This week, I asked readers of my Web site, prettycity.com, to share which one beauty product they couldn't live without. Turns out glittering lips beat pretty peepers 2 to 1, with half of my 1,000 respondents picking lip gloss and balm over mascara. (Powder, bronzer and concealer couldn't even compete.)
And because I like to think of myself as Dr. Beauty, this week I'm prescribing glosses that shine and balms that soothe; pick two products and sparkle in the morning.
LipFusion's Micro-Injected Collagen Color Shine is my go-to gloss thanks to flattering colors, incredible sheen and long wear. The company credits a proprietary formula involving marine collagen plumps and hydrates lips for "perfectly plumped lips in seconds." And while I can't swear that this gloss actually plumps, I can tell you I'm infatuated with the high shine, flawless hues and yummy flavor of Lipfusion. My current faves include "Crave," a shimmering pink and "Bare," an of-the-moment nude. Get a hue to suit you for $38 at Dillard's or fusionbeauty.com.
CoverGirl's new Shine Blast is an affordable alternative for those looking to sparkle without spending serious dough. The formula glides on smoothly, serving up light-reflecting shimmer in 16 shades. Plus, consumers who log on to covergirl.com can get "color matched" online, making the drugstore no-sample color selection a little less daunting; get it for $7.49 at Target.
You won't find Givenchy's Gloss Interdit at drugstores, but you can't purchase a Bugatti at CarMax, either. The plumping and smoothing gloss comes in a sparkling selection of colors — I like "Lilac Confession" and "Impertinent Nude." I can't bear to wear a gloss that tastes bad, so I'm especially fond of the delicious "flavor" that the folks at Givenchy call a scent, with top notes of bergamot and lychee.
We all have our oh-so-pretty staples and one of mine is Tarte's Double Dose Berry Boost and Gloss. And while I'm clearly not loyal to Tarte alone, no matter how often I stray, I always return to Tarte for reliable shine and stay-true hues. Plus, the gloss is free of parabens, mineral oils and petros, as well as boasting green packaging and a cruelty-free promise. Get the gloss for $21 at tartecosmetics.com
Girlactik Beauty's High Tinted Glosses come in so many shades; you may never wear lipstick again. Long lasting and not-too-sticky shades such as "Ooh La La Red," "Rockstar Gold" and "Orange Twist" keep lips moist and shiny. Buy the gloss for $16 online at girlactik.com.
For those times when gloss is out of place — like at the gym — I swear by Mentha Lip Shine from CO Bigelow. This minty lip balm shines like a gloss while keeping lips hydrated and breath fresh; most nights, I even wear it to bed. Get it for $7.50 at Bath and Body Works. Another fave is from drugstore darling SoftLips. Available in flavors including cherry, strawberry, raspberry and vanilla and with an SPF 20 rating, these oh-so-affordable balms sell for about $4 for a two-pack at local drugstores.
Any gloss lover can tell you that pretty, plump lips begin with a smooth canvas, which is why I adore Blistex's Deep Renewal anti-aging formula which promises to reduce fine lines and renew lips thanks in part to Coenzyme Q-10. Sold for less than $3 at most drugstores, gloss lovers can't afford to miss out on this product.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.