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making faces :: written in the stars [in lipstick]

are themed collections of things you like dangerous to you? once you've started down a rabbit hole, does it become a necessity to complete the set, lest you be left forever feeling like something is missing from your life? are you interested in lipsticks? then stay away from the astrology by bite collection/ series that is rolling out month by month throughout 2018.

the collection is pretty much exactly what you think it is: a lipstick a month inspired by the zodiac sign that begins in that month. a lot of people are interested in getting the one for their own sign. but that's not me. i'm interested in collecting the whole damn thing. it helps that bite's amuse bouche lipstick formula is one of the nicest on the market and that i've been weeding through my collection of lipsticks to find those that have started to "turn" [smell like crayons or grow dry] so that in theory, i have room to add more. [you have enough lipsticks for three people who wear lipstick every day. there is no reason why you have to add more -ed.] [shut up, editor. -kate]

thus far, i've fared well but it hasn't exactly been fun. each lipstick has sold out on sephora within hours of its release. some have sold out so early in the morning that they barely count as being available. although the brand does warn that these shades are "ultra-limited" the inventory forecasting on this has been atrocious and, frankly, unforgivable. this is not the first monthly program that bite has done. they offered a series of special releases in a unique formula from their lip lab a few years ago. the social media response when they first mentioned the program should have served as a warning that this collection was going to be popular.

on top of the forecasting problems [not sure if that's the fault of bite or sephora], there have been issues practically every month with exactly when each item is available. there have been glitches with all the releases except the first that made the item appear like it was in stock when it wasn't, or that made it appear that the item had sold out when it hadn't, or that allowed customers to add the item to their shopping cart but not to check out, or that allowed product to be purchased for a window of three to five minutes before [wrongly] listing it as out of stock. [that one is entirely sephora's fault. there's no excuse for them not to know how to program in a new product, especially one with a regular release schedule like this.] bite has had a tendency to jump the gun on social media, telling customers that a product is available for purchase when it isn't. this results in customers going to the sephora website and being told that the product is sold out when it's actually never been available.

but the sad fact is that schmucks like me submit ourselves to this because achieving that sense of completion becomes a compulsion and a reward in itself. oh yes, and because the lipsticks are totally worth the pain.

as i said, the amuse bouche formula is an excellent one and i've sung [not literally] its praises in the past. but i find that the formula on these ones has excelled even by those standards. each one of these shades has rich, opaque coverage, good wear time, been hydrating [or at least not drying] on my lips and has been a pretty unique addition to my collection. five stars out of five for the product [with one slight caveat that i'll get to shortly] and one out of five stars for the logistics of the launch.

here's a look at each of the four shades released thus far:

aquarius :: because bite has started this series at the beginning of the calendar year rather than at the beginning of the zodiac cycle, the first shade to arrive was aquarius rather than aries. the pedantic part of me is irked by this shuffling of the cosmic order, but that's no reflection on the lipsticks. it's a reflection of how anal retentive i can be.

the shade aquarius is a cool purple berry colour, which, as followers of this blog might guess, was enough to hook me in by itself. this is exactly the sort of shade that i can't resist because it's saturated enough to have an impact but brighter than a true vamp shade. i love my vampy lips, but something like this is a little more adaptable to different situations. [side note :: on certain skin tones, particularly light season complexions in sci/art terms, this will read as a vampy lip. with my bright season colouring, i can handle a lot of saturation so you might want to keep that in mind if you look better in shades that are lighter or more muted.]

aquarius

bite sugared maple, a limited shade from them a couple of years back, is darker and a bit warmer. nars kate is more muted and purple.

l to r :: bite sugared maple, aquarius, nars kate

the shade is a perfect match for creative, sometimes zany aquarius. although the sign is called the water bearer, it's an air sign, which means they often have their head in the proverbial clouds. they can be quite eccentric, witty and original and tend to look at things in ways that others would not. purple, long associated with the unusual and even magical, is a perfect complement. the slight redness that makes it a berry rather than a true purple means that the shade will be more suited to a variety of skin tones, as opposed to purely cool purple.

pisces :: this one is, thus far, the winner in terms of formula. yes, all of them are good, but this one edges out the others as far as i'm concerned. it's also the most original shade of the four, at least in my collection. it's a subtly earthy peach colour that leans towards the orange rather than the pink range of peaches. but rather than seeming terribly warm or pastel, it's tinged with a slightly grey-brown tone. that makes it more muted and it also makes it less obviously warm than a lot of peach shades. as i said, this one is much different than anything i own, but since i don't own a lot of peach shades [they hate me], that's not surprising. but honestly, i haven't seen anything quite like this on offer from any brand.

pisces

nars brigitte is pinker, lighter and brighter. pat mcgrath tropicalia is brighter and darker.

l to r :: pat mcgrath tropicalia, pisces, nars brigitte

this strikes me as an odd choice for dreamy, sensitive pisces, just because it is so... grounded. pisces are emotional but often distant and mysterious. i'm not sure exactly what shade i would have picked, but this isn't one that would have occurred to me. nonetheless, it is a fantastic colour and it does convey the overall softness of pisces very well.

aries :: remember that slight caveat about finding these lipsticks non-drying? this is it. although the formula is very good and the lipstick is a killer in terms of coverage, this one didn't seem to like my lips quite as much. i've worn it a couple of times and found it a little thicker on application than other amuse bouche shades and i also found that on a day that my lips were feeling dryer than usual, it made that worse. having dry lips also made the wear time on the colour considerably less than it was otherwise.

aries

the colour is a fully saturated bold orange that leans red. in fact, it was described as an orange-red in the promotional materials, but to me, it's definitely in camp orange. i suspect that this will be an easier shade for some to duplicate since bold lips have been everywhere for several years, but i was surprised to find out that i didn't have anything particularly close in my collection.

hourglass raven, a red so warm that i think it sits on the border of orange itself, looks almost pink next to aries. pat mcgrath tropicalia [again] is more muted and lighter. i think that the mac shade so chaud is close, but i don't have that one anymore.

l to r :: hourglass raven, aries, pat mcgrath tropicalia

a bold, reddened colour is a no-brainer for brash, dynamic aries. this truly is the battering ram of the zodiac, all energy and drive and confidence. cardinal red would have been almost pedestrian as a choice because it's a colour that's just naturally associated with this sign, so bite has kept things a little more interesting by opting for orange.

taurus :: this is the release that really seems to have tried the patience of bite fans. whether that's the fault of the brand or the retailer isn't clear but after four months, the arguments about the demand being greater than they could have anticipated are wearing thin. [we'll have the chance to evaluate who should shoulder more of the blame now that bite has opened their own web store. more on that shortly.]

the colour selected for taurus is described as a "milk chocolate rose". i'm not sure why the word "rose" in cosmetic terms means a slightly pink-toned brown because roses don't come in that colour ever, but if you accept that interpretation of "rose" then it is pretty much as described. i'd add that there's a slightly grey/ taupe undertone that pulls the colour cooler than it appears at first. i'd venture a guess that this will be more evident on cooler skin tones.

taurus

the first thing that occurred to me applying it is that it's extremely close to my natural lip colour, just a little greyer. although i've posted photos here where i'm not wearing anything on my lips, they tend to look paler in those photos than they are in person. so if you've ever wondered what my lips look like... [why would anyone wonder that? -ed.]

that immediately made me think of mac mehr, which is also close to my lip colour but runs warmer, pinker and brighter than taurus. bite themselves have two colours in the same family: cava is cooler, more purple/ lavender and lighter, while thistle is darker, cooler and browner. to use a sci/art comparison, cava and thistle are closer to true summer, with the latter able to transition into soft summer. taurus is squarely within the soft summer camp.

l to r :: mac mehr, bite cava, taurus, bite thistle

taureans are known for being earthy [taurus is an earth sign after all] but also romantic [being ruled by venus]. they enjoy luxury and indulgence and favour things that are classical and somewhat conservative. i think that this shade that's at once quietly strong and a touch soft [the pink-mauve undertone] is a perfect match for the taurean character. it's rich and luxe, both in colour and in formula [pisces may be the best in that area, but taurus isn't far behind], but it's not flashy.

so... how about i share a few looks with you so you can see these in their natural element?

my "base face" for all of the following is

fenty beauty pro filt'r soft matte foundation 130 [winner of a shrunken head award!]
pixi correction concentrate brightening apricot
kat von d lock-it concealer crème 5

aquarius

purple and silver have been associated with magic and modernity, so a combination of the two seemed like the way to go.




eyes
armani eyes to kill potted e/s madre perla
rouge bunny rouge e/s alabaster starling
mac e/s dame's desire
mac e/s dazzlelight
nars eye paint black valley
marc jacobs velvet noir mascara [winner of a shrunken head award!]

cheeks
becca shimmering skin perfector lumious blush foxglove
hourglass ambient lighting powder diffused light

lips
bite beauty astrology by bite amuse bouche l/s aquarius

pisces

to capitalize on the someone romantic/ dreamy nature of pisces, i went with a halo effect on my eyes, which makes them look bigger. i also added a metallic/ shimmery liner to give them a soft sparkle.




eyes
armani neo-classic palette one
inglot e/s 351
stila stay all day liquid e/l jet black
anastasia metallic lustre e/l metallic gold
stila huge extreme lash mascara

cheeks
armani neo-classic palette one
guerlain jolie teint powder 00

lips
bite beauty astrology by bite amuse bouche lipstick pisces


aries

aries are all about brashness and energy and power. that combination is best illustrated with bold, clean, simple elements. so this was a pretty easy choice.




eyes
rouge bunny rouge e/s bashful flamingo
rouge bunny rouge e/s gracious arasari
inglot e/s 352
nars eye paint black valley
stila huge extreme lash mascara

cheeks
mac powder blush next to skin
nars powder blush nico

lips
bite beauty astrology by bite amuse bouche lipstick aries

taurus




yes, taureans tend to be conservative and immovable but i figured that didn't mean i had to go with soft, understated shades everywhere. after all, what speaks of luxury more than relaxing on the beach in a five-star caribbean resort like st. lucia or turks and caicos? or feeling the wind in your face on a yacht trip around a private island in the sparkling aegean? so that's where i got the inspiration for a pop of colour in this look.

eyes
anastasia e/s legend
anastasia e/s suede
mac pigment partylicious
mac e/s dazzlelight
nars eye paint black valley
marc jacobs velvet noir mascara

cheeks
guerlain blush duo pink punk

lips
bite beauty astrology by bite amuse bouche lipstick taurus

so now comes the real question: why would i torture you by showing you things that you can't buy? well, partly it's to build awareness of the collection, which has been wonderful in quality if not execution. and part is to suggest alternates to those who have missed out. but bite have promised that they will have limited numbers of three of the shades [pisces, aries and taurus] available on their new web store. i didn't see them when i checked earlier, but i imagine that they will appear. the bad news about the web store, if you're canadian, is that it's american-based. that means you're paying in american dollars, which currently makes the products more expensive than buying in canadian dollars from sephora. compounding that is the fact that canada is listed as an international destination, which means that you have to pay shipping and import taxes, even though bite is a canadian company. i've tried reaching out to bite because there were some comments from the brand on their instagram where they seemed to say that canada was considered domestic shipping and was subject to the same deal as the u.s. [free shipping on all orders over $50usd]. however, i can't say that for certain and at the moment, their website clearly lists canada as an international destination.

i'm a firm believer that makeup should never be stressful, so i'm hesitant to recommend this particular rabbit hole. however, i'm also a completist when it comes to these things, so i'm determined to continue what i've started. the quality is stellar even if the quality of the service is not.

happy hunting!

Comments

Despite my bad luck so far with the Amuse Bouche formula, I'm not sure I'll be able to resist Scorpio when it comes out. My rising and moon signs are Pisces and Aries,so it was fortunate for my wallet that both of them were in the orange family, the trickiest for me. (I agree that a dirty peach-orange is a very odd choice for Pisces. Actually, I think the Pisces and Taurus shades could be switched.) I'm hoping that Scorpio is a vampy shade of some kind!
Kate MacDonald said…
I've found that there are a few Bite products that I've had a slight allergic reaction to, so I'm wondering if Aries might have triggered the same thing (although I haven't had a reaction to any of the other Amuse Bouche lipsticks). And Scorpio should absolutely be a deep dark shade. I'd love to see an inky bluish purple, but that's just me. I'm afraid that Libra is going to be a pastel because Libras always get associated with pastels.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


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me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

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