Gloss or Balm? Now You Don't Have to Choose

My new favourite beauty category has arrived.

Remember when the whole world discovered lip gloss? My memory's a bit fuzzy on the exact chain of events, but it was sometime during the late '90s or early '00s—you know, back when we thought it was a good idea to wear velour tracksuits, trucker hats and thongs that peeked out from the back of our low-rise jeans. (Klassy.)

Anyway, during this era there were two must-have products: M.A.C Lip Glass and Lancôme Juicy Tubes. Surely you've tried them? These were what we might call first-generation lip glosses. Adequate, yes, but if I can be blunt? Not exactly an enjoyable user experience. (Constantly having to remove your hair from your lips whenever you stepped outside was mildly annoying. As was having your significant other recoil from kissing you.)

And this is why today's post is dedicated to an idea whose time has come: the "gloss-balm." A.k.a. my new favourite beauty category.

Like its name should indicate, this oh-so-clever new invention marries the best of a balm with the best of a lip gloss and produces the ultimate hybrid. It's highly moisturizing, it's non-sticky—and yet it delivers that hint of shine that we've all come to love.

Also? Once you try a gloss-balm, you will not be able to go back to lip gloss 1.0. Promise. Here are a few of my faves:

1. Josie Maran Argan Natural Volume Lip Gloss

If you've been reading here for a while, you'll remember that I have a lot of love for this product (formerly known as the Plumping Lip Gloss). I know, it's technically not called a gloss-balm, but really, the formula is the same in everything but name. It was the very first product I discovered that possessed this incredible texture, and it's still a favourite. Plus? It's all-natural, plumps your lips AND tastes great. What more could you ask for?

2. CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm

Some gloss-balms are applied as traditional lip gloss wands, and others (like these) are solid sticks. Options, people! You may recall that this 16-shade "nature-inspired" lineup came out in January (Taylor Swift is the face) and my pick is the red one, called Sandstone. If anyone remembers Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper lip balm from back in the day, that's exactly what it reminds me of, except glossier.

3. Givenchy Gelée d'Interdit Smoothing Gloss Balm Crystal Shine

These puppies just landed at Sephora mid-April—but I've secretly been using my press samples non-stop for the past three or four months. Totally. In. Love. They're at the super-shiny end of the gloss-balm category—that's where the "crystal shine" bit comes in—but are both plumping and hydrating. Note: Only 10 of the above shades are available in Canada. I've tried Transparent Shine (clear), Sparkling Petal (pale pink) and the fabulous Vibrant Fuchsia, which is surprisingly pigmented.

4. Sephora Hello Kitty Sweet Gloss

This was one of my editor's picks a few weeks back, and despite the ridiculousness of grown adults using Hello Kitty items, it's a great product. Again, it's called a gloss, but I put it more in the hybrid category.

5. YSL Volupté Sheer Candy

YSL's newest launch (out last month) is incredible, as per usual. There are six shades of these gloss-balm sticks, packaged in ultra-glam tubes that are the same size as lipsticks. I've tried Dewy Papaya (the sheer peach) and Succulent Pomegranate (sheer red), and both smell as good as the fruity names indicate.

6. Clinique Chubby Sticks

These were out in January, and if loads of colour is not your thing—and if you also enjoy pencil-style application (who doesn't?)—then they should be right up your alley. They go on quite sheer; of the seven shades, I like Chunky Cherry and Woppin' Watermelon the best.

Now, over to you:

Do you wear gloss or lip balm?

Have you tried anything from this new category yet?

Did you wear Juicy Tubes back in the day? What about Juicy Couture? Seriously, what was up with the word "juicy" in the '00s?

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