Glitter eyeshadow, ombre lipstick, white eyeliner: How come the most impractical makeup trends are always the prettiest? This time around, face gloss has taken the beauty world by storm, and I might as well be leading the charge: A few years ago when highlighter became A Thing, I decided to sit on the sidelines, waiting until something slightly less sparkly—and, well, less iridescent—came along.
In the meantime, I used RMS’s Living Luminzer, a glitter-less highlighter that I waxed poetic about for months, until one day last summer when I made a fortuitous discovery: I has dispensed way too much Glossier Balm Dotcom from its tube, so I rubbed a bit on the apples of my cheeks, up toward my cheekbones. The result? I looked well-rested, and a few years younger, if I do say so myself. Eventually I started using it in the center of my lids for an all-over refreshed look.
It was three months later that I found out face gloss was an actual thing, and not just a hack I’d been taking credit for throughout the tail end of 2016. Applied (almost) in the same way you’d wear highlighter—to the points of your face, like your cheekbones, just above your outer brows, and at your Cupid’s Bow—face gloss extends beyond looking naturally dewy and instead escorts you directly into angelic territory.
As with most products, face gloss is buildable, and though you can go from dewy to editorial to greasy in three second flat, it’s mostly a godsend. I like to apply my CC cream as usual, then use my Beautyblender to dab some gloss on my cheekbones, eyelids, and even into the corners of my eyes. Yes, it feels a little tacky, and yes, it takes some getting used to, and yes, you will look approximately one million times better than if you were to pile on enough highlighter for the same effect. Just know that your hair will stick to your entire face, should the wind blow—they still haven’t figured out how to fix that when lip gloss was a thing in the ‘90s.
Ahead, the best face gloss products to shop now—including two that aren’t face glosses at all.
MAKE Face Gloss
One of the first to debut a face gloss, MAKE’s formula creates an even, glossy sheen. Just don’t wear it over powder foundations, lest your face turn into one big cakey mess.
MAKE Face Gloss, $25; at MAKE
Milk Makeup Face Gloss
If you’ve spent at least one minute on Instagram, you’ve seen this product at work. It’s high-shine and a tad gummy, but not in an Elmer’s Glue way. Pro tip: A little goes a very long way.
Milk Makeup Face Gloss, $20; at Sephora
Glossier Balm Dot Com
Perhaps the most fortuitous discovery I made last summer was when I dispensed too much of the brand’s Cherry Balm Dot Com and used the excess on my cheeks and eyelids. For days when my eyes are actually bloodshot, I swap in the original.
Glossier Balm Dot Com, $12; at Glossier
NYX Cosmetics Lid Lacquer
This budget formula works surprisingly well over powder- and cream-based products.
NYX Cosmetics Lid Lacquer, $6.99; at Ulta
M.A.C. Clear Gloss
It’s a little tacky, but slightly creamier than its competitors. It’s also great for mixing pigments to create your own shade.
M.A.C. Clear Gloss, $22; at M.A.C.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Sure, it’s not technically a face gloss, but throw some on your cheekbones and tell me you don’t look radiant—I dare you.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $4.99; at Target
Originally posted on StyleCaster.com