May 31, 2020 at 06:30AM
The power of independent beauty brands really does know no bounds. Take every millennial’s favourite beauty brand, for example. Glossier is a privately owned beauty startup valued at over $1 billion. Not bad for a company that launched just over five years ago. The brand’s huge success is due in large part to founder Emily Weiss’s digital-first approach to both product development and brand marketing. Weiss has been able to harness the online community that she’d created via
Into the Gloss and Glossier’s own Instagram page to encourage communication with customers and garner genuine feedback on everything from packaging to product type.
If only Boy Brow came in giant size.
In fact, Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser is the result of
a post on Into the Gloss in which Weiss directly asked readers what their dream face wash would be like. This relationship between customer and brand has been a major disruption to the beauty industry as we know it—and consumers are beginning to expect this level of transparency from brands across the board.
It’s one of the main reasons Glossier’s skin-first, makeup-second philosophy was such an instant hit with the Instagram generation. (Remember back in 2014 when was it was a landscape of HD brows and self-tanner?) Plus, there’s no denying that the brand’s aesthetic is millennial goals—who can argue with dewy skin, pale-pink packaging and free stickers with every order?
When Glossier finally launched in the UK in October 2017, I went straight on the website to get my fill of Boy Brow, Cloud Paint, Haloscope and all the other cult products I’d been pining for on the other side of the Atlantic for the previous three years. But was it worth the wait?
A whole two and a half years later, I can honestly say that there is now a
huge number of Glossier products with a permanent home in my beauty stash. And with the number of products that I rotate in and out of my routine on a monthly basis due to my job, that’s high praise indeed. Of course, there are also some products that just haven’t worked for me. So if you’re thinking about shopping for Glossier but aren’t sure where to start, here’s my full breakdown of Glossier’s biggest hits—and what I genuinely think. Keep scrolling to find out more.
It was love at first wash for me and this creamy gel cleanser. Thanks to its gentle consistency—no prizes for guessing it’s kind of milky and kind of jelly-like in texture—I use it most evenings as my first cleanse. Applied to dry skin, it does a great job at dislodging makeup and grime without leaving your skin feeling stripped, thanks to its pH-balanced formula. If you’re looking for a basic cleanser that gets the job done, then I think this is a great affordable option. I then follow with a second cleanser to target my specific complexion needs that day. Honestly, though, if you’re only going to buy one skincare product from Glossier, make it this.
Milky Oil is coined as the ultimate waterproof makeup remover by the brand. First thing to note: The bottle is small. Just 100ml of product for £10, which might be something to consider if you use a dedicated makeup remover every day. For me, however, Milky Jelly Cleanser does a solid job at removing my makeup most days, so I tend only to reach for this after a night out when I’m wearing heavier eye makeup. Alyss, our social media editor, and I now swear by this stuff. Despite being named an oil, once you’ve given the bottle a good shake, it turns into a soft liquid that makes light work of lifting off makeup without leaving greasy residue behind.
I love a good face mist. I’m not always convinced of their skincare benefits, but there’s something lovely about spritzing one on to awaken skin in the morning, rejuvenate during the day and calm the senses come evening. This one is a blend of sweet-smelling rosewater, hydrating aloe and moisture-retaining glycerin with a pump that dispenses the perfect amount of mist—in my opinion. Glossier claims the extra-tiny droplets are 33% smaller than the average spray, and it certainly delivers a fine rose-scented cloud to the skin. I can’t talk to any big differences I’ve noticed in my complexion from using this, but it’s definitely a solid option if you’re looking for something gentle to soothe your skin before you apply moisturiser or as a pick-me-up during the day.
This chemical exfoliator launched to much fanfare back in January 2018, and I hit “add to cart” after immediately becoming enthralled by all of the magic before-and-after images of real skin. Sadly, my skin did not get on with this product. A 10% blend of alpha-hydroxy acid, beta-hydroxy acid and poly-hydroxy acid, it promises to remove dead skin cells and reveal the healthy skin beneath, reducing redness, pore size and blemishes as it goes. My skin normally responds really well to acids, so I’m not sure why it reacted badly to this product. After a few days of use, I noticed a crop of red, under-the-skin bumps appearing. I persisted—cutting down to using it just three times a week—but after almost a month of use decided to remove it from my skincare routine due to the rash-like blemishes that continued to appear. Although it didn’t work for me, there are a whole host of glowing reviews online and supporting images from fans of this product. It just wasn’t a skincare match for Solution and me.
If I’m being totally honest, I’m on the fence about this product. The pros: I love the packaging (it’s fab for travel), the lightweight texture means it genuinely works as a primer for makeup, and it does a solid job of blurring over the large pores around my nose. The cons: Although you can build it up, I really don’t find this hydrating enough for a daily moisturiser, and my skin definitely isn’t on the dry end of the spectrum. I’d potentially use this as a daily moisturiser-primer hybrid during the summer months when my skin tends to be oilier and I need less hydration. But on a normal day, I’d apply my usual moisturiser and then layer this over the top for its makeup-priming benefits.
This moisturiser, on the other hand, I can’t get enough of. Firstly, it smells like an absolute lavender dream. Secondly, it boasts a really creamy consistency—hence its rich name—brimming with ceramides and fatty acids to really lock in moisture. If you’re like me and have a combination-oily skin type and are dubious about rich formulations, then I’d really recommend that you give this a go. For me, this makes equally as good a night cream as it does a day cream. Just a small amount leaves my skin looking smooth and dewy. Trust me—I love it so much it was the moisturiser I used to prep my skin with on the morning of my wedding.
Take a peek inside any of my handbags and you’ll likely stumble across a tube of Glossier Balm Dotcom. Available in seven incarnations—including the original, unscented version and the fruity, mango version—I can’t get enough of them. A blend of natural emollients like cupuaçu fruit extract, beeswax and castor seed oil, they have a thick texture that locks in moisture on dry lips and soothes irritation. My personal favourites? Birthday (a vanilla-scented clear balm with flecks of ’90s-inspired iridescent shimmer), Rose (a lightly floral scent with a subtle pink tint) and Coconut (for holiday vibes in a tube).
There are two sunscreens I swear by for everyday use—and this is one of them. Ideal for all skin tones, it’s a clear gel formula that sinks immediately into the skin and doesn’t leave even a hint of white residue behind. Perfect for everyday wear, it has SPF 30 to protect against UVA and UVB rays but also contains an antioxidant complex to help neutralise free radicals and minimise the effects of pollution on your skin. If you don’t already use sun protection daily, this is a great place to start. I apply it as the last step in my morning skincare routine and can happily go about my day knowing my skin is protected. Plus, the lightweight texture means my makeup products apply smoothly on top.
Glossier makes three skin serums—and this one is my personal pick of the bunch. Niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) is a powerhouse at treating spot-prone skin and the star ingredient of Super Pure. As an anti-inflammatory, it does an amazing job at soothing the redness and irritation that often come hand in hand with a breakout. If, like me, you’re particularly spot-prone, this works well as a daily serum to keep your skin calm. If you only deal with the occasional blemish, I’d suggest using this as a more targeted treatment, as it’s pretty potent and could dry out sensitive complexions.
Not only is vitamin C an amazing ingredient to reach for when your skin’s looking particularly tired, but it works wonders at reducing dark spots and pigmentation too. I use a vitamin C serum most mornings and this is one of my most-reached-for. In terms of immediate effects, it instantly brightens and wakes up my skin. Trust me—this is a must if you’re on a hen weekend. More long term, though, I’ve noticed it’s really helped lighten the dark areas of pigmentation left on my skin from acne scarring. Although I wouldn’t claim it’s a miracle cure—and Glossier certainly doesn’t suggest this—I’ve noticed my skin looking smoother and more even.
Of all the serums, this is the one I gravitate to the least—and that’s really down to my own personal skin needs. This is a hyaluronic acid–based formula that boosts elasticity, plumps skin and deeply moisturises. While I do love a good dose of hyaluronic acid during a Sunday night pamper session, Super Bounce just doesn’t combat any of my everyday skin concerns. It does an alright job at adding a little extra hydration to my skin on days where I do need it, but personally, there are other moisture-boosting serums I’d reach for over this one when I want a hit of hydration.
I really wanted to love this product—there’s something about the packaging that brings me beauty joy. Luckily it doesn’t just look cute; it actually works. With a combination of white kaolin clay to draw out oil, leafy greens to protect the skin, and avocado oil to nourish, it’s a detoxifying mask that gently clarifies and mattifies skin. It takes 20 minutes to work, so this is definitely a Sunday night mask for me. I slather a generous layer onto clean, damp skin and then leave it to dry. It feels satisfyingly old-school—I love a classic clay mask—and when I remove it with a damp cloth, my skin looks brighter and clearer without feeling stripped.
There was a time when it felt like every influencer on the planet was raving about this soothing face treatment. Hydrating face masks don’t tend to be my thing (I opt for treatments that deliver visible results by decongesting or exfoliating), but there is something lovely about this one. It’s brimming with shea butter, honey, hyaluronic acid and aloe for a comforting dose of moisture. Just like Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, Glossier advises you to apply this generously to damp skin and relax for 20 minutes. However, I prefer to apply it like a thick moisturiser before bed and sleep with it on. By morning, my skin has absorbed all of the goodness and feels soft and dewy.
To be fair, Glossier doesn’t give any false promises with the name of this product—it’s called a tint rather than a foundation because that’s exactly what it is. It just turns out that a tint really isn’t what I look for in my base products. Available in 12 shades, Glossier describe this product as an “imperceptible wash of colour,” which it is. If you love the skin you’re in and are just looking for a product that leaves your face looking a little bit smoother, this might be up your street. For me, however, I want a base product that works a little harder—reducing redness of blemishes and disguising pigmentation—so this really isn’t for me.
On the other hand, I can’t get enough of Glossier’s concealer. Described as having undetectable coverage, I find that this little pot does a great job of disguising dark circles, minimising the appearance of breakouts and brightening my skin. In fact, I’ve even used this as an all-over foundation—applied with a stippling brush—and love the finish it leaves on my skin. It does boast a dewy finish, so I have to set it down with powder for long-lasting results. But if you’re all about that glow, it looks truly beautiful when left alone. It’s concealer love.
Simply put, this brow gel is amazing and fully deserves its cult status. It has a creamy, wax formula that manages to both fill in sparse patches and create thicker-looking, healthy brows. On days when I want to get out of the door quickly, this offers a fuss-free application for instantly polished brows.
If you like a highlighter that mimics the shine of a disco ball, then this creamy stick probably won’t be your thing. If, however, you’re looking for an extra dose of daytime dewiness, then you’ll love this. A creamy highlighter stick with a solid oil core packed with vitamin-rich moisturisers, this glides on to deliver a natural-looking sheen to the skin. My go-to shade is Quartz—a pearlescent pink—which provides a subtle, glitter-free glimmer to skin. Admittedly, this doesn’t last amazingly well on my oily skin, but I’m happy to reapply it throughout the day, as it’s just so damn pretty.
I have a love-hate relationship with these cream eye shadows, and it all comes down to the shades. Two—Cub and Slip, the two pink shades—have become a staple in my daily routine, while Herb and Fawn just didn’t work at all for me. In fact, Herb—a gorgeous smokey green in the tube—made me look like a had a black eye. If you can find a colour that works for you, the formulas themselves are fantastic. Think a silky cream that glides onto eyelids and dries down for a crease-free, long-lasting finish. On days when I want a hint of colour on my lids but can’t be bothered to faff about with brushes, these are great. For pale complexions, I’d advise going for the more pastel-hued shades, while the deeper colours would likely look incredible on darker skin tones.
Having tried these in their earlier incarnation, I was delighted Glossier relaunched these sheer matte lipsticks with new and improved packaging. (The earlier editions used to crack and break and made me sad inside.) I’d describe these as a lipstick for people who don’t do lipstick. Apply one layer and you get just a wash of colour (almost like a stain), or you can build it up for a more intense pigment. As a lipstick lover, these wouldn’t be the formulas I reach for when I want a really dramatic lip look, but they do deliver a cool blotted look that’s great for easy everyday makeup.
Disclaimer: These products do not last on my skin. I don’t know what it is about my face that drinks them up, but after a few hours, they’ve pretty much vanished. Does that mean I love Cloud Paint any less? No. I’m obsessed with them. A gel-cream texture, these blushers come in a beautiful array of shades. Dusk (a brownish-nude) and Beam (a soft peach) are two of my favourites. Dab them onto your cheeks and blend them out—they’re pretty sheer, so don’t be worried about applying too much. I’ve found they also look beautiful as eye shadows, too. If you’re oily like me, use powder to set them in place and increase their longevity.
Before lip gloss was trending all over Instagram, Glossier was changing everything we knew about the sticky formulations of the ’90s with this clear, cushiony gloss. It delivers a lightweight layer of shine to your lips with a glossy finish that stays put. I love it because it adds a bit of polish to a simple makeup look and it contains vitamin E, so it actually hydrates your lips too.
Powder seems to have got a bit of a bad rep amongst influencers and stylish women in recent years. It seems almost like a badge of honour to declare that you forgo powder in favour of a dewy makeup look. Well, on behalf of all oily skinned girls, I’d like to declare my love for powder—an absolute staple in my daily makeup bag. The thing that makes Wowder great is the way it manages to reduce unwanted shine and oiliness without compromising on radiance. Rather than completely mattifying your complexion, it diffuses over fine lines and pores to make your skin look softer, even and healthy. I think even powder haters could be converted.
This mascara divides beauty editors and Glossier girls alike, with fans of the product loving the natural flutter it provides and sceptics claiming it doesn’t add any impact. The brand claims this is the perfect everyday mascara, and I’d be inclined to agree. For me, mascara isn’t an everyday essential, and if I’m going to wear it, I want it to enhance my natural lashes rather than create the illusion of falsies. This one uses tiny fibres to subtly extend the length of your lashes and coat them with a flexible black pigment—almost like a natural lash lift. Oh, and it washes off with warm water, so there’s no need to tug at your eyes with a heavy-duty makeup remover at the end of the day.
This is one of the best bodywashes I’ve ever used. It’s a gentle seven-oil formula that lifts grime and sweat and then transforms into a soft froth to wash it all away. There’s no water in the formula, so it won’t affect the pH of your skin, and it honestly leaves me feeling so soft once I’ve stepped out of the shower. The cute packaging certainly helps too. I love it when there’s a bottle of this displayed in my bathroom. Oh, and the subtle orange blossom, neroli fragrance reminds me of one of my favourite Tom Ford scents—but without the enormous price tag.
The Glossier bodycare is a big hit with me—I adore this daily body lotion as much as the oil wash. I moisturise religiously after every bath or shower, so my mark of good body lotion is how quickly it sinks in. This one is really thick in texture, but my skin drinks it up and is left looking amazingly dewy. It contains light-reflecting particles that help with the glow, and I recommend this to everyone on bare-leg days.
For me, this perfume is like a cosy cardigan or a warm blanket—comforting and familiar. I’m not sure entirely what it smells like. It’s kind of clean, subtly floral and wonderfully warming. Glossier describes it using words like “creamy,” “sparkling” and “warm,” and it contains notes of musk, ambrette, iris root and pink pepper. It’s the kind of perfume that smells slightly different on everyone and feels like a fragrance you’ve always worn. Give it a sniff if you can—you can usually choose a free fragrance sample when you place an order—but I’m confident most people will enjoy this scent.
Opening Image: @thatsninaa via @glossier
Next up, out of all of the French skincare brands, this one is the most underrated.
Author Mica Ricketts |
Selected by CWC