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Tarte Sea H2O Lip Gloss Review: Will You Love It?

Tarte is a brand that’s cruelty-free, vegan, and makes their products with what they call “high-performance naturals.” These are natural-derived ingredients that offer serious benefits, such as fruit and plant extracts. This is especially the case with Tarte’s H2O Lip Gloss. The gloss is like a lip treatment, with more vitamin E and marine plants to reduce the look of lip lines. The pigments are also only derived from minerals.

I was able to try the H2O gloss and I overall liked it. The gloss is very moisturizing and is not sticky at all. You also get a nice pout, but it’s not a plumping gloss, therefore it’s not totally a perfect lip gloss. For example, the applicator is very stiff. You can likely find a similar product at a more affordable price.

Tarte Sea H2O Lip Gloss Review: Key Features

  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Nourishing with antioxidants like vitamin E
  • Shiny finish
  • Leaves you with a nice pout, but is not a plumping lip gloss
  • The formula isn’t sticky
  • Smooths the appearance of fine lines around the lips
  • Not made with lanolin or petrolatum


  • Extremely moisturizing
  • Not sticky
  • Nice shine
  • A bit of a pout


  • The applicator is very stiff
  • Not very pigmented
  • Pretty expensive
  • Doesn’t last that long

What Is the H2O Lip Gloss?

Before getting into the review, let’s take a look at the H2O lip gloss and see what separates it from other lip glosses. The H2O lip gloss is a water-based gloss (hence the name) that’s an ingredient sourced from the ocean, such as marine plants which are rich in antioxidants.

These ingredients moisturize the lips and fade any lip lines. The gloss is available in a variety of shades that are all pretty neutral, in my opinion.

Here are the shades:

  • Just Breathe – peachy pink
  • Hang Ten – rosy mauve
  • Room Service – mauve
  • Retreat – soft pink
  • Sandy Toes – peach
  • Salt Lyfe – cool mauve
  • Zen – buff
  • Villa – light pink chandelier

All glosses have extreme shine in a formula that is nourishing, not sticky. You’re left with luscious-looking lips that are totally kissable.

My Review

Let’s go into my thoughts on this gloss. As stated previously, I overall like this gloss and love how moisturizing it is. But there are some qualities that bring it down a few points, so I definitely can find a similar gloss at a lower price.

Moisturizing Gloss

By far the biggest benefit is how moisturizing this gloss is. The gloss overall feels very nice and keeps your lips soft all day. Another benefit is how the gloss doesn’t dry out your lips. As contradictory as it sounds, many lip glosses and chapsticks dry out my lips. This gloss helps my lips stay soft and nourished all day.

The Color

Tarte Sea H2O Lip Gloss

I got the gloss in shade “Zen,” which is a beigey color. This is actually the drawback of mine — the gloss isn’t that pigmented at all.

Tarte Sea H2O Lip Gloss

While I knew it was a neutral color, I picked Zen because it was a darker beige. The color barely shows up on my lips at all and looks more similar to my natural lip color with a tint of beige than the current beige color. It looks a lot darker when swatched.

That’s a shame for me because I love pigmented lip glosses. However, I know there are people who prefer a natural-looking gloss. If that’s what you want, then this is the gloss for you.

Feeling on My Lips

First of all, I have to mention this gloss isn’t sticky at all. This is a huge plus for me because I hate sticky lip glosses.

However, it has a very glossy texture. The description states the formula is creamy, though I don’t experience creaminess at all. This gloss is very thick, which I don’t mind. Though I know there are people who don’t like glosses that feel thick on the lips.

The Appearance

While I wish the lip gloss was a little more pigmented, it does look nice on my lips. It’s a good color and product if you want something natural-looking but can still accentuate your natural lips. They make your lips look pouty and don’t plump them, which is a plus for me because I hate lip plumpers.

There are other benefits, too; this gloss doesn’t bleed around the lips, which is a huge benefit for me.

Lasting Power

While this gloss does last longer than typical glosses, it’s nothing impressive. It definitely doesn’t stay on when eating or drinking. I wore this before going out for the evening and had to reapply the gloss a couple of times. For $19, I figured this gloss would last longer.


Tarte Sea H2O Lip Gloss

The lip gloss comes in a larger tube, which is nice because you definitely get plenty of product. If you’re looking for a lip gloss to wear every day, this is one of the better options because you get your money’s worth.

Tarte Sea H2O Lip Gloss

What I also don’t like is the applicator. The applicator is plush, but it’s very stiff. I prefer flexible applicators to reach the contours of my lips. This one is a little awkward to work with.


While I do like the H2O gloss, there are definitely better lip glosses out there. You can also easily find a cheaper double for this gloss. Here are some alternatives I recommend:

Nyx Butter Gloss

Remember how I said there are likely cheap alternatives to Tarte’s H2O Gloss? The number one cheap dupe is the cult favorite Nyx Butter Gloss. This gloss has a buttery and rich formula that leaves your lips super soft.

It’s also available in a variety of shades — and not only that but they’re super pigmented. It leaves a shiny finish without stickiness. Overall, they almost melt on your lips and have a shade for everyone. And they cost about $5. You can’t beat that.

Buxom Lip Gloss

Buxom Lip Gloss

If plumping is what you want, definitely choose the Buxom lip glosses. They have two varieties: Full-On Lip Polish and Lip Cream. Both are amazing. All of their glosses are with peppermint extract to leave their lips plumped but smooth. They also offer a variety of colors, many of which are super pigmented.

Ilia Beauty Balmy Gloss Tinted Lip Oil

ilia lipgloss

I’ve never tried this gloss, but I came across it after searching for lip gloss treatments. The Ilia Beauty Balmy Gloss is infused with hyaluronic acid to not only moisturize lips but plump them. The formula isn’t sticky. It’s also made with botanicals that offer even more skincare benefits. While the colors are more on the natural side, they’re all very pretty (I especially like petals).

Sephora Collection Ultra Shine Lip Gloss


The Sephora Collection Ultra Shine glosses are nice and are more affordable than you think. They keep your lips feeling soft and have a seriously shiny finish. They’re available in a variety of shades, though the color I have is very neutral. While their pigments aren’t super strong, I do find them more pigmented than the Tarte H2O gloss.

Hourglass Cosmetics Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss

These are also not glosses I’ve tried. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever tried anything from Hourglass Cosmetics, which is shocking because I see this brand everywhere. But in my research, this is a gloss that offers many similarities to Tarte.

The Hourglass Cosmetics Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss makes lips appear fuller and offer serious hydration. It’s available in a variety of beautiful shades: neutrals, shimmer, and bold colors. Watching the video I linked, the colors all look highly pigmented and have a beautiful shine, though the shimmery ones look subtler on the lips than they do in the product.


Question: How Do You Use Tarte H2O Lip Gloss?

Answer: Simply take the applicator out of the packaging and swipe it over your lips! I tend to have to dip the applicator in there twice in order to put enough product on my lips.

Question: Is Tarte the Best Lip Gloss Brand?

Answer: I love many Tarte products, as I will cover in the next question, but I’ve never been impressed by their lip products. I will say, the H2O Gloss is probably the best lip makeup product I tried from them. I reviewed their Maracuja Juicy Lip and also wasn’t impressed. I especially don’t like the Quench Lip Rescue. My favorite lip gloss brand I mentioned previously is Buxom.

I also use Blistex daily, though it’s a medicated lip gloss. I wouldn’t wear it while out and about, just to ensure my lips don’t get chapped. I’ve been hearing rave reviews about Fenty lip glosses. However, I tried their lipstick and wasn’t impressed, so I never bothered trying their lip gloss.

Question: What Are Other Great Tarte Products?

Answer: I swear by Tarte’s mask! Tarteist Lash Paint is my personal favorite, though I think it’s discontinued. For now, the Maneater mask will be my go-to. Their foundation is also incredible, specifically the Amazonian Clay foundation. I like Tarte’s skincare, too. I was using their Drink of H2O moisturizer for a while. It’s a nice, light moisturizer that gives the skin the perfect amount of hydration but absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a super dewy finish, which is why I loved wearing it under makeup.

Question: What Is the Purpose of Lip Gloss?

Answer: Lip gloss is mainly used to give lips a glossy look and feel. Many lip glosses also offer a dose of color. Most lip gloss formulas are also extremely moisturizing.

Question: Is Lip Gloss Bad for You?

Answer: Lip gloss is only bad for you when it contains dangerous ingredients. Ones to look out for include cadmium, lead, aluminum, chromium, and other toxic metals. One thing I will give Tarte is their products are not with these dangerous ingredients, making their products a safer and equally luxurious alternative to many products that contain these toxic ingredients.

Question: Is It Bad to Wear Lip Gloss Every Day?

Answer: I think this depends on the gloss. Something like the Tarte H2O gloss, which is safe and offers hydration, is likely something that’s okay to wear on a daily basis. But not all glosses are super moisturizing. That’s why I say definitely apply lip balm or chapstick every day, but only when necessary. Save gloss for when you’re going out. Or, at least use a gloss that’s for chapped lips. I use Blistex daily because I tend to get dry lips, especially in the winter.

Bottom line

Tarte’s H2O lip gloss contains many ingredients that are great for your lips, so they will leave your lips feeling nourished all day. Their products are also vegan, cruelty-free, and don’t contain dangerous ingredients.

I do really like the H2O gloss. It’s extremely moisturizing and doesn’t leave that sticky feeling on your lips. There are a few cons that bother me, such as the stiff applicator. There are also many similar lip glosses that are cheaper or just better quality that I would recommend over this gloss.

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