It is so satisfying to find a product that you truly love, enjoy using, and that delivers on what it promises. A clear lip balm isn’t something that is going to bring joy and excitement to everyone, but I love the soothing moment of a swipe of a nourishing lip balm and find as much luxury in its application as I do with a sparkly eyeshadow. I hadn’t been loyal to one in particular, bouncing from Bobbi Brown’s Extra Lip Tint to Tom Ford’s Lumiere Lip, but Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish Lip Balm has seriously raised the bar.
This is luxury lip balm, on steroids. I picked up the clear (white) balm as well as a tinted version in Passion Flower. The packaging is faultless, as you would expect for the (undeniably high) price. A shiny white lipstick-style case with gold trim, adorned with fabulous gold lips. Isn’t this what makeup is all about; glamour, fun, and the joy of using it – that moment of pampering ourselves.
The clear version looks white in the bullet, but it doesn’t leave a white or milky look on the lips but rather a clear, almost glossy layer of conditioning balm. This isn’t one you need to swipe and swipe – the payoff is immediate. In fact, this was my favourite lip balm after the very first application. My only concern is that with it’s super soft texture, I may reach the end of this bullet in record time. While not everyone will choose to pay this price for a clear lip balm, for those who do your money isn’t wasted. You’re not simply paying for fancy packaging – this balm feels really, really nice on the lips.
This would be a wonderful gift for a teenager who loves makeup but perhaps isn’t supposed to wear colour – there’s just no getting around those school no-makeup policies. It gives you all the glamour of a luxury lipstick while simply adding a moisturising sheen to the lips. It would also be a perfect treat for the beauty-loving sister or girlfriend who’s going through a tough time, or new mother, who, perhaps can’t find the time or energy to apply makeup with a newborn but can swipe on a lip balm and feel that little indulgence, a pick me up – a little moment of self-care for themselves as a woman, amidst feeding apps and swaddle cloths.
Passion Flower appears quite orange-peach in the bullet, but shows quite pink on my lips. It’s an easy-to-wear shade that I think would suit most complexions from pale to deep. Like the clear version, the texture is lush – balmy and nourishing. The colour pay-off is surprisingly strong with a more intense wash of colour than I expected. While still sheer, the tinted versions can easily be worn alone in place of a lipstick, and the effect is almost glossy (without being sticky) in the way of Lisa Eldridge’s Luxuriously Lucent lipstick formula.
My one niggling criticism is that the outer boxes feel flimsy and lacking in the luxury of the bullets themselves – and the price tag they demand. Perhaps they appeal to a younger audience, but I’d like to see them step up the glam on the outer packaging. Yes, packaging is just packaging, but it all plays its part in the ritual of a beauty experience. After all, taking the time and care to beautifully wrap a birthday, Christmas or ‘just because’ gift is part of the act and love shown in giving it, and amplifies the joy of receiving it.
It’s not going to be easy to find a lip balm to take this one’s place in my handbag. While there’s a place for Blistex and a tube of lanolin in my makeup bag , I’ll be reaching for these gold lips daily and wouldn’t hesitate to repurchase. I might not have been loyal to one lip balm in the past, but since using Pat McGrath’s it might just be monogamy for the Lip Fetish Lip Balm and me.
Find Pat McGrath Labs at Sephora