The Lip Gloss Roundtable


The following is a real, unscripted conversation between Glossier employees about what may be the most polarizing beauty product of all time: lip gloss. Yes, we're a company who makes a lip gloss and still can't agree on it. Love it, hate it...that's what beauty's about, right? Personal choices? Anyway—we talk a lot about lip gloss, so one day we recorded it. Now it's here for posterity. Join the conversation yourself maybe! See you in the comment section...

Emily Ferber, Editorial Director: Hello and welcome to the Into The Gloss Lip Gloss Roundtable. I’m your host, Emily Ferber. Before we really get started, can we go around the table, and say if you’re pro, if you’re con, if you’re tepid, if you’re having a life change—anything like that. You start, Priscilla.

Priscilla Quaye, Executive Assistant: I’m very, very pro-lip gloss.

Manouska Jeatus, gTEAM Supervisor: I am newly pro-lip gloss.

Peyton Johnson, Customer Insights Associate Manager: Me too, within the year.

Bela Yousif, PR Manager: I used to hate lip gloss, and now I think lip gloss is like bangs. Twice a year, I think, ‘Ooh, I should wear lip gloss,’ and then I’m like, ‘No I shouldn’t.’

Lauren Daccache, PR Coordinator: I am undecided.

Poppy Thorpe, Head of Brand Marketing: I’m pro-product, neutral lip gloss.

Emily: Interesting.

Poppy: I just like collecting.

Mamy Mbaye, Communications Intern: I’m also newly pro-lip gloss.

Emily: Wow, a lot of newly pro, no veterans.

[Marie Suter enters the room, late.]

Emily: Welcome, Marie. Please state your name for the record and tell us how you feel about lip gloss.

Marie Suter, Creative Director: Oh. I am Marie Suter, and I hate lip gloss.

Emily: Let’s dig into that! Why do you hate lip gloss?

Marie: It’s sticky! I don’t think it’s attractive on me. And you don’t want to kiss anyone that has lip gloss.

Emily: Marie, have you ever put on lip gloss?

Marie: No.

Poppy: That’s going to change today. Try this one—it’s French.

[Poppy hands a tube of Chantecaille to Marie, who is French.]

Poppy: You just can’t look like you are grossed out when you were applying.

[Marie applies the lip gloss.]

Bela: That looks very nice!

Poppy: That was transformative, I think.

Marie [who looks uncomfortable]: I have another thing to say.

Emily: Yes, please say it.

Marie: I always think of lip gloss as a little young.

Emily: It feels very training bra.

Bela: I did spend a lot of money on Lancôme Juicy Tubes when I was young.

Emily: Did you use them?

Bela: No, they were like social currency. It meant that you were popular—you wanted them to be out on your table.

Poppy: You’d pull out your pencil case, and it’d be like pencil case, calculator, Juicy Tubes.

Marie: But then when you look at the table right now, it’s Chanel, Chantecaille, Pat McGrath. I think maybe that’s where I’m old—I still think of it as Lip Smacker no matter what brand makes it.

Priscilla: It depends on the rest of your makeup look, though. If the rest of your look is elevated it can feel elevated.

Emily: Are you using gloss for the finish? Are you using it for the color? Is it both, is it neither?

Mamy: The finish. I personally have larger lips already, so I rarely ever put on opaque color. It’s very hard to find a nude if you’re dark, so lip gloss is good for that.

Manouska: What I found so interesting about the way we were showing our lip gloss in our campaigns was that it was literally about your lip being the shade, and then the gloss. I was like, ‘Woah.’ I would never, growing up, think that the two-tonedness in my lips, would be a shade that I’d want to achieve. It’s always been about the lipstick payoff for me. But the fact that it suggested that my lip color could be the backdrop and be a shade, that was a good feeling for me. So that’s why I started wearing lip gloss.

Peyton: And with something more pigmented, you have to maintain it while you wear it. Whereas with a clearer gloss, it can fade and it doesn’t really matter if you touch it up.

Emily: It’s like a low-maintenance way to do a lip.

Bela: When I envision lip gloss, I think of it with a super casual outfit and normal makeup...

Emily: Sweatshirt, jeans, Chanel lip gloss.

Bela: Or I’m into wearing a silk slip dress, you’re going out to dinner, and you have zero other makeup on. Like, no mascara, no foundation, no brows, nothing. I like the idea of wearing a fancy outfit with no makeup, and lip gloss. But I haven’t executed it yet.

Emily: Is lip gloss inherently nostalgic? To me it feels nostalgic.

Marie: It’s either very young or it’s sexy.

Emily: But sexy in a crude way?

Marie: Sexy in a Kylie Jenner way.

Emily: There is something about the artificiality of gloss…

Bela: That’s what I mean about it, it’s like a giveaway. You have something on. I get very self-conscious when it looks like I’m wearing makeup. I’m the person who spends the most time on her makeup and it looks like she isn’t wearing any. But when I put lip gloss on it’s like, ‘Oh, she put that on. That’s a look.’ You know?

Peyton: But it makes me feel fun! When I became single and wanted to become more alluring, I started to wear more lip gloss.

Emily: See! Marie said it’s a sexy product.

Poppy: It’s like a little spring in your step!

Emily: I am much more worried I’m going to get food stuck in my lip gloss than if it’s a lipstick. Like, is there food on my lips?

Lauren: Did that Cheeto dust stay on my lips?

Peyton: But if I was wearing lip gloss, I’d blot it before I ate.

Marie: But that goes against what a lip gloss is. You’re talking about blotting a lip gloss, but you wear lip gloss if you want the shine.

Peyton: But I just want to stop it for a little while and then put it back on. Just when I’m done with the functionality piece…

Marie: Ah, OK, OK.

Emily: The thing about lip gloss to me is that it is a product where, if I see it in someone’s bag, it tells me a story about that person a little bit more than if I saw a balm or a lipstick or something like that. I’m like, ‘Oh, that person’s fun-loving and easygoing!’

Poppy: You don’t take life too seriously when you’re wearing lip gloss.

Peyton: You’re not going to get into a fight with someone.

Poppy: How do you have a tough conversation with someone in lip gloss?

Peyton: You don’t!

Bela: But if I came into the office wearing lip gloss, you guys would be like, ‘Oh! She’s wearing lip gloss!’ I hate that—the attention. I wear lipstick all the time on the weekends but I do not wear it to work because I don’t like people noticing things and commenting. If I wore it here, would I be subject to that, or not?

Poppy: We can make a pact not to say anything.

Bela: That’s true, but I’m just wanting to know…

Poppy: Yes, we would. We would notice.

Bela: Like, ‘Oh, it looks nice!’ I hate that.

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

Photo via ITG.