Enter the Realm: Wu-Tang's Newest Release Is ... Lipstick?

It’s no secret that the many-membered Wu-Tang Clan is a diverse and multitalented crew with a plethora of creative ventures. But the latest collab from the legendary hip-hop crew is one we never could’ve predicted.


Last week, the collective debuted a line of lipsticks with cult favorite Milk Makeup, described as “longwear, enlightening lip armor.” For maximum impact, the ever-athletic and pouty Teyana Taylor was recruited to do a Shaolin Kung Fu-inspired campaign video (which you can check above—it’s very Kill Bill).

So, are there “36 Chambers” of lipstick? Nope, just eight super-saturated shades in super-chic packaging, featuring black and gold lacquer casing emblazoned with the Wu-Tang symbol and an interpolation of the Milk logo, including the Mandarin symbol for beauty, and a custom-sculpted golden dragon embossed into the barrel of the lipstick itself.

In short, it’s gorgeous.

As with all of Milk’s beauty offerings, the shades are vegan and paraben- and cruelty-free. In keeping with the theme, they feature ingredients like “sacred lotus water,” cherry blossom, and ginseng. As the beauty brand’s site explains:

The empowering philosophies of Wu-Tang x Milk Makeup merge to give you ceremonial beauty tools to help unearth your deep inner wisdom and the raw power of the Wu. Inspired by the underground NYC roots of Wu-Tang and Milk Makeup, this collection, comprised of 8 luxe Lip Colors, combines enlightened ingredients with high impact colors, providing the modern Wu Warrior with ritual armor for self-expression.


As for the shades? They come in high shine, nourishing matte, and dimensional glitter finishes and range from a shimmery pale rose gold to a true red (there’s even a glittery purple shade thrown in there). Each is named to represent one of the eight trigrams of the I Ching, specifically:

Chi (Thunder) - True Red; Fire (Fire) - Matte Orange Red; Ruckus (Lake) - Hot Pink; Frequency (Water) - Purple Glitter; Source (Earth) - Burgundy; Cypher (Mountain) - Cocoa; Flow (Wing) - Spiced Rose; and Sacred (Heaven) - Shimmer Rose Gold.


“The shade range embodies all of the different personalities of the Wu Warrior. You select the Lip Color that’s going to capture what you’re trying to represent that day,” explains Milk COO Dianna Ruth on the brand’s site.

On the Wu-Tang x Milk Makeup webpage, you can even consult the I Ching to reveal your perfect color. I tossed the coins to find that the dark and dramatic Cypher (Mountain) was predicted to be my signature—and spiritual—shade.

Mountain, the peak of personal wisdom and mastery. Ascend to the highest point of self-knowledge by sitting in stillness. Move slowly upwards towards new understanding, gaining perspective with each step. This high shine cocoa shade grounds your climb just as liquid swords illuminate the path.


But you don’t have to just stop at one—if you can afford it. Each of the eight lip colors is $55—though if you’re a true “Wu Warrior,” maybe $440 for the entire highly pigmented set doesn’t feel like too much of a splurge. In fact, you don’t even have to be a lipstick wearer to get in on this collaboration; a limited edition 24-karat gold-plated mirror ($75) shaped like the Wu-Tang logo is available for pre-order. Or you can show Wu some lower-priced love with a set of three collaboration-themed enamel pins ($18).


But don’t take it from me. Let RZA himself get you hyped about Wu-Tang’s latest release:

“Beyond the common denominator of Wu’s and Milk’s NYC cultural background, I’m excited about this collaboration for the Yin, or Feminine energy, that it invokes,” he says on the website. “Milk Makeup has been bold in creating beauty products with unique ingredients. This collab dives deeper into that realm and I’m sure will inspire the Wisdom Beauty and Strength of today’s Modern Warriors.”


Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



Okay, serious question; is this not feel a bit appropriative with the package design and the Yijing shade-picker? (That’s technically based on a spiritual or philosophical text.)

The packaging is pretty, but it feels like too much to me. I would feel a bit odd (about it) if an American company made a faux Mayan makeup line inspired a Mexican film/genre, or if whomever controlled the the Coachella name made a War Bonnet inspired fashion line.