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We tried the TikTok viral Essence Glimmer Glow Lipstick

The $4 product has racked up millions of views on TikTok.
Images of Writers Emma Stessman, Danielle Murphy and Jillian Ortiz wearing the Essence Glimmer Glow Lipstick
TODAY Illustration / Getty Images / Courtesy Emma Stessman / Courtesy Danielle Murphy / Courtesy Jillian Ortiz

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Of all the beauty products that have achieved internet fame, few have even gotten close to reaching the same star status as the $5 TikTok and Amazon favorite Essence Lash Princess Mascara. That is, until TikTok users discovered another one of Essence's affordable products — the Essence Glimmer Glow Lipstick.

Those on the video platform who have tried the lipstick can't get enough. It's racked up millions of views on the app and has impressed users with its color-changing abilities and rosy shade that even shows up on dark skin tones.

After being sold out, the lipstick is finally back in stock. Intrigued by the viral status of the product — and as big fans of the Lash Princess Mascara — we reached out to an expert to explain what makes this lipstick so special. Plus, we asked five Shop TODAY staffers to try it out and see if it lives up to the hype.

How does Essence Glimmer Glow Lipstick work?

The $4 lipstick starts out as a sparkly, clear formula and then transforms into a light pink shade on your lips.

While it may seem like magic, the color transformation is actually caused by ingredients in the lipstick reacting to your skin's pH, said cosmetic chemist, Esther Olu. The main ingredient responsible here is Red 27. "If it comes into contact with our moist lips, it will give off a bright pinkish-red color," she said. The intensity of the color will depend on a variety of factors like the concentration of the ingredient, other dyes in the formula as well as your skin pH and other external factors. The shade may also slightly vary from person to person, depending on skin tone.

Essence Glimmer Glow Lipstick

Danielle Murphy, associate editor

Courtesy Danielle Murphy

I’ll be honest. I didn’t think I would like this as much I actually do. I’m in love with the color this lipstick gives me — a soft blush pink that makes my natural lips look fuller. The formula is also buildable, so I can go from a muted rose color to something much more vibrant. It’s also surprisingly moisturizing, so it’s something I’ll likely keep in my bag during the colder months ahead for when my lips begin to feel chapped.

If there’s one thing I could have done without, it’s the bright flecks of glitter. They’re not overwhelming, but that kind of sparkle doesn’t normally go with my everyday look. But for $4, that’s something I can easily overlook.

Kamari Stewart, editorial assistant

Courtesy Kamari Stewart

The first thing I noticed was how smoothly it glides on. Because it’s clear and the sparkles are so visible, I expected it to be grainy but it applied smoothly and effortlessly. Almost immediately, I could see the color start to appear. It became a pinkish/red color which complemented my skin tone nicely. The sparkles came through very slightly on the first application but I was able to see it from certain angles. When I applied another layer, the color became brighter, reacting to the first layer and the sparkles became a little more visible. I really like this lipstick for an everyday pop of color that I can be sure will complement my look.

Sunah Syed, production coordinator

Courtesy Sunah Syed

The lipstick was completely clear and had no tint of color, so I really didn’t know what to expect when I tried it on. After the first coat, my lips immediately started to change color to a beautiful shade of pink that matched my skin tone. Typically when I try on a new lipstick my biggest concern is my lips getting chapped and the color fading quickly, but because the formula felt like more of a lip balm, that didn’t happen. I think this product is a great pick for people like me who aren’t fans of reapplying constantly throughout the day and like the feel of a lip balm as opposed to a more pigmented lipstick.

Emma Stessman, editorial assistant

Courtesy Emma Stessman

I had watched quite a few of the TikTok videos, but still, when I opened up the lipstick for the first time, I had a hard time believing that the sparkly, clear formula would do anything more than add a slight shine to my lips. But it did. In the span of a few seconds after applying, I watched the color gradually develop until I ended up with a light, rosy shade. I like that the color gets darker as you add coats because it makes it more versatile. I could just apply a quick swipe or two for my everyday look and then be more heavy-handed when I really want my lips to pop. It's also pretty lightweight and left my lips feeling soft and moisturized.

My one complaint is that some of the sparkles do carry through onto your lips. You get a light glittery effect, which is kind of fun, especially if you're going for that trendy Y2K look. But you also end up with some larger pieces, and that can be a bit much. So after applying, I've been quickly running my finger over my lips to pick them up and they come right off.

Jillian Ortiz, editorial assistant

Courtesy Jillian Ortiz

When I opened the package, I had no idea what to expect; I heard it was color-changing but since it looked clear and shimmery I didn’t think it was possible. It took a few coats for it to actually start showing up and when I could see the color I was shocked! It applied smoothly and turned into a mix of a Barbie-pink and magenta color, which though very pretty, I don’t think is for me. I prefer colors that are more red or darker than things that are light pink. And since my skin is olive-toned, I don’t think it was a great match. I think it would be great for someone with lighter skin who isn’t afraid to rock a bright pink lip or anyone who is looking for a personalized shade from a color-changing lipstick!

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