Colour changing make-up: How it works and the products on our radar

It's not magic, just science.

Harper's Bazaar India

We’ve all seen the videos of the clear gel blush transforming into a delicious rosy pink colour when applied or a green lip oil leaving behind a perfect pink pout. While these products look like they are straight out of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, we can assure you, these make-up marvels are real and they work like a charm. 

No one can deny the pop star-like ability of these colour-changing products (they put on quite a show!). However, their true beauty lies in the fact that they use pH-powered technologies and science to achieve a flattering shade on all skin tones. And if you’re wondering how they instantly transform into the perfect hue for the wearer, read on. 

At the risk of this sounding like a chemistry lesson, pH stands for potential of hydrogen. Our skin is slightly acidic in pH and the levels vary from person to person. These make-up products use colourless, weak acids (don’t worry, these aren’t harmful) that change colour through a chemical reaction when they come in contact with something with a higher pH level, i.e. our skin. In this way, a black-hued blush will turn a different shade of berry pink on different people. Fascinating, isn’t it? These products are ideal for all those who want a natural-looking subtle finish. 

We’ve listed a few of our favourite colour-changing make-up products to help you use this innovative branch of make-up to elevate your vanity! 

Dior Addict Lip Glow, ₹3,400   

The Dior Addict Lip Glow uses colour reviver technology that interacts with the moisture levels of the lips to reveal custom colour and add a subtle shine. Infused with cherry oil, it claims to hydrate the lips for 24 hours. 

Typsy Beauty Shade Shifter Lip & Cheek Oil Midnight, ₹1,099     

Infused with goji berry and blackberry, this lip oil by Typsy Beauty is a pH-powered dream. Don’t let the black colour of the product throw you off balance. Upon application, it turns into a custom berry-pink shade. It nourishes and hydrates the lips and leaves the cheeks with a natural dewy flush. 

Givenchy Le Rouge Interdit Baume - N10, ₹4,200   

With an ultra-nourishing formula that promises 24-hour hydration, this lip balm by Givenchy is unique in many ways. It is enriched with hyaluronic acid, jojoba seed extract, and acmella oleracea flower extract. These skin-friendly ingredients moisturise, soothe, and enhance the lips while leaving behind a berry popsicle-like tint. It’s the product you didn’t know your on-the-go beauty bag was missing. 

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Color Adaptive Cheek + Lip Stick, ₹3,700    

One of the most viral and cult-favourite products, this cheek and lip gel stick by Fenty Beauty has us all fascinated. It uses a unique colour-shift technology to bring out a rosy colour that flatters all skin tones. It reacts to your skin’s natural chemistry to customise a shade that works perfectly for you and leaves behind a soft dewy finish. 

Espressoh Glassy Blush, ₹3,420    

Before you raise your eyebrows at us, this is a transparent gel blush that turns into a pinkish tint when applied. The colour intensity and shade will vary depending on your skin tone and pH. This way this blush suits all skin tones. But that’s not all. This product contains a dash of caffeine to boost hydration and provide a healthy-looking glow to the skin. 

Clinique Almost Lipstick - Black Honey, ₹2,200   


The love child of lipstick and lipgloss, Clinique’s Black Honey lipstick has shown up on everyone’s Explore page on Instagram, at some point or another. It’s a lightweight lip colour with a balm-like texture that glides smoothly over the lips. Don’t let its extremely dark (almost black) hue fool you. Upon application, it shifts to a berry-like sheer tint that looks different on everyone and flatters all skin tones. If we didn’t know any better, we’d think it was formulated with a magic potion! 

Milani Rose Transforming Lip Balm, ₹1,775   

Packed with rose oil, coconut oil, and Vitamin E, this vegan and cruelty-free lip balm deeply nourishes and protects the lips from environmental damage, leaving them full and radiant. Its pH-reacting polymers interact with your skin’s chemistry to transform into a flattering rosy hue. 

Tarte Maracuja Juicy Lip & Cheek Shift, ₹2,700   

Described as ‘a mood ring for your make-up’, this pH-powered lip and cheek tint shifts to reveal a delicious bubblegum pink shade with sheer coverage. It is packed with the goodness of hyaluronic acid, grapeseed oil, goji, acai, and many more natural ingredients that keep your skin hydrated and plump.