A common stereotype that is held by the West regarding the East, ever since the days of Ancient Greece, is that the East just does everything better– but without the soul or the passion that they have in the West. Basically, the view is that if you take all the dreams and ambition of a Westerner (and along with that, the greed) and replace it with a soulless, robotic sense of ‘work, work, work’ you’d then have an Easterner.
That is how the Model Minority stereotype was born.
Its all very insulting and infuriating, yet there is some truth to this stereotype: Asians do do it better. An example of this can be seen in the success of Stylenanda’s 3CE— or rather, in the success of the marketing of Stylenanda’s 3CE.
The brand’s Western counterpart would most probably be Topshop Makeup, which got pulled from Malaysian stores a while ago. This writer recalls their makeup shelves in Malaysian Topshop stores as being grimy, unkempt and understocked. Although Topshop and Stylenanda’s image and vibe is pretty similar (affordable yet edgy, promising that anyone who buys from them is one step cooler/hipper than the rest) the former’s house makeup brand hasn’t seemed to find its legs the way 3CE has. At least it hasn’t in Malaysia. There are actually some Topshop items which could be said to have cult followings (The Glow highlighter, for example) yet locally, we don’t really see anyone clamouring for it the way we do for 3CE, which is seemingly popular enough in Malaysia to have its own counter in Sephora (which has the best prices for the brand that you can get locally, both online and off) and even Watsons and Muse@Watsons (where the same item can be priced at double the amount it goes for in Sephora) and, online, at Hermo.
3CE Matte Lip Crayon in #Speak Low
The Matte Lip Crayon actually, ironically reminds me of the Topshop Lip Crayons. They’re equally as drying. When applied on completely bare lips, it does emphasis every crack and does cause your lips to look rather crusty and gross. Therefore, sheer logic would lead one to apply lipbalm at least 10 minutes before putting this on but thats when things get funny– applying this lipstick on top of moisturised lips, even after you’ve wiped off the balm– sheers out the formula. It always ends up looking more like a stain or a sheer lipstick instead of a matte crayon. It isn’t ugly– its actually kind of chic, but this just isn’t what I signed up for.
The lipstick isn’t unusable, though. It just isn’t that good. I have yet to wear it out as a full on, matte lip look the way I would with, say, MAC Lady Danger or even NYX Matte Lip Creme. This could be because I picked out such a wimpy nude colour– bright colours do tend to fare better with matte formulas then nudes do. The price is pretty good too, RM53 at Sephora. I might just go back and pick out a brighter, maybe orange colour.
3CE Lip Marker in #Pink
The 3CE lip marker, on the other hand, is such a nonentity that its hard to even comment on it. Its a lip tint in marker form. This kind of lip tint was something that brands tried to make Happen a few years ago, but didn’t really catch on that much the way tinted balms did.
Korean brands tend to do lip tints way better than Western brands do, but this one might just be an anomaly. Once again, its drying. This is annoying because this is one of the sheerest lip tints I’ve ever tried– and I know my lip tints because I went through a ‘Korean makeup look’ phase a few years ago– therefore you really need to layer it on to even get the slightest discernible colour. Layering it causes your lips to feel dry and uncomfortable and although it doesn’t make your lips look as gross and chapped as the Matte Lip Crayon does, it is uncomfortable and has the opposite of the plumping effect.
You can put lip balm on top of it to make your mouth feel better, but lip balm doesn’t last forever so you’ll need to be dilligent about reapplying both this lip tint followed by another lip balm. I usually just end up bare-lipped by the end of the day. Its not that reapplying two separate products is the hardest thing in the world, its just that this lip tint does not have that Motivating Factor which makes you want to whip it out and slather it all over your mouth.
You can get this product at Sephora, for some reason its listed on Sephora.my as RM200 which has to be a mistake. If it isn’t then you can forget all about corruption in politics– this would be the real robbery.
In the end, I think I can conclude that I ended up buying the hype for some very mediocre products. I probably will try more products from 3CE in the future, but I’ll admit that any purchases I make from them is likely to be motivated by the coolness of their marketing– and also because I could do worse for the price. The moral of the story is that we may believe that we are an increasingly intelligent and critical society but the truth is we are not.