My method for reviewing lip balms is simple: buy, try, stash, live with it, conclude. What this means is that it is very easy to impulse-buy lip balms at every turn of your busy life because you forget them at home, because the weather is suddenly really, really dry and you need a super-powered balm, or simply because there is a new one with a cute packaging that you just spotted at the cashier's register; those little nothings are always placed at strategic locations to make you realize about their existence at the last minute of your shopping spree.
There are so many of them, in your basket and in the world at large, that it seems futile to try to keep track of them. But what is very helpful is that the gesture of applying lip balm is actually quite instinctual, a little bit like licking your lips to hydrate them momentarily (don't do that of course, it will make matters worse!). So what I do is I allow things to settle. The ones that really matter have a way of floating back up to the surface and you have to conclude after some time has elapsed that the settling is done and that this lip balm has something to say for itself because you did not forget about it at the bottom of your stash and it is actually useful. You tend to have a grateful thought for it. You actually enjoy using it. And you know it has a clear defined goal and a repeatable effect you look forward to recreating...
MAC Suntints SPF 20 Liquid Lip Balm is not a perfect product because the high SPF shield it contains, you can actually taste and it is bitter and not very pleasant. The fact that this balm is liquid-y emphasizes the problem: the formula tends to run into the mouth. It is actually flavored with a sunscreen smell with an added vanilla gourmand note, but this is not enough to eradicate the bitterness.
But I have found out that what makes up amply for this defect is, one, its very efficacious shine factor. The texture is on the sticky side but in a pleasant manner and reminds me of those ancient home-made lip balms cooked on a burner which used sugar as an ingredient. The balm sticks to your lips. It offers a high-shine crystalline effect that catches the light beautifully for as long as you don't wipe your mouth. Second, it is hydrating. Third, it is comfortable with its gliding surface.
I picked the color in Lilt of Lily, the lightest tint, and it works fine for a discreet touch of pink that is almost completely transparent.
One could fear creating the impression of having feasted upon greasy chicken with a high-shine gloss, but no, it does not look like a simple dribble of fatty sauce. It clearly is a well-engineered lip balm, especially from the points of view of its light-reflecting properties and its capacity to remain precisely contained around the lips.
If you can overcome your distaste for a bit of sunscreen bitter running into your mouth, then it's a great gloss-and-balm-in-one product. Plus, the SPF is there for a reason. Hopefully, the brand could work on improving the taste of similar products with perfumers in the future.
The turnover of collections at MAC is so frustratingly rapid that you can't really go in depth about the merits and demerits of their products over time. Baby Bloom is not on the MAC website anymore but you can find the products on eBay.
This review has given me at least an opportunity to expound on my personal lip balm philosophy and reviewing method.