Lip gloss is a product used primarily to give lips a glossy lustre, and sometimes to add a subtle color. It is distributed as a liquid or a soft solid (not to be confused with lip balm, which generally has medicinal or soothing purposes). The product is available in ranges of opacity from translucent to solid, and can have various frosted, glittery, glossy, and metallic finishes.
Like lipstick, lip gloss comes in a variety of forms and may be applied in different ways. It can be contained in a small cylindrical bottle and applied with a rounded or sloped applicator wand (known as a doefoot applicator) or with a built in lip brush. Or it can come in a small, soft, squeezable plastic tube designed to be passed over the lips or applied with a fingertip or lip brush. Solid or semisolid glosses come in boxes and tubes and sometimes blur the distinction between lip gloss and lip balm.
New types of "plumping" lip gloss contain ingredients that make the lips appear softer and plumper. These are a cheap, easy, and usually harmless alternatives to collagen, Restylane, Juvederm, and/or fat injections. They are not as effective, however, and the effects are temporary and short-lasting.
Lip gloss is often used when a person wants to have some color on their lips, but does not want an intense, solid lip color effect (i.e., a more "made-up" look), as lipstick would create. Lip gloss is also often used as an introduction to makeup. It is often used by preteen and young teenage girls who want to wear some makeup, but are too young to wear more intense and different lipstick colors.
Like lipstick, lip gloss is a mixture of waxes, oils, and pigments. Unlike lipstick, lip gloss contains less pigments, and those that are used are pale in color or dilute (<3%). Furthermore, the free-flowing nature of the product requires less wax. The principal components are lanolin, which feels good on the lips and imparts gloss, and polybutene.
Lip gloss was invented by Max Factor in 1930. He wanted to create a lip product that would make lips shiny and glossy for films. Factor created makeup for the movie industry. He developed makeup specifically for actresses starring in black and white films. Women were inspired by movie actresses and they also wanted makeup. The first commercially available lip gloss was Max Factor's X-Rated, launched in 1932. The original formula was sold up until 2003, when Procter and Gamble retired the product.
In 1973, Bonne Bell introduced the first flavored lip gloss, Lip Smackers. Lip Smackers were, and still are, popular among young teenagers. Initially Lip Smackers came in two sizes: small and big. The small ones could be kept in the pocket and the big ones had a rope to hang around the neck. It was advertised that before a date, a teen girl should choose an appropriate flavor because that would be her date's first taste when his lips kissed hers.
- S.D. Williams; W.H. Schmitt (6 December 2012). Chemistry and Technology of the Cosmetics and Toiletries Industry. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 149–. ISBN 978-94-009-1555-8.
- "Max Factor Biography". The Max Factor Museum. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- "Max Factor Biography". Biography Channel UK. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
- David Mansour (1 June 2005). From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0-7407-5118-9.