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Why Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is going viral on TikTok

Plus, a makeup artist shares other ways that you can wear the trend.
Illustration of the Clinique viral Almost Lipstick in Black Honey and a cut outs of lips with the product on
TODAY Illustration/ Clinique / Ulta

Clinique's Black Honey Almost Lipstick has been a fan favorite since it launched in 1989. Flash forward to a few decades later, and it's become almost impossible to buy. It's not because the brand stopped producing the shade — it's Clinique's No. 1 bestselling lipstick — rather, it's all thanks to its recent viral status on TikTok.

TikTokers of all ages, from Gen X-ers who have loved the lipstick for years to younger users who just discovered the shade, have been raving about it on the app. For evidence, just look at the #cliniqueblackhoney tag, which has more than 19 million views.

A cross between a gloss and a lipstick, the color looks pretty dark in the tube but goes on sheer to provide a light berry-toned tint and a soft shine. Clinique originally launched Black Honey in 1971 as a gooey gloss that came in a small pot (hence its name). But in '80s, the brand created a new formula in stick form, the Black Honey Almost Lipstick that we have today.

One user who works at Sephora posted a video saying that she's had multiple people coming to the store looking for the product. She added that she's been wearing the shade since 1995. "It literally looks good on everyone," she said. "So whether you're a teen just getting into makeup or a mom or a hella busy career woman this will work for you."

Its ability to flatter a range of ages and skin tones is part of the reason why it's become so popular. According to the brand, it bumps up the color of your lips, so it will look slightly different on everyone who wears it. "When we see one product work across a bunch of skin tones, it's exciting," said celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli. "The color isn't overpowering, it's super sheer."

But it also speaks to a larger trend in the beauty world. "I think we have just collectively moved to a place where we're looking for products that feel good on and have other benefits, aside from just color payoff," Scibelli said. This formula, for example, has castor seed oil, which not only gives your lips a healthy-looking shine but will actually add hydration as well.

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

The lipstick is sold out on top beauty retail sites like Sephora and Ulta. But we found one spot where you can still grab it — it's currently in stock at Dillard's. You can also buy it on the Clinique website and your order will ship once the lipstick is back in stock.

But there are other products that you can use to achieve that "your lips but better" look. So we asked Scibelli to share the lipsticks and balms that he loves that will provide a similar shine and color. Plus, we found some other options that TikTokers are raving about, too.

Milani Color Fetish Shine Lipstick

Scibelli said he's been using the Color Fetish Lipsticks from Milani on his own clients, and the Dark Berry and Caramel Brown shades are great for this particular trend. "It's like a lipstick meets a lip balm," he said. "And they use a bunch of hydrating oils ... so there's shea butter, there's jojoba seed oil, there's grape seed oil and apricot kernel oil."

Lilah B. Tinted Lip Balm

The Lilah B. Tinted Lip Balm in Plum Shimmer is another option that Scibelli recommended. "It's a great sheer, tinted lip balm, so you get a little bit of that hint of plum color and you also get the moisturizing ingredients similar to the Clinique one," he said.

Jouer Cosmetics Essential Lip Enhancer Shine Balm

According to Scibelli, Jouer Cosmetic's Lip Enhancer Shine Balm also fits the bill. The formula features nourishing ingredients like jojoba seed oil and shea butter. It also includes Maxi-Lip, which is said to plump lips and reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm, Red Dahlia

TikTok users are loving this tinted lip balm, which will add a sheer red color to your pout. Reviewers say it's great for an "everyday" look. "Uber moisturizing ... and it gives your lips an unbeatable color 'perk' when you want that I'm-not-wearing-lipstick feeling," wrote one verified reviewer.

Nivea Lip Balm Blackberry Shine

User @sonjahan's video featuring this affordable lip balm has gotten 2 million views on the app. She described it as "so pigmented" and "very moisturizing."

E.l.f. Cosmetics Sheer Slick Lipstick in Black Cherry

This bestselling sheer lipstick from E.l.f is another TikTok-approved option. The easy-to-wear formula is available in eight shades, though the Black Cherry is the clear favorite.

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