Glossier seems to be the center of everyone’s conversations these days. Per the Google search I just did 30 seconds ago, in January alone there were too many articles written about the company to fit on a single search results page. The brand has a cult following, and it is coming for us. (FYI: my personal fave piece was this one from The Cut. Yes, I read them all).
As a marketer myself (and one who spends a lot of time focusing on customer experiences, customer needs, and brand), I am an absolute sucker for a company with an opinion which makes me basically an indentured servant to those who commit to their brand values and experiences early on and obsessively. This is what Glossier has done. They are shockingly consistent and, to the eyes of the consumer, have never once strayed from the brand principles that originally put them on the map. A brand is the sum of your customers’ experiences and Glossier isn’t missing a beat. Every touch–from the website (though I am still unclear about where the subtle space and musical instrument theme(s) is coming from… anyone?) to the packaging (with stickers, because upon first use you essentially become Glossier and must sport it everywhere else in your life. Also, when did stickers become cool post-Lisa Frank?)–every experience is well thought out and delightful. Simply put: you want to place order after order even if just to get the cute pink bubble wrap like packaging with the red/pink contrast which, by the way, is a color scheme that has consistently followed us through the last few years in fashion. Is anyone else surprised by this? I am not resisting it, don’t get me wrong, but I did not think the trend was going to live past 2016.
Back to the task at hand. My obsession with Glossier’s obsessively OCD brand means that I’ve tried every single skincare product of theirs (with the exception of Solution ($24) which, in my defense, only launched on January 17th which is basically yesterday). And, I am going to be honest, I wasn’t always wow’ed (keyword: always). So, I thought I would do a full product review to give you guys the down and dirty from someone whose livelihood doesn’t depend on it.
Product #1: Milky Jelly Cleanser
The Promise: A soft, clean, conditioned face. Powerful but gentle removal of makeup on dry skin (helloooo oil cleansing!) and a shot of moisture in the morning on wet skin.
The Verdict: Unless it is a solid oil cleanser, I tend to not have a huge opinion on the merits of standard, run-of-the-mill cleansers. This reminds me a bit of the consistency of Cetaphil and definitely delivers on the gentle and soft face promise. Some of the other oil cleansers I have tried are slightly better at makeup removal but the natural almost rosewater scent makes this a refreshing cleanser to use in the morning. I could see it being a regular in my routine but I am not on a “need to have it” basis right now.
Note: Lancôme’s Énergie de Vie Cleansing Oil is actually one of the better oil cleansers I have found for makeup removal specifically, but smells slightly like a Grandma, fair warning.
Score: 4 / 5
Product #2: Priming Moisturizer
The Promise: A bouncy, bright, hydrated canvas–perfectly prepped for makeup application.
The Verdict: This is one of the products I am most disappointed in. To start, I personally prefer a slightly thicker texture to my moisturizers, even in the morning. I want to feel like it’s locked and loaded, and not going anywhere anytime soon. Priming Moisturizer is one of the thinnest moisturizers I have ever used, almost to the point of feeling watery. The worst part, however, comes when I am actually getting ready to apply the (very little) makeup I wear. I typically just wear Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer ($44 – the addiction is real) and some of Glossier’s own Perfecting Skin Tint ($26) and consider my face “made up”. But as I apply my Laura Mercier, it’s as though I just got a minor peel–literally, something is peeling off of my face, and I know it’s not my skin! I’ve tried using other moisturizers, different cleansers, all of the possible scenarios, and the only time this happens is when I am using this product. I will say, it feels like the hydration stays with me for most of my day, but I just can’t use it unless I am going makeup free. As they always say: “You don’t switch out your Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, you change your routine FOR your Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer.” I am a loyalist.
Score: 2.5 / 5
Product #3: The Super Pack (3 Serums)
The Promise: Nutrient-packed serums for every skin “ailment”. Dehydrated? Super Bounce. Dull skin? Super Glow. Breaking out? Super Pure.
The Verdict: I honestly think my opinion would be wildly different if, by the time I tried these months ago, I hadn’t already found the incredible line of (probably over-priced) serums and oils that have changed the way I think about skincare. The Super Pack serums have a great lineup of ingredients, feel natural (no perfumes or dyes), and are an incredible price point (3 for $65 feels like it can’t possibly be real). However, I didn’t notice a huge change in my face, and the bottles themselves are super tiny––I would expect everyday use would result in pretty frequent purchases. This aside, I didn’t have anything in my routine similar to Super Pure ($28) and I swear by it. I dab a bit on certain breakout areas, or all over my face if I am feeling hormonal acne knocking on my door, and see a visible improvement the next morning. It’s like a clear spot treatment!
Score: 4 / 5 for Super Bounce and Super Glow. If you don’t have these ingredients in your arsenal, you are likely to really benefit from them!
5 / 5 for Super Pure
Product #4: Balm Dot Com
The Promise: A skin “salve” that will protect, heal, and nourish dry skin – everywhere from your lips to your elbows.
The Verdict: I am an Aquaphor loyalist (I literally have every shape and size and would bathe in it if I could) and still prefer it to most other “salves” I’ve tried. Relative to Aquaphor, Balm Dot Com is thinner and in that way makes me feel like it sits on the skin vs. absorbing into it, but I could be delusional. I also opted for “original” so I can’t be the judge of the flavored varietals. Perhaps I’d have 90s nostalgia for Lip Smackers if I expanded my horizons?! Someone try and report back.
Score: 3.5 / 5
Product #5: Mask Duo (Mega Greens Galaxy Pack + Moisturizing Moon Mask)
The Promise: One is said to be the “juice cleanse of the face” while the other is packed with ingredients said to plump and restore elasticity to the skin. Use both one after the other for a mini at home spa day.
The Verdict: These are very, very gentle masks that I have started using about once a week since I got them a couple of months ago. Mega Greens Galaxy Pack ($22) has the consistency of a mud mask, so I was surprised when it didn’t tighten on the skin but instead absorbed (an effect that I shockingly actually enjoyed), and even though it is not at all harsh, following with the Moisturizing Moon Mask ($22) is pretty luxurious. It, too, almost entirely absorbs into the skin, making your face feel actually bouncy and plumped once you rinse and pat dry. For the price, the duo is the way to go!
Score: 4 / 5 (I don’t think they will drastically change my skin, but they are a great experience and can’t be doing any harm.)
Product #6: Invisible Shield
The Promise: A sunscreen that doesn’t actually feel like a sunscreen. The clear gel instantly absorbs into the skin and doesn’t leave behind any grease or residue.
The Verdict: I’m actually really impressed with this product. I love that it is a gel, which prevents you from feeling like you are piling lotions on your face. It isn’t (I don’t think?) oil free so it spreads really nicely, unlike some facial sunscreens that make you feel like you are rubbing your skin raw just to get it everywhere you need it to go. And, it lives up to the “no grease, no residue” promise and actually absorbs into your skin. I also personally love that they aren’t trying to sell us a fake SPF…SPF 35 actually exists, yay! The only downside is that it still smells a bit like sunscreen, which makes me still like my current go-to (Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protector, $42), BUT Invisible Shield’s texture wins so it’s a toss-up.
Score: 4.5 / 5 (now that I know you can have an SPF without it smelling like an SPF, it’s hard to give this a perfect score, but I’ll definitely be purchasing this again.)
Product #7: Priming Moisturizer Rich
The Promise: Priming Moisturizer, but thicker.
The Verdict: SO MUCH BETTER THAN ITS PREDECESSOR. It’s thick and sumptuous, and for a company that typically doesn’t have scents in their skincare products, it smells very subtly (but deliciously) like lavender essential oils. This is the type of moisturizer I prefer and I am so glad they decided to make my dreams come true. Also, worth noting: no “peeling” sensation with this one! I could see this becoming a regular morning moisturizer for me, for sure.
Score: 5 / 5
Product #8: Body Hero Duo (Daily Oil Wash & Daily Perfecting Cream)
The Promise: To bring oil cleansing from the face to the rest of your body. Daily Oil Wash ($18) promises to attract dirt/grime/oil to the surface of your skin so that you are squeaky clean upon rinse, without stripping your skin of the natural oils it needs. Daily Perfecting Cream ($22) is the perfect moisturizer to follow with, providing deep hydration, no residue, and a glow. Literally. There is a slight shimmer.
The Verdict: I was beyond jazzed when they announced they were releasing an oil cleanser for my BODY and I immediately bought the duo. One of their selling points? The smell. Given that basically none of their other products have overpowering or really potent smells (aside from maybe an essential oil or here and there), I assumed these products were going to be the same. I was very, very wrong. The smell is incredibly overpowering and shockingly artificial –– almost like cotton candy that is trying to be fancy or flavored? Honestly, I can’t put my finger on it but whatever it is it is not for me. Could very well we personal opinion (I also have an insane sense of smell and am going to be miserable when I am pregnant), but I was more disappointed than I can put into words. And I tried, I really did. I thought maybe I would get used to the smell after a few uses (I didn’t like Sunday Riley products at first because of the smell, but I persevered, and now barely notice them) but I just can’t deal with how artificial it smells. Nothing about it is natural and it feels to me like the exact opposite of what the brand has been doing with all of their products up until this point. On the merits of the rest of the claims – the cleanser does leave you feeling nice and hydrated, but I shocked myself by missing suds! I love a good sud and loofa bath moment. The lotion – I hate the shimmer but did feel hydrated, though not any more than I do from my Jergens. Honestly, pretty unenthused all around.
Score: 1 / 5 (gotta give them some credit for bringing oil cleansing south of the décolletage!)
Product #9: Soothing Face Mist
The Promise: To hydrate, soothe, and refresh morning, mid-day, and night.
The Verdict: I’m a huge proponent of a good facial spray. I have multiple at my desk (I despise being trapped indoors all day with terrible circulation!), carry minis in my purse (perfect for flights!), and especially love anything and everything with rosewater. I’ve been using Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist ($35) for years and in the last 6 months or so have become obsessed with Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48). The latter infuses the skin with an incredible amount of moisture and has perfected the ideal mist for sprayers (it’s a thing!!!!). In comparison to Tatcha, Glossier actually hasn’t done a bad job, at all. I was shocked at how much moisture my skin retained, and I love the smell (very similar to Jurlique). The only downside? The sprayer is a bit much. Not quite a “who is spitting on me” reaction, but I prefer more of a light dusting.
Score: 4 / 5 (the sprayer is a BIG deal, guys)
Overall, regardless of not loving every single product, I am a huge fan of the brand and what they are promoting: access to simple, fuss-free products designed to enable women (and men!) to truly embrace and love their skin. Especially if you are on a budget, you have no excuse anymore–go!
…annnnnddd if you live in New York please visit their flagship store and take all of the pictures and send them to me. I imagine it feels like being in a pink cloud where Sour Patch Kids (or Starbursts…what is more “on brand”?) occasionally fall from the sky.