I can’t be the only one seeing Glossier ads all over my Facebook feed. Those videos of dewey-skinned young lovelies applying their skincare products and popular lip balms were too much for this beauty product fan to resist!
So in our latest installment of Damn You Facebook Ads, in which we buy the stuff that’s appearing in all of our Facebook feeds and give you the real scoop, I ordered a trio of the Glossier lip balms/salves to see if they were all that.
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I was drawn in by the Birthday Balm Dot Com Salve (actual name), created in partnership with foodie favorite Momofuku Milk Bar and scented like their extraordinary Birthday Cake truffles. But, thanks to some very savvy website upselling, I ended up sucked into the “TRY THREE GLOSSES FOR LESS!” offer for a Balm Dot Com Trio, and ordered the Rose and Mint balms too.
Here’s what I think.
That Awesome Packaging
The packaging and branding of Glossier all around is just wonderful, and surely a huge part of the appeal. Everything comes delivered in an adorable pink box that makes you feel like you’re part of a special club, complete with a few free samples and cute stickers and some de rigeur inspirational quotes about smiling and inner beauty.
Oh, and hashtags. Because, Instagram or it didn’t happen.
The website reminds you the lip-smacking 11-year-old in you is freaking out right now. Collect them all! So they’re definitely tapping into that longing for a happy, simple childhood; the way the hot trends of unicorn makeup and the My Little Pony, Hello Kitty, Super Mario, and Disney cosmetics for adults we recently featured do — and the box itself delivers.
It’s like receiving a love letter that says, “we love you, millennials and we love your free spirit, ownership of your femininity, and disposable income!” And d’oh…it works. Because it looks so cool, it’s the kind of box you keep around for no reason, thinking to yourself, I know I can reuse this for something…
Plus the product packaging itself is wonderful: modern and magazine-y and again, something you’ll have trouble tossing (or ideally, recycling) because, pretty!
Do you like the appeal of being “A Glossier Girl?”
Then let’s open those boxes and get to the products.
Glossier Lip Gloss: How they Work
To my surprise (and I should have read the fine print better) these are less lip glosses, and more of a “universal lip balm and skin salve” formulated for bits beyond lips. It’s also a good option for cuticles, or weird little dry patches that crop up in the winter.
But honestly, everything about them screams LIP GLOSS including the little squeeze tube, and the wonderful scents. Oh, and the brand name: Glossier.
So you can forgive my misunderstanding. Even though they’re found on the site under “Skincare” and not “Cosmetics.”
I blame that on the Facebook ads, frankly.
If you like scented products, I think these are truly nice. The vanilla from the Birthday Cake Balm is fairly sweet (probably why my tween daughters beg me to use it all the time), and the rose and mint both have discernable but not-too-strong scents that I like a lot. They’re all well-formulated scents though, so rest easy, you’re not getting like a Yankee Candle Vanilla.
(The balms also come in cherry and coconut, which get high ratings though I didn’t partake; coconut beauty products are always too Hawaiian Tropic for me personally.)
The ingredient list includes some nice stuff like natural plant and fruit extracts, beeswax, lanolin and are free of parabens and not animal-tested. However petrolatum is the first ingredient. That’s not a top concern for me, but I know it is for a lot of natural cosmetics devotees; if you want all-natural lip moisturizers, stick with Burt’s Bees, Korres, EOS or other favorites.
As for efficacy of the actual Glossier Balms: to be honest, my first thought was…eh.
I called Kristen and said, “I tried the Glossier balms and…eh.”
They’re not glossy like my go-to fave Lipstick Queen Chinatown Lip Gloss or my new fave, Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, but not waxy like a Burt’s Bees balm. If anything, I could best compare them to longstanding cult-favorite Rosebud Salve.
That said, the one place I think was a little disappointed was the promise of “subtle shimmer” in the Birthday Balm and the “barely-there pink tint” of the Rose.
If by “subtle” and “barely-there” they mean ” no perceptible color or shimmer whatsoever, then…nailed it!
Here’s what I mean:
As you can see, there’s an imperceptible difference between the “tinted” rose balm and the untinted mint balm.
For comparison sake, Fenty Beauty offers far more shine and a little shimmer in an apricot shade; and Mally’s Chinatown offers a little more shimmer, a little less slick shine, in a pinker shade.
In the spirit of their brand claim that “celebrates real girls,” here’s the result on my bare, no-makeup, 40-something, real-and-not-a- professional-model skin. (Sigh, the things I do for you all.)
I’ve got no other color on my lips besides the different balms and glosses.
Look closely and you can see that Glossier is not the one you want for shine — it really is more of a balm or salve. And it’s definitely not the one you want for color, as you can see in comparison with the other two glosses, though their own impact is amplified when I use it over a lip color color.
But there are other benefits….so read on.
Glossier Lip Balms: The Price
$12 a tube is a little spendy, but it’s all relative.
However if you can’t resist the Glossier Balm Dot Com Trio like me, you do save six bucks, making them $10 each — a little more reasonable.
Plus, free shipping over $30. So that’s a plus.
Glossier Lip Balms: The Bottom Line.
Turns out, I came around on them.
Once I got over my misperception of what the Glossier Balms were all about, I actually started to like them. A lot. They feel nice and natural, without any slickness or goopiness.
Now in my experience, they don’t deliver on the promise of “an ultra dewy sheen.”
What they do deliver on are claims of soothing, mosturizing, conditioning, smells great. So if those sounds like things you want in a lip product, you may have found your love match.
When considering whether I should recommend any beauty product, my one-and-only most important factor is, “do I reach for it again?” In other words, do I think about it when it’s out of sight? Do I drop it into my bag when I’m heading out? Do I grab it instead of a comparable product?
Turns out the answer to all these questions is yes.
I actually find myself reaching for them when I need a little lip moisturizing, or just a dab of non-glossy gloss over a matte lipstick. But the real benefit and point-of-difference (besides the great branding) are definitely the nicely formulated scents.
Which means slowly and a little reluctantly…wow. I’ve really come to like the Glossier Balms. Just not in the way I was expecting.
You can find the Glossier Balm Dot Com products as singles or in a trio through the Glossier site. Got any Facebook ads that are calling your name and you want us to try the product out for you? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe we’ll do just that!
More reviews from our Damn You, Facebook Ads series that you might like:
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The True & Co. Second Skin bra
Stitchfix: A brutally honest she said/she said review
Function of Beauty shampoo and conditioner
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