An honest review of Clinique’s Black Honey.
Plum lipstick is having its main character moment, and now, it’s playing hard to get: Some popular shades are so in demand that they’re practically impossible to purchase yourself — unless you’re on a waitlist or willing to bid on eBay. I am neither of those things. Even as a beauty writer who tests and receives beauty products as my job, it took me a full 11 days to acquire one of the most revered and thus regularly out-of-stock lip colors of 2022: Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey.
If you’ve yet to get your hands on the trending tint, I advise you to start searching now — its cult following is not just holding steady, but escalating at a swift rate. While web searches for plum lipstick have been averaging 4,800 searches in the U.S. each month, this number skyrocketed by 549.1% in just the last year, according to data from trend-aggregation platform Spate. But the most viral variation of plum lipstick is none other than TikTok’s beloved Black Honey, which has racked up nearly 38 million views on the social platform as of today — exceeding the already impressive 33 million from when I first checked nine days ago — by a whopping 5 million. It doesn’t take a mathematician to see what these numbers mean: Black Honey is dominating the lipstick world, and I made it my mission to try it and find out why.
To preface, know that I did not want to like Black Honey and felt confident that I wouldn’t. I’ve worn the same shades of lip liner and lipstick for at least five years (Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk and Tom Ford’s Pink Dusk, respectively), and have not once felt compelled to deviate from this routine. Plus, my complexion seems to work best with reds and pinks. Something purple, plum, or even berry felt like it would stray too far from my go-to shades and not look as great on me as it looks on those who rave about it on TikTok. But then I tried the trending lipstick for myself.
Reader, Black Honey really is worth the hype. The color is stunning, as everyone on the Internet says, but what I’m most impressed by is its texture. It’s a hybrid of lipstick and lip gloss, which I had never experienced before (and I test a lot of products). Upon application, it feels very silky and soft — almost as if you’re applying a cooling, moisturizing lip balm. And it actually does infuse your pout with hydration: The formula features castor seed oil, an all-star conditioning ingredient.
The color is buildable, so you don’t have to go full-on dark plum if you’re not in the mood. Its first swipe goes on sheer, so you can layer on as much coverage as you want. The deepest achievable shade is a beautifully deep berry that’s incredibly flattering — even on my complexion, shockingly enough. When wearing it, I realized it delivers the best of both worlds: The vivid color of a lipstick, complimented by the flattering finish of a non-sticky gloss, all without staining your lips (as some dark lipsticks sometimes do) or coming off too quickly. My lips felt smooth and hydrated all day, and the color managed to survive a bottle of water and a bowl of hot oatmeal.
I love that the Black Honey shade is striking but not too bold. It’s the perfect pop of color that can be dressed up or down. I tried it with a simple black sweater and earrings, and the tint immediately elevated my WFH wardrobe into something far more glamourous without looking over the top. So, really, what I’m trying to say is: Yes, Black Honey’s reputation is well-deserved — and so is waiting for its inevitable restock.
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