One Shade to Flatter Them All: Clio Tension Lip #7 'Some' Review & Swatches on Fair, Medium, and Deep skin tones

Time for more fall-appropriate makeup adventures!  I'm quite excited about this post because not only do I absolutely freaking love this lipstick, thanks to the help of two lovely fellow K-Beauty bloggers, I'm going to be able to show how it looks on skin tones other than mine!

I not only love this lipstick, but it's been my go-to shade side I started using it in ... July?  (Seasonal appropriateness be damned, I love plum shades.)   I made a summer haul from Clio's official US site which included this lipstick, and was very excited about it as it was sold out on the site from which I'd been hauling, but to my sadness it didn't survive the trip.  When I opened it, the lipstick was nowhere to be found- it had melted and slid into the lid.  Nooooo!   I let Clio know about a (sunscreen) hiccup in my order which was my fault, I mentioned what happened to the lipstick, and to my delight, they offered to send me a replacement!

My pristine replacement tube, finally ready for photos.
When the weather cooled off, I contacted Clio to arrange to add my replacement lipstick to an order I was making- which is how got my hands on the new eyeshadow palette from Clio; you can check it out here: First Look & Swatches: Clio Pro Palette

In this post:
  • Product Details
  • Lip Swatches on NC10, NC35, and NC/NW45 skin tones
  • Comparison swatches with other red/pink/purple lip products
  • Final Thoughts
One of the drawbacks of looking for makeup swatches online is the swatcher may not have a similar skin tone as you- this is especially an issue with K-Beauty and deeper skin tones, which are distressingly underrepresented.  So for this post, I reached out to some friends who are both PoC K-Beauty bloggers on Instagram, and they agreed to test it out for me for comparison's sake!

Amazingly, all three of us absolutely love the lipstick despite having very different skin tones.  Swatches ahoy!

Product details

Full product name: Clio Virgin Kiss Tension Lip in #7 Some. Also known as #23 in the NYC Clio store.
Purpose: A highly pigmented and moisturizing lipstick which can be applied differently depending on the effect you're going for: a stain, a gradient lip, a full-on bold lip, etc.
Scent: Uh.  Be right back. *runs off to sniff*  It smells like ... lipstick?  It's not a strong scent, it has that typical lipstick-y smell with maybe a faint hint of florals.  I've never noticed the scent and had to go off and huff it just for the sake of this section.
Texture: Smooth, rich formula that glides on really easily, and I like that.  It has a sort of plumping feel to it after I've been wearing it for a while, but it doesn't really tingle, burn, or numb my lips in a dramatic way the way some plumping lipsticks do.
Packaging: A standard lipstick bullet in an all-black plastic lipstick tube but the tube is surprisingly hefty feeling- not heavy, just reassuringly not-flimsy or cheap, and it has an almost rubbery texture instead of slippery, slick plastic.  It's not a rubberized container, just that the plastic has an unusual finish.  I think the lid has a rubberized lining at the tip, because the last few centimeters glides slowly as opposed to a loose click.  All in all, it gives it a nice high-quality feel which I appreciate.
Quantity: 3.5g, so a bit larger than a Mac lipstick which is only 3g.
Rating:  4.5/5 It will slide around if you aren't careful because it is a moisturizing lipstick, but I love the colour and I love how many ways I can wear it and I love that it's moisturizing and I love that it's flattering on so many skin tones and and and and ... yeah.  I like this a lot.
Where to get it: $20 on Club Clio's official US store | $18 on Amazon Prime | $13 on EBay from KR directly (just beware of counterfeits, and shipping conditions!)
Repurchase:  Oh heck yes.

Swatches on NC10, NC35, and NC/NW45 skin tones

NC10: Me (Snow White and the Asian Pear)

I'm a typical Fitzpatrick Type I/II (burns easily, doesn't tan, freckles, Scottish/Irish family background) strong yellow undertones.  Mac doesn't make an NC10, but based on NC15 (their lightest yellow-tone shade) that's what I'd estimate my skin shade would be.

As I mentioned in last week's Clio Pro Palette first look + swatch post, I am very unskilled at makeup.  This is part of the appeal of K-Beauty- the subtle, natural makeup trends that don't require application skill to follow.  I normally wear a thin cushion layer, a tiny bit of spot concealer, maybe some Blinc tubing mascara, and a soft, stained lip. So you aren't going to get professional-looking swatches here, and there's going to be some very uneven, aging lips.  Brace yourselves.

My lips are small, very curved/pointy, uneven, and really lacking in natural pigment.  *sobs in the corner*  The silver lining is that the gradient lip trend is my friend- my lips already have a naturally obscured lip line and the fade-out at the edges helps hide a multitude of lip sins.  It lets me avoid drawing attention to my uneven lip line & pointy cupid's bow without having to define my lip shape- which requires a lot of correction and also mindfulness not to press my lips together and thus transfer pigment outside the areas I've already defined.

I am wearing a Hera UV cushion in #13 in these photos, and it's a reasonable match for me- it pulls a bit pink, but it's almost a match in lightness.  You can see how it compares to my neck, which has no makeup or sunscreen on it, in the full-on lip photo after the jump.  Here's how I normally wear this lipstick: as an all-over 'My Lips But Better' stain, or a subtle K-Beauty style gradient lip.

How I do an age-appropriate gradient lip in 3 steps.
You don't have to use balm, I just used some to prep my lips for swatchmania.  I am not wearing concealer or makeup over my lips, because they're already really poorly pigmented *more sobbing* but if you have strongly pigmented lips you can tone it down with concealer or base makeup.

By the way; the overcast natural light really blue-tinted these photos, and washed out my skin, but I didn't want to mess with them too much other than to blur the hell out of my skin because ain't nobody want to see the realness of these pores.  Believe me.

The problem with these swatch photos is that they don't show the true amazing beauty of this colour, and so, armed with just concealer on a brush and determination (I laughed when a friend asked if I had a lip pencil to help the process), I tried to do a full-out filled-in lip to do the actual plummy berry wine shade of this lipstick justice.  Oh snesus.  Even blur can't save the tragedy that is my skin.

Um. I can't even.  At least the colour is accurate?
Uh.  Kudos to those who can do things like line their lips with concealer without making their skin look like a heavy, cakey mess, because that is not a skill I possess.  I tried to blend the concealer out into the rest of my makeup and it just went all wrong.  Sigh.  Also, even though I'm now wearing enough makeup to choke a sheep, I've not messed with the shade of my skin- my neck in these photos is bare (and unedited, just out of focus), I've only blurred the hell out of my face.

NC35: Me Lub Beauty (@melubbeauty on Instagram)

Me Lub Beauty is a microblogger on Instagram, where she posts reviews, routines, and a mix of K-Beauty and western makeup and skincare.  She is also Indian-American, and although she has a 'medium' skin tone at NC35, like many Desi women, her K-Beauty makeup choices can be limited.

She'd never tried a berry lip before, so I decanted some (heh) for her and sent it off in a care package.  It looks absolutely stunning on her, although very different than it does on me, and here's her swatch and thoughts:

Howdy Snow's lovely readers!! Cat was absolutely amazing and sent me my very first berry lipstick and the one that started it all for me! I've even already "hit pan" on the little sample she gave me (a sure sign I need to buy this ASAP).

On to the details: this lipstick is fabulous! I found it highly pigmented, long lasting and even slightly moisturizing. I tend to wear a fair amount of makeup so I went full out opaque color in the lip swatch below; my super pigmented lips also tend not to fare well with gradient lips unless I use some concealer over the edges (not a fan). I applied this with a brush due to the whole pot decant situation, but I think that might be a good idea since it's not a nude lipstick. This will help you get crisp lines, even if it does take longer. I will say that as highly pigmented as this lipstick is, it didn't cover up the uneven pigmentation of my lips completely (but you can really only tell if you look closely).

Image courtesy of @melubbeauty
Below is also a hand swatch of this lipstick (1), MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC35 (2) for reference, and Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Aubergine (3). The Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Kir Royale also swatches similarly on my hand.

Image courtesy of @melubbeauty
I actually rocked this lipstick on a day out shopping (applied like in the lip swatch) and was surprised at how long-lasting the color was. Except for some slight fading on the inner portion of my lips and ever so slight smudging on the outer corners, the color held up really well. One gripe was that due to some wind, my hair got on my lips and actually transferred a bit onto my face in the first hour of wear. It was a small thing, but I'm not surprised since this is a slightly glossy and moisturizing finish. 

A few hours after a meal, I noticed that the shine had gone, but a true to color stain remained. This stain was pretty solid - it stayed bright even through oil cleansing! I had to scrub my lips a bit with a towel to get most of the stain off. 

All in all, I really adore this lipstick and I will definitely be purchasing it!

Although her skin is lovely, she pinged me in frustration over the unforgiving scrutiny of HD cameras; I told her if it wasn't for blur, I wouldn't be posting these swatches at all and to work that blur tool if she wanted it.  What matters is the lip colour, after all!

NC45: Tara (Kuro Nya @kuro_nyanya on Instagram)

Tara is also a K-Beauty Instagram microblogger, where she posts reviews, looks, and routines.  Tara is located in NYC, and after hearing me rave about this lipstick and saw how good it looked on Me Lub Beauty, she offered to pop down to the Club Clio store and swatch it on her skin tone.  The fact that she immediately bought it spoke for itself, even before I got to see how gorgeous it looks on her.  Here's her swatches and thoughts:

About me:  Skincare enthusiast who shares her AB and western beauty hauls, reviews, rants and fails on IG.  As a person of Caribbean descent I get matched as a different color every time I walk into a MAC but I am most often matched as NC45 with additional NW undertones.  Finding a base makeup that works is a challenge, made triply hard by limited shade ranges in AB. So I focus my passion on skincare and lip products!

Image courtesy of @kuro_nyanya
The color is gorgeous in the tube and goes on with what I would consider a low amount of drag. It’s got a nice satiny finish with an amazing amount of color payoff. I’m a lip liner kind of girl and generally line and fill in my lips completely before applying lipstick but I didn’t for this purposes of these swatches. 

Generally I don’t wear any colors straight out of the tube because I like shades with complexity and depth and they can be hard to find for my complexion.  My general MO is to line and fill in completely, then apply lipstick, then another color lipstick or maybe a different lip liner on top and blot and repeat until I have a color that I find interesting enough to stick with.

Image courtesy of @kuro_nyanya
I found “Some” to be complex enough on its own to not need this treatment which is VERY rare for me. On me it’s a pinky berry shade with a touch of purple that I find flattering and interesting enough for day and night wear.

So yeah, if anything I think it looks even better on them, and this is definitely my favourite lipstick that I own!  I seriously cannot believe this lipstick- it is like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants; somehow it looks great on all of us despite having such diverse skin tones.

Comparison swatches with other red/pink/purple lip products

Since it can be difficult to judge the shade on a monitor, I went digging for products to compare it to.  It turns out that I have two red shades from Nyx Cosmetics (their ubiquitous Round Lipsticks) which I never wore because they looked great when first applied and then instantly smeared everywhere and then disappeared shortly after.

Click for large size
From left-right:

  • Berrisom My Lip Tint Pack in Chic Purple, which is the only true purple I own.
  • Clio Virgin Kiss Tension Lip in #7 Some
  • Nyx Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Chaos
  • Tonymoly Catchu Wink Tony Tint in Cherry Pink (reviewed here) which is a lip stain, not a lipstick
  • Tonymoly Kiss Lover Lip Master in #3 Sexy Red
  • Clio Virgin Kiss Tension Lip #14 Red Jyuk
  • Nyx Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Snow White

So as you can see, #7 Some is a delicious plum-wine shade that is full of berry goodness.  It applies smoothly due to the moisturizing formula, and is very pigmented.  I puffy heart it.

Final Thoughts

I'm pretty sure that everything that needs to be said in terms of pigmentation, formula, finish, lasting power, and comparative colour has been said already, so this will be brief.  K-Beauty is sometimes synonymous with 'cheap' in that you can get a good performing product for a very low cost,  Also, many K-Beauty makeup options lean to subtle, sheer, or just not very pigmented, so many international fans stick to the western heavyweights for their 'point makeup' and then rely on K-Beauty for skincare and (if there are shades that match) base makeup.

There are a few brands that buck that trend, such as 3CE (3 Concept Eyes), VDL, and based off these lipsticks, Clio.  Clio isn't as cheap as Tonymoly, Etude House, or Holika Holika, but the quality is proportionately higher to match the price difference.  I'm definitely rebuying this when I run out, and I'm definitely interested in adding other shades in the Tension Lip line to my tinystash of "lipsticks I might actually wear." I absolutely love that it's either a stain or a lipstick depending on how I apply it, and that despite the bold colour, it's very wearable as a soft subtle lip or full-out autumnal glory.

Lastly, a huge shout-out to the lovely and talented bloggers who made this multi-skin-tone review possible: @melubbeauty & @kuro_nyanya!  Spoilers: there will be a giveaway coming up for this lipstick; follow me on Instagram for details!

All the best,

**Disclaimer:  The original tube was purchased by me from Club Clio USA.  The decant was provided to @melubbeauty by me, and @kuro_nyanya purchased hers at the NYC Clio store.  All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. Great review! Sadly I have not yet found a site which ships to my location :( Hopefully I will be able to travel to Asia soon and stock up on some products! I actually prefer lesser pigmented products over the western alternatives which give you the “on point“ look as you mentioned. It just looks way more effortless and healthy in my opinion! The comparison between the different skintones is a wonderful idea!

    1. Thank you, and I am sorry to hear that you're having sourcing issues :( I do really love being able to wear this as a more subtle stain as well as a full out lip. :D

  2. Thanks for including people with different skin tones on this review. i usually ignore these kind of products because of the reasons mentioned, but i'm thinking of trying clio now...

    1. A lot of people are in the same boat, including Me Lub and Kuro. It gives me the fuzzies to be able to accommodate more skin tones in my swatches, even if it's a bit of a logistical headache, because I think it's really needed. :)

  3. Great post! I love that you've showed the colour on a variety of skin tones - it reminds me of the Elle page where they showed one item on 6 different people. So helpful. Thank you.

  4. Wow the color is really pretty, I wish I could swatch. Thanks cool review, I love k make up reviews because there are jot many of them

  5. This is a great review! I'm so into berry and burgundy tones right now. I'm so happy you got bloggers with different skin tones to contribute swatches, I wish more blogs would do this! I'm NC25 and it's hard to know whether something is pigmented enough for my skin tone.

    If you're ever looking for more bloggers to provide swatches in the future I'd love to help out, I'm @astralizey on Instagram! I can buy my own samples too, not a problem (I hoard both makeup and skincare, my wallet wishes I had a single beauty hobby)

  6. That looks great on all three of you! And Cat, your lips looked gorgeous in that totally filled-in shot, it reminded me oddly of Sophie Ellis-Bextor's lips in the M on the Dance Floor video.
    I'm NC25-NC30... I think. Curious what that berry shade would do for me.