A Glossier Over(re)view

Has a beauty brand garnered as much instant success as Glossier has? In what seems to have been an overnight phenomenon, Glossier is now a "must-have" in every cool-girl's beauty bag. A laissez-faire, no-frills, modern approach to beauty, it's the sweetheart brand of hipsters and instagram stars. In an interview on Forbe's Million$ podcast, creator Emily Weiss revealed that social media played a big part in the design process - everything is meant to be easily snapped and captured and shared. Those intricate, eye-catching designs on the top of their mask jars? They were consciously and purposely placed there so that the packaging would be photogenic and instagrammable (and why else include in every order a stack of stickers to customize and cutefy everything? And why else include a lifesize poster? And why else include a pink piece of cardboard to use as the perfect backdrop?). And it worked. Just take a look at #glossier and you'll see the selfies and flat-lays of the much coveted millennial generation every brand is trying to so desperately reach and engage. 

So what gives? Do Glossier products live-up to the hype? Or has the brand reached cult-status more for what it represents (hip, fresh-skin models who are too cool to be your friend) than for what it actually delivers? 

While I couldn't test every single product (I don't haz much moneys, yo, and I haven't reached next-level blogger status yet to receive free products), I drunkenly made a large Glossier order a few weeks ago. My financial loss is your beauty knowledge-gain, however, so here's my review and verdict:

1. Glossier Milky Gel Cleanser

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

I've actually dedicated an entire post to this one, so I won't go into much detail here (though yes, I still think it looks like semen), but I think it's worth noting that I have gone ahead and repurchased this one. I like it. I do. It's relatively affordable (at $18), it's efficient, it has a subtle, but gentle, smell, and it removes my waterproof makeup.

Being that I can no longer purchase my favorite Clinique Take the Day Off Balm since going cruelty-free, Glossier's offering has, well...quickly taken over my heart, dammit.

 

(As an aside: I would like EVERYONE to know that Emily Weiss once liked my instagram photo of the Milky Jelly Cleanser. I'm sure she has about 7,000 interns working her instagram, and I'm not sure if she read the semen part of it, but I'm really hoping that's why *she* liked it.)

Rating: 4.5/5

2. Glossier Balm Dotcom

Glossier balm dotcom review

Last year, I wrote about what ingredients to avoid in lip balms. Petroleum was one of them. Petroleum being the number 1 ingredient in this one, I was a little skeptical of it actually working. My lips, as I write in that dead-of-winter article, are perpetually chapped. But being that it also contained castor oil, beeswax, and lanolin, I was nonetheless intrigued. Yes. This one is good too. Though it's still not the miracle I was looking for (nothing has been, yet, not even the much coveted Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm), it's lightweight and hydrating. I keep it around around my office desk for daily use. 

As a life pro tip, I find that applying coconut oil first, and then using this to lock everything in, works exceptionally well.

Rating: 4/5

3. Glossier Generation G (Shade Jam)

Right. Let's talk packaging first.

I hate it. It's plastic. It's lightweight. It's cheap. For $18, I expect something a little more...classy. I understand Glossier likes to go for the no frills, anti-frou frou look, but don't take us for idiots either. For a dollar cheaper, you can get an Urban Decay lipstick that comes in a kick-ass bullet, feels heavy and luxurious, and has a formula that doesn't let down (the shade "Bang" is one of my favorite lipsticks that I own). 

Now, on to the actual formula of this lipstick. Here's the thing: As a stain/balm, I do like that it's extremely wearable. It's an easy way to add a bit of color to your lips without making a statement about it. I don't always like wearing lipstick because I feel like I'm trying too hard. But not with this. The texture is weightless and is barely perceptible, so that it really does look like a "popsicle stain" effect.

As a result, it's not very long-lasting, but it does leave somewhat of a stain - one that I find flattering if you have pale lips like mine. It means I'm more likely to wear it as an everyday color, and I really like that about it. For work, I usually leave my lips bare or wear nude colors, but this makes me more likely to add a bit of a pop, without, as I said, making a statement. When wearing makeup, I'm not always trying to be political. Sometimes I just want to add a bright color and feel happy. This allows me to do that.

I also really like this color. It's much darker in the bullet than it is once applied. The result is a plumy, raspberry shade that borders on a dark vampy lip, but in a more flirtatious, more informal manner. I think this is one that would suit many skin-tones.

One thing I do recommend, however: moisturize your lips really well prior to application. This formula does tend to adhere to any dry areas and emphasize chapped lips, like, a lot. 

UPDATE: About a week after this post, the lipstick "stick" fell out, thereby making this completely unusable. I tried putting it back in, but the next time I took it out, it fell on the floor. For this reason, I'm deducting an entire point and a half. It's a waste of money. 

Rating: 2/5

4. Glossier Priming Moisturizer 

I like the consistency of this moisturizer. It's a somewhat milky formula, but with a little more stick (where the priming aspect comes in). It sets in quickly into the skin and leaves a nice dewy finish. I like the tube as it's easy to squeeze out the product and get every last drop (one thing I hate about pumps). It also lists some pretty good ingredients: aloe vera extract, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, glycerin, camelia extract, honey extract, rooibos tea - all very hydrating properties.

I'm not sure if it helps my makeup stay longer, but it makes for a really nice base. For $25, I think this is a very good product. It doesn't have a scent, which is something I reproach in many face creams (as scents can be irritating to your skin, there's no reason to add them in), and though relatively runny, I do like this consistency for a day cream (I'd apply something a little more hydrating and heavier at night). 

Rating: 4/5


With a 14.5/20, Glossier's line does hold water. Is it revolutionary? No. But it doesn't need to be. With a relaxed, stripped-down approach to beauty, Glossier is speaking the right language women have been longing for within the cosmetic world. It's not trying to be anything else than its very hip, very fresh, very simple...yet very carefully curated self (just like many women's instagram feeds...). Coming out with a selective number of products in spaced out phases, Glossier knows exactly what women crave. And I'm afraid they're doing it rather well.