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Gloss-ee-yay

By Entertainment, Featured

Illustration by Katie Wittenberg.

It’s pronounced gloss-ee-yay.”

I’ve been calling it gloss-ee-er this whole time; That’s how late to the Glossier game I am.

Founder Emily Weiss of “Into the Gloss” (pronounced as you’d expect, based on the spelling) started the brand in 2014 with hopes of throwing beauty into the hands of the consumer, and simplifying the process with an emphasis on fresh, healthy skin. Many publications have called this a cult favorite. I will not repeat that sentiment, as it has been exhausted. Let’s just say that millennials really, really love Glossier; their top products are constantly sold out, and whatever is in stock is apparently very, very good.   

Expanding from their digital-only sales platform, the brand opened an NYC showroom in 2016, and a retail space in Los Angeles earlier this year. Now, Weiss is bringing a brick-and-mortar store to Chicago’s West Loop. In preparation for said store, the brand has a pop-up running from August 23rd – October 28th, where customers can test and purchase Glossier products.

Though I could not pronounce the name of the brand correctly, I did know that Glossier is fresh and dewy and sticky and glittery and pink and, most importantly, low maintenance. I’d been keeping a cart full of products in an open tab on my laptop for weeks for this very reason.  I’d like to think that the universe really wanted me to go to the Glossier pop-up.

Whilst putting off our work for the September print issue of F, some fellow staff members told me about the Pop-up. I knew then that the stars were telling me to go. God herself slid into the DMs of my soul and said “Grace,  ignore your bank account. Ignore your body’s desire to curl up into a ball in your bed. Go … go, Grace … to Gloss-ee-yay.” After work that day, Comics Editor Katie Wittenberg (we’re also roomies! Ooh la la!)  and I slugged our bodies onto the train to West Loop to lose our Glossier virginities.

The Venue

if the Bubble Yum bird had a millennial daughter who was also an interior designer, and you couldn’t help but love their aesthetic

A large, millennial pink Glossier banner stretches across the North face of the building; I think this is West Loop’s version of a stop sign. Nestled between the Randolph street Free People and the Aberdeen street apartment blocks, the shop is housed in what was formerly a first floor garage turned pharmacy. White garage doors and a pink VIP rope decorate the entrance, as you’d expect from a generation that decided that the industrial spaces we once spit on are now “v aesthetic.”

Underneath the aforementioned banner, flowing in and out of the white garage doors, were hoards of women. This is not a notable thing for a makeup pop-up, but it is notable that for some reason, everyone was in pairs of two, including F’s Katie and me. It was like Noah’s ark for people who look like me (a scary thought, I might add).

Inside, employees wore jumpsuits in a shade that Pantone calls Candy Pink. The interior is mostly white, but the cement floors, natural light through the gage door, and hoards of people make the place feel cozy rather than sterile. Each product, and all the shades of it, sit on white gallery style pedestals. Dispersed throughout the space are pedestals and pictures of Glossier-inspired still lifes. Clearly they hired an art student. They’re both scene setting and disappointingly not mirrors. Large Pedestals covered in mirrors were littered throughout the space. A large mirror-backed counter on the North wall of the room displayed every single Glossier product, in all their shades.

It should be noted here that Glossier exhausts millennial pink in a way that I didn’t think possible: blush jumpsuits, raspberry packaging, staged still lifes encased in glass that encompass the entire pink spectrum.

The shop sits just off of the Randolph street restaurant strip at 114 N Aberdeen. Running from August 23rd – October 28th, the popup is open from 12pm – 8pm Monday through Friday, and 11am -7pm Saturday and Sunday. It is credit/debit only.

The Staff

Other college students made superior to the rest of us via jumpsuits

Lots of gorgeous people in millennial pink jumpsuits – all wearing Glossier products – wound their way around the pop-up, ringing up orders on iPads and recommending their favorite products. Despite the massive crowd, small space, and quantity of team members, I think every single one checked in with me at some point during my journey.

The Products

If you could just turn up the volume all of the best parts of your face, plus sparkle

It’s only fair that any product review by me is read with the understanding that for two weeks this summer I used mascara as brow gel and was perfectly okay with that set-up. But, though I’m not a makeup expert, I think that I’m a large part of who Glossier caters to: people who aren’t doing a full face plus contour, but still want to feel included in the beauty industry.

I went into the pop-up knowing that the glowy, perfect no makeup-makeup look was born here. I also figured that, since their business was entirely online for years, the products had to be buildable and lightweight enough that you could order a shade online without being able to test it on your skin first. In other words, you have the control to turn it up or dial it back according to how the pigments react to your face.

I purchased Perfecting Skin Tint in medium, Cloud Paint in Beam, Boy Brow in black, and Cherry Lip Balm Dotcom.

Perfecting Skin Tint: I don’t like foundation, and tinted moisturizer can melt off really easily. Glossier’s version is great because it’s lightweight and soft like a moisturizer, but I haven’t noticed any melting even if I put a little jojoba oil or moisturizer on beforehand. I like to apply it with a sponge, starting with a few drops on my forehead and each cheek, and blend them out (this is the first time I’ve used a sponge instead of fingers, and boy am I proud of myself). While I really enjoy this product and found that it worked with my skintone really well, there definitely weren’t enough shades for really light and really deep skin tones. While the tints are designed to be lightweight, buildable, and blendable, I think we’re all aware that one dark shade does not fit all faces.

Cloud Paint: Cloud Paint could also offer a few more shades. While new shade Dawn was a little too orange for me, I think it’s intensity could be mimicked in the existing shades. My favorite way to use Cloud Paint is to dab it on my cheeks, then apply the excess to my eyelids and lips. As a lip shade, it did a pretty good job of lasting through an oily pasta lunch and coffee. It does crack and flake off throughout the morning, but was easy to wipe away with a damp towel and re-apply in the F News bathroom. The shade does settle in on cheeks over time as well, but the tube is so cute and small that you can keep it on you all day.

Boy Brow: Love it. Comics Editor Katie recommends using it on bottom lashes to give them a pop without going full Twiggy.

Lip Balm Dotcom: The texture, smell, and moisturizing quality of this balm is awesome. I would, however, recommend starting with one of the clear options. The cherry flavor has limited use as it’s tinted too much to go over cloud-painted lips or onto bare skin, but not enough to be worn as a red lip color. I’m glad I have it if I just want some cherry balm, but a clear scent (flavor?) is more versatile.

These products do exactly what I need them to do, for the most part. There is an area, particularly when it comes to the brand’s lip colors, where their desire to make them buildable and sheer makes it difficult to use them on medium skin tones. In sheer lip colors, I look for something that leaves a noticeable tint after one or two swipes, without the weight of a lipstick.I found Glossier’s products to be too sheer, and chose not to buy any Generation G for this reason.

The Packaging

Glossier is famous for its packaging. Like most things at Glossier, it’s pink and exciting. The amount of reflective foils and clickbait colors activate some primal part of your brain that makes you want to spend money on products you’ve never needed before. Once you determine what you want to purchase at the pop-up, a pink jumpsuit clad steward of the gloss rings you up on an iPad. You’re then asked to wait in a mirrored back section of the rectangular space while other dewy-faced Glossier employees pack your products for you in the back.

All Glossier products are packed into makeup bags that are a cross between a Ziploc and pink bubble-wrap. I was very excited by this, as my old makeup bag was full of powder from the aforementioned blush explosion. The lil bag is full of your makeup AND samples of products like Glossier’s new fragrance (remember going to the Nordstrom makeup counter at the mall as a teen and taking home samples of fancy makeup you’d never buy?). It also came with much appreciated stickers reminiscent of those I put on my composition books in the early 2000s.

The first thing I noticed after receiving my order was how personalized the packaging makes the products feel. By having a sales associate pack it up for you, there’s an understanding that someone else put time into writing your name on a label and wedging your Lip Balm Dotcom between sheets of stickers.

I was less excited about the amount of packaging used inside the bag. Each product, in addition to being in a bubble wrap bag that was inside a shopping bag, had some form of cardboard packing around it as well. That cardboard is highly unnecessary considering the clarity and quality of Glossier’s labels, and the fact that the product is then packaged twice more after purchase. The cardboard packaging is also weird because it’s not present on the displays of products throughout the store (maybe because it’s not needed there either).

 

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