When I was in middle school, I'd never leave the house without my Lip Smackers in my back pocket. It was the thing among my friend group to show and tell our collection of flavors, but since I've gotten older, I've strayed away from shiny glosses in favor of matte lipsticks or buildable lip stains that offer a subtle pop of color. I hadn't really owned a lip gloss in years — that is, until a week ago.
An email popped up in my inbox that mentioned one particular lip gloss that had gone viral thanks to a, you guessed it, TikTok video. Are you surprised? I wasn't, but I was intrigued. The social platform has become the place to discover new beauty buys, fashion finds, and food recipes, with the typical cycle going something like this: Someone posts a TikTok about a product, millions of viewers watch it, millions of viewers buy said product, and it sells out — or a the very least, the brand sees a massive spike in sales.
That was what happened with Tower28's buzzy ShineOn Lip Glosses, which I was propelled to try. The gloss saw a 400 percent increase in sales in recent weeks after beauty blogger Haley Pham recommended it to her more than one million TikTok followers, according to the brand. "My holy grail for 👄" Pham wrote in her caption for the video. "It makes me feel like I have lip injections."
Shop now: $14; tower28beauty.com
I have fairly small lips, but I've played around with overlining to make them appear bigger. It's not for me, and it takes too much effort and time for a pretty minor plumping effect. So when I learned that this gloss takes just a few swipes to create the illusion of fuller lips, I decided to make the Tower28 product the first gloss I put on my lips in years. The short? It's 100 percent worth the hype.
Pham used the ShineOn Gloss in the mauve-y, milky coconut color, the same one I tried out. After applying, I noticed a few things right off the bat: I loved that the shade was like my natural lip color but better, and it offered the perfect amount of shine with none of that typical gloss stickiness. I smacked my lips and no stick, I drank water, no stick. As for its plumping effect? I saw it loud and clear. My lips looked fuller after the first application, and as a final test, I went over to my sister and asked if she noticed anything different about me.
"Your lips," she said. "They look bigger." I didn't tell her about the gloss's supposed plumping effects prior to asking her, but her reaction solidified the fact that it does work.
Don't mistake this for a typical plumping gloss, though. It's not going to make your lips tingly or red like others might. In fact, it doesn't actually contain any plumping ingredients, which can be harsh on sensitive skin. The visual effect of fuller lips solely comes from its high-shine, ultra-moisturizing formula.
What's more, Tower28's ShineOn Gloss is made according to National Eczema Association guidelines to avoid any potentially irritating ingredients, and its hydrating formula includes a blend of nourishing oils, like apricot kernel oil that nurtures and soothes, raspberry seed oil that protects against free radicals, and rose oil that's packed with vitamins A and E to promote cell repair and regeneration.
Hydrating, plumping, pretty, and non-sticky? This lip gloss is it. Shop it for a reasonable $14 before it inevitably sells out.