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‘The entire lab smelled like barbecue sauce’: Applebee’s launches 4 lip glosses that taste like chicken wings

The collection is called Saucy Gloss, and it tastes exactly like wing sauce.

‘The entire lab smelled like barbecue sauce’: Applebee’s launches 4 lip glosses that taste like chicken wings
[Photo: Winky Lux]

Some things have no business being combined. Until today, I would’ve put lip gloss and barbecue sauce in that category, but here we are.

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Applebee’s has teamed up with makeup brand Winky Lux to create four “savory” lip glosses inspired by the restaurant’s signature wing flavors. For $18 a pop, you can choose among a creamy coral “Honey BBQ-T,” a deep-red “Sweet Chile Kiss,” a golden “Be My Honey Pepper,” and a smoky red “Get Me Hot Buffalo.”

Aptly named Saucy Gloss, the collection is part of a “dateable” music video campaign designed by Grey New York that showcases real, single people wearing the lip glosses while viewers can slide into their direct messages and ask them out. Yes, we have reached peak millennial ridicule, but at least now we can indulge in wing sauce sans the calories.

[Photo: Winky Lux]
The incongruous collaboration began a year ago, when Winky Lux founder Natalie Mackey got a surprise LinkedIn message from Applebee’s amounting to, “Are you able to make lip glosses that taste like barbecue sauce?”

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This inquiry kick-started a full year of R&D, from sourcing food-grade ingredients that can be used in lip gloss (think: garlic oil, chamomile oil, and honey) to nailing the texture so it doesn’t literally feel like a congealed chicken wing on your lips.

“The entire lab smelled like barbecue sauce,” Mackey says.

Each flavor comes with a matching shade designed to look like the real sauce but with a twist, like golden flakes for “Be My Honey Pepper,” or chili specks for “Sweet Chile Kiss.”

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Flavor-wise, Mackey says the Hot Buffalo sauce’s “pepper aroma” was the hardest to replicate. After more than 25 iterations, the team landed on a combination of red pepper chili, basil, tomato, molasses, and parsley.

Actual sugar, which features in most wing sauce recipes, was a no-go as it would be too sticky on the lips, so the flavors, according to Mackey, are “mostly savory.” She says, “I think [people] are going to think it’s either genius or super weird.”

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