Beauty / Trend

The cult of lip gloss

These days, it can feel like our dogged pursuit of individualism has permeated almost every aspect of our lives – from the underground bands we listen to, to the micro-brands we don, to the makeup lines we purchase from – even down to the books we read, the bars we frequent, the gyms we're members of, and the podcast episodes we listen to on the way there.

Forget what you know about personality tests and astrology charts – it seems like the best way to understand the inner workings of the people around us (or those we follow online) is to understand the logo on their clothing tags, know the silhouette of the water bottle brand they tote around, or to recognise the packaging of their bathroom shelf's skincare lineup.

And one of the most status-driven items in a person's arsenal these days seems to be the humble lip gloss. Perhaps because, unlike the majority of our items, we cart them around with us – from handbag to bedside – like a hydrating, shiny life source; an extension of our own being.

It's one of the first beauty items to have entered our lexicon back in our primary school days, often unboxed from a nauseatingly scented Lip Smackers 'Party Pack', or dug out from a plastic flip-phone case. But these days the cult of lip gloss has become a billion-dollar industry. And the brand of gloss you buy into can say a lot about who you are, even if you think you're exempt from the connotations.

Whether you're obsessively hunting down your favourite shade of Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil, or you're a tried-and-true Lucas' Paw Paw Ointment fan – these are the cult lip glosses, balms, oils and ointments that define us.


RHODE Peptide Lip Treatment


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About you: You've got 'Glazed Donut' nails and are wearing Djerf Avenue, probably with a membership to a beautiful pilates studio, and with a secret obsession for old-school JB tracks.

Known for: Spearheading the most recent lip-gloss-as-status-object trend is, of course, Hailey Bieber's Rhode Skin. The Peptide Lip Treatments were one of Bieber's first products to launch back in 2022, and the range has since expanded into an array of different scented and tinted glosses to suit a variety of complexions and functions. Its popularity has skyrocketed so much that the brand has now created their own novelty phone case to perfectly display yours.

Price: $25 ($16USD) from Rhode Skin | Delivery: Unfortunately, Rhode Skin is yet to offering shipping to Australia (You can shop our favourite Rhode Skin alternatives in the meantime though.)


DIOR Addict Lip Glow Oil


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About you: You're on mystery vacations to the Bahamas – though you'll never post who you're with – and your makeup and skincare arsenal probably costs more than your flight did. A slick-back bun is your go-to style, and you're fuelled almost entirely by caffeine.

Known for: When it comes to the most luxurious of the cult lip products, there really isn't a product out there that tops the popularity and cultural status of the Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil. After it was released in 2020, the lip product blew up on TikTok (there are more than 115 million views on the #diorlipglow hashtag), and was hard to get your hands on for a while there, garnering avid fans who praised its high-quality formula and non-sticky feel.

Price: $62 ($16USD) from Adore Beauty | Delivery: Free delivery on all orders over $25


GLOSSIER Balm Dotcom


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About you: You're a Millennial woman in her late-twenties / early thirties who who grew up wearing Marc Jacobs' Daisy perfume and religiously eating acai bowls. You still love to rewatch The O.C. and are regularly vacationing at your parents' holiday home.

Known for: The OGs in the cult beauty brand landscape – especially in the field of lip gloss – is Glossier. Emily Weiss's billion-dollar beauty baby centred itself around the idea of luminous, barely-there makeup looks that heroed a perfectly glossy lip (perhaps marking the reign of terror the matte lipstick had on us the years prior). Glossier's Balm Dotcom was one of its first products to launch on the market back in 2014, and has since taken on a life of its own – images flooding Instagram of tubes being punched-through and hung proudly on car keychains, sharing Balm Dotcom memes on Twitter (RIP), or copping some of the infamous Glossier water bottles and pink hoodies (even Timothee Chalamet has one) to further show their brand dedication.

Price: $27 from Glossier | Delivery: Luckily, Glossier now ship to Australia, with free standard shipping on orders $110 AUD or more.


LANCÔME Juicy Tubes


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About you: You never stopped dressing in Y2K and have found yourself suddenly in style again. You smell perpetually like Britney Spears Fantasy, and would prefer to wear your matching Juicy Couture tracksuit everywhere if it was acceptable.

Known for: Lancôme's most nostalgic product is probably their Juicy Tubes lip gloss, which could be found in the handbag of most Y2K tweens back in the day. The brand put the product on a brief hiatus, but recently re-released them at the end of 2023 to nostalgia-induced rave reviews. Available in eight high-shine, sheer shades, they're the perfect naughties throwback to pop into your tiny Guess purse for a night on the town.

Price: $27 from Lancôme | Delivery: Standard shipping is free on all orders, and delivered on business days (Monday through Friday, excluding public holidays).


LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask

About you: Your glass skin definitely has a 12-step skincare routine, and you have a borderline-unhealthy obsession with K-Pop. You might be 12, or you might be an adult who just hasn't quite gotten over their love of candy-scented Lip Smackers.

Known for: Korean beauty brand Laneige's Lip Sleeping Mask smells so good you'll want to eat it. Like little rainbow-coloured candies, their wide array of scented glosses range from 'Gummy Bear' to a limited-edition blue and purple swirling 'Cotton Candy' flavour. It's won a bunch of beauty awards, and is on the bedside table of many a TikToker – but mostly its beloved for its hydrated, light-weight texture.

Price: $31 from Adore Beauty | Delivery: Free delivery on all orders over $25



About you: You're the beauty guru of your group, and don't subscribe to the no-makeup-makeup trends. You've definitely got a designer purse in tow, Rihanna's Super Bowl half-time show is your Roman Empire, and your Spotify wrapped was populated almost entirely by rap music.

Known for: When Fenty beauty broke out into the beauty scene back in 2017, they shook things up in a big way. Not only did they have some of the most inclusive shade-ranges on the market, but they also reignited the cult of celebrity beauty lines. If you were a Rihanna fan, then you probably have a Fenty product sitting pride-of-place on your beauty shelf, and the Fenty Gloss Bomb is one of the brand's bestsellers. Not only do they come in a range of colours and finishes, but it also has an addictive peach-vanilla scent.

Price: $36 from Sephora | Delivery: Standard delivery free on orders $25 or over.


LUCAS' Paw Paw Ointment

About you: Has trail mix in their pocket, wears natural deodorant. You've probably cut your own bangs (they looked good), and maybe even the soles off your expensive shoes because barefoot walking is really good for you.

Known for: For those among us who think they've opted out of the cult beauty circus by wearing Lucas' Paw Paw Ointment religiously since they were a kid, well, I hate to break it to you... As Miranda Priestly said in her infamous 'Cerulean Sweater' monologue from The Devil Wears Prada, even making choices that feel like they rebuke the system are still a product of the system. And Lucas's Paw Paw Ointment – or its cousins like Vaseline and Aquaphor – are just as cult-y as the rest. The Brisbane-based brand's uber-popular product, in its trademark red tube, has been in production for over a century, and is a perfect purse companion for all your quick-fix needs.

Price: $7.99 from Chemist Warehouse | Delivery: Free click-and-collect in store, or 3-hour same day delivery before 3pm.




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About you: You might be a bit basic (we see the Sambas), but you're cool about it. You spend maybe a little too much time on TikTok, and can't live without your daily sweet treat.

Known for: Probably one of the newest glosses to join the ranks of cult status is the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm, which acts as a soothing and hydrating cream-oil lip mask. Available in seven tinted flavours – like Brown Sugar, Poppy, Cherry and Sweet Mint – it appeals to the adults as much as it does the 10-year-olds stampeding your local Sephora.

Price: $38 from MECCA| Delivery: Standard delivery free on orders $25 or over.


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