It seems like nowadays, the only way to get a beauty product on our radar is to allow TikTok users to discover it, film their review, and hope that we will be in time to purchase it before it sells out.
This is how Clinique's Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey,” a decades-old product, has found its wave of fame after receiving Gen Z's stamp of approval in the form of 20+ million views of the BlackHoney hashtag on TikTok.
It didn't take long for beauty lovers to spark a sales rush, which naturally led to “Black Honey” being sold out pretty much everywhere.
But, worry not! In this article, I will talk a little bit about the famous Almost Lipstick lipstick, what makes it so popular, and how it looks on different skin tones. I will also give you a list of 10 dupes for “Black Honey” that you can purchase in case you can't find the original.
So let's get started from the very beginning.
Where It All Began
Black Honey was launched back in 1971, in an era when everyone had disco fever and loved bright colors, flashy fashion, and unique lip colors that made the entire look stand out even more. When Black Honey was originally launched 50 years ago, it was sold in a little glass pot like a jar of honey, hence its name.
The cult product had a second breakthrough moment in 1989 when it debuted in its current form: Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey” in a beautiful long bullet packaging that's easier and more hygienic to use.
What Makes "Black Honey" So Special?
“Black Honey” is a deep, dark raisin color, but it transforms into a sheer mauve/purplish veil the second it's applied to the lips. It can be described as “the best version of what you already have, and it works for every skin tone.” How? The product has a perfectly combined mixture of blue, red, and yellow pigments. The texture is a creamy and balmy base that instantly melts into the lips, enhances their color, and sits beautifully while also being incredibly hydrating and softening, thanks to the inclusion of plenty of emollients and oils. The wear is closer to a gloss than a lipstick.
“Editors, celebrities, and everyone loved – and still loves! – ‘Black Honey’ because it’s flattering on everyone. It’s magical. It makes your teeth look whiter, it makes your lips look gorgeous, and it’s very forgiving – you don’t even need a mirror when you put it on. It’s functional, yet so desirable,” says Janet Pardo, senior vice president of product development.
The lipstick's "chameleon-like ability" to flatter all skin tones while looking totally different on everyone is truly something you have to experience for yourself because I've seen people on whose lips "Black Honey" looks purplish while looking more mauve or even somewhat coral on others. It totally depends on your skin tone.
Carolyn Dawkins, senior vice president and global chief marketing officer at Clinique, told CNN Business that "Black Honey" was dubbed the "black turtleneck for the lips" back when it first launched thanks to its ability to complement all skin tones.
"Black Honey" can also be worn alone or under or over another lip color to enhance it or get a completely new shade.
The "Black Honey" Takeover
Many videos on TikTok show just how well the product works in action.
Makeup influencer Mikayla Nogueira said she was “completely shocked” when the product first went viral as she used to sell "at least one of these a day" when she worked at Ulta.
"I'm gonna be completely honest, the demographic that purchases this is usually a mature older woman, so to see a younger woman using it on TikTok is so interesting to me," Mikayla said. She went on to demonstrate the color on her own lips before adding, "It looks good on everyone."
Nogueira's video has been viewed over 11 million times and has 2.2 million likes.
Meanwhile, Clinique global ambassador and Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke even gave the lipstick a try, saying, “It looks really scary and like it might turn my lips black, but...It's amazing. It looks like I'm not wearing anything, but I'm actually wearing lipstick. I'm in!”
Reviews online for “Black Honey” are similarly positive, where it has been recommended by 95% of shoppers and boasts an average 4.7-star rating.
“I have purchased this lipstick at least four times,” one reviewer wrote.
Another added, “The ‘almost lipstick’ is exactly that – you feel as though you have made a bit of effort and you have some color on your lips, but you don't need to be looking in a mirror when you apply or worried after you have a drink that it's all come off or leaving a weird rim around your mouth!'
The reviewer added, “It feels like a lip balm, but it has a lovely warm color. Don't worry when you see the color in the tube is quite dark; once it's on, it's not dark!”
10 Dupes for Clinique's Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey”
Since “Black Honey” took the internet by storm about a month ago, it has been out of stock in most stores since then.
But just because you can’t find the original, it doesn't mean you should miss out on the fun. Here are 10 dupes for Clinique's Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey.”
e.l.f. Cosmetics – Hydrating Core Lip Shine in “Delightful” ($6)
The e.l.f. Hydrating Core Lip Shine is a melting lip balm with a heart-shaped core that moisturizes the lips while also adding a sheer tint of color to them. The shade “Delightful” is a beautiful mauve color that closely resembles Clinique's “Black Honey.”
Ulta – Gloss Stick in “Buggin” ($9)
Ulta’s in-house line of glosses and lipsticks has a shiny berry color called “Buggin” that looks a lot like “Black Honey” when applied. The Gloss Stick comes with a super lightweight formula that feels moisturizing as soon as you apply it and offers a medium pigmented color.
Burt's Bees – Natural Moisturizing Lip Shimmer in “Fig” ($12)
Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers are super popular lip balms due to their affordable price and pretty shades that complement a natural look. The color “Fig” is a lighter and a more shimmery alternative to Clinique's classic.
Julep Beauty – It’s Balm Lip Crayon in “Vintage Mauve” ($12)
Julep Beauty's Lip Crayon Balm packs a surprising amount of pigment for something called a balm, and considering the price, it’s definitely a must-have. It has that hydrating, glossy finish we love but with a color that says, "I just drank a bottle of red wine."
Glossier – Ultralip in “Ember” ($18)
Glossier's Ultralip in “Ember” is shiny, hydrating, and berry-toned. It's a little bit more full coverage, so go light-handed.
bareMinerals – Get Nude Radiant Lipstick in “Notorious” ($20)
bareMinimals Get Nude Radiant Lipstick in “Notorious” is a very warm-toned, light-medium plum color with a natural finish that looks really great on neutral to warm undertones.
bareMinerals – Get Nude Radiant Lipstick in “Mantra” ($20)
bareMinerals Get Nude Radiant Lipstick in “Mantra” is a slightly cooler tone than “Notorious,” and it's a better option for neutral to cool undertones. The lipstick's texture is very much the same, with a natural, soft finish.
NARS – Lipstick in “Falbala” ($26)
NARS Lipstick in “Falbala” is a very warm-toned, medium plum with a beautiful pearl finish. This one is not as purple as the “Black Honey,” but it's still great for both warm and cool undertones, although it looks incredibly good on warm tones particularly.
Burberry – Kisses Sheer in “Tea Rose No.277” ($34)
Burberry Kisses Sheer in “Tea Rose 277” is a moderately warm-toned, light-medium plum color with a luminous finish. This lipstick is particularly softening and hydrating thanks to Burberry's signature blend of rosehip, tea, and lavender oils that condition the lips and prevent them from drying out and cracking.
Givenchy – Rouge Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick in “16 Noir Revelateur” ($34)
Givenchy Rouge Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick in “16 Noir Revelateur” is probably the most similar to Clinique's “Black Honey” from all the products on this list. Both products appear black, and Givenchy's, much like Clinique's, reacts to the pH of the lips and imparts a unique color on different lips. The product is infused with black rose oil, which delivers ultimate hydration and comfort to the lips and prevents them from overdrying.
I have no doubts that Clinique's “Black Honey” is going to remain a banger for a very long time, much as it has been for 50 years. I personally think it's an amazing lipstick, and I especially love how it adapts to a skin tone to appear more flattering. However, it's also great that there are other similar options available so you can always have a solid backup!
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