Remember mood rings? Looking back, what was clearly just a simple thermochromatic mechanism supplied endless wonder to our adolescent selves. The appeal seemed prescient and a little bit scientific. The mood ring key would discern what blue-green or blackish purple meant for your current state of mind as if you — the person experiencing the moods firsthand — wouldn’t be able to know. That allure of customized, self-adjusting goods never really went away. It just redirected itself toward Tom Ford’s Lip Blush.
Lip Blush is a clear balm that, upon contact with your mouth, transforms into a flattering pink. Even in adulthood, the effect feels a bit like wizardry. Guerlain and other luxury brands make versions, too, but I became especially taken with the gilding and heft of the Tom Ford. When you roll up the clear bullet with suspended 24k gold flakes, you can’t help but feel like Rumplestiltskin. To pull it out in any public setting would be an implied force field surrounding you and your tax bracket. The bad news, however, is that it’s sold out practically everywhere. That’s where Winky Lux’s Flower Balms come in.
I came across the (now closed) Winky Lux pop-up in SoHo this summer and was drawn in by the effervescent, of-the-moment branding — which was clearly meant to be Snapchatted or TikToked. Shaped like clip art of a pill capsule, the Flower Balm is adorable in its own right. Inspect the bullet and you’ll find a Borrower-sized chrysanthemum embedded into the balm, making it look quite a bit like the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast. It functions exactly the same as the Lip Blush: clear in the tube and pink on your lips. (This is all due to a moisture-activated pigmentation.) The Flower Balm looks good on everyone, as far as I can tell; plus, it costs $16 to Tom Ford’s $55. A quick swipe or two a day breaks down to a cost per wear in the pennies.
The textures are similar, too: smooth and cushiony without being slippery, which means you can build up the shade to your liking without it ever feeling like the color will migrate around the lower third of your face. Both products also leave behind a stain, even after the balm has worn off. Good news for anyone who likes to look hot but also needs to eat.
And unlike some other similar formulas on the market, neither of these are waxy, odd-smelling, or offensive in taste. I also distinctly remember this kind of thing being available behind the counter at beauty supply shops growing up, but those felt a little more like Halloween makeup than I prefer.
So if you’re looking for the type of cosmetic that would make your enemies feel bad about themselves, there’s really nothing quite like Tom Ford. However, since that option is currently really only available at a 100 percent markup on Amazon, you can find peace in knowing that there is Winky Lux.
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