Introducing Secret Agent Beauty — Makeup With An Exciting Double Life
About a month ago, I fêted the launch of Secret Agent Beauty, a company with a two-prong mission: first, releasing a range of multi-tasking beauty products (starting with a selection of glosses and lip treatments); and second, creating a social media platform, SABsocial.com, where women can swap beauty tips and tricks, discuss makeup must-haves, share photos, take quizzes, and connect about all things beauty-related. At the event, guests learned all about the introductory collection of lip glosses and lip treatments, all bearing cheeky, cryptic names that reference clandestine operations, spy films, double identities, and cloak-and-dagger fare. Why the spy angle? Well, modern women take on a dizzying number of roles: doting girlfriend or wife, devoted mom, hands-on PTA member, unofficial teacher, family chef, home maker, fitness fanatic, no-nonsense executive, book-loving scholar, Little League coach, independent business owner, occasional seductress, loyal friend and advice-giver, family finance manager, and the list goes on. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent only had two identities to juggle, whereas we have dozens! We’re always on a mission of some sort and there are always tools (or weapons, if you will) that we rely on to execute our tasks — be it our iPhones and laptops, our sturdiest stainless steel frying pans and paring knives, our sewing machines, or our killer business instincts. And, of course, we choose which aspect of our personalities we wish to reveal to each particular audience — in the boardroom, we refrain from showing weakness, stifling any coddling urges, while at home with our families, we’re quick to cuddle and snuggle. We have the focus and discipline of samurais while at the gym, and then we’re ready to dance on tables during a wild night out with the ladies. But all of these facets of our lives, however different, come together to form one complicated, unique, fabulous package. Secret Agent Beauty’s lip products, then, are designed to accomplish multiple feats — plumping your pout and coating it with shimmering color, for instance — so that you can look your best while completing any mission.
The initial Secret Agent Beauty collection can be divided into two categories: Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous Lip Essence Glosses and Secret Lip Affair Lip Glosses.
The latter category focuses primarily on lip care, on nourishing our pouts with formulations featuring a blend of botanicals that includes: jojoba oil, an antioxidant-rich moisturizer with a similar composition to that of the sebum, making it more easily absorbed than other natural extracts and more efficient at restoring optimal moisture balance to the skin; aloe vera, a soothing and cooling agent that’s also packed with vitamins, amino acids, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc; and vitamins A, C, and E, which together stimulate cellular renewal, boost collagen production, gently exfoliate, condition, and protect skin from free radicals. The former category, meanwhile, concentrates on pigmentation, on coating lips with sheer and shimmering color, and on pumping up the volume of our lips for more seductive, kissable lips.
I’ve been most impressed wit the Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous glosses since they’re quite effective at nourishing and soothing lips while leaving behind the type of vinyl-like finish you expect from traditional lip glosses. The Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous in Agent: Lips-Galore ($16 at SAB.US.com) is particularly noteworthy. Packaged in a miniature tube with Gothic-looking black lettering and a silver-toned, twist-off cap adorned with a fleur de lis symbol, this lip treatment is infused with vitamins A, C, and E; aloe vera; grape seed extract, which is rich in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that locks in moisture, fends off free radicals, boosts collagen production, and destroys any enzymes that could inhibit collagen or elastin production; and a unique peptide formula that increases collagen production, evens out pigmentation, fights bacteria, and protects skin from free radical damage.
Because of its intense nourishing abilities, Lips-Galore can be used in lieu of lip balms (I’ve actually been using it instead of me eos Smooth Spheres and my Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments) or it can be applied as a primer before lipstick or gloss (especially when you’re wearing a bright shade that will accentuate any flakiness, cracks, fine lines, etc.). The gloss has a very pale pink shimmer to it so that you can intensify the natural color of your lips as you tend to them, plus its consistency is delightful — more like an oil-gel hybrid, as opposed to the creamy texture of most lip balms.And, since it comes with a sponge-tip applicator wand, you can control the amount you smooth onto lips, granting you more control than what you’d have with an ordinary tube of lip balm, which could very well leave you with clumpy bits of excess product atop your pout. The sponge-tip wand also allows you to trace the outline of your mouth perfectly, again avoiding the coloring-outside-the-lines effect that can ocur when applying tinted lip balms.
The second lip care product in the collection is the Kiss-Kiss Rendezvous in Agent: Golden Spy ($16 at SAB.US.com), a clear-colored lip treatment infused with real gold flakes (think Goldschlager). Aside from giving your pout a gilded look, these gold flakes work to slow collagen depletion and elastin breakdown, thereby ensuring your lips continue looking full and plump, while also tightening fine lines and wrinkles for a smoother overall surface. Other ingredients include vitamins A, C, and E, aloe vera, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and almond oil (which can regulate the skin’s pH level to ensure skin is absorbing and retaining moisture at an adequate rate).
The three Secret Lip Affair glosses, meanwhile, each correspond to a different lip plumping “level.” The Level 1 plumper is the Secret Lip Affair in Diamond-Girl Detective ($16 at SAB.US.com), a clear-colored gloss with a crystal-like shiny finish that hydrates lips thanks to a combination of coconut oil and vitamins A, C, F, B, and B12, while cooling them with aloe vera extract and replenishing them with lychee extract, an excellent source of vitamin B, which is key to cellular reproduction. The plumping effect is accomplished thanks to the remaining ingredients: Sacha Inchi Oil, which contains omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids that prevent dehydration, sealing moisture into the lips and thereby making them appear plumper; and peppermint oil and menthol, which create a cooling and tingling sensation as they relax lip muscles and swell the pout ever so subtly. Usually, when I apply lip plumpers, I want to shriek in agony, but I found the tingling sensation yielded by the Diamond-Girl Detective to be perfectly tolerable. Sure, there is a definite numbness created that can be somewhat disconcerting, but it only takes a couple of uses before you become accustomed to it. Now, of course, since this is a clear gloss, its main purpose is to plump and moisturize lips while coating them with a mirror-worthy shine.
On the next step along the lip plumping ladder, you’ll find the Secret Lip Affair in Pretty-Pink Provocateur ($16 at SAB.US.com), a light, warm, nectar-tinged pink shade saturated with golden shimmer. The Pretty-Pink Provocateur contains the same ingredients as the Diamond-Girl Detective, but it’s a Level 2 plumper, which means you’ll achieve slightly more volume for a truly succulent pout.
For super-sized lips, meanwhile, you’ll want to reach for the Secret Lip Affair in Foreign-Intelligence Flirt ($16 at SAB.US.com), the line’s Level 3 lip plumper, which contains a higher concentration of peppermint oil, menthol, and Sacha Inchi oil for maximum volume. In addition to plumping lips, Foreign-Intelligence Affair coats them with a rich-but-sheer guava-meets-cocoa color featuring a touch of shimmer.
Since I personally steer clear of plumpers (my lips are moderately full so I don’t particularly wish to enlarge them), I haven’t developed an addiction to the Secret Lip Affair glosses but, that being said, if I did have a penchant for plumpers, these would be one of my top choices since, as I mentioned, they feel way more comfortable than their counterparts. That being said, the shade selection is beyond limited, with only two pigmented options available, but hopefully that will change as the line expands.
After the jump, you’ll find swatches of three of the five glosses. I didn’t swatch Diamond-Girl Detective since it’s completely clear or Lips-Galore since it’s such a sheer light pink that it might as well be clear, but I did include photos of the other three for you to reference. Check ’em out!
Pictured below, you’ll find swatches of the Kiss-Kiss-Rendezvous in Agent: Golden-Spy, one of the line’s two lip treatments, which has a clear base but includes real gold flakes that give the shade the necessary razzle-dazzle, along with two of the Secret Lip Affair hues: Foreign Intelligence Flirt and Pretty-Pink Provocateur.
To find out more about Secret Agent Beauty, visit SAB.US.com