The Truth About Colour Changing Lip Balms


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Suddenly one day, when I was slathering on my Maybelline Color Bloom lip balm, I was really marveled at how it is personalized to every girl. The colour changes according to her own body conditions giving her a unique pop of colour.

The Truth About Colour Changing Lip Balms

“The balm transforms into a color that is uniquely yours.”
“Color blooming technology with tone-revealing pigments reacts with the unique chemistry of your lips to give them a healthy flush of color.”
“Now lips bloom with true-to-you color!”

I wanted to know the technology being this wonder and decided to dig deep into the ingredients.

Polybutene, Octyldodecanol…One by one I read about each of the ingredients trying to find anything special about them.

Isopropyl Myristate, No.
Ozokerit, No.
Strike. Strike….Sigh no breakthrough finding.


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And now to the ‘May contain’ list.
CI 77891, No.
CI 45410, Oh my God, yes!

This comes under the category of Bromo acids. The lip balms are created by dissolving bromo acids in a solvent like stearic acid or acidic coconut oil before combining it with the waxes and other ingredients. This is a zero water environment and these dyes are colourless in the absence of water. When we apply this on our lips, the moisture from our skin causes it to become coloured. So, it is just water+bromo acid=colour. The balm would become coloured irrespective of the pH or chemistry or blah blah of your skin. It is the pH and chemistry of water :-\

The Truth About Colour Changing Lip Balms

So, I thought this should give the desired result in anything that has water. I applied the balm on paper. And yes! It became coloured too!! So much for the uniquely yours and personal skin chemistry and true-to-you color claims.

The Truth About Colour Changing Lip Balms

Try it on paper yourself!  You can see that the product itself has small coloured bits due to moisture transfer onto the lip balm and to think it was in the “May contain” list *fooled by marketing gimmicks as always*.

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7 thoughts on “The Truth About Colour Changing Lip Balms

  1. My favorite color changing lip balm is lipice and I keep repurchasing it often. Thank you for shedding light on these lip balms Anjana 🙂

  2. excellent article! I’ve always wondered too. I think I read about the interaction between an ingredient with moisture, rather than lip temperature etc before but forgot. Thanks for the reminder. I’m ashamed to admit that I am a marketing person and yeah, we do market these ‘colour-changing’ lip products as that. But remarkably though, it does appear different on individuals. Maybe due to different pigmentation of the lips.

  3. Wow!! Amazing post. Kudos to you. You went through all the details of every ingredient to find the one responsible for colour change.

  4. I didn’t even read the lines for this, the first time I bought it. I ran into Health n Glow, grabbed it, bought it, tore it open right there in the store and applied it. Then I looked in a mirror and loved it!

    It’s never about the claims, because the claims are getting sky-high – reaching out to space! 🙂 Best to see what it looks like and feels like!

    Thanks for this post, this is fun to know!

  5. Skin pH is an important factor here. The pH of the skin is important but also the proteins in the skin. Bromo acid dyes are attracted to the amine portion of proteins such as collagen and will stain the skin tissue. Red 27 and similar bromo acids are in effect pH indicators. How a colour develops is actually impacted by the pH of skin, which itself is dependent on a number of different factors. You can check the ehmistry of this if you like online. So yes, skin’s chemistry is very relevant in the colour. Also the base colour of your own lips will affect final colour. There are many examples online from bloggers howing different colours achieved by different people.

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