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The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Glossier

Photo: Retailer

Anyone who has shopped at a retailer with few physical storefronts to browse knows it can be hard to figure out where to begin. There are dozens of options that all seem as worthy as the next, but the reality is that products from any given brand are not all created equal. When you shop as regularly as we do, you learn that many brands just do some things better than they do other things — and Glossier, the skin-care and beauty brand known for its promise of fluffy eyebrows and dewy skin, is no exception. With just four stores worldwide that hawk its ever-growing inventory of millennial-pink-packaged creams, oils, glitters, and glosses, it’s understandable if you’ve had a hard time determining which colors really pop or which products give a healthy glow without making your face look like the site of an oil spill. To help you narrow down which lip balms, brow gels, highlighters, and concealers are worth the space on your vanity, we culled our archives to put together a list of all the most praised products from Glossier we’ve written about, from the moisturizing cleanser beloved by VSCO Girls, to the highlighter stick Rio swears by, to the body wash a celebrity makeup artist can’t shave without.


“I love everything [from Glossier], but the one thing I come back to is the cleanser,” eternal “It” girl Alexa Chung told us. “It’s so soothing and nice on the face.” Celebrities aren’t its only fan: Teen and tween VSCO Girls also swear by the pH-balanced, hypoallergenic Milky Jelly cleanser, which users say works for a variety of skin types.

Glossier’s cult-y Balm Dotcom comes recommended by three celebrities; our beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton; the co-founder of a style-and-beauty website; and a handful of cool teens. Teen singer Grace VanderWaal “really likes” the original Balm Dotcom, as does Rio, who says it can be dabbed over highlighter for “extra shine.” But if you’re looking for some flavor, Who What Wear co-founder Katherine Power is “partial” to coconut. And for a little color and scent, both Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and actress-slash-model Molly Sims opt for the rose Balm Dotcom: “This hydrating, long-lasting lip balm is seriously amazing,” promises Sims, who also raves about its “perfect” scent. Strategist readers can’t seem to get enough of it, either: It was a reader favorite in 2020 as well as our top-selling Black Friday item in 2019 and in 2021.

Actress Sasheer Zamata, who has oily skin, doesn’t like “putting powders on [her] face or putting on multiple moisturizers and primers just to tame the oil.” She loves Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer because it’s “an all-in-one thing. I can moisturize my face while also priming it, so I can just be one-and-done and out the door.” However, if you prefer something with a little more oomph, our editors have also raved about the ultrathick “rich” version for how decadent and soothing it felt.

Rio says Super Pure is her favorite Glossier serum for how it “helps treat blemishes, redness, and congestion without leaving that tight, stripped feeling.” The formula uses 2 percent niacinamide as well as the skin-conditioning humectant zinc PCA, making it great for “any dry or sensitive skin type that wants to add a clarifying and smoothing serum to their routine without compromising their skin’s natural moisture.”

When Rio’s skin is “acting extra-parched,” she reaches for this moisturizing Super Bounce serum. Formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing vitamin B-5, she pats one or two drops onto her skin before applying moisturizer, which Rio says gives her the “perfect balance of radiance and plumpness.”

The Invisible Shield sunscreen is beloved by Strategist staffers and beauty YouTubers alike for its clear, lightweight, gel formula. “A little while ago, I heard through a friend of a friend who works at a major heritage makeup and beauty brand that they’ve been experimenting for years in an effort to develop a sunscreen that goes on truly clear but haven’t been able to nail the formula,” wrote former Strategist writer Lauren Levy. “Glossier did the damn thing.” Beauty YouTuber Madelynn De La Rosa also swears by the product, which “never leaves a weird white cast,” according to her, and “feels like a second skin.”

When Rio couldn’t get her temporary-tattoo-grade Fenty eyeliner to budge, she tried cleansing with the makeup-melting Milky Oil in a pinch — and became an instant convert. “The light, watery formula can take off anything from a touch of mascara to a glossy, bright-blue lid in literal seconds,” she says, adding that it even makes a convincing cruelty-free Bioderma dupe. “For absolutely any eye makeup, I now immediately reach for my Milky Oil,” concludes Rio.

Body Hero Oil Wash — a bodywash made from a blend of hypoallergenic and gynecologist-tested body oils — is beloved by both Rio and celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes. “The scent is almost fruity and playful, and I love how the hydrating and cleaning oil emulsifies into a soapier texture as you wash,” Rio raves. Hughes is also “obsessed with the scent” and told us that she “loves shaving with this.”

Photo: Retailer

After your shower, follow up with this moisturizing body-oil mist, which Rio reports “sinks into the skin quite quickly … there’s no extended period of time where you have to sit around and wait for the body oil to dry.” She reaches for it on days where she wants “something shiny and sweet smelling (the neroli is divine) but not too heavy.” She even recommended it as a great gift for beauty obsessives “who love florals and a good skin quench after the shower.”

In our list of the best gifts for therapists, counselor Camille Lester recommended indulging in some Sunday self-care with Glossier’s Moisturizing Moon Mask — a testament to its soothing powers. The mask is formulated with sweet almond oil, squalane, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, and licorice root and lemon fruit extract to visibly brighten the skin.


Katie Jane Hughes and Rio both have Glossier’s cruelty-free Stretch Concealer in their daily rotations. “The dewy, creamy consistency of the product works like a dream when it’s used like a foundation,” explains Rio, who says this left her skin looking “even more glowy than” Nars’s cult-favorite Radiant Creamy concealer. Hughes calls it “the first step to complexion,” praising the product for its adequate coverage and dewy, luminous finish.

Rio reaches for Perfecting Skin Tint as a low-maintenance everyday product. It’s perfect for when she only has “two seconds to get ready” and wants something that provides “very light coverage, but still take[s] the edge off of any dark spots or circles. It gives the skin this beautiful, allover dewy tint.” It’s got a perpetual spot on her rebuy list, and she’s already gone through two containers.

Celebrity makeup artists, YouTubers, and Strategist writers seemingly can’t say enough good things about Boy Brow, which drew a waiting list of 10,000 people after it first launched in 2015. “For a perfectly messy brow, I love to use it,” says Rio, who started using Boy Brow after Beyoncé’s makeup artist Sir John talked about it in an interview with Allure. “The spoolie is the perfect in-between size so that my brows look kept but nice and big,” she adds. The tinted brow gel is also an easy way to make brows look fuller without actually dyeing them, according to brow experts, who also say that a quick swipe of it can make you look more “convincing and confident” on Zoom calls.

For those with sparser brows who need more filling in than fluffing, Rio recommends Brow Flick. Its tiny, thin, bendy brush “easily draws wispy lines that really mimic the shape of brow hairs.” It turned out to be a lifesaver for her after a traumatic overwaxing experience. Additionally, it was makeup artist Dana Delaney’s product of choice for filling in her client Cleopatra Coleman’s brows for a magazine-cover shoot.

Rio, Katie Jane Hughes, and celebrity makeup artist Beau Nelson all recommend Haloscope for the highlighter stick’s sheeny-but-not-sparkly finish. “I’ve tried to find an everyday highlighter that I like as much as Glossier’s Haloscope, and I just can’t,” Rio says. “It’s balmy and pearlescent and makes my skin look ultraquenched in a supremely natural way.” It’s also buildable and blendable, she adds, so you can “give yourself either a subtle or beaming glow, depending on how much you apply.” Hughes uses it to add a subtle shimmer to her cheekbones, nose, chin, and brow bone, and Nelson finds it to be “a little gloss and highlight at the same time.” He adds that it’s even lightweight enough to wear during a heat wave.

Known for its sheer, wine-stained color, Generation G lipstick in Jam — the shade Anastasia Steele wears in Fifty Shades Darker — is another Glossier product approved by makeup artists, Rio, and Strategist writer Dominique Pariso. Its “natural-looking, napkin-blotted color” makes the product one of Rio’s “everyday staples.” Pariso adds that it “makes your lips look like you just finished eating a bucket of freshly picked berries.”

Cloud Paint was formulated to be applied and blended like finger paint, making it a foolproof (and fun) liquid blush for makeup professionals and hobbyists alike. Rio found that mixing her two favorite shades, Haze and Puff — which are sold individually or in a set that’s slightly cheaper than buying each alone — creates a “beautiful, hot flush.” (But she notes that they each look good individually, too.) Rio adds that the products’ compact packaging makes them ideal for on-the-go touch-ups.

Rio also keeps this Lash Slick mascara in her daily rotation, saying she can wear it “day to night without a trace of smudging.” The product makes lashes look “subtly lengthened and thickened,” she says, and her praise turned Strategist editor Katy Schneider into another devotée of the clump-free formula. “This is a remarkable product,” says Schneider. “It simply makes your eyelashes look like better eyelashes.”

Glossier’s Lidstar eyeshadows are “perfect for makeup rookies,” according to Rio, who likes both Slip, “a sparkly, baby-pink eye shadow that gives the prettiest, softest golden glow,” and Lily, which is a spring-y, shimmery lilac. Applying is as simple as dipping the applicator into the product and dragging it along your eyelid.

Rio also named Glossier’s subtle but effective You perfume as “one of the best perfumes on the market for that ‘enhancing your natural scent’ vibe,” noting that the fragrance contains “warm, woody, and clean” notes. Though it’s not as cheap as a tube of Boy Brow, “there is a lot of product, and the bottle is glass, not plastic,” she notes.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Glossier