You may recall a time in the early 1980s when “colour adaptive lipbalms” were all the rage. Sheer lipsticks – often pea green, inexplicably – that went on clear and, reacting to the wearer’s unique pH, developed into the perfect pink shade for their skin. Or so was the theory. It was a fun gimmick when I was six years old and they were 99p from the chemist, so I was intrigued to see adaptive balms making a comeback at serious beauty brands.
Zelens skincare, which has diversified with an otherwise great capsule make-up range, has the adaptive Lip Enhancer (£32), Dior calls its version Lip Glow (£23.50), while Pixi sells Unique Pink balm (£12) – all promising to work with your body chemistry to give lips a pretty flush.
But the problem now was the problem then, too – every one (on me, the man and two children I tried them on) turns a bright puce that goes with no skin, frock or mood in life. There’s simply no need, when there are some great new tinted balms for spring that actually allow you to choose a shade, rather than springing a cruel surprise that sends you straight to the flannel for hours of scrubbing (adaptives stain like beetroot).
So allow me to suggest Clarins’ new Instant Light Natural Lip Balm Perfector Stick (£18, and worn here in Rosewood), which really does deliver on hydration, as well as giving a lovely, soft, easy-to-wear tint. I’m nuts about YSL’s Volupte Tint-in-Oil (£23.50), a gorgeous lip oil that gives moisture, shine and tint without that hideous hair-trapping lipgloss texture. And if you ignore Pixi’s adaptive offering, its other Tinted Brilliance Balms are marvellous.
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