When I was an unplucked tween in the midst of my sheltered suburban upbringing, what mom said was law around my house. One decree: “No makeup until you are (at least) 16.”
Well, imagine my delight when mamacita would let me play with her gift-with-purchase goodies from the makeup counters at Macy’s and Stern’s (which is no longer a department store, and I truly feel the sands of time after having typed that). I collected miniature sizes of Lancôme perfumes and lipsticks, Estee Lauder eyeshadow palettes, and tiny bottles of Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (which, at the time, mostly served to give me dramatically different breakouts), hoarding them in my Caboodles case. I was not to wear any of these items out of the house, which suited me just fine since I had this weird nerd-like penchant for keeping my toys and collectibles in pristine condition for some impending special occasion in the far future.
One small triumph for me was receiving a mini version of Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, the cult raisin-berry shade that boasted a universally flattering color. The rich near-black bordeaux color in the tube was more than seductive to my 13-year-old self, yet when applied had the subtle blush tones of a PG-13 red lip.
It was sheer enough that I could sneak it to school, wear it, and not have my mom harangue about me about my rebellious rule-breaking lipstick coup. I even dared to swipe it on for picture day in 7th grade.
She never knew! Even with photographic evidence (sorry, not sorry, mom)! Little did I know at the time that Black Honey was much older than me, having been around since 1971, and becoming one of Clinique’s most successful shades when re-launched in 1989, when the Lipstick gained the “Almost” prefix.
Clinique has since released the color in many other forms: Nail polish! Eyeshadow! Blush! Cream eyeliner! Since I no longer frequent department stores, I spied the most recent offerings at a Sephora, immediately recognizing the narrow, silver tube. Black Honey, my old friend, had started a cosmetic gang. And I, being the ambitious beauty writer that I am, viewed them like some glamorous Pokémon: gotta catch ‘em all!
Using the Almost Lipstick, Shadow Single and Cream Eyeliner, I’ve created some looks for you guys to acquaint yourself with the wonder that is Black Honey, should you not already be familiar.
I like to mess with color in really subtle ways, so this deep raisin-purple color seemed like the perfect color to define my brows in an interesting yet office-appropriate hue. The Brush On Cream Liner even comes with a tiny brush that makes painting your brows nearly un-mess-up-able.
The rest of my face was pretty bare, save for some highlighter on the inner and outer corners of my eyes, curled lashes coated with mascara, and, of course, Black Honey Almost Lipstick on my lips.
Continuing with the product-purpose-swap, I do love a good editorial-inspired glossy eye. The trouble with eye gloss, however, is that it tends to collect in your crease. Being Asian, my eye crease veers into Grand Canyon-proportioned valleys, so makeup tends to get swallowed up in there if not firmly stuck to my eyelid.
The best I could do to start was apply a bit of DIY eye primer (foundation/concealer + corn starch + moisturizer) which helped keep the color in place, albeit not permanently.
I literally dabbed the Almost Lipstick directly on my eyelids, blending and tapping with my ring finger (because it is the softest and thusly most marriage-indicative digit) upward towards my brows and a bit outwards towards my temples.
I swiped on some waterproof mascara (waterproof mascara is crucial with eye gloss unless you want to look like a very depressed surrealist painting) and pinched some lash bunches together to ever so slightly liberty-spike them.
The Almost Lipstick was the only product used here other than mascara, dabbing it on my cheeks for a dewy blush and on my lips because y’all know how obsessed I am with lip balm stains (very).
I feel like every fall, magazines are quacking, “Plum this!” and “Aubergine that!” for everything from makeup to knits. Was no one really surprised when Radiant Orchid was crowned Pantone Color of the Year for 2014? To which I limply rolled my eyes, scoffing, “Next they’ll tell us pizza wins slice of the year!” (It does. Every year.)
My first experience turning eye shadow into liner (I thought I was soooo clever, using contact solution to wet my liner brush when I was 16) was with a deep violet eye shadow by Stila, the name of which escapes me. It was the only colorful eye makeup I wore at the time. Well, boy, was I pleased when Clinique sent me their Black Honey collection, replete with a plum All About Shadow Single reminiscent of that hue.
Purple seems to be one of those universally flattering colors, whether they veer towards the warm or cool tones. Black Honey definitely is the former, coming off like a sophisticated raisin-plum. I like to do this look with a shimmery bronze normally but decided to swap it for Black Honey.
I waterlined my bottom eyelid with black eyeliner and then took a stiff smudge brush to apply Black honey’s eye shadow along the bottom lash line, extending to a soft flick. Then, I brought the flick back, moving up to the outer corner of my upper lid, so it’s like a really asymmetrical sideways V shape.
Top that with a thick coat of mascara on top and bottom lashes. The effect is grungy, bratty B.
No, but really.
Everything is surprisingly versatile in Clinique’s Black Honey stock. Cult items always intrigue me, even more so when cult colors come about. Personally, Black Honey is a favorite of mine, mostly because of my experience with it as a kid. They had a blush a year or two ago that was sadly discontinued, but that doesn’t bother me too much, considering how the Almost Lipstick perfectly suits my desire for dewy flushed cheeks.
Are there other cult colors out there that you love? Tell me! My inner cult-hoarder must be satiated! Om nom nom nom nom…