Makeup

We Tried It: A Lip Balm That Acts Like a Lipstick

Can a new 2-in-1 from Clarins convert a lipstick-phobe?

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Anyone who has ever seen the inside of my purse, or my bedside table, or my cosmetics drawer (yeah ... drawer), knows I'm a lip balm-aholic. I've got my Fresh Sugar on me at all times, plus an assortment of cocoa butter sticks, Kiss My Face tubes, argan oil-based glosses, and other health food store balms stashed everywhere -- I'm never more than an arm's length away from a lip balm fix.

The downside of all this chappy-hoarding is that I tend to skimp on lipstick. Clearly, I suffer from perpetually chapped lips. Whenever I swipe on a sultry, matte shade, my lips look as dry as a piece of cracked pottery unearthed from an archaeological dig. So I avoid any rich colors or mattes, and even satin-finish lipsticks can dry out my lips.

I've searched high and low for a moisturizing lip balm that can provide color, which is why I'm typically a tinted Fresh Sugar Lip devotee; it creates a sheer and glossy finish, but still doesn't offer the rich color of a lipstick.

I did a double-take when I saw Clarins Instant Smooth Lip Balm, which promises to deliver soothing moisture and luscious color. Just look at it! It's like something that Jane Fonda would swipe on her lips in "Barbarella"; the pigmented lipstick core encased in a crystalline lip balm is perfect for any sophisticated space age traveler.

First impressions first, this stuff smells like candy. It has a subtle berry scent that reminds me of summertime lollipops ... and it's intoxicating.

I tested out the Crystal Rose color, a perfect pink. The lip balm glides on like a dream, and best of all, you can build the color to your liking. After piling on the pink, I inspected for any potential cracks and ridges, and found nada. My lips looked plump and smooth, plus the pink was a bright pop of color that I rarely find in a balm. I love that it comes packaged like a classic lipstick -- it's a two-for-one: I'm getting serious lip hydration, and there's a certain grownup satisfaction to applying a true lippy in public (versus breaking out a tub of balm).

Another perk: the color lasts. I applied the lip balm at work in the morning, and it lasted all through my cardio kickboxing class later in the afternoon. The other colors (Crystal Gold Plum, Crystal Mandarin, and Crystal Berry) are equally gorgeous.

The only drawback is that this is a limited edition lip balm, part of the Clarins Summer Collection released every year. Get it while you can before it disappears.

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