The MAC of Korea — But Better 😱: My Top Clio Products
That may be an audacious statement, but contributing editor Coco Park backs it up with years of makeup artist experience (and a sliiight beauty obsession). Here, she does a damn good job of making us want to *add to cart* the top Clio products in store.
I’ve heard people try to market brands as the “X of Korea,” and it’s always way, sometimes embarrassingly, off the mark. It reminds me of a funny scene from The Simpsons:
Marge Simpson: “Sweetie, you can still go to McGill, the Harvard of Canada!”
Lisa Simpson: “Anything that’s the something of the something, isn’t really the anything of anything.”
As painfully accurate as that is, I can’t help but go on record saying that, actually, Clio is like the MAC of Korea.
Bold statement, I know. But let me finish.
Clio, the mama brand of Peripera and Goodal, has over 21 years in the business, which seems like a lifetime compared to a lot of other newer brands that share the market. They’re well known for their modern and bold color offerings and slick packaging. In a world of cutesy marketing, Clio nails the sleek branding thing in a very defining way that very much sets the tone for their products and lets you know what you’re in for. And what are you in for, you might be asking? You’re in for a brand full of high quality, highly pigmented, highly creative skus. Kinda like MAC.
Like MAC, some of Clio’s most popular products are their eyeliners. Their Kill Black line is especially iconic. I remember when the Queen Goddess Hyori was their spokesperson, and I was like “OK, I need this eyeliner,” and it did not disappoint. Strikingly pigmented, tenacious as hell, and with a smooth delivery, the Kill Black liquid liner is a staple for everyone into Korean makeup. The eyes are such a huge focal point for K-beauty looks, and this liner is the perfect compliment.
The Gelpresso liners are another example of perfection. The high-shine of the highlighter shades puts a spotlight on your eye, and the dark colors are quite rich. They are every bit as good as MAC Powerpoint eye pencils, but honestly, they’re better.
As important as the eye products are, I have to give a huge shoutout to Clio’s lip products, which I find simply stellar. Their lipsticks come in a huge range of formulas. Huge range. I can think of eight different formulas just off the top of my head, and they’re all worth exploring. MAC may have that endless color pyramid, but Clio clenches the win for a number of different formulations. There is something for everyone here from lip oils, traditional lipsticks, lip tints, glosses, lip syrups, liquid lipsticks (I’m aware I sound like Bubba from Forrest Gump listing off shrimp recipes), and finally my favorite, the Lipnicure Glass.
What in the hell is a Lipnicure? It’s a freaking manicure for your lips. It’s a crazy pigmented liquid lipstick that is incredibly long lasting. So it’s like a manicure, but for your lips. Make sense now? Lipnicure! If you’re curious what it might be like, think of those awful MLM LipSense lipsticks, only way better (and a billion times nicer looking — holy hell, those things are tacky looking). I have quite the dry lip, and Lipnicures don’t even cause me to flake. It is my go-to product for when I need a lip color that will last me all day, my choice being the shade Born To Kill. You cannot put on a shade like Born To Kill, know it’s going to last all day, and not feel like a rockstar superhero.
Going back to their other lippies, I’m also a big fan of the liquid lipsticks, the Silkuid (Clio has a thing for portmanteaus, I guess) formula is especially nice and cushy with vibrant fun color offerings. Mad Hatter is one of the most wearable bold pinks for my complexion, which is a rare thing for me. (One thing I need to call out about MAC’s failings in this arena: Their lipsticks tend to start smelling “off” way sooner than their expiry date for me, and I’ve never once had that problem with a Clio lippie.)
All this lip and eye love and I haven’t even begun to touch on Clio’s BB cream game. Their Kill Cover line really does cover, and yes, kills it. The line is buildable to high coverage and comes in a variety of formulas like their lip products. There’s everything from the Kill Cover Liquid Founwear Cushion to the Kill Cover Realest Moist Foundation, with several offshoots of both.
Like most brands, their only weak spot is their appalling lack of shade selections. There are six (very light) shades available in their foundations, so I guess that’s like … many different vanillas at a sundae bar, but I guess it’s something. If you do find yourself within their shade range, you’re in for a long-wearing, high-cover treat. And yes, it performs leaps and bounds better than MAC’s foundations, which used to be my gold standard about 15 years ago but are now just trash comparatively.
Clio’s whole aim is to offer professional products that are also trendy, stylish, and innovative. And that last part — the innovative part? That’s where I think they actually triumph over MAC. What’s the last innovative thing you’ve seen from MAC? I can’t think of anything. Not since the great baked Mineralized Skinfinishes back in the early 2000s have I seen anything innovative from them. Hot take? Maybe. But I stand by it. MAC has some solid old classics that I remember fondly, but Clio is the home of the new classics I get excited for. Innovate my whole life, Clio!
So do you prefer MAC or Clio, and why? What are your top Clio products?