pH Color-Changing Makeup: The Beauty Trend We’ll Be Seeing Everywhere This Year

pH Color-Changing Makeup: The Beauty Trend We’ll Be Seeing Everywhere This Year featured image

If you’ve never tried a pH lip balm or blush before, now is the time. Though it’s not a new category, pH color-changing makeup is making waves on social media and brands are taking notice. Here’s the scoop on what to know, including how it works, why it’s trending and the top products to get your hands on.

What is pH makeup?

Founder and CEO of Winky Lux, Natalie Mackey, was one of the first to introduce a pH lip balm in the beauty industry. “Color-changing pH makeup reacts with your body’s natural pH when applied,” she explains. “This turns the pigment in the product into a unique shade for each user. We were an early adapter of it for pH color-changing balms, which are still some of our hero products to this day.” The two most popular categories for pH makeup are lip and cheek products. “This type of makeup reacts to your skin, the air, moisture content, and water to give you the perfect shade,” Mackey adds.

Why is pH makeup trending?

“I think pH color-changing makeup is trending because it’s a really fun and easy way to apply makeup,” says Fiona Chan, founder of Youthforia. “Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to pick out your perfect lip and cheek shade, especially when you have to understand undertones. This just really easily gives you the perfect shade!”

Mackey adds that pH color-changing makeup is a perfect product for TikTok because there’s an instant change when applied. “Natural makeup looks and product personalization have also been trending as of late, and a pH balm fits perfectly into both. Our pH balms are sheer and buildable, and will show up a little bit differently for each user. There’s always a joy in customization!”

The Top pH Makeup Products to Try Now

Winky Lux Aurora Balm ($17)

“With this balm, our newest launch, we’re innovating the category by creating a new color reaction,” says Mackey. “Our previous balms all created a rich pink shade when applied, while the Aurora Balm leans into a deeper mauve. Because we’ve been creating pH color-changing products for years, we’ve started playing with the color this way. Our Rainbow Balm, which launched in 2019, uses red and orange tinted stripes of balm along with the pH color-changing balm. This creates a cherry-tinted color for both lips and cheeks.”

Haus Labs PhD Hybrid Lip Oil ($24)

This lip oil from Lady Gaga’s portfolio comes in four “pH-powered shades that transform into a true-to-you tint.” There is also a clear version. It’s fragrance-free, vegan and loaded with nourishing ingredients like prickly pear oil and squalane.

Youthforia BYO Blush ($36)

“BYO Blush is such a special product,” says Chan. “It’s a color-changing blush oil that reacts to your skin’s pH to give you the perfect shade. It’s made with 20 plant based oils and extracts to act as a treatment for your skin. And, you can sleep in it! My husband and I both slept in it for two months and got better skin. It’s formulated really differently from other color-changing blushes and lip products that I’ve seen.”

Chan explains that she thinks it boils down to how the base formula was created, as well as ingredient sourcing. “There’s this misconception that if an ingredient name is the same, it will act the same. That couldn’t be further from the truth! If it comes from a different source, it’ll usually feel or look differently from one formula to the next. So what I love about this blush is that it’s just the perfect hit of pink. It creates this seamless blushy gradient with your natural skin tone, without settling into fine lines or looking patchy.”

Doll 10 In the Mood pH Adaptive Lip Color ($24)

These may look like traditional cream lipsticks, but each of the three colors work with your unique pH to develop into custom shades. Plum kernel oil, blueberry extract and pomegranate seed give the formula a cushiony texture that helps keep dry lips quenched.

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