At this time two months ago, I had no firsthand knowledge of Glossier. I’ve now tried seven different Glossier products, at no cost to myself and with no affiliation with the brand, because I’m lucky and people are nice. I’ve already reviewed two of those products, Generation G in Jam and Boy Brow in Brown; today I’m going to give you mini-reviews of all the other products.
First, though, a caveat. I rarely blog (or read) about skincare for the same reason that I rarely blog or read about perfume: everyone’s experience of these things is so personal that I’m not sure how much my opinion on a moisturizer or mask will benefit anyone else. Yes, I can specify that my skin is on the dry side of normal, but that doesn’t mean that other dry-skinned people will love my skincare staples. There are so many other factors at work: climate, allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients, etc. I just don’t want to give anyone hives, you know? Plus, I’m not the most informed source. I don’t know a lot about skincare because I don’t do a lot of research on skincare because, honestly, I find it kind of boring unless it’s a Korean sheet mask with a cat face on it. There, I said it. Either a product works for me or it doesn’t, and if it works for me, it may or may not work for you. I also don’t like the magical thinking encouraged by skincare brands (omg antioxidants!), or the fearmongering that happens in certain skincare-focused circles, as if your entire epidermis will melt if your face comes within two feet of a lavender plant. I’d rather just think about lipstick.
So here’s a compromise: a skincare post because most beauty junkies don’t share my weird distaste for reading about skincare, plus a lipstick review to keep me happy. Today we’re looking at Glossier’s Balm Dotcom, Priming Moisturizer, mask duo (Mega Greens Galaxy Pack and Moisturizing Moon Mask), and Generation G lipstick in Cake. The moisturizer was a sample that came with Cake and Boy Brow, and the masks were the mini pods from last year’s holiday set: mythofmirth sent me three of each kind. The pods are supposed to be single-use, but I got about two and a half uses from each (granted, I have a pretty small face).
|L-R: Generation G in Cake, Moisturizing Moon Mask, Balm Dotcom.|
Generation G Lipstick in Cake ($18 for 0.04 oz/1.14 g):
Glossier describes its two lighter Generation G lipsticks, Cake and Like, as shades that “subtly enhance your natural lip tone.” Cake, however, is a warm peachy beige that’s a far cry from my natural pink-mauve lip color. There’s almost no pink in it at all. On my lips, Cake is not a nude or an MLBB but a muted, toasty peach that contrasts with my coolish undertones and feels very ’60s. I’m into it.
One layer of Cake on the left, three on the right—not much difference, as you can see:
L-R: Milani Matte Naked, Maybelline Nude Lust, Cake x 1, Cake x 3, NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu:
Top, my natural lips; bottom, my lips with a few coats of Cake. Honestly, I don’t apply discrete layers of the Generation Gs so much as I rub them back and forth across my lips until the opacity is to my liking.
In my review of Jam, I shared my detailed thoughts about the Generation G lipstick formula, but here’s the concise version: it’s a sheer matte formula that looks like a lip tint (it won’t hide the texture of your lips at all) but fades as quickly as your average sheer lipstick. With a few coats, even Cake can be built up to a fairly intense color (see above), but it’s never going to be fully opaque. I don’t find the Generation Gs to be either drying or moisturizing, despite Glossier’s comparison of the lipstick to “a tinted balm.” There’s a faint smell/taste that reminds me of clay, but I don’t find it unpleasant.
A more recent look, with theBalm Stubborn (frosty pink) and Sexy (matte burgundy) on my eyes, NARS Mata Hari blush and ColourPop Lunch Money highlighter on my cheeks—if you’re going to act like winter, May, I’m going to wear my winter makeup:
Cake hasn’t altered my overall opinion of the Generation G lipsticks: they’re not for everyone, but I quite like them, despite the ridiculous pricing per ounce. I hope Glossier expands the shade range eventually: I’d love to see a true brown, a bright purple, or a coral.
Balm Dotcom ($12 for 0.5 fl oz/15 ml)
Glossier markets this balm as a “universal skin salve” that moisturizes lips, cuticles, and elbows and can even work as a luminizer for cheekbones. I have very dry lips and cuticles, so I was excited to try Balm Dotcom, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. BDC is an extremely thick balm containing petrolatum (good old Vaseline), lanolin (sheep wax, basically), castor oil, and some extracts that supposedly have antioxidant powers. It’s hard to squeeze this balm out of the tube, let alone persuade it to absorb into my lips. It sits on top of my mouth instead, imparting a whitish cast, and it doesn’t seem to have much longevity: it vanishes when I eat or drink. Balm Dotcom is unscented, but it does have a distinct petrolatum smell (though there’s also a coconut variety for which Glossier had to do a photoshoot in Tulum because of course).
Balm Dotcom isn’t the worst lip balm I’ve ever tried—it doesn’t dry out my lips further, for instance—but it’s much thicker than I prefer. It works well to moisturize my cuticles, but leaves my fingers feeling greasier than my trusty Burt’s Bees cuticle cream does. I haven’t tried using BDC as a luminizer, but it seems too dense for that; I’d rather smear some rose Vaseline on my cheeks and be done with it.
Mega Greens Galaxy Pack:
|Yes, you’ve seen this photo before.|
This light clay-based mask is one of my favorite Glossier products. Unlike other clay masks I’ve tried, the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack has the fluffy texture of whipped cream cheese, and some of it gets absorbed into the skin as it’s worn. Here it is freshly applied, right, and after 20 minutes, left:
Glossier describes this mask as “a juice cleanse for your face,” which…whatever, I kind of tune out Glossier’s marketing claims at this point. The Galaxy Pack contains a “superfruit antioxidant blend,” because the benefits of putting antioxidant-rich foods on your skin for 20 minutes have been demonstrated in multiple peer-reviewed journals, OH WAIT. But even if you’re a snarky bitch like me and you roll your eyes at Glossier’s mentions of açaí and bilberry extracts, you might end up liking Mega Greens. Because it’s lighter than most kaolin-based masks, it doesn’t dry out my face, but it does minimize the look of my pores (no, there’s no product that can “shrink” your pores), and it leaves my skin feeling softer and cleaner than before. It has a pale green color and a light herbal scent, and there’s a pronounced tingling, cooling sensation when the mask goes on, though that fades after a few minutes. As an adherent of the “hurts so good” school, I quite like that sensation, but I know it’s not for everyone.
My one major objection to this mask: the random bits of orange peel scattered throughout. Glossier claims that they exfoliate the face, but they’re too big to be effective exfoliating particles, and citrus is a known skin irritant. I’m considering buying a full-sized tub of the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, but I’d welcome any other suggestions for clay masks that aren’t too drying.
I’ll be honest, this mask confuses me. The website copy implies that it’s a 20-minute wash-off mask just like the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, but it looks, feels, and acts like a thick moisturizer. Its key ingredients include hyaluronic acid, shea butter, honey, and aloe; it also contains lemon extract for “brightening,” though I’ve heard from multiple sources that lemon should never go near the face. I’ve used this mask all of five times, so I’m not worried, but I’d think twice before using it as a nightly moisturizer, which some people seem to do. The Moon Mask has the consistency of yogurt, and most of it absorbs into the skin soon after application. This suggests to me that it’s closer to a “sleeping pack” than it is to your typical wash-off mask. For curiosity’s sake, I’ve used it both ways: a light layer as a night moisturizer and a slightly heavier layer as a 20-minute mask. As a leave-on moisturizer, it left my skin hydrated, but no more so than my usual CeraVe PM does. Applied more heavily, it had a pronounced cooling effect, but felt uncomfortably greasy until I removed it. I did like how my skin felt once I’d washed off the mask, but eh, I could say the same about most masks I’ve tried.
Overall, I feel lukewarm about the Moon Mask. Since I’m satisfied with my current moisturizing products, it doesn’t really have a place in my skincare routine, and the presence of lemon in the ingredients list doesn’t thrill me.
Priming Moisturizer (sample size):
|You’ve seen this photo, too.
This sample packet of moisturizer came with my Boy Brow and Cake lipstick. It’s a thin, runny moisturizer that’s supposed to prime skin for makeup, specifically Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint or another kind of base makeup. Since I don’t wear base makeup, I just slapped on the Priming Moisturizer a few minutes before applying my sunscreen. Honestly, I don’t have much to say about it, positive or negative. Yes, it gave my skin that dewy Glossier finish, but so would any light moisturizer. It also made my skin feel a bit greasy, and I have fairly dry skin. Damn, writing about moisturizer is boring.
By the way, I discovered on my trip to New York last month that Glossier has absolutely plastered the downtown subway trains with ads. I wonder how much those ads cost and why they couldn’t have used some of that money to make better lipstick tubes, but if I knew anything about marketing I wouldn’t be a literature grad student.
Finally, a word about the snarky tone of my Glossier reviews. Most of the Glossier products I’ve tried are solid, and I have no judgment for people who love the brand and the aesthetic it puts forth. Hell, I like that aesthetic myself. But I can’t help but roll my eyes when Glossier touts itself as “the beauty brand that wants to be friends with you—mostly because we’re not so much a brand as we are real people over here just trying to rethink the beauty industry and have a good time doing it.” That is such obvious pandering, guys. They’re not your friends; they’re trying to sell you stuff. We live in a culture that conflates commerce with friendship and corporations with people, and that’s a real problem. It cheapens the idea of friendship and makes brands less accountable to their customers. You shouldn’t feel obligated to be as nice and considerate to Glossier as you are to your loved ones. If Emily Weiss is your friend, she’s that long-lost high-school friend who shills Younique mascara on Facebook, not someone who will go for a bubble tea with you and listen to your relationship problems.
If this aspect of Glossier’s brand identity weren’t so strongly articulated, I wouldn’t mention it or poke fun at it. But Glossier grew out of a blog, and now Into the Gloss wants to have it both ways: the profit margins of a successful beauty brand and the goodwill of a community of loyal blog readers. Hence ITG’s habit of deleting polite but critical comments or delaying posting them for several days. If ITG were a personal blog, I wouldn’t care about that; but it’s not just a blog anymore, or even a beauty site. It’s a vehicle for Glossier, which means that its readers are now potential consumers, not potential friends. There’s a difference, and we need to keep that difference in mind, because we’re more than what we buy. That’s all.