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Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick review

Everyone loves Clinique’s Black Honey lipstick, so I tried it

On the left: A slim silver tube of lipstick with the cap off to reveal a berry shade. On the right: The author wearing and holding the lipstick. Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser / Jessica Kasparian

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  1. Product image of Clinique Almost Lipstick

    Clinique Almost Lipstick

What’s old is new again—is that how that saying goes? Whether we’re talking fashion or makeup, trends that go out of style always make a resurgence, even if it’s a couple of decades later. This is the case for the Clinique Black Honey Lipstick, a quintessential ‘90s lippie, born in 1971, that’s making its rounds on TikTok and other social media platforms.

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What is the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick?

Three women of different skin tones wearing without the Clinique lipstick (top row) and then wearing the lipstick (bottom row).
Credit: Clinique

The Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick was designed to suit any skin tone.

Introduced more than 50 years ago, Black Honey launched as “a deep, dark raisin color that surprised and delighted anyone who dared to try it” during what the brand calls “an era when everyone had disco fever and loved bright colors and flashy fashion.”

The most important attribute of Clinique’s $20 cult classic black honey shade is its sheer hue with a slight sheen that makes it “not quite lipstick, not quite gloss.” It’s a lightweight wash of color that aims to flatter all skin tones, and it’ll look unique to you, depending on the natural tone of your lips.

The Almost Lipstick contains emollient ingredients like castor oil and candelilla and carnauba waxes to leave the lips feeling moisturized, too. The formula comes in two shades, the beloved “Black Honey” (a deep berry) and “Pink Honey” (a light pink).

$22 at Clinique

What do I like about the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick?

The author wearing the Clinique lipstick with one coat (left) and two coats (right).
Credit: Reviewed / Jessica Kasparian

I'm wearing the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick in one coat (left) and two (coats) in the photos above.

Its color

Whether I’m bare-faced or made-up, I like to add a hint of color to my lips, which to me appear pale without anything on them. My favorite type of lip color is one that results in a subtle, popsicle-stained look.

Black honey is famous for its chameleon-like ability, and I can see why. It appears darker and bolder at night when I may want a deeper tone, but its transparent formula allows the sun to shine through it and lighten up the color when I want something less vampy for daytime.

My lips are naturally light pink and after a few swipes of Black Honey, my pout transforms to a deep berry tone that looks different depending on the lighting I'm in. It appears like a cooler brown-purple at night but a more vibrant raspberry when the sun is shining. Also, on my skin tone, the color gives a hint of ‘90s grunge glam that is fun!

$22 at Clinique

What do I dislike about the Clinique Black Honey Lipstick?

A light colored rectangle lipstick box.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Clinique's Almost Lipstick is a balm-lipstick hybrid.

Its moisture and color fade quickly

My lips feel plush post-application—like I can rub them together with zero resistance or stickiness—but the beautiful color and moisturizing feel don’t stick around long on me, though my habit of rubbing my lips together doesn't help. This is one of those lip products that feels good immediately post-application, but leaves your pout feeling parched after it wears away.

I’ve heard rumors about balms that are designed to be drying to keep you reaching for them. I’m not accusing Clinique of such things, but I suspect I’d need to reach for this quite often if I relied on it as my only lip balm throughout the day.

Is the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick worth the hype?

A silver tube of lipstick stands with its cap showing a "C" imprint.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Clinique Almost Lipstick comes in a slip, twist-up tube.

I understand the hype! This lipstick is foolproof—something many of us look for in a daily lippie. If that’s what you’re looking for, I don’t not recommend this, but there are plenty of other hydrating, balm-like lipsticks out there now. This one just happens to transcend time.

If you’re not sold on the Clinique Almost Lipstick or if its sold out (as it often is) when you’re reading this, I suggest checking out the Glossier’s Ultralip, Billie’s Super Salve, or Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez’s With Gratitude Dewy Lip Balm—all of which offer sheer, glossy shades.

$22 at Clinique

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

  1. Product image of Clinique Almost Lipstick

    Clinique Almost Lipstick