For three months, it seemed like I could never scroll through my Instagram feed without seeing the same video of a fresh-faced twenty-something swatching a lipstick on the back of her hand, artlessly swiping it across her lips, and then grinning at the camera.
Sidebar: I’m a sucker for lip products. Give me a matte red lip or give me death, ladies.
Two clicks later, I found myself on the equally chic and irreverent website of Glossier. Here’s their brand description:
We’re laying the foundation for a beauty movement that celebrates real girls, in real life…Because “beauty” should be fun, easy, imperfect, and personal. Above all, we believe that you give life to products—products don’t breathe life into you.
I was immediately attracted to their aesthetic. I’ve always been a bit of a makeup junkie (pretty much all of the babysitting money I earned in 7th grade was spent at the Stila counter in Saks), but lately have found myself intimidated by the perfectly contoured faces and expertly shaped brows dominating today’s makeup looks. Glossier presents a refreshing alternative I find appealing—one that celebrates imperfections rather than covering them up. Plus, their packaging is to die for.
Sidebar: I’m also a sucker for packaging.
Last month, after flirting with the checkout button for weeks, I decided to finally pull the trigger and buy some of Glossier’s products for myself. I figured I might as well do the thing properly, so instead of the single tube of lipstick I initially planned on getting, I gleefully purchased both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 sets.
Phase 1 focuses on the idea of skincare as makeup. The current set comes with a bottle of Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18), a tube of Priming Moisturizer ($25), a tube of Balm Dotcom ($12), and a tiny bottle of Perfecting Skin Tint ($26 and available in 5 shades). The whole kit costs $80, though you can buy each product individually.
Phase 2 is designed to build on Phase 1 and delivers straightforward makeup basics: Boy Brow, an all-in-one brow grooming product ($16, 3 shades), their Stretch Concealer ($18, 5 shades), and Generation G, the aforementioned lip color ($18, 4 colors). This kit retails for $50, though again, you can buy each product separately.
The packaging of the products is as gorgeous as it appears online, with a minimalist design that you can customize with stickers (each package from Glossier comes with a sheet). I unleashed my inner nine-year-old and wasted no time decorating my new goodies.
I was probably most intrigued by Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint, which according to the description exists “in the land between bare skin and makeup makeup.” That being said, this is not a product to reach for if you’re looking for anything medium to full coverage. After BB creams exploded on the market a few years ago, I’ve mostly stopped wearing traditional foundation on a daily basis. I found this skin tint provided even more sheer coverage than the average American BB or CC cream.
The skin tint is meant to work hand-in-hand with their Priming Moisturizer, and together they evened out my skin tone, leaving a soft, dewy finish and skin that still looked like skin, complete with freckles, acne scars, and blemishes. I have combination skin with an oily T-zone and needed to touch up with a bit of powder throughout the day to combat shine.
My favorite product out of the seven I purchased is probably Boy Brow, which has a large cult following on the beauty blogger scene. My eyebrows are naturally pretty full and dark, so I rejoiced when a fuller brow came back into style. This product is an easy way to keep mine looking neat without looking overly done.
Inspired by the men’s mustache waxes of yore, this product tames brows with its lightweight pomade finish and subtly fills in sparse areas with a hint of tint. I discovered a little goes a long way—scraping most of the product off the tiny brush first led to the best results (and will make the tube last even longer!).
I got the Generation G matte lipstick in Jam. It’s not a terribly moisturizing product but delivers a nice blackberry stain that holds up decently well to a morning cup of coffee or tea.
I found myself underwhelmed by the Milky Jelly Cleanser, which was nice but did nothing revelatory for me; however, someone with sensitive skin might love its gentle but effective formula. The Balm Dotcom is great but is basically Aquaphor in petal pink clothing, and while the Stretch Concealer provides decent coverage, the dewy texture wasn’t working for my skin type.
Ultimately, after trying out all of the products for a couple of days, I decided to keep only the Boy Brow and the Generation G. While I liked the products in the Phase 1 kit and am totally behind the Glossier brand philosophy, I didn’t want to spend $50+ on a moisturizer/foundation routine that didn’t include SPF, and the Milky Jelly Cleanser and Balm Dotcom salve didn’t wow me enough to justify keeping them either.
However, I don’t regret buying into the Glossier brand, and here’s why:
For one, it motivated me to start taking my skincare more seriously. I now own a dedicated nighttime moisturizer (rather than just reapplying my daytime SPF 15 lotion after I washed my face, lol) and have been having fun trying out different types of masks and serums during my regular pre-bedtime bubble baths.
For another, it inspired me to let my skin look like skin every once in awhile and to be comfortable enough in it to go to work with a clean face (if for no other reason than I just didn’t feel like slapping on five layers of makeup that day or that those extra 5 minutes of snoozing were worth more than winged liner).
Undoubtedly, makeup is powerful in its ability to transform one’s features, as this video shows. YouTube beauty gurus never cease to amaze me with what they’re able to accomplish with the right tools and a steady hand—they really are artists. Beyond changing one’s look, makeup can also change one’s attitude; a bold red lip or major lashes can totally change the way I feel.
But we’re in kind of a weird place right now where people will shame us if we go makeup-free, but also scream “false advertising” if we choose to wear a full-face of makeup. I know that I have judged those same YouTube beauty gurus in the past—”Who has the time or the energy to spend 15 minutes blending out their eyeshadow?” But the truth is, if wearing (or not wearing) makeup makes you happy, it’s really nobody else’s damn business.
When it comes to your skincare and beauty routine, you do you, girl.
Except for sunscreen. That I cannot let go. 😉
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are our own. This is not a sponsored post. Photos courtesy of Glossier.
When she was five, she wanted to be a “flower arranger.” When she was eleven, she decided to be a neonatal nurse. At eighteen, she was going to go into publishing to both write and discover the next great American YA novels. Her senior year of college found her falling into a teaching career, and after spending five years in the classroom, she’s stumbling her way up the corporate ladder. Still waiting on her Hogwarts acceptance letter (nineteen years isn’t THAT late, right?). Em-dashes and oxford commas for life.