Building Your Kit Part 15: Create A Versatile Lip Gloss Collection

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Since I’m considered to be an expert on building and consolidating kits, I feel like I need to be candid with my Beautylish family. When it comes to lip gloss, I have to be honest: I have a real problem.

I can’t carry enough gloss in my kit, which is dangerous, because as an artist and editor, brands send me boxes full of makeup for free. And I’m a sucker for anything shiny, glittery, and glossy. I know that I can simply use clear gloss with any lipstick I already own, but there’s just something about gloss. So, here is my advice. Clear gloss over any lip color will work well, so you do not need to carry a lot, but if you keep the rest of your kit compact and have the room, allow yourself to carry what you love! (Hows that for justifying my obsession?)

Lip gloss really is crush-worthy. And not just for lips! Glosses can be great in a pinch—for a pop of shine on eyes, to tame flyaways, groom brows, or create a custom eyeliner with any powder shadow. On lips, gloss is a great way to play with color. Applying one in the same undertone or color family as your lipstick makes it more intense, while layering gloss over a complementary base can neutralize a lip color. Just have fun! Oh, and here’s the best news: This might also be the place to save some money on your kit. Many makeup artist favorites are from pro or mass brands that won’t bust your budget. 

What to Look For

Lip glosses come in tubes, pens, pots, and a number of other containers, usually with a brush or wand. With Lip Gloss you want to look at texture and preference of application as well as color range and decide what works best for your application. Personally, I’m no sucker for packaging, so I really look for colors I might need or want in my kit. But the consistency is almost as important as color.

You’ll find that some glosses have a stickier feel than others. I like to carry a selection of sticky and smooth ones to cover all my bases.  You will also find some glosses have glitter or shimmer. Some even have glitter and shimmer in the formula which can be fun, but requires a little more thought when creating a look for film or photo—the texture can cause too much distraction. 

Colors

Clear

The holy grail of gloss. It’s incredibly versatile because it can be used on its own or over any other lip color for added dimension. I carry both a high-shine sticky one and one that has just a hint of shine. And remember, clear gloss is best close to the center of the lip—not over the entire lip.

My favorites: MAC Clear Lipglass, Inglot Cosmetics Sleeks Lip Gloss in #29A, and Covergirl Wetslicks Lip Gloss in Clear Radiance

Neutrals

Light pinks, peaches, taupes, and soft brown nudes are an easy way to add kissable color. Most women already have a great natural lip color and this just puts a soft spotlight on it.

My favorites: Stila Lip Glaze in Kitten, NARS Lip Lacquer in Chelsea Girls, MAC Viva Glam Gaga Lipglass, and Armour Beauty Lip Gloss in Edie

Basics

You’re able to create shades you want by mixing lipsticks with clear gloss, sure. But you may want to have an array of reds, oranges, and other basic shades on hand to keep life simple. I like to have a color that works well with any complexion, for any situation.  

My favorites: NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Norma, ILIA Lip Gloss in The Butterfly and I, Armour Beauty Lip Gloss in Lucy, Bite Beauty Cashmere Lip Cream in Bordeaux, and CoverGirl Queen Collection Lipcolor in Lush Lavender

Metallics

Glosses with silver, gold, platinum, or other metallic particles add texture and a bit of interest. Try to collect a combination of cool, warm, dramatic, and soft shades.

My favorites: Inglot Cosmetics Sleeks Lip Gloss in #30, Dolce & Gabbana Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in #160 Gold, Inglot Cosmetics Sleeks Lip Gloss in #57, and Illamasqua Intense Lip Gloss in Stranger

Brights

This selection lets you have fun with daring colors like bright pinks and unexpected shades of blue, green, and yellow. Just remember that when you do a bright lip, it should become the focus of the entire makeup look.

My favorites: Armour Beauty Lip Gloss in Candy, ILIA Lip Gloss in Heartbeat, Topshop Glaze in Bubblegum, and YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain in Fuschia Dore

Darks

Burgundy and berry shades are big this season (and also classic!), and will also easily work with any holiday look.

My favorites: OCC Lip Tar in Black Dahlia, Ardency Inn Modster Long Play Lip Vinyl in Dubstep Remix, OCC Lip Tar in Vintage, Armour Beauty Lip Gloss in After Hours, and Jouer Tinted Lip Enhancer in Shiraz

What are your favorite glosses? Tell all in the comments! Read the rest of James Vincent’s Building Your Kit series here

As Director of Artistry for The Makeup Show, The Powder Group and On Makeup Magazine, makeup artist James Vincent has touched every facet of the industry with his talent. With specialties in film and theatre, television and celebrity work, editorial and runway work, James is foremast a passionate educator, training for brands such as MAC, Stila, CNN and Lancome. He continues to inspire the next wave of artists with his beauty expertise. Follow James on Twitter @JVincentmakeup.