Sheer Ecstasy: MAC Strobe Lip Conditioner Sticks

Published in: MAC Makeup, Product Reviews

Imagine a nearly transparent version of your favorite brightly colored lipstick — what you’d end up with would look a lot like MAC’s new Strobe Kiss and Strobe Current Tinted Lip Conditioner Sticks, two little lovelies from MAC’s new Strobe Collection. In stick form both look bold and bright, but they apply unexpectedly sheer. Picture a transparent wash of color.



I got my hands on two of the five available shades — Strobe Kiss, a light coral with golden shimmer, and Strobe Current, a shimmery red plum.

At first, Strobe Kiss scared me because the color of the stick reminded me of an orange highway cone, but not so on my lips. Applied, it’s a lighter, semi-transparent version of MAC Lychee Luxe Lipglass, my all-time favorite coral shade. Tiny gold flecks catch the light just right at certain angles, bringing with them an added dimension to Strobe Kiss that makes my lips look soft and highly kissable.


Now, Strobe Current ain’t messin’ around either. A plum with golden red shimmer, it reminds me of a subdued version of MAC Contessa Lipglass. Keep in mind that it applies a tiny bit darker than Strobe Kiss does, so if you have light-toned lips, it might be the better choice to provide you with a lil’ more color.


These two shades bring it, but I also loved their light, non-stick texture. The formulas feels thin and slippery on my lips, and neither one has a strong taste or smell. As if that wasn’t enough, they also moisturize like a mofo! Earlier this week I had chapped lips, but after wearing Lip Conditioner for a couple days my lips returned to normal. These are so fab that I’m going to hit the counter for two more colors — Strobe Rays (a light caramel with golden red shimmer) and Strobe Blossom (a light blue-pink with red shimmer).

All five of the Strobe Tinted Lip Conditioner Sticks contain SPF 15, making them perfect for sunny days. I plan to wear them a lot come summertime.


Purchase MAC Strobe Kiss and Strobe Current Tinted Lip Conditioner Sticks at your favorite MAC Counter or online at

Happy Friday, ya’ll! We made it, whoo hoo! I’ve had a semi-productive day so far. I went for a long run this morning (long run for me), did some laundry and worked from home for a bit. During the run I heard a new song, Leavin’, by Jesse McCartney, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. It won’t stop playing!

What are you listening to today? Does it put you in the mood for the weekend?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 49 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Lovely shades on you. I got Rays but I think I prefer the actual LC in the tub because the more emollient consistency does better for my lips. But, I so likes the Strobe effect. Disco!

    Mrs. Lynne,’s last blog post..Let’s Discuss: 5 Must NOT Have Items!

  2. breezy says:

    Cute, I think I like strobe current the best although when comparing them side by side it looks like strobe deposits more color, is that right? These seem an easy option instead of random ol chapstick too.

  3. Karen says:

    Hi Lynne,

    I like the OG Lip Conditioners, too, but I always hate sticking my finger in the jar!

  4. Karen says:

    Hi Breezy,

    Yup, Current has more punch to it. If your lips aren’t very pigmented then go for that shade instead if you plan on wearing it by itself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. sgumed says:

    Hey karen,

    just started reading your very informative blog..learned some great makeup tips..i hope to try your smokey eye soon once all these crazy med school tests are over.


  6. Karen says:

    Hi Sgumed,

    You’re welcome, girl! I’m glad that you’ve picked up a few tips. I hope that smokey eye works… lemme know how it turns out.

    Good luck on your exams, doc!

  7. KK says:

    Mmmmmmmmm…helloooo lover!!!!

    I know what I’m shoppin for tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Julie says:

    Strobe Kiss looks so good!

    I love the Leavin’ song!

  9. Dao says:

    Oh thanks God for making you blog about this! I’ve been itchy to spend some hard-earned cash on some MAC but can’t quite find a reason to do so. Retail therapy, here I come!

    I’m wondering if my monitor does not give out correct colors or not but the 2 colors look the same on your lips. I think I need to test them out myself.

    Jesse McCarthy is really grown now and he’s so sexy!

  10. Candy says:

    It makes me so happy that you made a review of the lip conditioner! The other day I purchased one in strobe current. It’s been 2 days of use now, and I can say that my lips are looking healthier – well-moisturized…and I love the fact that they have a hint of color, too (upon application) for the “no makeup” look days.

  11. Amanda P says:

    I went for a loooong run today too! I felt like I was going to die, but my inner thighs thanked me afterwards.

    I love the lip conditioners in the summer because of the SPF. Do you use the Prep+Prime Face Protect SPF 50? I just bought SPF 30 tinted moisturizer but the color doesn’t match and I’d love to use my foundation with the Prep+Prime instead (if it’s good stuff).

  12. Jeanne says:

    Oh, pretty! I love tinted lip balms with SPF. I haven’t used the TLCs because like everyone else, I don’t like sticking my fingers in the pots (I make an exception for Tendertones, which are coming back! Yaaaay!). But these are really pretty; I’ll have to check them out tomorrow along with the Beauty Powder Blushes. Because that’s all I need, more blush and lip balm! (Note: I do not need more blush and lip balm.)

    Jeanne’s last blog post..Periodic Style Exclusive: Interview with Julie Teel, NYC Make-Up Artist, Part III

  13. Karen says:

    Hi KK,

    LOL! Have fun playing with them tomorrow on your shopping trip! Lemme know what you end up picking up…

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Julie,

    It’s fab. I wore it to the movies because I hate it when I eat popcorn gets all up in my Lipglass…yuk! Fortunately that doesn’t happen with Strobe Kiss!

    I’ve listened to this song about 50 times today… in fact, I’m listening to it right now as I’m typing this! “No more making you cry, no more gray skies, girl we flying on the G5, G5…”

  15. Fie says:

    I can’t wait for this to come out here. It’s the perfect solution for my chapped lips. ๐Ÿ™‚ The Strobe Current looks gorgeous. D: Ah there goes all my money.

  16. Karen says:

    Hi Candy,

    It’s pretty rad how moisturizing they are, yah? I was afraid that my lips would get even more chapped, which is what happens sometimes when I use lip moisturizing products (like ones with menthol or camphor), but that so didn’t happen with these!

    I wore Strobe Kiss today because I had a “no makeup”, low-maintenance look. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, hope your weekend is off to a great start!

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Julie,

    Yah it is!

    LOL, I officially can’t stop listening to this song, OY!

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    Hmm, Strobe Current should appear slightly darker – they are both very sheer, though, so don’t expect heavy coverage. Good luck retail therapy-ing! Lemme know what ends up healing you!

    LOL, so I feel like a total perv drooling over J. McCartney. But he’s pretty darn hot in this video. I could’ve totally been his babysitter, EEK!

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda P,

    Good for you! Are you a runner? I can’t really call myself one anymore because I don’t do it as much, but today I went for a 45 minutes (that used to be my warmup, LOL) and up some crazy hills! Loved it!

    I’ve only used one thing from the Prep+Prime line, and that’s the lip base. I didn’t like it! It dried out my lips and left them flaky and peeling, so that turned me off from trying anything else from the Prep + Prime line.

    Shu Uemura has a new primer/SPF product that works in a similar way, but it’s only SPF 10:

    It still looks cool though… I wanna try it!

  20. Karen says:

    LOL, Jeanne! You and me both. Have fun… don’t forget to visit Eversun and Shy Beauty! Those are my faves ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Karen says:

    Hi Fie,

    You and me both, girlfriend. I am going to Macy’s tomorrow to “visit” with a few products again! I dunno how much longer I’ll be able to resist temptation!

  22. TUPRNUT says:

    I just ordered Kiss and am anxious for it to arrive. But, honestly, I want them ALL. Ahh. I may have to order at least one more to fulfill my desire for these moisturizing lovelies!

    What am I listening to? “The Rosenschontz” – that my daughter got for her birthday.

  23. Karen says:

    Hi Tuprnut,

    I want ’em all, too. I already know that I’ll be using them several times a week (sooo super easy to tote around and apply) so I figure it’ll be worth it!

    I had to google your group daughter’s musical group, LOL, because I’ve never heard of ’em before. I hope you two are rockin’ out on this fine Saturday! ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s raining here today, boo! I so wanted to go outside for a run.

  24. Glosslizard says:

    Hi Karen!

    Happy Saturday! I’m just lazing about so far, I’ll do something later… really! ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually, I think I’m going to take the wee beasties out to see a movie today!

    Thanks for telling us about these! I’ve been looking (really liked strobe currant in the store), but I’m on the fence about them. Every year it seems like I get a tinted lip balm of some sort, use it about 4 times and then abandon it in favor of my showier lip glosses! It is awfully pretty though….

  25. Candy says:

    “I was afraid that my lips would get even more chapped, which is what happens sometimes when I use lip moisturizing products (like ones with menthol or camphor), but that so didnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt happen with these!” —-> I totally get you on this one! I was scared of the same thing — I have been on the hunt for a really good lip conditioner with some color to it ::: “lip treatments” usually left me with more flaky/chapped lips (even kiehl’s!) and so did “tints”.

    Thanks again, Karen! Hope you have a great weekend, too!

    LOVE your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Fun! What are you guys gonna watch?

    I have both a Tendertone and a Lip Conditioner pot but I hardly reach for them. I think the big part of why I ignore them is because they home in jars which are such a pain in the booty to haul around. I think I’ll use these more because they come in such a handy, dandy stick. I am going to rock these at the beach (whenever I get to a warm one with WARM WATER!).

    Have fun today! Eat extra popcorn for me!

  27. Karen says:

    Hi Candy,

    Aww, thanks so much, girlfriend! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I tried the Kiehl’s one too and my lips got chapped too. Have you tried Philosophy’s Kiss Me balm? That’s another lip conditioner that I like because it doesn’t leave the pucker flaky!

  28. Amanda says:

    I picked up my first John Legend CD yesterday, and wow, I’m blown away. It’s great!

    I also just went to MAC this afternoon, just for one of these babies-I thought I would get blossom, the pink one, but it looked too…..lavender on me. Weird. So I got Kiss instead and I agree-perfect-I will wear this a lot, since I love that it has SPF! I also got the “special edition” Viva Glam VI lipgloss-the “Fergie” one.

  29. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Oh, I totally agree — John Legend has some FANTASTIC songs. The lyrics are incredible. When I hear some of his lines I think to myself, “Dang! I wish I came up with that!”

    That’s interesting that pinky one looked purple on you. That happens to me with certain MAC shades, too, like Syrup. I have yet to try the Fergie Viva Glam, believe it or not. How do you like it?

    I went by the MAC counter today and played with some brown eyeshadow (honestly, like I need more brown eyeshadow) and then did a lil’ haulin’ at Laura Mercier! Fun!

  30. Dao says:

    Hi Karen,

    Got the Strobe lip conditioner stick today and I’m not so thrilled with it. It has the same smell, texture, but less pigmented than one of the indie lippie that I have. Strobe is only better by including SPF in its formula. Too bad it’s going back to the store, no love for it!

    I got 2 things that I wanted from Fafi! When the collection came out, it was sold out within a week. After that they restocked and I was able to get Cash Flow and Sugar Trance.

    Also got that BioFit bra from VS. It is very NICE! You’ve gotta try it. The bra holds everything in and up nicely the way I want it. The price is the same as Body by Victoria, I think. And it has a whole bunch of colors too but the colors are classy, not bright and obnoxious.

    That’s it, the end of my retail therapy. Now I have a big hole in my pocket. Oh, one more thing, I signed up for the Heatherette event. I was surprised that they didn’t ask me to pay $50 or anything. I would have to come, they do my makeup, and then I’ll buy some stuff. What is the etiquette for this kind of thing? Do I have to tip the MUA or anything?

  31. Glosslizard says:

    Hi Karen!

    We went to the Grand Lake and saw “Horton Hears a Who”, I really enjoyed it actually! At the end, a bunch of characters break into REO Speedwagon’s “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” LOL! Afterwards we went over to Fenton’s for sundaes! Yum!

  32. tania says:

    Good review karen! I bought current on thursday and I love to apply it in the middle of a workday like after lunch. Will want to stock up on these too but ill have to check out how the other colors look on me. I also got a peak of the heatherette testers. The dual ended pencils are so creamy and amazing!I can give you more info if you want just let me know! Of course the packaging rocks too! In my head is “you want a piece of me” by brit brit spears. That and college b-ball!

  33. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    Aww, that’s too bad. Are you sure you don’t want to keep it just for the SPF factor? Lips need sun protection too!

    Nice Fafi Haul! I like to wear Cash Flow by itself and then wear a few coats of black mascara when I want a low maintenance eye look. You’ll have lots of fun playing with both your new goodies.

    Hmm, I’ve never tipped a makeup artist at a special in-store event. Usually those “free” events mean you should budget enough money for 1-2 products. I’ll either buy stuff from the collection that I’ve had my eye on (but only if it looks cute, of course) or stuff that I planed on on buying anyway.

  34. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    What a fun day! I read that movie got really great reviews. I’m sure it was most certainly better than the one I watched on Friday night called “Doomsday.” It was one of those that’s supposed to be serious but ends up being unfortunate comedy. I laughed through the entire thing because it was so ridiculous.

    REO Speedwagon! They have some old school jams from 80s, LOL.

    “It’s time to take this shipment to the shore… throw away the oars, FOREVER!”

  35. Karen says:

    Hi Tania,

    Sure, I’d love any info. I am excited about the collection and am waiting to play with it in person. That will determine whether or not I fall in love! The textures that you described sound lovely though.

    That Brit song gets stuck in my head when I hear it, too. The one I end up listening too a lot is “Gimme, gimme more,” LOL. I read today that she got rid of a tattoo on the back of her neck. Hopefully she gets the help and support she needs soon!

  36. Amanda P says:

    I’m trying my darndest to be a runner! I’ve always done it whenever I felt like it (aka once a month), but now I’m training for my first race, a half-marathon on April 19. My whole family is coming out to support me and that’s definitely the best motivation.

    I’ve never used Shu Uemura before, can you believe it? But after realding all your ravings on the stuff I better get on it. What do you suggest as “must have” Shu products for me to try first?

  37. Lanie says:

    I got Strobe Kiss and love it. Love your eyes and the greens as well. BTW, I linked you just so you know.

    Lanie’s last blog post..Shopping: The Cosmetic Company Store, Vacaville, CA.

  38. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda P,

    That’s so awesome! A half-marathon is a ambitious first race so GO GIRL! What week are you in your training schedule? When you get to the point where you’re running for two hours straight on your training runs lemme tell you on thing that helped me — hiding frickin’ Gatorade in the bushes, no joke. I’d go on these really long training runs and I hated carrying a bottle on me, so what I’d do is drive up the route to the halfway point beforehand and then hide a bottle of Gatorade in the bushes. It would provide enough calories for me to get through the second half. I remember the feeling when I would finally reach the bottle… it was ecstasy, LOL.

    Definitely try the shadows because they’re really amazing! They have wonderful texture and payoff, and are virtually fool proof, especially if you want to start experimenting with color. I also LOVE their eyelash curler. It’s the only one I use now. It never pinches my lashes and has just the right tension. I like their blushes too, because they’re finely milled and melt right into my skin. If you go to a Shu Counter they usually have their entire color collection out on the floor. You can go in and just start playing (that’s what I do, LOL). If you need specific color suggestions let me know. I can look in my stash and pick out a few that I like (I can never remember their names because unlike MAC, Shu uses these very boring, slightly scientific product names).

  39. Karen says:

    Hi Lanie,

    Thanks, girl! BTW, I went to school up by Vacaville (UC Davis)!

  40. Holly says:

    Hi Karen,

    How do these compare to the tinted lip conditioners in the pots?? I bought one a few weeks ago and really like it, my lips feel better than ever and I really like the shine when I apply it with a lip brush!

  41. Amanda P says:

    Oh my gosh that Gatorade trick is amazing! I just bought a hydration pack–not to be confused with a fanny pack–and it’s definitely taking some getting used to. Despite the manufacturer’s claims it does bounce and I look like a complete dork (in the real world, but in the running world I’m cool, right?). This will be week six of my training and the long run is seven miles. It’s so amazing what our bodies can do when we work ’em hard!

    There’s only one place in Utah that sells She Uemura and that’s a boutique Park City. Maybe on one of my ski trips up there I’ll tell the guys to pull over so I can get my makeup fix, haha! You don’t understand how difficult it is to survive in this state- we don’t even have a Sephora!!!

  42. Shimmer says:

    Ok, yeah, seriously, I freaking love this stuff. I didn’t think I would but I did. I wore it to the gym yesterday, and I can say that through the sweating and the chalk and the grunting, it felt fabulous.

    Shimmer’s last blog post..Summer 2008: Stila Silk Shimmer Gloss from Kitten Color Collection

  43. Karen says:

    Hi Holly,

    These basically perform the same way, but are much more convenient because you don’t have to use a brush (or a finger, which I hate doing). They’re cute and kinda chubby too!

  44. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Oh, do you have one of the Camel back pack thingies with the straw? I always wondered how it would be to run and drink with a straw at the same time, ha ha ha! Maybe you have to tighten the backpack strings to prevent the bouncing? Hmmm…

    Week six, that’s great! Are you doing all of your running outside, or are you alternating with a treadmill? You are so right, the body is amazing in that it can endure such extremes. I dunno if I could do another half marathon to tell you the truth, though. I went a lil’ nuts during mile 10, LOL.

    You definitely need to pop by that boutique! Have those boys drop you off, and tell ’em to come get you in an hour (or two or three, hey, I could be there all day) so you have enough time to play. I can’t believe ya’ll don’t have a Sephora! *tears*

  45. Karen says:

    Hey Shimmer,

    I wore Stobe Kiss to the gym today, too. It lasted through 18 sets of upper body weights, woot!

  46. Amanda P says:

    My hydration apparatus is just a water bottle holder that goes around your waist. Running with a Camelbak is even more annoying because the backpack makes your back hot and the water is always sloshing around.

    I do most of my running outside. I feel like a hamster when I run on a treadmill, and I have some great trails around my apartment. I can’t imagine what it’s like running the hills of San Francisco; my car can barely make it up those steep streets!

  47. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I can’t stand those bottle holder thingys. They bounce all over the place and hit my bum, eek. Maybe you can just carry your bottle?

    Oh hill running is AWESOME! Seriously. Love. It. There is a lil’ bit of technique involved which makes it easier to get up the hill, but what I really love is flying down it. My spirit always feels so alive and free! It’s pure joy.

  48. jamiee says:

    I love both of these! I just got strobe current. ๐Ÿ˜€

    jamiee’s last blog post..Can You Say BLING?

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