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Could the Clarins Lip Balm Crayon Dethrone the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm?

Clarins-Paris-Lip-Balm-Crayon-collection

The short answer to the brief question posed in the title of this piece is a resounding “No.”  In theory, the products are quite similar: both are easy-to-use lip colors in jumbo crayon form so that you can cover more surface area with a single stroke. Both contain tiglyceride- and fatty acid-rich mango butter to nourish and soften lips, as well as shea butter to replenish and smooth the pout. Both come in retractable tubes that don’t require any sharpening. And both deliver a very subtle veil of sheer color that infuses a bit of life into the complexion. So what makes the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm surpass the Clarins Lip Balm Crayon, the latter a limited-edition release for Summer 2014? Well, for one, Clinique offers various degrees of coverage, with 16 shades that are sheer and muted and 8 shades that are more full-budied and intense, offering a greater pigment pay-off. But, most importantly, Clinique offers some modern, dynamic, coquettish color options whereas Clarins focused on a color palette that’s a bit drab and, well, sad.

Now, the Clarins Lip Balm Crayon ($20 at ClarinsUSA.com, Macys.com, and Nordstrom stores) is a solid product. It contains mango, apricot and shea butters that nourish lips and leave them feeling and looking smoother and more supple. These ingredients work as humectants so they draw moisture to the pout and lock it in, fortifying your skin’s natural defense barrier. And the apricot oil in the formula is a rich source of vitamin E, which of course defends lips from UV rays. When you apply the lip crayon, it feels relatively soft (not as creamy and indulgent as, say, a Tarte LipSurgence lip tint, but still pleasurable) and there’s no uncomfortable tugging as you run the wide crayon tip over your pout. And yes, lips do feel more comfortable upon application, though I can’t say that these would be an alternative to your lip conditioner of choice — whether it’s Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment, EOS’ Smooth Spheres, Nivea’s Lip Butters, or Burt’s Bees lip balms).

But the primary difference between these Clarins Lip Balm Crayons and Clinique’s Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balms lies in the range of color offerings. Only six shades of the Clarins Lip Balm Crayons are available and most feel like they’re best suited for the over-50 crowd. The exception to the rule is the shade 01 My Pink, which contains pigments that react to the pH of your lips and boost their natural coloration, thereby providing a subtle effect that’s essentially tailor-made for you.

Below are swatches of all the shades so you get an idea of why I’m categorizing them as a bit matronly and drab.

Below are swatches of the shades 01 My Pink (which, like I said, is an intuitive product and quite lovely) and 03 Tender Coral and 05 Delicious Plum, both of which I find a bit too tawny and raisin-y.

clarins-lip-balm-crayon-swatches-in-my-pink-tender-coral-and-delicious-plum

clarins-paris-lip-balm-crayons-in-my-pink_tender-coral_and_delicious-plum

Next, check out swatches of the 04 Sweet Cherry, 06 Soft Coffee, and 02 Creamy Pink shades. Now, the Creamy Pink is an okay color, a warm pink with peachy tones, but how can the Sweet Cherry shade not pop? It’s baffling! See for yourself:

clarins-paris-lip-balm-crayons-in-creamy-pink-sweet-cherry-and-iced-coffee

clarins-paris-lip-balm-crayons_in_02-06-04

Now, to further establish my point, look at five of the shades grouped together:

clarins-lip-balm-crayon-swatches

Doesn’t the collection seem a bit one-note? All the shades are way too similar in their coloration and the collection lacks variety, drama, and a youthful energy. There’s none of the hot magentas, berry pinks, vintage cherry reds, and zesty orange shades that Clinique offers. And that’s the main problem here. Otherwise, Clarins would have a huge hit on its hands.

That said, I imagine there’s a demographic that appreciates these sensible and earthy shades and, if you happen to belong to that demo and are floored by these colors, you can buy them for a limited time at Clarins.com and Macys.com

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