I tried a $7 dupe for my cult-favorite $23 Clinique lipstick – the color was close and there was an unexpected benefit

LIPPIES are something that I, admittedly, feel like I have too much of.

In my bag, on my desk, and in my jacket pocket, there are at least twelve different balms, tints, and lipsticks on rotation at all times, scattered though they may be.

As a big fan of the cult-favorite Clinique Black Cherry lipstick, I wanted to find a budget versionThe US SunThe US SunIn the tube, the two lipsticks seemed similar but not a perfect match[/caption]

One lipstick I have been reaching for non-stop lately is the cult-favorite Clinique Almost Lipstick in the shade Black Honey.

At $23, it is definitely not the most I’ve paid for a lip product, but it’s certainly up there for a budget girlie.

I had heard through the grapevine (TikTok, mostly) of affordable dupes for the lipstick and quickly ordered one that looked closest to my fave — the e.l.f. Hydrating Core Lip Shine Balm in the shade Ecstatic, $7.

The second I got the notification the dupe had been delivered, I ripped off the plastic packaging and got to testing.

Opening up the chunky tube, I was pleasantly greeted with a heart in the middle of the balm — a cute touch.

At first glance, my Clinique lipstick and the balm didn’t appear to be a perfect match.

On the initial swatch on the back of my hand, I confirmed that there were key differences between the two shades.

The Clinique was a tad more cool-toned red-berry, while the e.l.f. was a vampier, more purple berry.

The e.l.f. also had a much more apparent sheen, which wasn’t surprising considering the product’s name.

On the first application of the dupe, I was immediately hit with a fake candy smell, bringing me back to my middle school days when Maybelline’s Baby Lips balms were trendy.

This wasn’t a dealbreaker, however — the smell quickly dissipated.

Compared to my Clinique, I was surprised to see that, despite the difference in my swatches, the colors looked extremely similar on my lips.

The Clinique lipstick leaned slightly redder while the e.l.f. was a bit vampierThe US Sun

Even more surprising was how after a few hours, the balm had what felt like a much more hydrating wear than the Clinique.

Over the course of the next week of trial, I found myself reaching more for the e.l.f. version, more out of necessity in New York’s harsh winter.

My final conclusions: While the Clinique Almost Lipstick has stronger and more even pigmentation, it is also waxier in texture compared to the hydrating el.f. dupe, which I would recommend for those with drier lips.

As for me, I guess I’ll be adding yet another lipstick to my seemingly never-ending stock.

The US SunI tried on the Clinique lipstick and noticed better and more even pigmentation[/caption]

The US SunThe e.l.f. dupe was close in color and was also shinier and hydrating — perfect for dry and dehydrated lips[/caption]