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making faces :: love at first bite?

when i wrote up my list of formulas to find and formulas to avoid during the dry season, i did mention that i would have a review of toronto-based bite beauty coming up. in fact, i've been planning on this for a long time. how long? this long:

yeah, that's me with my full-on black hair, something i've been missing a little this week [the colour, not the hair itself], but that's another story.

in the photo, i'm wearing a lipstick by bite called "carmenere", which was the first product i picked up from them. in the last few months, i've accumulated another full size lipstick and a couple of little "goody bags", each containing two miniature lipsticks and a gloss. so, yes, that first shade really did whet my appetite.

as it happens, whetting the appetite is exactly what bite products should do, because they're pretty much the only cosmetics that are made with eating in mind. no, that doesn't mean they last through a meal [they don't], but it means that they're made entirely from food grade ingredients, so if for some reason you wanted to chow down on your lipstick, it wouldn't do you any harm. although the whole "you've got some lipstick on your teeth" thing would probably be way worse than usual.

based on the factoid that the average woman in the western world consumes pounds of lipstick over here lifetime, bite have made their lipsticks and glosses [they're an entirely lip-focused company] from food-grade ingredients. that makes me feel better, especially since, if i look around my office, the vast majority of women don't wear lipstick, meaning i'm probably eating for seven or eight.

uh-oh
what's even better? bite gives you a nice wine to wash down your lipsticks. their products are formulated with resveratrol, the antioxidant super-ingredient contained in red wine- the equivalent of a couple of glasses' worth. as a reminder, they've conveniently named their shades after wine-related things. did someone say lipstick and booze? i am so there.

CARE FOR A TIPPLE OR SIX... PRAY CONTINUE



bite's standard lipstick formula is their "luminous creme", which is aptly named in that it does have a lovely, satiny sheen and a rich texture. i've now tried six of their existing shades and every one has applied smoothly and evenly and felt just lovely on my lips. it's not one of the lightest formulas i've tried, but it doesn't feel caky or clingy either. it feels somewhat similar to hourglass femme rouge lipsticks- extremely soft and emollient.

this also means that the shades tend to be extremely pigmented- even the lighter and more natural shades.

the wear time on these colours is average to slightly better than average. if your lips are dry, they will tend to vacuum up the good stuff, which means that you'll notice fading a lot faster. under normal circumstances, the colour sticks around pretty well and fades very evenly, without getting flaky or uneven.

here's a brief run down of the colours i've picked up thus far, along with some little wine-lovers' tidbits to round out the bouquet...

"carmenere" is named for a grape varietal originally from france, but now nearly extinct there. it's associated chiefly with chile, whose growers seem to have been the only ones to notice that it wasn't just a good blending grape, but made a very tasty wine all on its own. the shade is a rich raspberry red, a little less in-your-face than a true red and a little cooler. it reminded me a lot of a more muscular version of yves st. laurent's "rouge vermilion".

camenere :: natural light
carmenere :: with flash
"barolo", named after the rich, hearty wine from northern italy, is a little bit of a stranger in the lineup. it's not opaque, which all the other shades are. it's a purply berry tone and quite a lovely one, reminiscent of mac's "desire", one of my favoruite all-time shades. as far as i can determine, this is the only shade of the luminous creme lipsticks that isn't opaque, which makes me wonder... why? it's a little trickier to get even, but it does look quite lovely once you get it right.

barolo :: natural light
barolo :: with flash
"tannin" is a real wow kind of shade. even among the ranks of red lipsticks, it's powerful enough to stand out from across the room. it's a cool tone, somewhat similar to shades like mac's "russian red", but not so cool that i think olive-skinned ladies couldn't get away with it. bite has some really delicious [metaphorically] reds and this one is certainly a showstopper. the biggest problem is that it fades fairly quickly- more so than other shades and more noticeably since it's so bold to begin with. it still looks nice, but it's the sort of colour you put on to make a statement, so you'd like that statement to remain forceful for longer than a couple of hours. oh and in case you've ever wondered what gives red wine that slightly rough edge in their taste- that would be tannins. they're also crucial in determining how a wine ages and the chief reason why it's a good idea to let a wine "breathe", because it mellows their flavour.

tannin :: natural light
tannin :: with flash
"cin cin" is described as a tropical coral, but i think it tiptoes across the line into the orange camp myself. it's at least on the very warm edge of coral, lacking any real pink tone. it's bright, but still wearable, especially on warmer skin tones. [i don't love the colour on me.] to my eye, it's a rich, summery apricot shade and it's one for which i really couldn't find many duplicates. yves st. laurent's "le orange" is deeper and more intense.

cin cin :: natural light
cin cin :: with flash
"pepper" is a neutral pinky brown. there are lots of shades like this out there, so while this is a nice, almost universally wearable shade, it isn't tremendously unique. i did find that there was enough pink in it to make it more flattering on my slightly cool skin tone than a lot of other shades in this range, which read more brown.

pepper :: natural light
pepper :: with flash
"fig" seems strangely named. it's a lighter, cool pink, which calls to mind neither the middle eastern fruit nor the deep, rich wines that are described as sharing its flavour. it's a sweet, feminine shade whose opacity gives it a little more impact than typical girly pinks. i think this would look lovely on women of colour, where the "oomph" factor would be increased. it reminded me of a cool-toned analogue to mac's "chatterbox"- a personal favourite.

fig :: natural light
fig :: with flash
of the shades i've bought thus far, "carmenere" remains top of my list, because it's a bit different than a typical red. all of bites shades are creams, with no hint of shimmer that i can discern. that makes them very 'strong' shades, but it does mean that they tend to lack some nuance. you won't find something as unique as you will from guerlain [who are the masters of creating depth in their colours], or the variety of finishes you get from nars- who are an obvious point of comparison, since they retail at the same price. however, for those who like rich, intense colours, the colours are a dream.

this is one of the few lipsticks that does leave my lips feeling better at the end of the day, which points to the fact that the ingredients are of great quality and that they're properly formulated. they have a faint verbena-like scent and a very slight herbal taste, although both fade fairly quickly. interestingly, nars has almost the same scent. i can't imagine it being strong enough to be off-putting for anyone and i'll come out and say that i really like it.

i've also tried a couple of glosses that are available from bite- "salute" and "champagne pearl". these are actually "lip shines", so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they're more about shine and less about colour. both shades were very sheer on me.

"salute" is a slightly warm, slightly milky pink that really just looked like my lips with a clear gloss over the top. you actually notice the colour far more in the close up shots than you do in person. chanel has a lot of sheerer glossimers that look like this.

saulte :: natural light
saulte :: with flash
"champagne pearl" has a warmer base- a kind of light beige-tan- with gold shimmer. because it's such a contrast with my own mauve-y lip shade, this one was a lot more noticeable on me, but it was still pretty sheer. it would be a great choice if you wanted to warm up a lipstick shade and, overall, i'd say that this one is a little more versatile than "salute", because it adds a bit more.

champagne pearl :: natural light
champagne pearl :: with flash
the formula reminds me a little of guerlain's 'kiss kiss' glosses, although it's a bit tackier [not too much]. they feel moisturising and last reasonably well for such sheer shades. there's more of a scent to these- slightly fruity and sweet- but it's still quite natural. i'll admit it- there's also a slight flavour and i like it. again, it's kind of sweet and herbal, a little bit reminiscent of a fruity tea. it's nothing compared to the strong scents you can get from yves st. laurent or estee lauder.

if you like fairly sheer, natural-looking shades, these are absolutely worth a look.

obviously, i've been bitten by the bite bug. i'm eager to try some of their other products and some of the new shades they've been introducing. they're available exclusively through sephora at the moment and, if you'd like to give them a shot, they have several "bite sized" kits that are perfect for trying out a few shades to see what you like.

Comments

anahdara said…
these look great!
i tried their matte lip pencil in zinfandel a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it....keep meaning to go back and check out some more colours.
i might try one of the multi-palette things...

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