For these small companies, social media is their main marketing tool.
For these small companies, social media is their main marketing tool.
For these small companies, social media is their main marketing tool.
Sugarbelle liquid lipsticks.
Dida’s liquid lipstick in Posh.
Dida liquid lipstick focuses on creating colours for Asian skin tones.

Jumping on the liquid lipstick craze, more and more people are creating their own make-up brands, writes Syahirah Mokhtazar

LIQUID lipsticks, especially matte ones, seem to be all the rage lately, having earned a stellar reputation among beauty consumers. In case you haven’t noticed, they’re everywhere.

Gone are the days when the classic push up lipsticks and subtle shimmery glosses were the norm. This new lip genre offers a fresher take on the traditional bullet lipstick.

Transforming women’s favourite shades into liquid versions and designed in gloss-like tubes, these liquid lippies are the latest beauty craze for many reasons.

It’s practical, swipes on the lips like a breeze with its wand applicator, leaves a velvety effect and delivers such long-lasting comfort that you sometimes forget you’re actually wearing any. But of course, the quality of the product depends on the brand.


Belle Al-Yahya co-founder of Sugarbelle, one of the homegrown independent make-up brands.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY

As the liquid lipstick trend triumphs in the beauty industry, almost every high-end makeup brand has touted its own range with must-have products in standout colours.

But it’s not only them who contribute to the growing market of liquid lipsticks. Seeing how the product is in such high demand, small time entrepreneurs have jumped on the bandwagon and started their own cosmetics line.

And they’re not doing so bad, quality and customer-wise. Although small, these independent make-up brands have amassed a huge following. It’s evident that in the battle of emerging markets, big brands don’t hold all the advantages.

They may have the luxury of big budgets to spend on product placement, advertising through billboards, print and TV commercials but independent labels takes to the social media as their primary route to market themselves. Instagram is the new advertising.

Simultaneously, cosmetic giants have also cultivated marketing strategies via social media. I’m simply acknowledging the rise of lesser-known brands that have managed to build a huge consumer base within a shorter period of time thanks to social media.

Take Jeffree Star for instance. He’s known to be an American singer-songwriter, makeup artist, fashion designer and model from Orange County, Los Angeles but now, the Instafamous personality is also a cosmetics creator after coming out with his own makeup brand in recent years.

His Velour Liquid Lipstick range offers a wide selection from nudes to vibrant shades like blue. The collection is a hit among his 3.4 million (and counting) followers on Instagram, as well as beauty vloggers who often promote his products in their makeup tutorials.

Another small make-up brand, Colour Pop, is just under two years old but the Los Angeles-based company has more than three million followers on Instagram. Founders Laura and John Nelson launched the brand with eyeshadows but grew to lip liners and ultimately, Ultra Matte Lips, a line of liquid lipsticks.


Makeup artist Syed Faizal Syed Noh has released Bibir by Syed Killer Eyes and the lippies sell like hot cakes.

LOCAL POWER

Similarly the craze for liquid lipstick is the same here. One of the popular brands among beauty consumers seem to be NYX.

Enter Sephora and you’ll find women huddled over the NYX section, testing out different shades from the brand’s Soft Matte Lip Cream collection. I know this because I do the same.

The product is of good quality, given the reasonable price, I must admit.

More and more Malaysians are starting their own companies selling liquid lipsticks. Again, these resort to social media platforms for marketing. Brands like Sugarbelle, Dida and Bibir are among some of the local independent brands to look out for.

Sugarbelle Cosmetic was established in 2015 by two online mogul for Muslimah fashion Eyqa Sulaiman, owner of Sugarscarf and Belle Al-Yahya of clothing label Bella Ammara. The brand is popular for its soft matte lip cream collection.

To date, Sugarbelle has about 92,000 followers on its Instagram account. On why she wanted to start her own make-up brand, Belle says: “I’ve always been a fan of make-up, especially lipstick. The same goes for Eyqa.”

Operations started in 2014. Belle says she and Eyqa tested the waters first by promoting Sugarbelle to customers of Bella Ammara and Sugarscarf. Fortunately, they received a lot of good reviews. She also gave a few samples to make-up artists to review.

“What’s interesting about our liquid lipsticks is that it smells as good as it feels when you wear it. Every liquid lipstick is manufactured with a signature fragrant smell so you’ll know it’s from Sugarbelle,” says Belle in a phone interview.

Their consumer base has now spread to neighbouring countries like Singapore and Brunei. Most recently, Sugarbelle products (which are manufactured in South Korea) can also be purchased through popular online store FashionValet.


Belle Al-Yahya co-founder of Sugarbelle, one of the homegrown independent make-up brands.

“We started off with five colours: Nude Kisses, Lust Red, Pink Paris, High Class Red and Sugar Pink. But our best-seller is Nude Kisses,” she says.

I like how the creamy mousse-like texture is easy to apply and doesn’t dry on the lips immediately like glue. Nude Kisses appeared to be a little too bright upon application but after it dries, it blends well with the colour of my tanned skin so I can see why it’s such a hit.

It rubs off easily only because its owners want to make it “wudu” friendly for the Muslim customers.

Dida is another brand that’s making waves onthe local front as well. The name Dida is a combination of two of its founders name, Tengku Chanela Jamidah and Didie Nasir. Chanela and Didie are also friends who run their own fashion labels, Thavia and Dynda respectively.

Wanting to create a brand that would benefit women out there, the two joined hands to establish Dida. All colours from their velvet liquid matte lip cream are incredibly opaque and when applied, its heavier-whipped texture sits strongly on the lips, even lasting through meals.

It’s good for those who are always on the go and barely have time to touch up. As of now, it has seven colours: Flirt, Fondue, Hollywood, Lust, Posh, Scandal and Tango. Picking a favourite can be difficult!

Dida traditionally gained a lot of attention through word of mouth before the duo started to promote the brand on Instagram, which has now garnered more than 13,000 followers. Not too bad considering they only officially began operation a few months ago and launched their website cum online store on June 3.

On competing against cosmetic giants, Chanela says it’s all about building the company’s presence. “Nowadays, people buy everything online. You don’t have to be a beauty counter brand to succeed. We want to market Dida as a fashionable cosmetic company that caters to the urban market. For as long as you know your brand and you know who you’re catering to, the potential is there,” she adds.

Didie says their long-lasting formula is what appeals to the young consumers. “For Dida, the finish is different from the usual lipstick. The colour is more intense and blends well with the Asian skin tone. We specialise in making shades suitable for Asian skin types.”

Syed Faizal Syed Noh is no stranger to the local beauty community. The make-up artist, whose list of clientele includes local celebrities, has created a collection of matte liquid lipstick himself, called Bibir by Syed Killer Eyes.

Although his brand is still very new to the beauty world, Syed Faizal uses his advantage as a make-up artist to promote his product on Instagram. “I want people to buy my products based on a make-up artist’s point of view,” he says.

At the moment, Bibir sells nine shades, represented by quirky names like Rarity, Sansparkle, Breezie, Kimono, Celestia, Trixie, Amberlocks, Junebug and Sparkleworks.

Often, Syed Faizal posts pictures on his Instagram account of celebrities he dolled up, accessorising their lips with Bibir. Not too long ago, actress Nora Danish was photographed wearing Sansparkle, while host cum actress and entrepreneur Neelofa had Junebug on.

ON TO THE NEXT

One of the perks of buying from smaller brands is that they carefully study the consumers’ need, as their target market is smaller compared to the cosmetic giants.

For example, their products are less expensive than the ones by high-end brands. Sugarbelle for example, ensures its products are friendly for the Muslim customers. As for Dida, it creates shades for Asian skin types.

Whether you’re a fan of buying make-up from indie brands or not, it’s clear the liquid lipstick trend will won’t fade out anytime soon.

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