I'm trying to look back to about ten years ago, did anyone over 16 use lip gloss? I certainly didn't, and I don't remember any respectable cosmetic company offering a full range of gooey, shiny substances in tubes. But somehow these things have become essential, and I suspect that at this very moment I own as many glosses as lipsticks. And that's a scary thought.
Over the last few weeks I've been testing a few new (to me) ones. I'm always looking for the perfect gloss- an ultimate mixture of color, moisture and shine. I have several favorites that I've mentioned here before- the Alison Raffaele (best colors for me are Polished and Elegant), Chanel's Glossimer (they are constantly discontinuing whichever color that works for me. I used to love Blush and Barely Fig that are no longer available. This spring I fell in love with their limited edition Summer Plum*. And if they discontinue Giggle I'll be very unhappy, as that's the last color that works for me). I also keep a Juicy Tube (Lancôme) or two in every purse. Most of them are just for shine, as they are not pigmented enough, but Beach Plum is a good color that's visible even on my darker than average lips. I still have a tube of their discontinued Desert, that while smelling like a medicine was a gorgeous brownish color.
My mother gave me Lancôme's Star Gloss. Unlike Juicy Tubes, this one is a brush-on color. The one I have is Princess (number 221 if you're in Europe). It looks pretty dark in the tube- a metallic brownish red. When brushed on my lips it's a lot lighter, not very pigmented but gives a nice shimmer. Surprisingly, the color and shimmer are on the cool side rather than bronze. It's pretty enough, and someone with lighter coloring can probably wear it on its own. For me, it works better over a real lip color.
The texture is smooth and pleasant. Less sticky that JT, for which I'm thankful. Between my own hair sticking to it and the scary amount of cat that usually accompanies me, things can get uncomfortable. Another advantage of the Star Gloss is that it lasts for several hours. No need for constant reapplying. I can't detetct any smell, which is very good, as Lancôme are not exactly famous for the good scent of their products.
Over all, it's a decent gloss, and Princess is a nice enough color (if you're darker than me, it will probably not do much for you color-wise, though the shine is still good). But it's not my Holy Grail.
The other new gloss I bought just before my vacation was Bourjois's Effet 3D. I chose number 2, Brun Galactic and got the same one for my mom. She is also a non-blonde, though her skin and hair are a bit lighter than mine- her hair has a lot more reddish bronze. Also, her undertone is different than mine- it's more pinkish than my green. She has to stay away from many yellow-based colors, while purples look great on her. But we have enough in common and many colors suit us both.
Once again, in the tube the color looks darker than it really is. I hoped for more brown pigment and in the store it seemed to have it. But on my lips in natural light it was once again more of a metallic shimmer. The color was a bit more detectable on my mom, and looked very pretty. Despite the tube, it's not bronze at all, but just as the Sephora site describes it: beige shimmer. I'm not sure about the 3D thing, but it does reflect light beautifully and mkes the lips stand out.
My mother, who is not a lipstick person, can wear this color on its own. I prefer to mix it with some color. I just discovered that it helps make a beautiful but scorching brown Shiseido lipstick wearable again. They go very well together and the gloss doesn't dilute the lovely soft brown of the lipstick. It just prevents it from drying my lips (I put a little gloss, than lipstic than some more of the gloss. Easy on the lips and holds for hours).
*ETA: Chanel has added Summer Plum to their regular line, and I'm very happy about it. Of course, we can't tell how long it's going to stay there as they are notorious about discontinuing colors. But for now, it's there.