Today I saw something that really surprised me, it was a preview I believe for a Sephora Play box and in it was Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. I was of the opinion this had been completely discontinued, as I have not been able to find it in stores for years, turns out it was discontinued in Europe but continues to be sold in the US and elsewhere. However, if you try to buy it online for example from Sephora, they will not ship it to Europe (very weird), but it does ship from Lookfantastic.
The reason I care about this is I turned 16 in 1990, which is the exact year my friend recommended I try it. There is no other product from my youth that I have been trying to buy repeatedly throughout adulthood and the same must apply to countless other people or it would not be a cult classic.
To provide a little context to those of us who did not go through beauty in the 90’s. In the 90’s the majority of our makeup products were crap, drug store was abysmal and high end was also atrocious. My first “good” foundation was from Clinique, at the time it was the only brand that provided foundations for different skin types in particular for oily puberty skin. They even almost had my shade (I have always been ethereal white) and it was the best match I could get. No other manufacturer had shades even close to light enough for me. My foundation was the best on the market and it was terrible. It lasted maybe 3 hours and I was not the most oiliest kid out there. At least it faded, the yellow drugstore shades separated. The only full coverage foundation there was was theater makeup. I was fortunate to have high end foundation, everything else I had was drugstore, some shadows were so poorly pigmented they didn’t even show up. Towards the late 90’s I was only buying high-end at the time mascara was amusing, you could either have one thin layer where you didn’t see anything, or clumpy eyes, thanks to Lancome, Dior and Chanel. No, clumpy lashes were not in fashion, it was all we could have! Eyeshadows lasted maybe 5 hours maximum. The turnaround to what we have today was actually driven by drugstore brands upping their game, high end had to follow and so we find today many items being completely on par with it being irrelevant whether it counts as high or low end. Anything I get at the drugstore today, no matter if it sucks will still definitely be better than what we had in the 90’s: except for Clinique’s Black Honey.
Throughout this period Clinique’s Black Honey was a stand out product, it was unique; a sheer lipstick that looked great on anyone literally all skin tones. When layering, it took you from day to night. It did not last long on the lips, it had the staying power of a gloss rather than a lipstick. Everyone would have preferred better staying power, but you could be sure that when it faded it faded really nicely from the middle out, like a slight ombre lip. Provided you didn’t put too much on, you could be pretty certain there would be no embarrassing smearing. This is the genuine “grunge” look everyone was wearing, which actually looked pretty natural, rather than what people are told: which is that people wore chocolate lipstick. I am really pleased that I have found it and that people will be getting it in their Sephora Play boxes, it is a handbag staple and deservedly a cult classic.