Bite Beauty

Strengths: Richly pigmented Cashmere Lip Cream; several beautiful lip color options; a couple balm-like products to soothe chapped lips; good lip exfoliant; the bulk of the formulas contain natural ingredients that are beneficial (or at least not harmful) for the skin and lips.

Weaknesses: Cinnamon Plumping Lip Oil is extremely irritating; some of the lip colors tend to bleed; flavored formulas are tempting to lick off, which can lead to chapping and dryness; not all their ingredients are natural, many products contain synthetic coloring agents Bite Beauty is a Canadian-based cosmetics company centered on lip-care and lip-color products formulated with natural ingredients. Although the “natural” spin is attractive to some consumers, it doesn’t necessarily translate into better or safer cosmetics (read this article for more info).

As a nice change of pace (and as mentioned above), the majority of Bite Beauty's formulas do indeed contain natural ingredients that are beneficial (or at least not harmful) for the skin and lips. The exception is the Cinnamon Plumping Lip Oil, which contains an irritating amount of peppermint oil. The preponderance of natural ingredients doesn't make these products inherently better, but if a product being "all" natural is important to you, then you should know that some of the Bite Beauty products contain synthetic coloring agents.

Bite Beauty takes things even further, saying that their products are "healthy enough to eat" (hence the name Bite Beauty). We certainly don't recommend eating your cosmetics; just because an ingredient comes from a natural source and is then formulated into a cosmetic doesn't mean it's edible!

As a matter of fact, Bite Beauty's naturally flavored products make it tempting to lick your lips, which in the long run can lead to chapping and a cycle of constantly applying more flavored lip balm, licking it off, then feeling the urgent need to apply more—and none of these lip products should be eaten. For vegans, you should be aware that some of these products contain lanolin, which is an animal-derived ingredient. There's nothing wrong with lanolin, but a cosmetics company selling their products as edible should be more forthcoming with this issue for those who wish to avoid animal-derived ingredients.

Another big marketing ploy is Bite Beauty's claims about their products containing the antioxidant resveratrol, in amounts equivalent to five, ten, or fifteen glasses of red wine, depending on the particular product. This is a meaningless claim, and here's why: First, we hope they don't mean a dual benefit; that is, being able to eat your lipstick and get resveratrol onto your lips and into your body. Second, while resveratrol is a great antioxidant, how much you need to gain a health benefit is unclear from the research. Third, the amount of resveratrol in an average glass of red wine ranges from 0.2 to 2.0 mg, which isn't much. Plus, if you want resveratrol, you can buy resveratrol supplements that contain 100–500 mg per capsule!

In short, resveratrol is a good antioxidant, when applied topically or when consumed; just don't get caught up in thinking it will work wonders for your lips. Clearly, Bite Beauty is capitalizing on a buzz ingredient here—and skin care, especially for the lips, is never as simple as one ingredient, however good it may be.

Those issues aside, in terms of performance, Bite Beauty does have some standout products, including their richly pigmented Cashmere Lip Cream. The price point is on the high end for lip care (you can find less expensive options on our Best Lip Products list); you certainly don't have to pay this much to get a good lipstick or gloss. However, if the price isn't an issue for you, and you find the allure of natural ingredients hard to resist, then this line is worth checking out.

Bite Beauty is sold exclusively at Sephora; the brand also has a flagship store in New York.

For more information about Bite Beauty, call 416-961-1234 or visit www.bitebeauty.com.

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