Maybelline Lifter Glosses: Review and Swatches

It’s been a long time since a drugstore product has really caught my attention, but the recent launch of the Maybelline Lifter Gloss with Hyaluronic Acid is one of the most exciting lip product launches I’ve seen all year – drugstore or not.

My purchases definitely lean more toward high-end products, but I actually use and love trying drugstore products as well. As soon as I saw initial swatches of the neutral shades, I was sold. 

The glosses have hyaluronic acid for added hydration and smooth lip lines. It’s no secret that glosses have been making a huge comeback this year, and I wanted to see how they compared to some other lip glosses that have been released recently. 

I initially bought just a couple of shades to try, but went back for more after testing them out…and now I own 12 of the 15 shades. I bought most of the shades from Ulta, but there are 5 shades exclusive to CVS: Opal, Brass, Ruby, Heat, and Sand. They retail on both sites for $8.99, and as is the case with drugstore brands, there are often buy one, get one 50% off or 3 for 2 promotions. The shades seem to go in and out of stock fairly quickly, so I found it easiest to buy them online instead of trying to look for them in physical stores. 


The packaging of these glosses is reminiscent of some higher end glosses. Although I find them a little bulky, the clear thick plastic looks fun and modern without looking cheap. The applicator is an oversized wand that distributes just the right amount of product efficiently onto my lips. There is a sweet fruity-vanilla scent to these, which I actually prefer to a straight vanilla. It feels brighter and much less cloying. They also have a slight sweet taste so if you do end up accidentally tasting the gloss, it doesn’t feel off-putting.

While the packaging drew me in initially, the formula of the glosses is really what kept me going back for me. They feel incredibly nourishing, but don’t feel heavy or sticky. They have just the right amount of weight – as in they’re not so lightweight that all the product slips off or absorbs in less than an hour, but not so heavy to feel like I’m wearing a thick gloopy gloss. The product glides on beautifully and ends up feeling more like a lip treatment more than a gloss that just sits on my lips. The formula itself lasts on my lips for about 2 hours (less if I’m eating or drinking). The hyaluronic acid in the formula also goes a long way to making the gloss actually feel hydrating, and my lips will feel moisturized even after the gloss fades away. It’s a testament to this formula that after swatching all of the shades on my lips, my lips actually felt more moisturized than when I started. 

I have 15 of the shades:

  • 003 Moon – shimmery cool pink
  • 004 Silk – raspberry with a hint of shimmer
  • 006 Reef – creamy pinky peach without shimmer
  • 007 Amber – creamy coral without shimmer
  • 008 Stone – creamy rosy beige without shimmer
  • 009 Topaz – shimmery peach shade
  • 010 Crystal – glittery bronze, the most shimmery of all the shades
  • 011 Opal – shimmery pale pink, nearly clear, with multicolor shimmer
  • 012 Brass – shimmery light pink with gold reflects
  • 013 Ruby – shimmery rose
  • 014 Heat – creamy red-pink without shimmer
  • 015 Sand – shimmery rose bronze with subtle blue shimmer
L-R: Sand, Heat, Ruby, Brass, Opal, Crystal, Topaz, Stone, Amber, Reef, Silk, Moon

Most shades applied and wore consistently, although I did notice that the lighter cream shades – Reef and Amber, specifically, had a tendency to cling to dry patches more than the other shades. This might be less obvious on someone with less pigmentation in their lips.

The shimmer in these shades also did not feel gritty on my lips. The formula felt smooth across the board.



Onto some comparisons to other lipgloss formulas – I immediately thought of the Kosas Lip Oils when I saw these, since the Kosas lip glosses also have hyaluronic acid. However, the Kosas lip oils were not my favorite formula since I felt like it disappeared quickly. The Maybelline glosses feel more plush and last longer on my lips, and I get more long-term hydration from these. I didn’t see any direct shade comparisons.

L-R: Pat McGrath Flesh Fantasy, Bite Dirty Chai, Maybelline Amber, Maybelline Stone, Bobbi Brown Free Spirit, Mayi

I was also reminded of the Nars Oil-Infused Lip Tints, and you can see that the shade Orgasm is similar to the shade Brass, but Orgasm develops to more of a pink tint. The Nars Lip Tints feel more like a traditional lip oil in that they’re thinner than a lip gloss, and feel more like a treatment. If you felt like the Nars lip tints were too sheer and too thin for you, the Maybelline Lifter glosses might be a good alternative.

Similarly, the Bobbi Brown Crushed Oil Infused Gloss are thicker than the Nars Oil Infused Lip Tints, but it still feels a little thinner than the Maybelline glosses, although you can see that the shade Free Spirit is somewhat in between the Maybelline shades Amber and Stone.

Amber and Stone are also reminiscent of the now-discontinued Bite French Press Lip Gloss in Dirty Chai, although the Bite lip glosses were more pigmented. The formula is also different as I felt that the Bite lip glosses were thinner and also not quite as long lasting or moisturizing. 

The final gloss I compared this to is the Pat McGrath LUST: Lip Gloss in Flesh Fantasy, which is a little more pigmented and red-toned than Stone. The formulas feel similar when applied, and the shades have a similar wear time before fading, though I think that the Maybelline gloss offers more long-term hydration, while the Pat McGrath lip glosses are just moisturizing when the color is still present. 

I’ve heard that these glosses are similar to the Fenty glosses, but I don’t own any of them. From swatches I’ve seen, Topaz looks somewhat similar to the original Fenty gloss, so if you were looking for a drugstore dupe, you might give Topaz a try. 

As you might be able to tell, I am a huge fan of the Maybelline Lifter glosses. I think the brand nailed it with every aspect of the gloss – from the packaging to the formula to the shades, and even the scent. The moisturizing benefits of the gloss make me more inclined to reach for this gloss on an everyday basis, and the variety of shades are well suited to my preferences for neutrals. I’m excited to see a drugstore brand really step up their game and create a product that is not just good for its more affordable price, but that actually out performs similar glosses from high end brands. These glosses get a full seal of approval from me! 

Have you tried these glosses yet? What do you think? 

As always, thanks for reading!

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