If there is one thing social media has taught me about gender equality, it’s debunking the stereotype about makeup being something reserved only for the ladies and drag queens. It made me realise that men can be as good as women at applying makeup.. or even at a more expert level! Just switch over to your ‘Explore’ or ‘Recommended’ tab on Instagram or YouTube and, depending on your activity, you may be able to spot men wearing the most wicked makeup looks and dayum do they look fabulous in it!
One such talented male beauty gurus is @MannyMUA733 (real name Manny Gutierrez), a professional makeup artist by trade who found fame on YouTube as one of the few premier male beauty vloggers. Prior to that, he was already sharing snippets of sped-up makeup tutorials on his Instagram page and that was how I discovered him (because I’m not the kind who has the patience to sit through an entire 15-minute video.. unless it’s related to popping pimples, of course). His makeup creations on his own stubbly face are truly second to none and it is really no wonder beauty companies are lining up to work with him since he has the ability to make you feel like buying every product he uses in his videos.
First, it was a liquid lipstick with Gerard Cosmetics. Then, an eye shadow palette with MakeupGeek that caused a frenzy online when it dropped. And now a collaboration with one of my favourite beauty brands on a trio of universally flattering neutral liquid lipsticks? Shut up and take my money!
OFRA Cosmetics recently underwent an appearance transformation and this collection had the honour of decking out in the new and improved slinky packaging right at its launch. But personally, I prefer the matte paper box used in the former packaging (sans the unsightly ingredient list sticker pasted on the front) as the material feels sleeker and more professional and I like the obscure yet very much visible brand name on the box against the all-black background. I don’t really like how flamboyant the logo is now on the packaging. But that’s not to say there is nothing noteworthy about the new design.
The current tube is noticeably much longer and thicker as if made of better quality plastic. Certainly, there seems to be a lot more product in the tube as compared to that of the older packaging so you would definitely get your money’s worth with this one! Moreover, improvements have also been made to the applicator to allow for more precision in application and control around the edges. And most importantly, there is no price increment even with all these changes. I mean, it ought to remain the same considering how kinda pricey the lipsticks already are for a mid-tier brand (FYI, MAC’s Retro Matte Liquid Lipsticks cost US$21 each).
In keeping up with the trend of naming products after the creator’s zodiac sign (which I honestly feel, at this juncture, is getting very predictable and overused.. If I had the opportunity to launch my own lipstick line, I’d name the products after my favourite food like Carrot Cake, Salted Egg and whatnots – why didn’t anybody think of that?!), Aries was born into a form of nude with peach-pink undertones. It would actually make more sense if it had taken on the corresponding colour of Aries but hey, who needs another red lipstick anyway? After all, pink nudes are a foolproof option because they will never go out of style!
Aries are supposedly feisty and aggressive in nature but this shade exudes just the opposite. It complements fair skin tones beautifully and softens one’s look without being over the top. Vanilla-scented, it has a creamy texture with semi-full coverage which applies buttery smooth on my dry lips but it tends to clump up significantly on uneven areas. However, it leaves a sticky sensation on the lips.
There is no explanation anywhere on how the name of this shade came about but I would like to think that it was named in tribute to my all-time favourite American television series (on a side note, anyone knows where I can watch all the episodes online? I’ve been searching for them for ages!) so that I have another reason to love it.
Charmed is a pink-nude mauve – very close to my natural lip colour – with a moisturising touch. It glides on creamy, thick and highly pigmented and accentuates the shape and curves of the lips. The formula is lightweight and feels exceptionally comfortable on the lips, yet provides excellent coverage and does not dry down to a completely matte finish. My chapped lips approve! This shade is perfect for light to medium skin tones.
“What?! Nothing for dark skin?” Fret not, sweethearts, why wouldn’t there be? It’s 2016! OFRA’s got your back!
The darkest shade of the trio is a hydrating burgundy that would look gorgeous across all skin tones. Transform from a daytime darling to a nighttime diva with just a change in lipstick colour! Best paired with smokey eyes, it is the shade to wear on any night out. It does not tug at the lips and it sweeps across seamlessly, leaving a slight sheen even after it dries. It simulates the look of a fuller pout without emphasising the fine lip lines. The first swipe is mostly opaque but it builds to a nice intensity with several passes.
I would recommend this shade if you only have the budget for one because, really, everyone needs a vampy lipstick in their stash! But if you weren’t fast enough to get your hands on any of these babies when they first launched as a limited-edition collection, you would be thrilled to bits to know that this lovely set of classic nudes are now set to stay for good! The last time I checked, they were still available online, so go grab ’em!
What are your thoughts about this latest collaboration with MannyMUA? Let me know your thoughts below!
Thank you for reading! 🙂