Monday, January 29, 2007

Review: Clinique Almost Lipstick and Colour Surge Butter Shine

I've previously discussed my dislike of most lip products, but in recent months I've gotten into a few products (stains and glosses, mainly) that have softened my stance a little. After browsing through the reviews on Makeup Alley, I came across a cult product I'd never heard of: Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It's the most reviewed lipstick on the site, with an average rating of 4.0 out of 5 (extremely high when you consider that 508 people with different coloring and preferences chipped in with their two cents). It's a sheer berry wash that supposedly looks good on everyone and feels great on the lips, with no lipstick taste. On Saturday I had a few errands to run at the mall and decided to stop by the Nordstrom Clinique counter to give it a try:

As I settled into the chair and the sales assistant applied the lipstick with a brush, I couldn't wait to see how it would look and feel on my lips. "It looks nice on you", she said, a little unenthusiastically. When she handed me the mirror, I pulled it close to my face for full inspection and was a little confused. "I can't really tell the difference, maybe I should try applying it directly from the tube." She handed me the tube and I layered more color on... but still, little more than a nice shine. It did feel good, similar in consistency to my favorite lip balm, Blistex Lip Medex, but for $14, I wanted a color that would actually show up.

The sales assistant understood what I meant, and recommended that I try one of their newer lines, the Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick. The mention of butter in the title was a turnoff (butter on my lips? yuck), but the colors looked beautiful in the tubes, so I decided to try a few. She first applied the Raspberry Rush, a pretty berry with cool tones that's great for day time. Next we tried something brighter and more summery, the Fresh Watermelon, a bright pinkish-red watermelon color that is balanced by the relative sheerness of the lipstick, so it's not overwhelmingly bright. Finally we tried Cranberry Cream, a rich berry red that was really beautiful (regular readers know what a sucker I am for red lipcolor). Because the second two were relatively close in shade, I decided to pick up the Raspberry Rush and Fresh Watermelon, although I'm tempted to go back and get the Cranberry Cream.

Not only are the colors in this collection very pretty and wearable, but I think it really stands out for a sheen that falls somewhere between a high-shine gloss and a regular lipstick, in a formula that is incredibly soft and comfortable on the lips. It feels just as smooth as lip balm, and is equally moisturizing, thanks to the gel formula which includes shea butter (the inspiration for the off-putting title), and left my lips moisturized for a few hours. The color also stains a bit, so it has nice lasting power. One final bonus is that the casing is designed to look and feel like stylized bamboo, in Clinique's signature silver material. It's very sculptural and is fun to hold in your hand.

If you're looking for something that is truly barely-there sheer color, check out the Almost Lipstick, because although it wasn't right for me, it clearly has large following. But if you're looking for something with a similar consistency but more color and staying power, definitely try the Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick the next time you're near a Clinique counter.

One final note: I think the collection and the colors I chose were pretty popular, because every Clinique counter in the mall was sold out of them (I ended up ordering them online). Amazon has the line in stock, just in case a color you like isn't available in your local stores.

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