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I tried 19/99 Beauty to get out of my makeup rut – and here's what happened

19 99 beauty review
I tried 19/99 Beauty to get out of my makeup rut19/99 Beauty

Fifty shades of brown pretty much sum up the contents of my makeup bag. Every day I reach for the same variation of neutral hues – black, taupe, brick and cream.

But, for some reason, I’ve been experimenting with more colour in my daily routine. You could blame it on the fact that the clean girl aesthetic is officially out for me, or that I've recently discovered 19/99 – the Canadian-born beauty brand that’s on every editor’s lip RN.

19/99 is all about embracing colour, being expressive and saying FU to beauty rules. "Makeup is an outlet for joy; it’s colourful, it’s playful and, most importantly, it’s temporary,” says Stephanie Spence, co-founder of 19/99.

“We created 19/99 because we felt like there was an opportunity for us to offer something to customers that presented makeup as a tool for creativity, rather than something corrective,” Stephanie says, speaking exclusively to Cosmo.

She explains that – just like an oversized scrunchie or gold chain necklace – makeup should be worn like it’s an accessory. “It’s something that you can change from day to day and can switch up depending on your mood,” Stephanie adds.

As exciting as it sounds, getting painterly with your products can also feel daunting. Well, I have some great news to share: 19/99 is here to share some top tips for creativity and to help us move away from those trusted neutrals.

Use whatever colour you please

Coloured eyeliner is having a bit of an unexpected beauty moment. A small stroke in the corner of your eye is just enough to switch up your vibe without making a huge commitment to colour. Yes, you could get technical by finding the shades that flatter your eye colour but seeing as 19/99 is all about breaking the rules, just find a shade that you enjoy wearing.

And if you’re experimenting with a coloured liner, this doesn’t mean you have to start with a complex graphic look. You can keep things easy with a standard feline flick or embrace some ‘60s vibes with simple floating line.

Perfection isn’t perfect

“It’s important to remember that when you’re playing with makeup, it doesn’t have to be perfect or delicate; you can smudge it and play around,” says Stephanie.

“The biggest thing for me is that makeup is always temporary, and that you can take it off at the end of the day. Get creative and use makeup as a tool to express yourself; there’s a sort of art within it,” she adds. So go forth and scribble outside of the lines. If your lipstick isn’t straight, don’t worry about it.

Explore different finishes

If you’re hesitant to experiment with colour, why not try a different finish? The brand’s Tinted Matte Balm glides on with an iridescent shine to add pigment and dimension. It’s not a scintillating kind of glitter, nor is it a shimmer shot, but it brings a light-reflecting effect to your cheeks that stands out more than your classic powder blush.

And in case you don’t know, adding a gloss to your cheekbones and eyelids is a thing – or y’know, your entire face – as Pat McGrath so iconically displayed at Schiaparelli's Couture Spring/Summer 24 runway show.

That’s right, looking as glowing as a Greek goddess or porcelain doll may just be the next biggest trend... or Halloween costume idea. To create a wet-like sheen, pat the 19/99 High Shine Gloss over your lids, cheekbones and lips to take that dewy look to new extremes.

The best 19/99 products...

19/99 is all about creating your own customised assortment of cosmetics without overloading your kit.

With a less is more approach, the collection is pleasantly curated – which makes shopping a heck load easier. Still, I’ve taken it upon myself (you’re welcome) to test the best bits from the range. Behold.

IMO, the Precision Colour Pencils have first-place position on the 19/99 podium. The pigment packs a massive punch, depositing a vibrant colour onto the skin with just one stroke – and if you’re new to drawing wings, an easy-glide pencil makes application so much easier.

As for the shade range, I’m utterly obsessed. Barna and Neutra are the sort of ‘Mob Wife’ neutrals that I reach for often, while the shade Bor – a rich aubergine hue – gives a pop of colour while still looking elegant.

I’ll admit, I never get on with these kinds of cosmetics, so I was prepared to place the Tinted Matte Balm straight into my gifting pile. Wrongo.

I’ve fallen for this pigmented chubby stick, and I know I'll use it down to its final swipe. While it looks like a crayon, it glides on like a hydrating balm so you can scribble it over the cheeks, eyes and lips to add an instant flush of colour.

The plum hue is pretty, too, giving a ‘just walked in from a crisp stroll’ effect. And because it’s so creamy, you only need your fingertips to blend the product in. If you see me stockpiling, just leave me to it.

19/99 is here to say that a gloss isn’t just reserved for your lips. Essentially, this is a multi-purpose product which can bring a high shine to your lips, cheekbones and eyelids without leaving a single ounce of tackiness.

I’ve used it most days to moonlight as a highlighter. Instead of loading a shimmer onto my cheeks, the gloss lends a light-reflecting shine that gives a glass-skin effect. Less is more, so apply sparingly if you don’t want to look too glazed – although Hailey would be proud.

Watch me work through 10 tubes of this stuff as soon as summer rolls around. What fascinates me about the Water Colour Tint is that it genuinely feels like doing your makeup with pigmented water, making it super comfortable to wear.

The gel-like formula instantly sinks into the skin to add featherlight colour, leaving behind a finish that looks like you’re naturally flushed. And although it’s got a thin consistency, the colour doesn’t settle instantly which gives some time to play about with placement.

I dabbed a few dots onto my cheeks to add a pop of colour, but also blended the tint onto my lips to create a blurred lip effect – or like I’ve been sucking on a strawberry ice lolly. The pigment sticks around too, so there’s no need for touch-ups.

I can deal with five-day-old hair or one too many blackheads, but dry lips? No. No. No. As someone who’s no stranger to chronic chapping, I’ve always got an ultra-hydrating balm on me – and this Lip Ointment has been my recent obsession.

It’s rich in cupuacu seed butter – a lanolin alternative – which not only makes my lips feel hella hydrated, but it also gives a natural shine which looks beaut on top of a lipstick.

The Lash Tint Mascara is no drama queen, but rather its shy younger sibling. Going for that lash lift result, as opposed to fluffy falsies, it’s all about separating, defining and lifting the lashes to their full potential.

Usually, I opt for thick-bristled brushes, but I quite appreciate the super-slim wand on this occasion. It makes coating each lash super easy and leaves less room for mistakes and smudging. The brand does say you can layer it for a fuller effect but, TBH, this is definitely designed to keep things looking barely there.

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