Is Lip Gloss Back? A Return From The 90’s
4 minutes read
Mask-wearing hampered our lip gloss, colour and lipstick efforts and before that? It was all about the matte: Matte nude, reds, oranges, pinks – no matter the shade – the texture was flat, velvety and devoid of all shine.
As fashion repeats itself, so do our beauty looks. And ’90s -inspired beauty has made a major comeback – the return of the skinny eyebrow trend is proof.
But today’s glossy lips aren’t a carbon copy of ’90s past – more of a ’90s next level – as lip gloss formulations have changed even in the last decade. Some have been reinvented; gloopiness has gone, replaced with sophisticated-plant-based non-sticky sheens – so they are as much about care as colour.
Lip gloss: a quick history lesson
Lip products have a long history. Balms and soothing lip salves have been used for thousands of years – the earliest evidence of their existence dates back to 40 BC. Ancient Egyptians used beeswax and olive oil to care for their lips. They also crushed carmine beetles and ants and used the red pigment as lipstick. There is similar archaeological evidence of the ancient Greeks and Sumerians using lipstick too.
In contrast, lip gloss is a relatively new invention. In the early 1930s, actresses began wearing a shiny substance of their lips that translated beautifully in the black and white films of the time. By 1932, lip gloss for the masses was introduced to the beauty market.
The ’70s saw a massive surge in the popularity of glossy lips. Various icons of the disco era flaunted high-shine pouts. Additionally, tinted, fruity flavoured lip glosses became popular among teenagers.
Later, in the ’90s, the trend gathered momentum again – in a big way. Hyper glossy lips in shades of brown and nude were everywhere: models, actresses and pop stars were wearing it, often paired with a lip liner at least three shades darker.
Now, as we slowly embrace normalcy after the whirlwind of a global pandemic that heavily relied on keeping our mouths covered and invisible, could lip gloss make a comeback yet again?
The lip gloss effect
The “lipstick effect” is a term that was coined in the during the Great Depression of the1930s, when the economy took a hit, but strangely, lipstick sales rose. “No lipstick — ours or anyone else’s — will win the war. But it symbolises one of the reasons we are fighting,” read one of the cosmetics ads during World War II.
What was the true meaning of this phenomenon, though? Economists believed that when people lived on tighter budgets, they couldn’t afford grand indulgences, so they settled for smaller luxuries – like lipstick.
Since WWII, there have been numerous times when lipstick sales rose after economic unrest. This time around, as we reacquaint ourselves with mask-free living, we have another reason to reach for lip products. But instead of a traditional lipstick, 2022 will be all about a fresher, shinier lip instead.
In 2021, lipstick sales dropped and that’s when you saw the popularity of lip gloss rise again.
How to wear lip gloss comfortably
Exfoliate and moisturise
A shiny lip looks best when the base is smooth. So, make sure you exfoliate your lips to get rid of any dry patches. There are various pre-formulated lip scrubs you can use to do this. Or, use the soft bristles of a toothbrush for babies to gently scrub away dead skin.
Once your lips are exfoliated, they can dry up very fast. To avoid this, immediately apply a layer of lip balm. The Hydra-Essentiel Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm, £21, contains blue lotus wax and shea butter that protect and restore dry lips. If you have fine lines above the lip, try the Extra-Firming Lip and Contour Balm, £33.
Choose a comfortable formula
If you were a regular lip gloss user in the ’90s, you know how thick and gloopy the formulas used to be. Thankfully now, if you choose the right product, you can enjoy the shine of a gloss with the nourishment of a soothing balm.
Try: The Lip Comfort Oils are packed with nourishing organic sweetbriar rose, organic jojoba and hazelnut oils. Together, they moisturise the lips and strengthen the barrier function. Plus, you have eight fun shades to choose from.
Paint on a sheer layer
If a hyper glossy pout isn’t for you, wear it subtly by applying just a dot on the centre of the lips. Alternatively, use your finger to press on a very thin layer all over for subtle shine. Choose a tinted formula for a hint of colour.
Pro tip: Use a nude lip pencil to line your lip first if you like to correct or alter the shape of your lip.
Or go bold
Make a statement with a bright, glossy lip. You could do this by applying a layer of gloss over a bold lipstick hue. Or, choose a gloss with a pigmented formula like the Intense Natural Lip Perfectors that contain nourishing shea butter and offer four suit-all shades to choose from.