What went viral 5 years ago today: Lipgloss that changed colors when you were horny

In March 2010, the Internet fell for a gimmicky lipgloss product that changed colors according to mood

Published March 19, 2015 9:33PM (EDT)


You held out for as long as you could, but one day — against your better judgment — you clicked on a “viral video.” A song about chocolate rain. A man going full-psycho over double rainbows. Rebecca. Effing. Black. You didn’t feel great about it, but you just couldn’t help it.

We may never have a hard-and-fast gauge on what makes something “go viral” — something to do with wisdom tooth meds? — but we can still, retroactively, attempt to make sense of some of it. That’s why every Thursday, in true #tbt fashion, we’ll be taking a look back at the things that went viral exactly five years prior.

Here’s what was buzzing around the Internet for the week of March 19, 2010: 

Five years ago today, everyone wanted to talk about Too Faced's "Mood Swing Emotionally Activated Lip Gloss." Though the product was intended to capture all sorts of emotional changes (much like a mood ring), media outlets framed the product as "horny lip gloss!" This, of course, quickly became the subject of one of the week's most-viewed YouTube videos titled "Horny Lip Gloss Now Exists!" In that video, vlogger Phillip DeFranco wondered about all the ~awkward~ scenerios his bros might encounter if they were in the presence of a woman while her lipgloss changed to deep red. (That's the color, according to Too Faced, the shade was supposed to turn when a lady became aroused.)

According to NBC's 2010 column "Does it Work," ... it didn't work! Here are the color changes from that report that customers were told to look for:

  • Totally Zen (nearly white lips)
  • Slightly Smitten (pearly pink)
  • Feelin' Frisky (light pink)
  • Dirty Thoughts (darker pink)
  • Hot & Bothered (fuchsia)
  • Basking in the Afterglow (a deep rich pink bordering on red)

Ultimately, the author wasn't able to find any correlation between arousal and color change, noting at one point: "The strongest change in color seemed to take place right before I left for the dentist's office for a scheduled root canal. Granted, I was a little Hot & Bothered, but not in what I'd call a good way."

It's a wonder that anyone had any patience left for Too Faced's color-changing lipgloss by the time the product cropped up in March. Only a few months earlier, debate erupted over another color-changing lipgloss from 2 Love My Lips which aimed to provide date-rape detection. When the lipgloss was exposed to roofies, the shade was supposed to turn blue to alert the wearer. Jezebel's Katy Kelleher, at the time, said that it rubbed her the wrong way. "It is great that they want to help women avoid creepy rapist assholes, but it seems a little odd that this is marketed as the merger of beauty and safety." The product also had some big flaws: It didn't work with wine, most fruit juices and it didn't detect Rohypnol.

Watch the "Horny Lip Gloss" viral video below:

See also: what was buzzing around the Internet for the week of March 12, 2010

By Colin Gorenstein

Colin Gorenstein is Salon's assistant editor of internet and viral content. Follow @colingorenstein or email cgorenstein@salon.com.

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