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Clear Lip Gloss Is Back! The 10 Best to Try, and Why You Need Them

Photo by Viacheslav Iakobchuk/Getty Images

If the last time you reached for clear lip gloss was in seventh grade, we have to talk. The newest formulas have come miles since the ones you picked up at the drugstore back in the day (think: hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and rosehip oil). Plus they’re surprisingly versatile beauty products in your routine. Sure, you can use them to add shine to your natural lip, but you can also layer one on top of a matte lipstick to turn it into a gloss (makeup artist-approved tip: Use your finger or another applicator to apply in order to keep the brush—and therefore the rest of the gloss—clear). They can also be applied to other parts of the face. We’re big fans of a little gloss on top of eyeliner or shadow, and a dab on the cheekbone is the highlighter you never knew you needed. Now that you’re all in on this must-have product again, continue reading below for the 10 best clear lip glosses and why you need them in your makeup bag.

Best moisturizing lip gloss

Vegan, cruelty-free, and made with nourishing raspberry seed oil, this gloss both looks great and feels fantastic on chapped lips.

Best long-wearing lip gloss

For a classic glossy lip, this lip lacquer has a doe-foot applicator and non-sticky formula that hydrates and adds shine for hours, without the need to reapply.

Best plumping lip gloss

The slight tingly sensation lets you know it’s working, while the barely-there pink tint flatters every natural lip color. Try pairing with a lip liner, such as MAC COSMETICS Lip Pencil, for an even plumper-looking pout.

Best roll-on lip gloss

Your favorite lip gloss from the ‘90s is back. The stickiness you remember is gone—replaced with a nourishing B12-infused formula—but the strawberry-flavored nostalgia hasn’t gone anywhere.

Best smile-brightening lip gloss

That subtle blue tint? It helps make your teeth look whiter. (Genius, we know.) That, paired with a hydrating formula made with vitamin E and jojoba oil make this gloss an absolute must-try.

Best “near-clear” gloss

This gloss from Lady Gaga’s epic makeup collection is translucent in the best way, adding a pearly finish to your natural lips, or on top of the lip color of your choice.

Best multi-purpose gloss

Sure, most clear lip glosses can be used on the eyes and cheeks, but some are scented (peppermint oil by your eyes? Yeah, we’ll pass). This product was designed to be multi-use, giving a gorgeous sheen to all your makeup looks.

Best shimmer gloss

This vegan gloss has just the right amount of shimmery, iridescent pigment to be worn day or night. It’s great on its own, but we love it as a topcoat over a bright lip like red, or even blue.

Best gloss balm

Do you ever apply lip balm and think to yourself, “I wish this were shiny?” Good news: The perfect combination of these two MVP lip products exists. And while these are ever-so-slightly tinted, you can still expect the polish of a gloss plus the hydration of a balm, all in one convenient tube.

Best lip oil

Think of a lip oil as a gloss, only with more skincare benefits. This one is made with moisturizers like apricot kernel oil and avocado oil, and leaves lips as shiny as your favorite lacquer.


Best shine: FENTY BEAUTY Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Glass Slipper

FENTY BEAUTY Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Glass Slipper
Courtesy of FENTY BEAUTY

We can’t decide what we love most about this ultra-glossy formula from none other than Rihanna: the shea-butter-infused formula, the peachy scent, or the slick—not sticky—feel.

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About the author
Lindy Segal
Lindy is a contributor at IPSY, a beauty and lifestyle writer, and Real Housewives aficionado. She was an editor at People and Glamour, and her freelance work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Who What Wear, and Cosmopolitan, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated March 25, 2021 12:00 AM