gold pearls). These shadows provide a veil of color on the lids and apply smoothly on the lids. I prefer to dot my lids with the applicator and blend with my finger. For eye shadow newbies or those that appreciate a quick makeup routine, it’s hard to mess this up. If you want to create a smoky look without looking you got punched in the eye (just me?), the Lidstar in Herb or Fawn are for you. I also have my eye on the rose gold shadow, Cub.
Colors can also be layered or mixed with one another. The color can be built up slightly but become a bit patchy if layered too much; they are meant to be more sheer after all. For a higher color impact, layer this on top of cream or powder shadows. The downside is that on me, they begin to fade within the 6-8 hour mark and I don’t have oily lids; using a base shadow mitigates this.
Stretch Concealer: Okay, confession, when I first tried this concealer I didn’t know what to think of it. This pot concealer gives light to light-medium coverage; it won’t completely cover dark circles. What threw me off initially was its dewy finish. This looks shiny on the skin! If you don’t like that, this isn’t for you. This concealer is designed to have a dewy, skin-like glow that moves with the skin (hence, the name). And it sure does move (aka, creasing), I prefer to lightly set it with powder. The finish is nice. I use the Stretch Concealer for the undereye area and around the nose. I prefer a slightly drier formula for breakouts and pigmentation. For sanitary purposes and ease of application, I use a damp beauty sponge to pick up the concealer and apply to the skin.
Generation G: This hybrid between a balm and tint gives a blotted lip look. There are six shades available which vary in saturation. My favorite is the nude brown, Leo. I like to layer lip gloss on top for a sheen. I want to emphasize that this is NOT a lipstick; the color payoff is quite subtle and can only be built up slightly. Also, the lids of two of the three Generation G’s that I got have cracked, but they’re still usable.
Soothing Face Mist: This refreshing face mist is made of rosewater and aloe vera. I use it after cleansing, after makeup application, or as a mid-day pick-me-up. It smells nice, doesn’t irritate the skin, and provides just a hint of hydration. The spray nozzle disperses just the right amount of product for an even veil on the face. It’s nice but there are other facial sprays with more vitamins and at more economic price points.
Priming Moisturizer: I prefer hydrating, lotion-like primers, but this one didn’t work for me. I have quite dry skin especially in the wintertime, and it didn’t help to alleviate it during the day time (or at least minimize dry patches). It’s supposed to be non-scented, but it has a non-scented scent that I didn’t prefer. Do you know what I mean? Also, the lotion was a bit runny and would ooze out of the tube very quickly, leaving an excess of product so I had to store it upside down. This one went to my sister. Instead, I like the Laura Mercier hydrating primer and will be trying the Too Faced Hangover Primer soon.
Perfecting Skin Tint: I totally get it. The Perfecting Skin Tint is purely a wash of color for less-than-light coverage. It is subtle and barely tones down redness and imperfections. Its consistency is runny, like water and gives a sheer glow. On the plus side, it lets the skin breath and concealer can be added to cover the necessary spots (I’ve done this a couple times). However, its minimal impact is just a bit too subtle for the price point. And, it surprisingly leaves me looking a bit greasy (not glowy) if I don’t set it. I prefer Korean cushion foundations (i.e. Hera or Iope) or BB creams that also have SPF and broad-spectrum protection.
Have you tried Glossier? Leave your faves below!