Tuesday, January 23, 2018

7 Days of Glossier, Day 0: Introduction

Things have been quiet on the blog, due to my ongoing job applications and financial uncertainty. Until those situations resolve, I'll have to keep minimizing non-essential spending. Yet, miraculously, I also have eight new Glossier products in my life:


This haul was made possible entirely by readers who gave me Glossier store credit by shopping through my affiliate link. I'm tremendously grateful to those who did so, as I'd never have been able to afford all of these products (or even a few of them) otherwise. I decided last week to blow through my hoard of store credit and test some products I'd been wondering about for a while. It's difficult to find thorough Glossier reviews that aren't written by brand reps, and several people have told me that I'm one of the few bloggers they trust to give honest opinions about Glossier's products, which is gratifying to hear. So I'm planning a series of seven posts, each one spotlighting a different new-to-me product (the eighth one I bought is Boy Brow in Brown, a staple that I've already reviewed). I can't predict when any of those posts will appear, since I'm still sorting out my work schedule for the coming semester, but I hope I can write them all in the next few months. I'll be posting quick first impressions on Instagram in the meantime.

Is it just me or do the stickers look a bit weird this time? Kind of grainy?

Say what you will about Glossier (and I've said a lot), their customer service is impeccable: I placed my order last Thursday and it appeared at my door on Sunday morning! Here are the products I'll be trying out:

1. Boy Brow in Clear ($16)


This product sneaked onto the Glossier website last yearI don't remember an announcement of any kind. I was excited to discover it, though: my natural brows are quite full and dark and some days I just want the soft hold of Boy Brow without the added tint. I used to use Milani's clear brow gel daily, and I'm curious to see whether Glossier's version is an improvement. Unfortunately, it looks identical to the brown Boy Brow (though, weirdly, its box was bigger). That will no doubt cause confusion during groggy pre-coffee primping sessions, but I guess that's what the stickers are for.

2. Cloud Paint in Haze ($18)


As you know, I'm a big fan of Glossier's liquid-blush formula, which comes in four colors. The only one I've tried so far is Puff, a bright neutral pink, but Haze has intrigued me for a while. It's a dark purplish berry that's apparently more pigmented and liquidy than the other Cloud Paints, so I'll probably have to use a light hand, but I love plum and berry blushes in general and have high hopes for Haze. We'll see!

3. Glossier You Perfume (free sample; $60 for 50ml size)


Fair warning: I hate about 80% of the perfumes I try on, so if I hate Glossier You, don't take it as a definitive judgment. I'm already slightly biased against Glossier You because of the ridiculous pop-up shop that promoted it, which sounds like hell for cynical bitches with social anxiety (i.e. me), and because of Glossier's corny insistence that "the formula comes incomplete; You are the first ingredient." That would be cute if it weren't true of literally all perfume. Like, that's what perfume is. It interacts differently with everyone's body chemistry, which is why Le Labo Santal 33 is the choice of half the trust-fund hipsters in Brooklyn but makes me want to vomit when I smell it on my own wrist.

4. Haloscope in Quartz ($22)


Last year's disappointing experience with Wet n Wild Precious Petals taught me that I should stick to cream and liquid highlighter formulas. Powders are too metallic for my tastes and too, well, powdery for my dry skin. Haloscope is supposed to add hydration as well as glow, which sounds perfect, though I'm a little worried that the coconut oil in the formula will break me out. The Haloscope packaging and texture remind me of Topshop's Glow Sticks, though the tube feels much sturdier, thank God. Quartz is a warmish rosé-wine pink, slightly cooler-toned than my two usual highlighters, ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Lunch Money and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Opal.


5. Milky Jelly Cleanser ($18)

Desperately trying to prevent the bottle from rolling across my desk.

Milky Jelly was one of Glossier's earlier launches, debuting almost exactly two years ago. It has tempted me ever since, but until I'd accumulated enough store credit, I couldn't bring myself to abandon my perfectly good CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for something half the size and almost twice the price. I mean, the difference in value is comical:


From photos, I expected Milky Jelly to be similar to CeraVe in texture, but when I tried it this morning I found that it was firmer and more gelatinous. It smells heavenly, though I'm so brainwashed by r/SkincareAddiction accustomed to fragrance-free skincare that I can't help but wonder if the rose fragrance will DEVOUR MY SKIN FROM THE INSIDE or something. (It won't. I'm fine.)

6. Perfecting Skin Tint in Light ($26)


In some ways, I'm Glossier's ideal customer. Example: I've never worn foundation or tinted moisturizer. Never even tried it on. I promise this isn't a "not like other girls" thing; I'm just not comfortable with the idea of a layer of makeup sinking into every pore on my face. But my skin certainly isn't Barbie-smooth, and there are days when I do wish for a bit of coverage. Perfecting Skin Tint seems to have been formulated for my exact needs, so I'm looking forward to giving it a shot.

7. Solution ($24)


In other ways, I'm far from Glossier's ideal customer. Example: I know a fair bit about skincare. Someone on Reddit recently pointed out a strange paradox: the Glossier brand grew out of Into the Gloss, which attracts a beauty-savvy readership, yet Glossier skincare seems formulated for people who have never heard of sunscreen or chemical exfoliants. The average ITG commenter is probably around my age, but the Glossier target audience is (I assume) younger and less experienced with makeup and skincare. Hence ITG commenters' repeated pleas for less fragrance in your products, for the love of God, and Glossier's repeated decision to add fragrance to absolutely everything. The pattern plays out over and over: Glossier announces a new skincare product, commenters object to the presence of fragrance, and a Glossier minion responds to the complaints with "It's just a little essential oil!" or "It's all-natural!" It's obvious that Glossier's vaunted "crowdsourcing" of new products is (mostly) an illusion to make consumers feel involved in the creation process.


As a longtime devotee of the frills- and fragrance-free Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid, I'm probably not the Solution user that Glossier has in mind. But I'm still curious about it, particularly because it's advertised as moisturizing as well as exfoliating. I used Solution last night and was dismayed by the strong (though not unpleasant) herbal scent, but my skin looks fine today, neither better nor worse than it does after a Paula's Choice treatment. And there's no denying that the shimmery pink bottle is the most attractive thing on my skincare shelf! I think I'll spend about a month testing Solution on one side of my face and Paula's Choice on the other, then give my final verdict. That will have the additional benefit of making me more diligent about exfoliationI currently exfoliate only when I remember to do so, which is once or twice a week. The Solution bottle recommends daily use, but I think that will be a little intense for my dry skin, so I'll stick to every other day.

And now, because I've yet to develop an immunity to Glossier's minimalist pastel aesthetic, here's some packaging porn!

Isn't "Glossier" supposed to rhyme with "dossier"? Whatever.



Solution comes in this big foil package. You can also buy Glossier-branded cotton rounds at $4 for a pack of 60, but I'm not sure I could live with myself if I did that.


I used to live in that ugly building.

Finally, a caveat. It's harder to review a product honestly when you've received it for free, and thanks to the kindness of my readers, this was all free. That said, the rest of my beauty stash was purchased almost entirely out of my own pocket, so I think I'm capable of assessing whether I'd actually part with my own money for these products. Also, just to be clear: I am not and will never be a Glossier rep. The idea of becoming a "rep" for any brand is contrary to everything I want my blog to be and do. Frankly, it disturbs me how readily young women affiliate themselves with brands in exchange for below-minimum-wage commissions, a handful of freebies, and/or the nebulous feeling of coolness. Come on, you deserve better!

(I can't promise to make the ensuing reviews less salty than this post. I can but try.)

22 comments:

  1. I think we have similar highlighter preferences - I'm very much a proponent of creams and liquids. Quartz is one of my favourites. I'm pretty sensitive to coconut oil (the thought of removing my makeup with it makes me want to scream...), but I haven't had any breakouts from the Haloscope, so hopefully it'll work for you too. It works beautifully on dry skin because it's so emollient.

    Haloscope is actually the only Glossier product I've ever tried, so I can't add any other insights here. For some reason I'm very interested in Glossier reviews even though I've never ordered anything from them... The Milky Jelly Cleanser has interested me for some time now, but it does seem awfully pricey for what it is. Interested to hear your thoughts on that - it gets a lot of hype on YouTube, but I assume most YouTubers are not very skincare-savvy.

    (Oh, and a tip I picked up from another beauty blog re: rolling items - if you put a wad of sticky tack underneath them, they don't move! For smaller things like lipsticks I put a little piece on either end, for bigger things like bottles I just kind of prop one end up on a bigger piece.)

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    1. We definitely have similar highlighter preferences! I've given up entirely on powder highlighters except for weird novelty colors (I still have my blue one from NYX). I've been wearing Haloscope for two days with no breakouts, so I'm probably fine.

      I really like Milky Jelly so far. As a morning cleanse, it leaves my skin feeling cleaner than CeraVe does, though it's definitely not enough to remove makeup in the evening (but I didn't expect it to be). I'm not sure I could justify repurchasing it for $18, though. You get a ridiculously small amount for the price!

      Oh man, that is such a good idea to prevent rolling. I bet even Scotch tape would work. Why didn't I think of that??

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  2. I love the salt! I haven't tried anything from Glossier, but I enjoy your honest reviews, so I'm looking forward to this series!

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    1. Good to hear! I'm looking forward to writing it. :D

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  3. Ahhh yes I live on Glossier salt. Don't make a big deal about the ridiculous pronunciation of your name and then make a pun using what the pronunciation should be!

    I like Milky Jelly but it isn't worth the price IMO, so as soon as I'm done with my bottle, I'm going back to my Marcelle paper. I kind of want Solution but I just made a Deciem order and am currently working through very carefully testing everything and stil have several weeks to go (plus Glossier hasn't released it to Canada yet).

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    1. I've been loving the Reductress's takes on Glossier (latest one: "New Glossier Product Just Ripe Peach That You Eat Sexily"). At least I'm not the only salty one.

      I really need to try more Deciem stuff at some point. I have the Ordinary's caffeine solution, which is ok but not great.

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  4. That Glossier You paragraph had me ROLLING. That is me x100. You could've done something REALLY cool and modern, or chic and classy, but you basically produced a Juliette Has a Gun Not a Perfume knock-off in a cute bottle. (I gave mine to my coworker and she loves it, in all fairness.)

    PS: I've got enough Glossier store credit to buy the store twice over, thanks to the fact that their "you stop at $500 of credit" algorithm was borked when they first launched. (I was actually one of the people who emailed them and was like, "Uh, heeeeeey, sooooo...") So I went a bit crazy and bought three packs of cottons because COTTONS. If you need some, I can probably fling 'em your way.

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    1. The Glossier You review will probably be the first one I'll write. I've been wearing it for two days now and I just can't get over how generic it is, especially after that wacky pop-up deal. A review on the Glossier site says that it "smells like a mall," and...yep, that's it.

      And thanks for the offer! I can imagine that there's a point at which Glossier store credit becomes a curse instead of a blessing. I wouldn't say no to a pack of cottons, but no rush: my CVS ones are working fine. :)

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  5. I am so glad that Glossier doesn't ship to New Zealand, because I have no self control and I most definitely would be getting some of their Cloud Paints and Haloscopes. For once I'm glad about how far away we are!

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    1. You're honestly not missing much. Of all the Glossier products I've tried, only Boy Brow has really made a difference in my routine, and it's far from the only brow pomade out there.

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  6. Reading about the pop up shop for You (worst name of all time?) was hilarious; I actually lol'd. The gloved hand is so bizarre and amusing.

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    1. Kudos to them for promoting their perfume creatively, I guess, but I can't get over the contrast between the bizarreness of the pop-up and the blandness of the fragrance itself. And yes, You is a terrible name. Try just a LITTLE harder, guys.

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  7. That pop up shop is what Lush would be like if it only existed in the Red Room from Twin Peaks. Or in my nightmares.

    Looking forward to the reviews, the saltier the better!

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    1. You're absolutely right! Lush is already a place of nightmares for me, due to the pushiness of the salespeople, but if those salespeople were ALSO clad entirely in red, handing me roses, and whispering compliments in my ear...NOPE NOPE NOPE.

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  8. I feel the same way about your blog - it's my favorite beauty blog because I know you will give an actual honest review of a product (plus good writing). I also love saltiness about Glossier. I'll likely never use a single one of their products (for a wide variety of reasons) but boy do I like reading about how mediocre they mostly seem to be.

    I like the new (?) background paper you have to show off the products!

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    1. I was so excited when I found this paper at Michaels recently. I think it might get old if I use it for every post, but that will be hard to resist doing!

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  9. I didn't love either of the Glossier items I tried. I am very fair, freckled and cool toned and Cloud Paint Puff was a pinky-coral on me - and I prefer cool-toned blushes. I also didn't get all of the positive reviews about Haloscope - Quartz - leaves a white-ish cast when applied swiping the tube and a bit difficult to blend, although I like that it was a subtle highlighter. Interested to hear your thoughts on Haloscope and Haze.

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    1. Puff leans almost coral on me as well, which was disappointing at first--I wanted the lavender-pink I saw on the website, not a warmish bubblegum pink. I'd definitely use it more often if it were cooler-toned, but at least it's not unflattering on me. I also get what you're saying about Quartz. I don't swipe it directly onto my skin because it's a wide tube and my face is so small, but I find that dabbing it on with my fingers works well.

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  10. Eagerly awaiting your reviews as I also have zombie-undertones and also have these exact products in my cart. I recently ordered my first few Glossier products: Puff and Dusk cloud paints, a coconut balm dotcom, and a sample of the Glossier You and I surprisingly loved them much more than I thought I would. I am anxious to try more of their products.

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    1. Zombie undertones unite! I have a feeling I'll pick up Beam and Dusk eventually. I hope they release more Cloud Paint colors--you'd think they would have done that by now.

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  11. I'm excited to read the whole series! My perspective on Glossier will always be a bit odd, since I live in Europe and no makeup or skincare is worth overseas shipping, (or even shipping from another country in the EU) for me. So I guess I'll never have to make a decision about Glossier and can view everything from a "safety distance" without being enabled. Nevertheless, I do enjoy your reviews of their products so much, because you are the salty voice of reason among all those reps.
    The blue photo background looks great, by the way!

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    1. I feel you on overseas shipping. I have access to enough brands domestically that if something has to come from overseas, I just don't bother. But there is something nice about reading reviews for products that you know you won't be tempted to buy!

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