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The best Clinique lipstick guide walks you through some of the most impressive formulas they have to offer, along with who they’re best for, what makes them stand out in a sea of other lipsticks, and what you might not like about them.
Even if the lipstick is the perfect color, there may be something quirky about the formula or packaging that you’ll have to get used to.
Overview of the Best Clinique Lipsticks: a Guide
There aren’t a lot of lipstick lines to choose from within the Clinique brand, and it seems as if each one is the “best” at filling some niche, whether it’s moisture, opacity, or the ability to flatter almost everyone and be a crowd-pleaser regardless of age, coloring, or style.
Clinique seems to have figured out what works for them and their customers, so they have a stable core of products and shades that people keep coming back to time and time again.
Dramatically Different Lipstick Shaping Lip Color
The Dramatically Different line is designed to hydrate your lips while shaping them and making them look younger, smoother, and plumper.
Who it’s best for: Someone looking for opaque color and the appearance of smoother, plumper lips. Note: These aren’t lip-plumping products that sting; they have subtle light-reflecting properties and moisturizers that give the effect.
- Wide range of colors
- Smoothing, plumping, and contouring effect without stinging or over-the-top shine (they’re just pearly)
- Opacity you’d expect from a lipstick
- Creamy, but doesn’t bleed
- Though there are a lot of colors, if you really fall in love with the line, you may find yourself wishing they’d branch out to more colors, more often
Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm
If you always want your lip products to add a bit of moisture, but you’re over leaky gloss tubes and stickiness, you’ll probably love these more than any other option. Especially if you really don’t like feeling your lip products on your lips.
This is a lightweight formula that provides some moisture, more color than you might expect (even though it’s sheer), and doesn’t catch your hair in it or make a mess in your bag.
Who it’s best for: Someone who wants a pop of color that somehow manages to be bold and sheer at the same time.
- Has mango butter and shea butter for moisture
- Doesn’t have to be sharpened
- The point makes it easy to follow your lip line, so you barely even have to look in the mirror to apply
- Colors can brighten your complexion without being too dramatic (even the bright and bold shades) due to their sheer finish
- Wide range of colors
- The tip may break off, and even though you can swivel more product up, it’s still a waste
- Some people feel that they’re moisturizing at first, but then drying a couple of hours after application
- Wears off more quickly than other options
Who it’s best for: This is the happy medium for people who fall somewhere between the Dramatically Different and Chubby Stick formulas. It’s also available in colors that are fairly universally flattering, though there are only two shades (Black Honey and Pink Honey).
- Gorgeous, semi-sheer color that’s buildable
- You can layer it over other lipsticks for a hint of shine and a shift in color
- Slim, sleek tube is easy to carry in a bag and is comfortable to hold in your hand
- Universally flattering shades that work on most people, with most makeup looks
- Lacks variety in the shade range
- Not as moisturizing as the Chubby Sticks
- Some say it breaks easily
A quick note about Black Honey Almost Lipstick: This lipstick sells out time and time again, and this shade has been around since 1971. It was a response to women needing to do it all: work, take care of kids and go after what they really wanted in life. That’s why the shade applies so effortlessly, works with your own coloring to become something that looks almost custom made and hits that sweet spot between lipstick and gloss or balm. It’s magic in a tube (that used to come in a pot).
This is an interesting line because there are different branches designed with a special goal in mind. For example, the Reds and neutrals (Even Better Pop) are meant to help you get your perfect matches based on your skin tone (everyone needs their perfect red and nude, right?). The Pop Lip Color + Primer and Matte Lip Color + Primer are designed to deposit a lot of color and last around eight hours.
Who it’s best for: Those who like a lot of color in one swipe, but also need moisture or long-lasting wear and/or someone searching for their perfect neutral or red shade.
- You can find your perfect shades and finally stop buying reds and neutrals in order to find “the one”
- You can enjoy moisture and vivid color at the same time
- If you need a long-lasting matte shade, there’s a good chance you could find your match here
- Even the matte version isn’t drying
- The range of colors is relatively small compared to brands like MAC (but they still cover all the bases and it may actually be easier to find your perfect shade with fewer shades and finishes to choose from)
- A little pricy
- The matte formula really does last!
- Some reviewers said the tip broke off after a few uses
Advantages of Clinique Lipsticks
Are Clinique lipsticks exactly what you need? There are definitely some perks. So what is it that makes Clinique one of the best lipstick brands?
- Because they’re sold in department stores and makeup stores, you’ll usually be able to swatch them before you commit to making a purchase.
- You can often get gifts with purchase when you shop with Clinique (directly or in a department store)
- Sometimes the gift with purchase is lipstick, among other things, so you get to try them out for free
- There’s a wide range of colors and formulas to choose from, some of which are pretty universally flattering (like Black Honey, which we talked about above)
- They’re very careful to exclude allergens, irritants, fragrance, parabens, and phthalates
- Clinique as a whole (not just lipstick) is moving toward more sustainable packaging
Disadvantages of Clinique Lipsticks
Clinique has been around for decades, but even a company with that much experience creating and perfecting products can’t get it right every time, for every person. Here are some of the disadvantages to Clinique lipsticks:
- If you like a lot of variety in product types and finishes with new releases coming out all the time, you’ll probably be disappointed in what Clinique has to offer
- The packaging is uninspiring
- If you’re used to drugstore prices, these may feel shockingly expensive (most department store brands will, to be fair, but between the lack of interesting packaging and few new lip product releases to keep the excitement up, it may feel even more painful to part with the money).
- The appeal of freebies is definitely there when you shop for Clinique lipsticks and other products, but what they have chosen to include in the offer won’t necessarily suit everyone (they seem to try, though).
Where to Buy Clinique Lipsticks
If you love Clinique lipsticks, you’ll love that you can find them in just about any department store or makeup store in addition to the Clinique website. Here are some of the places you’ll be able to buy your Clinique lipsticks:
- Clinique counters in department stores like Macy’s, Belk, Nordstrom, etc.
- Department store websites
- The Cosmetics Company Store, where you may luck up and find a discontinued shade
The Main Differences Between Chubby Sticks vs Almost Lipsticks
Chubby Sticks and Almost Lipstick are both soft, sheer, and a little bit shiny, so what’s the difference? How do you choose? Here are some of the main differences to keep in mind:
- Chubby Sticks come in several colors, and there’s no single “one shade fits all” cult classic, whereas Almost Lipstick only comes in two shades and the Black Honey shade has the reputation of working for almost everyone.
- Chubby Sticks focus more on moisturizing the lips and acting as a lip balm, whereas Almost Lipstick’s focus seems to be more on delivering a universally flattering color (even though it also moisturizes, just not as well).
- Chubby Sticks come with .1 oz of product, whereas Almost Lipstick comes with .07 oz product and costs a dollar more.
The Main Differences Between Dramatically Different vs Pop Lipsticks
Dramatically Different and Pop lipstick lines have similarities and are meant to deposit more color on the lips than the Chubby Balms and Almost Lipsticks, but how do you know which one is for you?
- Dramatically Different lipsticks have a creamy, pearlescent finish, whereas Pop lipsticks come in a range of finishes, including matte (usually a separate listing than the original formula, so keep that in mind when you shop online).
- Dramatically Different lipstick only comes in a tube, whereas Pop lipsticks offer a liquid version in addition to the tubes.
- Dramatically Different lipstick has an extensive shade range to choose from, whereas Pop lipsticks are more limited.
- Dramatically Different lipstick’s main goal is to improve the appearance of your lips immediately (smoothness) and over time (definition), whereas Pop lipsticks are designed to deposit full color in one swipe and keep your lips moisturized and comfortable while you wear it.
Question: Does Clinique have long-lasting lipstick?
Answer: As of this writing, there is a line called Clinique Pop Matte Lip Color + Primer Lipstick that is supposed to last for eight hours. Matte shades from any brand tend to last longer than creamy ones, so that helps here. Also, primer helps keep your lips from drying out, which means the lipstick color won’t just hang on for dear life during the day, but won’t dry your lips out and make them look flaky and wrinkled as the color fades throughout the day.
Question: How long does Clinique lipstick last?
Answer: It expires in the same amount of time as the average lipstick and should be tossed after about a year. If you mean how long does it last during the day after you apply, it’ll depend. The Chubby Sticks last a few hours. The Almost Lipstick will last a little longer than that (it leaves behind a pretty stain), and the Dramatically Different lipsticks will usually last even longer. The newer Clinique Pop Matte Lip Color + Primer Lipstick is designed to last for eight or more hours.
Question: Is Clinique Pink Chocolate lipstick discontinued?
Answer: Sadly, yes, it looks like Pink Chocolate has been discontinued. You may have some luck on eBay. If budget allows, you could try Chanel’s Mademoiselle lipstick for a similar shade. Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in Teak Rose is a potential dupe, as well.
Question: What is the most popular Clinique lipstick?
Answer: Black Honey Almost Lipstick keeps selling out over and over again, even though it’s been around for 50 years. It’s because it works on almost every skin tone and bridges the gap between a full-color lipstick and a sheer gloss. It comes in a slim tube, not the shorter, wider tubes the other lipsticks come in, so it stands out that way, as well.
Question: Is Clinique owned by Estēe Lauder?
Answer: Yes, it is.
Question: Are Clinique products worth the money?
Answer: Their lipsticks generally perform as they’re meant to, and there shouldn’t be any surprises in wear time or formula, so I don’t think it’s a waste of money to give them a try. That said, there is a risk involved. Several users have reported that their lipsticks broke after just a couple of uses. I had one that broke as soon as I took the cap off before I ever used it.
That said, the colors are beautiful and they wear well, so you’ll need to decide if they’re worth taking the chance. Returning it may be an option, depending on how long you’ve had the lipstick and where you purchased it from.
Conclusion: What Is the Best Clinique Lipstick?
Though I appreciate all of the best Clinique lipsticks, I have to say that I can completely see why Black Honey is a cult classic that continues to sell out. I get the hype and actually participate in it because the shade has a perfect blend of undertones that look good on my neutral, fair complexion.
Black Honey is my pick, with the Bamboo Pink shade of Dramatically Different (a cool-neutral, mid-tone pink that works with natural-looking makeup or smoky eyes) coming in a close second.