Don’t go looking for Clinique’s Black Honey at Sephora: even though it’s been around for 20 years, the ultra flattering my-lips-but-better balm has never been harder to buy. Blame Tiktok and the 20 million and counting views for #blackhoney. And the nerdy teens who introduced the cult lipstick to a new generation.
Back in July, teen Lord of the Rings fans stumbled upon the fact that Black Honey was used on Liv Tyler for the movie. Videos trying the iconic shade started to circulate, then caught on because of how flattering it was on all different skin tones. These days, it’s basically impossible to get a tube. But guys: there’s a really good Black Honey dupe you can buy right now! We know because Liv Tyler told us so herself.
Here’s the scoop:
On the Lord of the Rings set, makeup artist Noreen Wilkie was tasked with bringing Tyler into its fantasy world. She toned down her naturally very pink, rock royalty pout and played up her porcelain skin and icy blue eyes instead for an otherworldly look. Right after the movie came out, Wilkie gave an interview to InStyle revealing that Black Honey was the plummy-brown key to a softened lip without lost definition. Tyler looked amazing, and suddenly, the hottest thing you could be was an elf.
Fast forward about ten years later, when she invited ITG into her New York apartment. A lot had changed in the decade since the first Lord of the Rings movie, but Tyler hadn’t shaken her affinity for lip-enhancing tints. “I had a couple of different ones I’d collected that were these kind of sheer, berry stains, like the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick, only a bit deeper,” she explained in her Top Shelf. None of them were exactly what she was looking for, though: something slightly more blue than brown and with a transparent, glossy sheen.
What’s a girl to do when she can’t find her perfect lipstick? If you’re famous enough, you collaborate with a luxury brand (Givenchy Beauty, in Tyler’s case) on a concoction that’s just right. Then you stock up. “They produced it as a limited-edition Rouge Interdit lipstick,” Tyler told us, pointing to her own personal stash. She called it a “mood ring” shade because of the way it reacted to lips’ unique pH, which Clinique’s version does not. Still, it was a really close—and, like Black Honey, only intimidating in the tube. “If you look at it, it’s black, but it goes on really sheer.”
The limited run succeeded, so much so that Givenchy decided to bring the shade on as part of its permanent collection. They just renamed it: Instead of Liv’s Lips, now it’s called the Rouge Interdit Vinyl Color Enhancing Lipstick in shade 16 Noir Revelateur. It’s a bit more expensive than Clinique’s, but also better quality. And we’re willing to put money on the fact that it’s currently in stock at your local Sephora.
Maybe not for long.
Photo via ITG