This Major '90s Beauty Trend Is Back and Better Than Ever

From animal-print everything to slip-skirt madness, there has been a huge resurgence in '90s fashion trends over the past year. So it's of no surprise that the throwback is happening in the world of beauty too. While we spotted the grungier elements of the decade on the streets of London this month, where cool-girl eyeliner and bare skin reigned supreme, it's a more polarising makeup trend that I've noticed has made a fully-fledged comeback: lip gloss.

Best Lip Gloss: Yara Shahidi wearing lip gloss



Don't be alarmed—I know that even uttering the words can conjure images of tacky lips and hair that sticks to your face whenever the wind blows. "In the old days, the look and application of gloss almost resembled that of glue," said celebrity makeup artist Gary Cockerill.

But this new generation of lip gloss is different. Unlike the formulas of the '90s, the new wave of lip glosses has been specially formulated to be nonstick without compromising on a high-shine finish. And not only that, but lots of them have skin-friendly ingredients to nourish and pamper your lips in the same way a lip balm would. "Gone are the days of gloss looking and feeling like an 80s throwback," confirmed Cockerill.

"Most trends do a full circle, coming back into style again and again," Sacha Jackson, Stila UK's national lead artist and trainer, told us. "We have seen a huge display of '90s-inspired fashion making a comeback, so it's no surprise that the makeup trend followed suit. We have also seen an increase in a more natural approach to makeup, and having a more glossy, moisturised look on the lip really compliments that."

Keep scrolling to see the girls that are giving me lip gloss inspiration and see the best lip gloss formulas to shop now.

Holographic sparkle

A light-reflective lip gloss containing crystal flecks for an iridescent shimmer. It also works beautifully layered over other lipsticks when you want to switch up your look.

There's no doubt that this chrome-style gloss looks a little intense in the tube. However, once you've applied it, you can blend it out for a sheer, metallic finish with just a hint of colour.

If full-on sparkle feels a bit intense for you then this new launch from Trinny London is a decidedly more grown-up approach to shimmer. It adds a sheer poppy-toned wash of colour to lips (or cheeks) with subtle flecks of glitter that add a pretty glow. 

Nicely natural

Best Lip Gloss: Monikh wearing glossy lips and natural makeup



Lip gloss doesn't have to always equal high shine. In fact, the new wave of glosses are all about the ingredients—blending oils for a natural sheen, rather than a wet-look finish.

A sumptuous blend of essential oils and vitamins lend this luxurious lip treatment its glossy edge. The shade Bare is a nude apricot that lends lips a healthy-looking sheen—the perfect entry point to gloss. 

I'm a huge fan of these lip glosses from Too Faced. An infusion of peach oil gives them a silky finish, and a dose of coconut oil and vitamin E means that they soften and care for your lips too. My favourite shade is Papa Don't Peach, not only for the cute name but because it makes an easy, everyday lip colour when you want to look polished fast.

Plumped up

Best Lip Gloss: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wearing a glossy pink lip



I remember trying a whole array of lip-plumping glosses during my teenage years—often characterised by the burning sensation they had when applied. Some of the new lip gloss formulas offer the same pout-boosting benefits but without the irritation. 

If, like Rosie, you want your lip gloss with an added dose of pigment, this Becca formulation will be right up your street. It conditions lips like a balm, has the shine of a gloss and the pigment of a liquid lipstick. Plus, it contains a plumping peptide for a Rosie-esque pout.

This gloss boasts a contouring applicator that hugs the curves of your lips as you sweep it on for precise application and extra definition. You'll be left with subtly fuller lips and a hydrating shine.

Clear and concise



Sometimes basic is best and there's something effortlessly cool about a clear lip gloss. A great option if you're wearing a dramatic eye look or bright shadow, or if you just want to bring a healthy-looking glow to your lips.

A nonsticky, shiny formula that adds a wet-look finish to lips. A great basic lip gloss for everyday, it also works well when layered over other lip glosses. Top tip: You can dab this onto eyelids or cheekbones for a natural highlight too.

Proving that lip gloss isn't just for teenagers, this cushiony formula uses pulverised pearls to imbue lips with a luxurious shine. 

Colour pop



The new generation of lip glosses isn't compromising on colour. In fact, they're bridging the gap between a lip balm and liquid lipstick in terms of comfortable wear and pigmentation. This is definitely the way I'll be embracing gloss in 2019.

"I love peach and pink tones, or a burnt orange or red for a more sheer approach to colour."  Sacha Jackson told us.

"I love the Marc Jacobs Beauty Enamored Gloss stick because it feels like a lip balm but with that 10 coats of lacquer finish," said Morgane Martini, Marc Jacobs Beauty global artistry ambassador. "You can either wear it for an understated hint of colour and high shine for an everyday look or you can layer it over a bold lipstick."

This is so glossy that it's almost like a highlighter for your lips. (Would you expect anything less from Rihanna?) Despite its intensity, the infusion of conditioning shea butter feels amazing on your lips and the subtle pink shimmer is flattering on all skin tones.

Nude shine



For 2019, nude is the new clear. Soft pinks, beige and tawny hues are top of the shade range in glosses and it's easy to see why—they're chic, grown-up and an easy way to wear colour. 

Again, steering well clear of tacky territory, this lip gloss delivers a sheer wash of glossy colour. Plus, this is a serious throwback to me as I actually owned one of these glosses in my teenage years. Ahead of its time, this is non-stick with a shiny, nude finish is decidedly grown-up.

A great option if you're looking for an affordable way to test out glosses, this one from Morphe is available in over 20 shades with a mix of nudes, berries and frosty formulas. It offer up a glossy finish without compromising on pigment for the perfect lipstick-gloss transition product.