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Colour-Changing Lipsticks

Shade shifters.

Summer is the time to add some fun and frivolity into your beauty routine—and nothing hits the mark better than colour-changing lipsticks and balms. Even once the sunny season comes and goes, the hue-shifting shades are a great way to infuse a little playfulness into your makeup bag.

These lipsticks are not a new thing—in fact, they’ve been around since the 1920s, invented by a brand called Tangee. Alas, they’re not magically intuiting the natural colour of your skin and adjusting accordingly. It’s a chemical trick.

“The formulations include an ingredient called Red 27, which stays colourless in a waterless base like lipstick, and when it is exposed to moisture, changes to a pinky-red hue,” explains makeup artist Larry Yeo, who has a diploma in cosmetic science. “The pH of your skin might affect things a bit, but really the shade only varies between individuals according to skin tone—if your lips are dark, then the eventual colour will look darker than on a person with pale lips.”

So what’s different about the latest crop of colour-changers? They’re coming from hip and high-end brands, not just cheap-and-cheerful ones. Plus, they do more than just add pigment to your pout—some are packed with skin-care ingredients, others offer temporary plumping effects. What will never change, however, is the fun factor. Here, we share five colour-changing lipsticks to consider.


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