Code 8

[productsamples] As we all know, the beauty market is very, very crowded. In fact, it’s starting to cannibalise itself – too many similar products trying to share the same piece of the pound, too many similar brands selling exactly the same things; you know the sort of thing. One day there is going to be a highlighter-berg that will be seen from the moon. I wrote about Code 8 Beauty for the FT HERE a little while ago but wanted to take a little longer to use the products to do a fuller review. The brand is new (female founded) and it’s not really focussed on swamping us with multiple products – it’s more about having a strong core to a pared back range that doesn’t give us a headache every time we try and choose a new lipstick.

Code 8

There are five different lip covers – going across the line: AM/PM Tinted Lip Balm (3 shades), Express Lip & Cheek Colour (3 shades), Glaze Semi-Glossy Lacquer (8 shades) and Matte Velour Lipstick (5 shades) – plus a Colour Brilliance Lipstick (5 shades) that I don’t have here. So, we are not talking a huge vault of colours to pick from – the edit is strong and proves that less can be more. Everyone knows the feeling of walking into a department store beauty hall and feeling utterly overwhelmed and if that’s you, rejoice in the freedom of less!

Code 8

There are three palettes – yes three! This one is Lustrous Corduroy, while the other two are Burnt Sienna and Jaipur Marbles. I picked the one I thought I’d wear the most – a standard neutral smoky eye is one of my default positions if I’m in the mood to make-up so this is perfect for me. Code 8 uses something called ‘knead technology’ which is a (purported) superior method of blending at the factory – the formula uses both sweet almond and evening primrose oils which makes the shades extremely soft and silky, as well as easy to blend. The colours aren’t overpowering, as you’ll see in the swatch – but they don’t feel under-pigmented either. It’s a softer look from this palette than the big colour drop from a brand like, say, Urban Decay.

Code 8

I love a thin brush that grabs and coats all the lashes in a swoop without feeling you’re wafting a loo brush in front of your lids. Additionally, Lash Sophisticate Mascara comes in a glass bottle which is unusual but recyclable and that’s helpful. I should add that it certainly doesn’t feel like glass and it’s pretty sturdy. If you want lashes to the moon, this isn’t for you, but if you want well defined, evenly coated, sharp looking lashes to frame a day look or coated up for an evening look, I just don’t find fault with this. It lasted well and didn’t leave any pandas.

Code 8

The lips swatched from bottom to top: Glaze in Petra, Matte Velour in Opera, AM/PM in At The Barre, 5 Second in Miss Saigon. Then the highlighter – Between Two Women. Lips are £24, cheeks are £32.

Code 8

The shadow palette is £45, while the mascara is £25. The thing about Code 8 is that they’re not chasing the Instagram filter – if anything, the collection is aimed more at older women (less likely to be on Instagram anyway) who spend less time taking selfies and more time cracking on with their lives. Code 8 is giving a nice point of difference in doing a lot of the thinking for you – I love efficiency and while I’m happy as larry looking at every single colour on an in-store lipstick carousel, it’s not for everyone. Code 8 has a pop up at the Burlington Arcade (number 4) in London which is always worth a visit anyway – I nipped into their pop up when it was in Covent Garden and the make up artists could not have been nicer. Personally, I’d have not made almost everything in black packaging – when you need to stand out, looking the same is a mistake. Code 8 is HERE.

*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.