I don’t know if I’ve opened my mind or if they’ve experienced a recent renaissance, but I’ve been loving the heck out of Clinique’s makeup and skin care lately. Even when I’m making a good faith effort to focus on value, Clinique’s products are proving worthy. And in particular, their lip products.
I have a lifelong struggle with lipstick; while I love the way it looks, I also hate the way 99% of it feels. If your lips are even a tiny bit dry beneath, the product will amplify every crack; if your lips are too moisturized, it’ll slide right off. So, for years, I stuck with tinted balms.
Burt’s Bees Pomegranate: an all-time favorite
However, tinted balm always felt a little…informal to me. Great for the weekend or even a less public-facing day at work, but I always wanted a lipstick to make me feel a bit more finished. I tried Bobbi Brown (ever so slightly too drying), I tried Lipstick Queen (too hard to find, until recently), I tried NARS (AMAZING, but that price!) – and then I came to Clinique. Ever since finding the following three Clinique lip colors, I’ve found little need for else:
Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm – 03 Fuller Fig
Let me tell you this much: Fuller Fig is the perfect brownish-nude you’ll ever find. It has just a slight touch of blush but is otherwise a beautiful neutral. Meanwhile, the Chubby Stick (in the running for the worst product name ever, right alongside NARS’s blushes) is like a tinted balm without the sheerness you usually get. The color, though subdued, is opaque and lush, and the formula feels like you’re doing something good for your face.
Almost Lipstick – Pink Honey (exclusive to Sephora)
Clinique’s Almost Lipstick has well-earned cult status; Black Honey is so beloved by fashionistas that every few years or so Clinique tries to put out another Black Honey product (Sephora boasts exclusive Black Honey mascara, gloss, eyeliner, shadow, and sugar scrub). It’s truly a beautiful color (and the formula is all but perfected by now) but in the manner of the recent 90s revival that isn’t entirely my thing. However, this spring Sephora released an exclusive Pink Honey color, and you guys, it’s everything. When my face needs a bit more brightness than Fuller Fig gives me, I reach for my Pink Honey. Both work beautifully with my beloved Charlotte Tilbury face palette.
Pop Lip Colour + Primer – Passion Pop
Finally, you guys, my great white whale: the perfect red lipstick. I’d thus far clung to my NARS Cruella but lamented how much product I would lose every time I had to sharpen the pencil. I fell in love with NARS Red Lizard, but again, the price. And then I remembered how beloved my Pink Honey and Fuller Fig were and thought, maybe Clinique has something there for me. And that’s when I found the Pop Lip Colour + Primer. Now, don’t take the primer part seriously – it primes no more nor less than your average creamy lip color. Still, the formula is spectacular – on par with NARS, but only about 2/3 of the price. The staying power is tremendous, and the colors are gorgeous. I like to apply this red with a brush for precision (errant outlines are more obvious with a bold red lip than with a soft pink or a muted neutral) and a completely-neutral eye to balance out my face.