How This 50-Year-Old Lipstick Topped TikTok’s End-of-Year Review

How This 50-Year-Old Lipstick Topped TikTok’s End-of-Year Review featured image

The irony of a half-century old product ruling Gen Z’s favorite app is not lost on us. What is old is new again, and unless you were hiding under a social media rock, chances are you caught the revival of a cult-classic lippie that’s had its day in the sun a few times over.  


I absolutely did not expect this to go viral but I am so happy it did 😂 @Kensington #makeup #beauty #36SecondsOfLightWork #lifeisgooddance

♬ original sound – Mikayla Nogueira

Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey amassed over 242 million views in videos that promoted the #blackhoney and #cliniqueblackhoney cult classic sheer shade. It all started with a video from user Shannon Johnson (@shanniedarko_), who dug into early 2000’s movie research to uncover that the shade had been worn by Liv Tyler in Lord of the Rings film franchise. When the story caught on and more TikTokers adopted the hue, Black Honey quickly sold out at Sephora, Ulta and Clinique by end of summer. 

However, 2021 wasn’t the shade’s first time in the spotlight. Nineties kids will recall its prominence, right alongside Chanel Vamp nail polish, on models, actresses and in the pages of magazines. Even then, during what seemed to be its peak, the must-have lippie had already been on the market for 20 years.

Black Tie Origins

Former Vogue editor and Clinique cofounder Carol Phillips created Black Honey in 1971 to give the lips a “black turtleneck” for women of all skin tones. Originally, the glossy swipe of color was launched in a gloss pot, which Phillips thought looked like a yummy pot of honey, hence the name.

In 1989, Black Honey had a rebranding moment when it was released in its Almost Lipstick form we’ve come to know and love. Today, one Black Honey Almost Lipstick tube is sold every three minutes, and thanks to its viral status as a TikTok star, it’s even got its own wait list to collect pre-orders until it’s back in stock at all retailers again. 

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