A Beginner's Guide to Achieving the Coveted 'Glossier Look'

Chances are, you’re familiar with the minimalist, dewy makeup look made iconic by Glossier, one of the newest and fastest-growing makeup brands on the market. With campaigns chock-full of effortlessly chic, naturally glowy, blemish-free women, it is no wonder that the Glossier “look” has become the ideal. Glossier brands itself with phrases such as “skin first, makeup second,” proving that the era of cakeup truly has passed. However, the Glossier ideal can seem unattainable to many, whether it be because of pricing (not everyone can afford to spend $18 on a blush or $8 on a lip balm, after all), skin issues (redness, acne and scars that cannot be covered by Glossier’s barely-there skin tint) or a lack of confidence in one’s own ability to execute a look that, while seemingly effortless, can feel intimidating. But with a bit of planning, some maintenance, and a few simple products, you’ll be well on your way to nailing the Glossier aesthetic.

While all of Glossier’s products are lauded, there are only a few that one has to invest in to achieve the ~Glossier lewk~. The rest simply relies on following a general formula.

1. Moisturizer

Moisturizing daily (and nightly) is essential to getting the glowy, supple, healthy skin so prevalent in Glossier’s campaigns. Any kind of moisturizer works, from drugstore to high end. Preferably, though, it will have SPF! Sun damage is not trendy.

Best application method: Pat moisturizer into skin and let soak in for at least a minute before layering face makeup on top.

2. Any sheer, dewy foundation or concealer

This is one place in particular where you don’t need to invest in Glossier brand products. While the Skin Tint and Stretch Concealer are great products, there are plenty of more affordable brands with products that serve the same purpose. Especially if you have oily skin, Glossier’s skin products will probably not be matte enough for you. However, if you want to do the most and go all-out Glossier, go ahead and invest in their skin products. They are quite nice.

Best application method: Tap into the skin gently with a beauty blender or the pads of your fingers.

3. Glossier Cloud Paint

This is probably the most essential product to have when trying to recreate a Glossier look, simply because it is the most unique. Cloud Paint has transformed former blush-haters (including my very naturally flushed self) into blush stans. The creamy, liquid formula, variety of shades and the soft wash of color it imparts to the cheeks is simply divine. Use a single shade or mix and match—the possibilities are endless. Cloud paint comes in shades to suit everyone, with their two newest shades, Storm and Dawn, especially suited for darker skin tones. The shade possibilities make even the most hurried, repetitive daily makeup routine a little bit spicy.

Best application method: Tap gently into cheeks with the pads of your fingers until desired shade is achieved.

4. Glossier Haloscope

This is another must-buy, if only for its uniqueness. Although all highlighters do pretty much the same thing (don’t @ me), the solid inner core of oil in the Haloscope lends some extra dew and hydration to the skin. The Haloscope has a soft, understated sheen, but, like all the rest of Glossier’s products, makes an impact nonetheless.

Best application method: Swipe on cheekbones, Cupid’s bow, the tip of the nose and the end of the chin. Tap gently onto the skin with the pads of your fingers until sufficiently blended.

5. Glossier Boy Brow

Glossier’s bestseller is of course going to make the list of must-buys (although there are now a variety of cheaper dupes out there that essentially do the same thing). The small brush allows you to fill in and fluff for slightly enhanced but still very natural-looking brows. If you are a fellow hater of Instagram brows, or just a Glossier groupie, this product is for you.

Best application method: Brush brow hairs up with the applicator, then smooth the hairs down for a fluffy-yet-tamed look.

6. Glossier Lash Slick

This is the gentlest, most hydrating mascara formula I’ve ever experienced—this product separates every. single. lash. While mascara is not an essential part of the Glossier ~routine~, this formula is a good one to choose if you are going to apply some. It makes each lash look long, hydrated, defined and just all around bangin'. With ingredients such as vegan biotin (meant to strengthen and condition eyelashes over time), Lash Slick follows through on Glossier’s commitment to taking care of the skin and body first, and hiding or augmenting features second.

Best application method: Swipe on gently from roots to tips. For extra definition of the innermost lashes, use the tip of the wand to add extra product as needed.

7. A shimmery eye

Another non-essential step (I omit this most weekdays) includes spicing up your lids with some more glow. A single highlighting color (in champagne, gold, bronze or silver) concentrated on the center of the lid enhances the glowy effects and can step up a carefree look with relatively little effort.

Best application method: You could always go for a good old-fashioned eyeshadow brush, but I often like packing on pigment with my ring finger and gently smudging to blend.

8. Hydrated lips

Hydrated, natural lips with just a wash of color, a swipe of gloss or a dab of balm are the final step to this look. You do not have to use Glossier’s lip products for this, but their Balm Dotcom is incredible (especially the Birthday, Coconut and Cherry flavors!) The only criteria for lip products is that they be creamy, hydrated and sheer. Alternatively, one could use Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer, Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb or regular old ChapStick. The key is that you look glowy and hydrated from the inside out, and you don’t need to spend too much money!

Best application method: For balms, swipe on lips as you would normally, then pat into lips with your finger. For glosses, apply as normal—just make sure you put some balm on first so you look hydrated all day!

When you really get down to it, the Glossier look can be achieved with relatively little time, effort and money. Emulating the brand’s glowy, sunkissed, chic aesthetic really only requires a basic (preferably regular or at least semi-regular) skincare routine, a couple of light products (concealer, cream blush, brow pomade, mascara, lip balm), and 15 minutes of your time. After all, the brand’s aesthetic is built on the “off-duty model” look, which naturally implies that relatively little effort should be put into your daily makeup routine. From the sheer coverage of the products to the application-by-fingertips, the entire Glossier routine is laid back. It takes spending an hour on your winged eyeliner out of the equation entirely, and isn’t that what all college students are looking for?