Clark’s Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Tint

It’s easy to deride a balm. With hauteur and disdain, you roll your eyes up up over basic shea this or lanolin that. Big branded names do invariably lend a feeling of artificiality with their glossy packaging and unpronounceable names on the backside. Without promising any glorified fidelity to overhyped marketing claims, Clark’s Botanicals gives you a twist on the classical balm construction with Shea.  And, it works. The Ultra Rich Lip Tints ($19), in a variety of brushstroked colours, bring more than just Vitamin E. The tubes add splashes of essential & carrier oils to not only treat chappy lips, but also scent up your lips without a traditional, clichéd balmy fragrance. No, this is the real, petroleum-free stuff, baby.

Perfectly on trend (yes, we called it awhile back…oils are the new lotion), the balm starts off with Shea Butter at its core, but pleasantly surprises with a neatly crafted aesthetic of oils deftly rich in those much-needed essential fatty acids – Coconut, Castor, Sweet Almond, and Avocado oils with the occasional Beeswax and Carnauba Wax for added structure and staying power. Now, this is how you make a balm. What lies on this continuum of moisture is the fact that every oil brings EFAs and added antioxidants to treat fine lining before it happens. But, added to this supercharged roster is also whopping dollops of Marine Collagen Microspheres – tech speak for water soluble collagen, which keep moisture where it belongs, on your lips. Coconut oil, in particular, has high level of skin-penetrating antioxidants; these free-radical fighting compounds have been proven to help slow skin aging and reduce the wrinkling effects of sun damage.

Beyond this, Clark’s puts excellent essences into this juicy tube. Scented delicately with Jasmine & Vanilla extracts, the balm is a welcomed change from those spruced up, minted ones. Subtle layerings of Vanilla warms the abstract Jasmine here; creamy notes rounded out to a seductive end with Calendula extracts for a kick. Not even remotely gourmand, though you will want to slick on & lick off. Alexandra Rose (swatched above) is a serene pink for all skin tones, though do part ways with the classicism of matte with a sheer splash of red (Rachel Red) over unlined lips. The transparent glaze of semi-glossy, cherry red works nicely to make puckers look perfectly plumped.

And, that is what a noble balm should do. Let your lips embrace this brilliance.