TokyoMilk Dark's Femme Fatale Collection Lip Elixirs are my new obsession. Actually, I take that back. It's TokyoMilk that's my new obsession and these perfect tins of lip balm are just part of it. On a whim, I picked up two TokyoMilk Dark fragrances and these four Lip Elixirs and it was love at first sniff. I don't know how else to describe these but perfection.
The tins themselves are surprisingly large. They're bigger than a tin of Smith's Rosebud Salve, almost identical in size to a MAC blush compact. They contain a respectable 0.7 oz (19.85 g) of product.
You can remove the paper bands (they are stickers) from the tin, or you can cut the stickers along the edge of the lid and leave them on. This is how the tin looks with the band removed. I prefer the look of the tin with the band intact.
The back label has a full list of ingredients, TokyoMilk's phone number and URL, a lot code and a tiny version of the picture from the sticker.
petrolatum, microcrystalline wax, flavor, canola oil and aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf extract, tocopherol (vitamin E), tocopheryl (Vitamin E) acetate, stevia rebaudiana (Stevia) leaf extract, organic camellia sinensis (Green Tea) leaf extract, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil and jasminum officinale (Jasmine) flower extract, monarda didyma (Bee Balm) leaf extract.
Crushed Clove, Lavender Rose, Saigon Cinnamon, Vanilla Bean
The strongest note in here is clove. It's spicy and fresh, not like the dusty half-bottle of stale cloves kicking around in the back of your spice cabinet. At the back of the scent is something warm and smooth, the combination of cinnamon and vanilla bean. I don't smell any lavender rose. The flavor is stevia-sweetened clove that feels slightly numbing. It tastes just like an unlit Djarum Black kretek, sweet black paper and all.
Smoked Sea Salt, Burnt Sugar, Molasses, Vanilla Bean
This smells like a light, dry smoke in the tin. There's a bit of leather scent in with the smoke, but it's sweet and light. It actually smells just like an Irish flake tobacco, or a lighter, sweeter Latakia. There is something salty and savory about the scent, but underneath the smoke is a sweet and slightly sharp scent. I can smell molasses and burnt sugar, but only lightly. It tastes a little smoky with a strong scent of dry tobacco and leather, a little bit of a 'perfume' flavor, and it is sweet-tasting from the stevia.
Sweet Cream, Sea Salt, Caramelized Sugar, Toasted Vanilla Bean
This one smells exactly as it should. I smell actual salted caramel, not artificial/perfumey sharp, fake caramel like most caramel-scented beauty products. It smells rich and buttery, smooth, not excessively sweet and has a little bit of a candy corn or caramel popcorn note to it. It tastes lightly of buttery caramel and is slightly sweet.
Dark Rum, Maraschino Cherry, Sweet Milk, Cacao Bean
This is the only one that didn't smell exactly how I expected it to. It's odd, but good. It smells very sweet and syrupy, like cherry and something else. I can't quite identify the other scent I smell with the cherry and the rum is rather faint. The next strongest note I smell is chocolate, and then something milky and a little dusty or waxy smelling. Not unpleasant, just unusual. I actually really like how it smells. The taste is sweet, mostly like perfume with a little cherry and some of that milky-dusty note.
The balms themselves are colorless. The texture is firm and waxy, but not hard or dry. Imagine a slightly thicker, more dry Jack Black Lip Therapy. Like a cross between soft wax or hair pomade and vaseline. It's not melty or slippery and it is very thick and protective on the lips. It adds no color or shine, only a slight hint of a sheen that's barely noticeable.
What I liked:
- I adore the packaging. Everything about it is beautiful and very much my style.
- The scents are unconventional and awesome. It's not every day that you find a Smoked Salt flavored lip balm. Despite the unusual notes, they all smell and taste very good.
- The scents are strong, but not too strong. Strong enough to enjoy but not strong enough to make me sick.
- The balm is long-wearing and soothing, even though it feels more protective than truly moisturizing.
- The tin contains a lot of product. 0.7 oz. I'm sure I'll never be able to finish one of these.
- They're very inexpensive for how nice they are. Only $7. That's a steal.
- They can be used as cuticle balm or hair balm, so they're versatile.
- They don't seem to melt into a liquid if I leave them in the car when it's warm out.
- There's only enough stevia in the formula to make it taste sweet. Too much stevia in lip products makes them taste bitter and I really hate the taste of stevia to begin with, so I'm glad these don't go overboard on it.
What I didn't like:
- I don't normally like lip balms in tins. I hate having to put my fingers in them or remember to carry a lip brush. I'll make an exception for these just because everything else about them is so great.
- The tins get nicked and scratched fairly easily.
- If you cut the bands instead of removing them, the ends can peel up and catch dirt and lint.
- This is really a complaint about beauty.com, not about the product itself, but something important to be aware of nonetheless: If you order these from beauty.com, they put a sticker over the back that's hard to remove without damaging the label or the band. They also send glass TokyoMilk Dark eau de parfum bottles unboxed, with stickers over their labels, bouncing around in cardboard boxes without bubble wrap.
- The ingredients aren't so great; the first three are petrolatum (aka Vaseline), wax and canola oil. Not the most high-end formula, but at least they feel and smell nice.
I love these. I already have La Vie En Rose on the way from Sephora, and I plan on picking up the rest of them at some point in the near future. With as many lip balms as I own, it's hard to believe that I could find something unique to add to my collection, but there it is. I do wish that they weren't in tins, but then they probably wouldn't look as cool if they weren't. The tins are charming. Look at them! How could anyone resist?
TokyoMilk has their own web shop, and if you sign up for the newsletter, they'll send you a code for a free gift on your first order. Sephora has also just started carrying the TokyoMilk Dark line, though the Lip Elixir selection is limited.