When a beauty product has been on backorder for months, our first thought is that it must be something special—possibly even a game-changer. However, there's always a nagging doubt that it could all just be hype. This back-and-forth is exactly why we're always eager to sample the latest trending products as soon as we hear about them, no matter how long we need to wait to do so.
The most recent viral product we’ve put to the test? Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($20), a classic lipstick-balm hybrid that’s accumulated over 24 million views on TikTok since it first took off. The iconic shade has been a favorite for decades, but thanks to TikTok, it’s experienced a recent surge in popularity that’s caused it to sell out multiple times over.
After anxiously awaiting the arrival of the lipstick, we’ve finally got our hands on the product that’s inspired a thousand try-on videos. Below, learn more about the coveted lip product and read our editors’ honest reviews.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey
While some of us recently discovered it on TikTok, Clinique’s Black Honey shade has been popular since back when it was offered in gloss pots. Today, the ultra-light lip balm is packaged in a sleek and slender tube, and it continues to fly off of shelves due to its universally flattering tone.
According to Clinique, the creamy formula is one-of-a-kind thanks to its ability to blend with every wearer's natural lip color. “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,” says Janet Pardo, Clinique’s SVP of Product Development. “It’s functional, yet so desirable.”
The lip product has a transparent pigment that glides on smoothly and gives lips a glossy sheen, despite the fact that it appears as a moody, dark shade in the tube. The emollient-rich formula also leaves lips soft and moist, so you don’t need to constantly reapply. It can also be used with other lip products—liner, lipstick, and gloss—to further accentuate the look.
So why did this already iconic lipstick recently go viral on TikTok? As it turns out, we have another cult classic to thank for the resurgence. Eagle-eyed TikTok users started posting about how Liv Tyler wore Black Honey in the beloved Lord of the Rings movies. And its fandom only took off from there.
It wasn't long before makeup TikTok stumbled across the shade.
Shortly after, Sephora employees shared how the lipstick sold out everywhere, only adding to the need-to-have-it mentality.
It turns out the shade has graced our screens many times before. One user shared how Black Honey was used on Julia Roberts in Stepmom, Zooey Deschanel in New Girl, and Troian Bellisario in Pretty Little Liars.
The verdict? It's a must-buy.
Emerald Elitou, Beauty News Writer
"I felt like I hit the lottery when TikTok’s trendiest lipstick appeared in my mailbox. The excitement alone of getting my hands on the cult favorite had me sprinkling confetti—figuratively—but you get the point. With no real steps, I was quick to apply the lip balm and took notice of the smooth and lightweight application. While it appeared dark within the tube, I wasn’t disappointed by the soft neutral color that's ideal for fall.
"In my humble opinion, the excitement for the pocket-sized product matched the hype. It's not often that I find the perfect shade to complement my radiant brown without it being distracting to my natural glow. And seeing though it is all about inclusivity in one product, it certainly gained some fanfare from me."
Karli Bendlin, Senior Editor at People
"I’ve tried a ton of TikTok viral products over the past few months, and while we’re not quite done with 2021 yet, I’m ready to declare Black Honey as my favorite discovery of the year. I’ve known about (and lusted over) the product for years before it rose to fame on the app, but for whatever reason, I didn’t try it until recently. The moment I swiped on the dark berry color, however, I knew it was a winner—it really does make my lips look amazing. I love that you can stick with one coat for a truly natural-looking tint, or layer it on for deeper color. TikTok does it again."
Jasmine Phillips, Social Editor
"More is more when it comes to this *almost* lipstick. I like that the formula is buildable and offers a nice berry tint. Lipsticks can easily be a miss for me, but Clinique got it right. It definitely lives up to the TikTok hype."