Pretty in name, pretty by nature. If a product captures my imagination and creates a sense of intrigue before I’ve even opened the pack, I know I’m onto something special. Although we all want makeup items that deliver and offer value for money, I’m not ashamed to admit that the majority of us also want something that looks pretty and provides a real moment of joy when applied. Thanks to their lipstick mark printed packaging and spectrum of beautiful colours, these new moisturising lip-balms-come-sticks from Ciate do just that! Ciate may have started off as a nail paint brand, but over the last year or so they’re increasingly known for their makeup products that are definitely injecting a little fun back into the market. I’ve tried many pieces from their portfolio over the last twelve months and the lip category is undoubtedly their strongest, offering comfortable and long-lasting innovative textures paired with seriously strong pigment. This latest launch is timed perfectly for the warmer months, when we don’t want to compromise on look but a full-on lipstick can sometimes be too much. Although they’re not revolutionary, they are pretty – and sometimes that’s what matters.
Gliding on effortlessly to lips, the moisture-infused formula combines Brazilian Murumuru Butter and amino acids (an essential ingredient that makes up the ‘building blocks’ of our bodies – in this instance to help lips to look and feel healthy) to deliver the soothing, repairing and conditioning properties of a balm, whilst leaving behind high pigmented, long-wearing colour of a lipstick. Many balms are delicately tinted and focus predominantly on the comfort of the lips, but Ciate have managed to combine the best of a balm formula with a strong pigment that doesn’t compromise on comfort. I’m pleasantly surprised by how uniform and non-patchy the colour result is, but the nature of the bullet itself makes the darker shades somewhat tricky to apply; you either have to have a very steady hand or opt for applying with a lip brush, otherwise suffering from a rather wonky looking lip line! These are definitely reminiscent of the Benefit, Clarins and Bare Minerals tinted balms of the past, but in a much prettier pack. The paler shades are perfect for chucking in your bag while on the move, but the darker shades I would definitely avoid re-applying on the tube – you need a mirror and a static floor to get it right! Out of the ten shades, my favourites are definitely the classic red First Love, the delicately nude Vintage Blush and the seasonally appropriate understated coral called Innocent. Although the bold tones of RomCom and Heartbreaker are stunning and great for achieving an on-trend look without the dry feeling strong lipstick colours often cause, I can’t see myself reaching for these more than once or twice a year.
Interestingly Ciate have also included a little transparent lip-balm-scrub within the range that is supposed to prep and prime lips for the balms. The bullet is infused with eco-friendly micro exfoliating particles to gently smoothen lip surface and buff away any flaking, dryness or roughness, whilst a blend of seaweed extracts encourage cell renewal to revive dull, dehydrated lips. It sounds great, but practically speaking this left me feeling somewhat disappointed; the balm is perfectly pleasant, but I felt no scrubbing action whatsoever as the concentration of exfoliating particles is so low. You need to use a lot to even get down to the first traces of scrub infused within the balm, which realistically don’t really do much at all. I’m also not sure why you need to prep and prime ahead of using an already moisturising and comfortable formula – it just seems like an additional unnecessary and costly step. Although I really like the balms themselves, give this one a miss and treat yourself to another shade instead. Which one would you opt for?
The Ciate Pretty Stixs are available in ten shades online now (via ASOS, Feel Unique & Look Fantastic) priced £16.00 each.
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