I used to wear lipstick to work every day. Picking one out of the dozen reds, corals, or pinks every morning is now a morning ritual of a bygone era: In March 2020, my lipstick collection went on an indefinite hiatus. Since I work from home and wear a mask everywhere I go, the most I've done with my lips in the last year was a non-fussy lip balm. But I started to really miss playing with colors, and the way an unassuming poppy red or rosy pink could make my hazel eyes seem more hazel-y. That's the cool thing about lip products (if you're a lip product person): You know just how well they can transform a face.
And that's when Ilia Balmy Tint landed on my desk for me to try for work. It came at the perfect time: I had just started a new job (here, at Well+Good, BTW), and I was looking for a way to feel pretty and put together for my all of my new Zoom meetings with coworkers. The second I tried "Lullaby," a shade that bottles up the way your lips turn rosy after eating a bowl of berries, I knew this was the most perfect tinted lip balm I'd ever tried (and I've tried thousands—it's my job, after all).
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Before you think, "It's just a tinted lip balm," let me stop you right there. This lip balm is 50 percent tint, 50 percent creamy hydration that feels more like your go-to Chapstick than the more pigmented (and sometimes drying) tinted lip balm you're maybe used to. The formula puts huge emphasis on hydration, so that when you apply the balm, your lips are instantly coated with shea butter, rosehip seed oil, and salicornia (all natural ingredients that moisturize, protect, and leave lips more plump).
As far as color goes (for "Lullaby" at least), you're left with a subtle red you can build upon. Swipe once, it looks like you bit your lips (a natural flushed pink). Swipe twice or three times, you get a raspberry red with a pretty sheen. Before every video call, I quickly apply a layer of "Lullaby" to give my lips a touch of color, and it'll instantly brighten my face. It's also easy to apply: I was in a dark bar the other night and needed a touch-up, and didn't even need a mirror to blot on some color (the friend who I was with saw the Ilia tube and her face lit up—she has a shade in "Memoir" and also understands the magic of the Balmy Tint).
One more important detail about Ilia Balmy Tint: It doesn't easily transfer to cloth, so even though you're wearing masks when you leave the house, you can swipe on some balm and it won't leave your mask covered in lip prints. I'm really not exaggerating when I say this is the most perfect tinted lip balm, ever.
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