These Lip Glosses Offer the Finishing Touch You Didn't Know You Needed

The luxe formulas offer subtle shine and lasting hydration.

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assortment of lip gloss tubes on marble surface
Photo: Jessica Peterson / Getty Images

If you're looking to add a hint of color and sparkle to your lips, glosses are one of your best options. Today's formulas and finishes are elevated and subtle (think shine, not shimmer) and boast moisturizing formulas to boot. But when you consider the plethora of options on the market, finding the best product for you can be a challenge. According to makeup artist and CTZN Cosmetics co-founder Naseeha Khan, a lip gloss should check two specific boxes: They need to provide color and skin benefits. "Nailing the right formula is the key to making a good gloss," Khan says, which "should be infused with natural butters, oils, and [other nourishing] ingredients."

Celebrity makeup artist Liz Lash agrees, adding that a lip gloss should also be wearable. "A formula that dries out your lips and makes them crack defeats the whole purpose," she notes. They also shouldn't feel sticky or tacky. "This is critical in the COVID-19 era: You don't want a gloss that's going to make your mask stick to your lips. A lip gloss that goes on smooth is usually hydrating and makes for a better experience." With that in mind, we asked Lash, Khan, and celebrity makeup artist Renée Loiz for their lip gloss recommendations. Scroll down to discover their top picks—alongside a few of our own go-to formulas—and find the right formula for you.

Top Picks

Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier Lip Glacé Lip Gloss in Bare Baby
Courtesy of Sephora

This gloss has the stamp of approval from Martha herself (you will always find it in her makeup bag). It's a sheer gloss with a shiny finish and non-sticky formula. This pale nude shade is also perfect for any everyday look.

Shop Now: Laura Mercier "Lip Glacé" Lip Gloss in Bare Baby, $28,


merit lip gloss slick shade cara cara
Courtesy of Merit

Infused with nourishing rose-hip oil and shea butter, these glossy (never tacky!) tints keep lips hydrated all day long. Better yet, MERIT just released four new shades—their first color expansion since their launch—that are perfect for fall.

Shop Now: MERIT Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil, $24,

CTZN Cosmetics

CTZN Cosmetics NUDIVERSAL Lip Duo in Dubrovnik
Courtesy of CTZN Cosmetics

"It has the perfect pinky undertone that suits my skin tone perfectly," says Khan. "It delivers a high-shine, super pigmented payoff without being sticky, and is really moisturizing."

Shop Now: CTZN Cosmetics "NUDIVERSAL" Lip Duo in Dubrovnik, $25,

Saint Jane Beauty

Saint Jane Beauty Luxury Lip Shine in Mystic
Courtesy of Credo Beauty

Lash appreciates this option's buildable qualities. "One sweep over the lips gives a beautiful stained look, and one more application brings out the universally flattering berry hue for a more drastic, but not overdone look. It's also incredibly smooth," she notes.

Shop Now: Saint Jane Beauty Luxury Lip Shine in Mystic, $28,


Tower28 ShineOn Lip Jelly
Courtesy of Sephora

Loiz says these lip jellies are her absolute favorites. "My personal and professional kits are loaded with them," she notes, adding that the "texture is so smooth and silky and they glide on the lips effortlessly."

Shop Now: Tower28 "ShineOn" Lip Jelly, $14,

UOMA Beauty

UOMA Beauty Boss Gloss Liquid Marble
Courtesy of UOMA Beauty

For a bold lip, turn to this formula, which provides an intense color payoff that makes lips pop. As an added bonus, it is infused with ingredients, like lychee fruit extract, to nourish the skin and protect it from environmental aggressors.

Shop Now: UOMA Beauty "Boss Gloss" Liquid Marble, $7.95,

Pat McGrath

Pat McGrath LUST Lip Gloss
Courtesy of Sephora

It's lightweight, non-sticky, and glides on so smoothly—what more could you want? The high-shine gloss has just a touch of subtle shimmer.

Shop Now: Pat McGrath "LUST" Lip Gloss, $28,

Dior Beauty

Dior Beauty Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss
Courtesy of Nordstrom

This iteration has a subtle plumping effect that tingles, but doesn't hurt. It's also hydrating and stays put for hours—which is rare for a gloss formula.

Shop Now: Dior Beauty "Dior Addict" Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss, $35,

Tom Ford

Tom Ford Soleil Sunlust Lip Gloss
Courtesy of Bloomingdales

If summer were a lip gloss, it would be this one: The iridescent shimmer in this formula actually goes on rose pink to warm up your natural color, and we think you'll turn to it from May through September.

Shop Now: Tom Ford Soleil "Sunlust" Lip Gloss, $56,

NYX Cosmetics

NYX Cosmetics This Is Milky Gloss
Courtesy of Ulta

This gloss has a milky texture that makes application a soothing experience; the shades are buildable, which means they work across a myriad of looks.

Shop Now: NYX Cosmetics "This Is Milky" Gloss, $8.50,

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath Gloss
Courtesy of Sephora

Get a gloss that does it all. Charlotte Tilbury's provides shine, hydration (thanks to ingredients like marine collagen and coconut oil), and plumping (due to mustard sprout extract).

Shop Now: Charlotte Tilbury Collagen Lip Bath Gloss, $35,


Maybelline Lip Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid
Courtesy of Ulta

Made with hyaluronic acid, this gloss provides intense moisture for hours while also smoothing away any roughness. Plus, it comes in the prettiest shimmer-based shades.

Shop Now: Maybelline "Lip Lifter" Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid, $8.99,

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