Breaking News in Beauty: What is Glossier Play?

Note: This is not a formal review of this brand, this article simply expresses my initial thoughts. 

Glossier is a very polarizing brand; you either love it or you hate it. It thus makes sense that they would want to bring more people over to the “love” side by expanding their range of products. And they did just that, with Glossier Play, their new brand of “dialed-up beauty extras” which launched on March 4th.

The premise behind this new brand is refreshing; as Emily Weiss, Glossier founder, states, “Glossier Play is not about a look, it’s about a feeling.” Glossier Play, unlike many other makeup brands, is not forcing a particular routine upon consumers, instructing them on how to look their prettiest, nor developing products that capitalize off of women’s insecurities. Rather, it focuses on simply having fun and being creative with makeup, which is an art form rather than a requirement for being a socially acceptable, traditionally feminine woman. 

This line is comprised of Niteshine, a liquid highlight; Vinylic Lip, a high-shine lip lacquer in six shades; Colorslide, an eyeliner pencil that comes in fourteen shades; and Glitter Gelée, a glittery gel eyeshadow in four shades. 

Niteshine Liquid Highlight

Vinylic Lip

Glitter Gelée Eyeshadows

Colorslide Eyeliner Pencil 

Ironically (dare I say disappointingly), most of the products are not inherently inventive, despite being a departure from Glossier's typical "no-makeup makeup" aesthetic. Colored eyeliners, for instance, have been in the wheelhouses of Urban Decay and NYX for years. The Colorslide eyeliner offers a rainbow of colors, and I do think the addition of a colored liner was in some ways a smart one. Although not original, colored eyeliner is perhaps the easiest, most natural and user-friendly way to “play” with incorporating color and interest into one’s makeup look. I can’t speak to how well these products perform, but a clear downside is the packaging; the product is a pencil that must be sharpened, not a twist-up. Get with the times, Glossier. 

Additionally, the shades that the Vinylic Lip offers are not particularly inspired; the shades range from pinks to reds to nude hues. For a line called “Play,” I would not expect the standard, essential shades and would have loved to see some bolder purples or black. Although the shades are basic, the formula is unique in that it seems to deliver shine, pigment, and moisture. So far, reviews for this product have been positive; beauty YouTubers Allie Glines and Jamie Paige are just a few who are hooked on this lip product. 

The Glitter Gelée eyeshadows look an awful lot like the Colourpop Gliterally Obsessed gel eyeshadows or the gel eyeshadows and blushes from Flesh Beauty. The shade range covers the classics; silver, gold, white holographic, and rose gold. Although these shades are elegant and universal, Glossier seems to have missed an opportunity to develop more unique hues or duochrome shades, especially as more glitter eyeshadow products are entering the beauty market. Megan Decker of Refinery29 states that “the product itself looks sort of dull.” With the relatively recent launch of Stila’s liquid eyeshadows that received rave reviews, it’s clear that the glitter game has stepped up. Stila, and even drugstore brands like Milani, have developed liquid glitter formulas that pack a punch and allow for easy, neat application. Although the gel texture has become trendy in the beauty community for its aesthetic appeal, it seems as though Glossier’s take on the glitter eyeshadow just doesn’t hold up compared to what else is on the market. 

The product that I personally am probably most likely to try is the Niteshine highlighter. I have tried Haloscope, and as much as I love the natural, skin-like yet glowy final look, it’s a hassle to apply; the highlighting stick simply does not glide smoothly across my skin. If I could find a product that achieves the effect of Haloscope but in a more user-friendly format, that would be a dream come true. Niteshine supposedly gives off a silky glow and a skin-like finish, so it certainly sounds promising. The shade range includes two shades that look as though they would work best on medium to deep skin tones, and two that would work best on fair to light skin tones. Based on the pictures on Glossier’s website, the two lightest shades both look quite pink and neutral to cool-toned. I personally would have liked to see a lighter shade that was a bit more yellow and golden. But perhaps the shades look different in person. 

I love Glossier Play in theory — the premise is smart, the marketing has been successful, and the products seem cute. However, I must say, I’m wary of this new line. Glossier products are notorious for not having a ton of pigmentation, which generally works in its favor, since they are accurately marketed and are not trying to achieve a “made-up” look. But a common thread in the aforelinked (is that a word? Can we make that a word?) Refinery29 review is that these supposedly bold, colorful products are simply not saturated with color. In my opinion, if you’re going to incorporate color that’s not in the form of a diffuse matte transition shade in the crease, it’s gotta be bright in order to look good. If someone wants to do bold, editorial makeup for the sake of the artistry or simply for fun, they will want a greater payoff than what Glossier can deliver. I have a feeling that this new line will primarily draw people who are already members of the boybrow cult and have drank the metaphorical kool-aid. Because many other beauty brands are already known for having mastered the types of products that Glossier Play boasts (for instance: Becca Cosmetics’s liquid highlighters), I doubt that Glossier Play will attract makeup-users who aren’t fans of the typical “look” that Glossier products achieve.