Gleam, Glisten, and Glow with Gloss

Whether they're applied to your lips, cheeks, or eyes, face glosses just might be the prettiest addition to your makeup bag this season. Find out what they are and how you can use them to create unique looks that are somehow ethereal and bold at the same time.

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Instead of dabbing on your dewy cream blushes or brushing matte powder onto your eyelids, take a chance this season with a wild-card finish: gloss. The look is basically the minimalist's answer to strobing (or hyper-highlighting); when applied in the right places, gloss beautifully accentuates your natural features with a bright, clean glow. Face glosses have a similar consistency to traditional lip gloss, and before there was a bigger market for them, people often used lip colors or lip salves to create the unique texture on their own.

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Slick might sound like a negative descriptor, but in this case, it isn't!

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Last year was all about looking dewy, but things have progressed to a new extreme and the slick, wet look is the next frontier of makeup aesthetics.

Slick might sound like a negative descriptor, but in this case, it isn't! Gloss works well in warmer weather because it takes control of what the heat does to your skin, unlike powders that cake or liquids that melt. Gloss gives the appearance of an angelic glow, and when sunlight hits your face, your skin looks healthy and hydrated.

A smiling, glowing model backstage before the Opening Ceremony spring/summer 2016 show. Photograph courtesy of Bennett Raglin/Getty Images

The best thing about glosses? They can be used universally across all skin tones, so every complexion can shine, in the best possible way.

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Although gloss has a reputation for being sticky, the application process is easy if you know how to work with the formula. For starters, if you don't want to touch it with your fingers, use a small brush to apply.

Here are some other tricks to know when figuring out how to make face gloss work for you.

For Eyes

Always use an eyelid primer or base color beforehand, which helps gloss to better adhere to your lids. Create a futuristic smoky eye (Mad Max, anyone?) or a pink flush by layering clear or pigmented gloss over your favorite colored cream eyeshadows for a dimensional, mixed-media look.

See how the light wonderfully reflects this model's cheekbone? Photograph courtesy of Arun Nevader/Getty Images

For Cheeks

Create a simple look with a clear option that's concentrated on the apples of your cheeks. To amp it up a notch, mix a dash of silver or gold dust with the gloss so that you gleam and shimmer—perfect for when you show up to the dance floor around midnight. 

Model backstage at Joey Tierney show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Los Angeles. Photograph courtesy of JP Yim/WireImage

For Lips

Sure, you can swipe on a few layers of gloss before running out, but you can also texturize the look a little more. To do this, apply color heavily on the center of your lips and then, with your finger, blend out to the outer corners. It will give you an oil-slick, ombré effect. 

The glossy and sparkly eye makeup look for the Topshop Unique spring 2016 show. Photograph courtesy of Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

For Highlighting

Forget about your normal pearlescent illuminators and swap in a gloss to highlight the usual areas: temples, the cupid's bow, brow bones, and cheekbones. Rule of thumb: a little goes a long way.

Ready to experiment with a cool, futuristic look this season? Here's a round-up of glosses that should be on your radar.

  1. Eye Vinyl by Milk Makeup, $20,
  2. Studio Eye Gloss, $22,
  3. Face Gloss, $25,
  4. Baby Doll Kiss and Blush, $40,
  5. Cheek and Lip Glow by Dior, $37,
  6. Artist Plexi-Gloss Lip Lacquer, $19,
  7. Crystal Lip Gloss, $22,
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