Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Glossier Phase 1 Set

In my usual overzealous manner, as soon as Glossier (rhymes with "dossier") dropped in October, I had to try it. 

Okay. No. I didn't have to try it, but I wanted to. The idea that these products essentially came into existence based on trends derived from a beauty website's user feedback and comments (ITG, I love y'all) was enough to captivate my attention. It's a hyper-modern way to create a product, not unlike a school project I recently wrapped that zeroed in on "cool hunting" a.k.a. essentially finding a gap in the market based on feedback. Not to go all Porter's Five Forces on you, but as saturated as the beauty game is, there is always room for improvement and new players, as high as barriers to entry may be.

I purchased the Phase 1 set ($80, pictured above), which isn't exactly a value grab ($1 discount versus buying each item individually, oh boy!), but I wanted to try everything in one go. It was a bit of effort and a wait to get the products. Shoutout to Glossier for (possibly unknowingly) accepting Canadian credit cards through their e-commerce site, and to my big brother Sanj for a) accepting all the packages I have shipped to his US address and b) bringing this set home from NYC for me to try out and review! 

Glossier launched with four products, which make up the Phase 1 set:

My initial impressions of each product, respectively: 
  • Is this actually just Aquaphor?
  • This is refreshing!
  • Aren't all moisturizers priming? This name seems to "add" a trait to the product that is always inherently there, whether consumers realize it or not. 
  • Ooh, diamond powder is in this! 
Ingredients list - BalmDotCom
After my first day of messing with the products, I was quite smitten with BalmDotCom ($12 US), which contains castor seed oil, lanolin, beeswax, and cupuacu fruit extract. Oh and the first ingredient is petrolatum, so I wasn't exactly off the mark with that Aquaphor comment. Given that petrolatum is the first ingredient, you're probably paying too much for it in this tube. I'd say take your money and grab a tube of Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. Petrolatum aside, I was into this balm until I scrubbed my lips with a damp towel at the end of the day. The product effectively built up on my mouth, not entirely penetrating my lips. It's still protective against elements, which I feel I can never get enough of these days, so I will be mindful of how much I apply. It's more of an overnight treatment or beginning of the day product, one that I've learned to hold back from reapplying due to that initial experience.  

Ingredient list - Soothing Face Mist
In regards to the Soothing Face Mist ($18 US), I've only committed to face mists for air travel (Caudalie's was a go-to for a trek to Australia), and occasionally softening the look of powder makeup, but those darn Glossier glowing, healthy #skinisin pics won me over. I actually love this spray. It smells so pretty with rosewater, aloe, glycerin and two types of honeysuckle extract all working together so well to refresh and hydrate skin. This one's a year-round keeper. 

Ingredient list - Priming Moisturizer

The Priming Moisturizer ($25 US) definitely contains good ingredients (aloe vera extract, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, glycerin, camellia extract, honey extract, rooibos tea.... And that's just what I could gather without Googling all the Latin ingredient names in the list). It contains silicone, with the tenth ingredient being phenyl trimethicone, in a fairly long list, as you can see on the Glossier site or in the pic I snapped. I know 'cones are hard to dodge and they probably contribute to the "primer" aspect of this product to some degree (this one apparently prevents skin from losing water by creating a barrier on the skin's surface); I also know my skin doesn't always take well to them. I found the moisturizer to be lightweight, but still substantial enough to stand up to frigid temperatures. It didn't cause me to break out and my skin drank it up, so I can understand why they would dub this moisturizer as a buildable product. I also found this hydrator to be runny as all hell, practically falling out of the tube every time I unscrewed the cap and was holding the tube upright. A little fluid to be dubbed "crème", but that's just my 2 cents. This is no Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré texture, so if that specific texture is your cup of tea, steer clear of this. The moisturizer has no detectable fragrance, so that's always good for the sensitive-skinned or fragrance averse. 

Ingredient list - Perfecting Skin Tint

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in "Dark" - Swatched (L) and blended (R)

Last but not least, the Perfecting Skin Tint ($26 US). The tint is offered in three colours (Light, Medium and Dark - Dark was my pick for my Phase 1 set), and I don't think I need to say much about how strange that is given the array of skin tones that exist on this planet (or even just in the Top Shelf subjects that ITG has covered), but hey, it's an indie beauty brand and you have to start somewhere. Glossier has dubbed this skin tint as an imperceptible wash of colour for skin that occupies the space between bare skin and makeup. When I saw it was water-based, I instantly thought of the Face & Body foundation formulas from MAC and Make Up For Ever. This is more similar to MAC's, with a fraction of the coverage. I say that because there is no coverage. It is literally a tint, which is probably appealing to many, though not quite a fit with my lifestyle. If you know me, you know that I'm a foundation-a-day-keeps-the-blues-away kinda person. I love perfected skin, and even though I have reasonably good skin, this product doesn't offer enough coverage for my liking. That's perfectly fine though! It's ideal for weekends when I'm taking my makeup down a notch, and for any and all vacation situations that call for light makeup (if any). The tint is watery and lends a luminosity to skin (probably that diamond powder at play!), making it easy to apply (fingers work best, I feel, as brushes make drink the product) and worth the effort.

Swatched: Glossier Priming Moisturizer,
Glossier BalmDotCom, Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

So there are my thoughts on the initial product offerings of Glossier. I tip my hat to (former super intern of The Hills fame) Emily Weiss for creating such a strong brand in such a clever way. I find ITG and Glossier so fascinating in terms of how one feeds the other - crazy appealing stuff for a marketing kid!    

The packaging is clean and minimal in white with shades of light pink. This can all be flipped to be quite busy since stickers are sent along to adorn the packaging with. I haven't touched my stickers because I like the packaging as it is -- feminine without fuss. 

EDIT (March 2016): Just want to note that Glossier's Phase 1 Set has been updated to include the Milky Jelly Cleanser instead of the Soothing Face Mist. I've reviewed Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser right here and think it's a great swap, as the face mist stings eyes like no other. 


  1. this is my favorite review so far. unbiased, honest. hard to find in this launch. thank you :3
    would you overall recommend the priming moisturizer?
    I was planning on purchasing the tint and the moisturizer.

    1. Hey! I'm glad you appreciate the honest take! I do enjoy using the moisturizer, as it absorbs quickly and preps skin for makeup nicely (mind you, I'm facing winter weather, so your mileage may vary depending on your local climate). The skin tint felt very purposeless in my face base product rotation, as exciting as the prospect of a diamond powder-infused product was. If your desired coverage level is super minimal, the skin tint will probably fit the bill nicely! Hope this helps!


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