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Expert Shopper Beauty & Personal Care

Best shimmer lip gloss

Which shimmer lip glosses are best?

Few things add fun and visual interest to your look like a shimmery lip gloss. Ranging from barely there to intensely pigmented, lip glosses with a bit of shimmer can be the perfect daytime look or dress up a dramatic evening outfit. When you’re in need of a long-lasting, beautiful shimmer lip gloss, Laura Mercier Lip Glacé Lip Gloss is a moisturizing and sheer choice. 

What to know before you buy a shimmer lip gloss

Tint level

Some shimmer lip glosses are little more than a clear lip gloss with a bit of sparkle, made for a picnic or other outdoor outing. Others are color saturated with a lot of sparkle and are a lovely choice to top off a festive outfit for an evening out. Not all shimmer lip glosses are created equal, so start with the event in mind when shopping for one.

Volumizing or just shimmery

Lip gloss can do double duty as a lip plumper, and there are some impressive formulas designed to make your pout really pop. Shimmery versions in particular lend themselves to this look, as the shine already makes your lips look bigger. The one downside of a plumping lip gloss is that it can sting. If you’re not a regular user of plumping lip gloss, this can feel uncomfortable, so swatch it on at the store if you can to get an idea of how it feels.

Your skin tone

While the shine gets a lot of the attention on a shimmery lip gloss, the color beneath it can make or break how good it looks on you. If you have cool skin tones, look into pinks, mauves and cool-toned reds. Rose, brown and orange shades complement warmer skin tones. A wash of gold sparkle looks wonderful on just about everyone, so if you want to go for a fun look, consider a bit of gold shimmer over your regular lipstick.

What to look for in a quality shimmer lip gloss

Light texture

If you’re wary of lip gloss, it may be that you have memories of the thick, goopy formulations of decades past. Lip glosses have advanced in the last few years, and now it’s possible to find one that looks great, adds lots of shimmer and doesn’t feel heavy on your lips. Formulas with hyaluronic acid make lips soft without the added thickness usually seen in other glosses that feature oils, such as marula and green tea. 

Moisture content

Another reason to wear gloss is that it hydrates lips and can serve as a barrier on a cold day or in a dry climate. Look for a shimmery lip gloss that holds in moisture with ingredients specifically intended to increase hydration, such as butters and light oils.


While shimmer lip gloss can be pretty forgiving of a hasty application, it still helps when the container comes with a soft, pillowy applicator. Look for one that provides good coverage and has a slanted edge for precision work around the corners of your mouth and near your lip line.

How much you can expect to spend on a shimmer lip gloss 

Premium department store brands, especially those with plumping agents, can cost $25 or more. A good drugstore alternative averages around $8.

Shimmer lip gloss FAQ

Is it OK to make my own glitter lip gloss?

A. Don't put craft glitter anywhere on your face. Sparkly makeup is formulated to be mild on the sensitive skin of your face. Craft glitter, on the other hand, is made of small, often sharp pieces of plastic that can cause microabrasions on your lips and face. That said, if you’ve got a bit of clear gloss you’re looking to dress up, you can dab some shimmery eyeshadow on it for a quick hint of sparkle.

Is it true that shimmer lip gloss doesn’t last long on my lips?

A. Shiny lip products in general tend to last for less time than their more matte counterparts. This is partially due to how easily they smudge and how readily the hydrating formulas are absorbed into your lips. One method for slowing this process is to apply the gloss to a smooth canvas by exfoliating and moisturizing the lips beforehand. For occasions when it’s important for the look to last, consider using a setting spray.

What’s the best shimmer lip gloss to buy?

Top shimmer lip gloss

Laura Mercier Lip Glacé Lip Gloss

What you need to know: Laura Mercier products are rich and moisturizing, and this gloss is a prime example of a formula that makes lips feel amazing.

What you’ll love: This somewhat sheer gloss is great on its own, or it can be layered over your favorite lipstick to transform it into a sparkly look.

What you should consider: This is a scented gloss, so if you’re sensitive to smells, test it before buying.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Top shimmer lip gloss for the money

Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid

What you need to know: Trusted drugstore brand Maybelline offers an affordable addition to the hydrating lip gloss world with this nourishing, luxurious formula.

What you’ll love: A variety of both warm and cool shades are available, and some feature a fantastic shimmer. 

What you should consider: The applicator for this gloss is billed as “XL,” and it’s bigger than most. If you have thin lips or tricky corners, you may find the applicator hard to maneuver.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

Worth checking out

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Heat Universal Lip Luminizer and Plumper

What you need to know: This shimmery lip gloss has an instant plumping effect. 

What you’ll love: The clear gloss has a gold shimmer finish that's beautifully shiny. It has a wet look with a non-sticky feel. The formula is vegan and cruelty-free.

What you should consider: Only the lemon lava option has a shimmer finish. 

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta Beauty

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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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