Five colour-changing lipsticks and balms to add some fun into your beauty routine.
MAC Tendertalk Lip Balm in Play with Me
Encased in a holographic tube and scented with earthy-sweet vanilla, these balms are chic and fun, with moisturizing benefits. Find them in six different shades, including this cool-toned red.
Dior Lip Glow Hydrating Color Reviver Lip Balm in Sheer Coral
A lip balm with nourishing mango butter, the Dior Color Reviver comes in 10 shades with either satin, matte, or iridescent finishes. The Sheer Coral shade gives a subtle, peachy glow with a satin finish.
Too Faced La Creme Mystical Effects Lipstick in Unicorn Tears
With its dramatic light-blue-to-pink colour shift, rainbow-stamped box, and sugary signature “unicorn” scent, the hydrating lipstick is a playful, on-trend option. Find it in the brand’s Life’s a Festival collection, alongside Mermaid Tears (green to lilac), Angel Tears (pearl to coral), and Fairy Tears (yellow to pink champagne).
Buxom Powerplump Lip Balm in Big O
Buxom’s chunky balm has a lip-plumping effect thanks to hyaluronic acid and peptides. It comes in Big O, a pale pink, as well as red, berry and nude. No matter the shade, the subtle colour change exudes, as the brand puts it, a natural “just-kissed” effect.
Smashbox O-Plump Intuitive Lip Plumper
This gloss goes on clear and transforms to pink, while also offering tingly temporary lip-plumping effects (thanks to mint and ginger extracts), as well as moisturizing avocado oil and antioxidant goji berry complex.
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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