Code 8

by Christina Mitsi

We’re in our second month of lockdown and for many of us home workers there’s not much point in putting makeup on anymore. But for me personally, I love trying out new makeup or trying out a new eyeshadow look I saw on Tik Tok, perhaps just putting on foundation and mascara to walk the dog in the hope that someone says ‘you’re looking well’ instead of the usual ‘are you alright?’. Founders of Code 8, Nadine Ayache and Sophia Chikovani, view it as more than just a brand but a life mission to spread positivity on self-image and self-worth to all women of all ages. They are calling out for a change in the beauty industry and challenging the codes of make-up with their 8 point beauty manifest which encourages women to make time for themselves, love the skin they’re in and be confident in their appearance.

But what makes the brand special is more than just their cruelty free production, inclusivity and dedication to limited edition and bespoke pieces, it’s that their products are genuinely good quality, innovative and made with women in mind. I for one, couldn’t wait to try it out!

I had the pleasure of testing out some of their best sellers as well as designing my own lipstick with their Bespoke Lipstick Creation Experience in the Code 8 Colour ID Lab. While lockdown may have closed their London flagship store, the team have managed to adapt their service to work over zoom. Simply book an appointment on their website and their colour maestro will arrange a time to get to know you and mix a shade that is unique to you.

The products I would be testing were not chosen by myself, because I have to admit I know as much about make up as I know about deep space. Instead I had a meeting with makeup maestro Jaun who spoke to me about my lifestyle, the colours I like to wear as well as what makeup I wear day to day. With only a few bits of information Juan seemed to completely understand what my habits were and more importantly which products would suit me and my lifestyle.

One of the very first products he suggested was the Radiate Beauty Balm or BB cream. Providing a unique light coverage effect, Radiate is an easily spreadable beauty balm that provides absolute definition and filling action with a velvety touch. What’s great about it is that it can provide buildable coverage whilst also having the feeling of a tinted moisturiser. And to Juans credit, the shade he picked was absolutely perfect for me, even over zoom he could tell my exact skin tone.

For a buildable medium-to-full coverage look I was given the Code 8 Skin Perfecting Concealer, a liquid concealer with maximum-comfort wear and hydration properties. What I really loved was the built in sponge which enables you to get into all the hard to reach areas such as around the eyes and nose. Needless to say the shade went perfectly with my BB cream and the combination really does give a natural yet flawless appearance.

For the eyes I explained that I have lovely long lashes and don’t use extensions so I was looking for a mascara that would curl and give volume along with an eyeliner to highlight the lash line. The Lash Sophisticate High Definition Mascara was made for the ultimate lash by lash definition as well as lengthening and volume. I really liked this mascara because it’s long lasting and smudge proof which is great for me as I always seem to manage to look like a panda by the end of the day.

For a smooth and sleek liner I was given the Code 8 Precision Liquid Eyeliner as opposed to a kohl pencil for a more defined line. A water-resistant pure ink eyeliner, it glides onto the lash line with the softest and smoothest consistent colour flow and stays put all day long. The liner is also a lot thinner than many on the market making it a lot easier for novices like me to perfect the perfect winged liner look.

With the basics down I was then asked about how I like my overall look to appear, whether a matte finish, dewy, shiny, glowing etc. I love to look bronzed and glowing like I’ve just returned from a week in Cyprus, and for that Juan had just the thing.

The Code 8 Bronze Summer Glow Powder is designed to boost your skin’s natural tan potential and accentuate your features with its finely milled bronzing powder. The buildable formula allows you to customise the result and achieve your desired look with exceptional spreadability and long-lasting results. I liked its subtle yet effective look and the fact that it can be layered without looking cakey.

To really boost the glowy look I was given a beautiful Highlight HD Pallette a duo of rose gold and bronze to enhance and define features. Its unique formula contains pre-baked pearls, olive oil, macadamia oil and white tea extract to moisturise and nourish skin and to be honest it feels lovely and not at all powdery.

Finally I was given what I think was my favourite of all the products, the Code 8 Tinted Lip Balm. From the first application, it soothes, treats and softens lips thanks to its cotton butter enriched formula which smells absolutely delicious. Dotted with antioxidant properties, it contains natural soft clay mineral and cotton butter for a soft and silky application sensation and a film-forming polymer for high-shine and long-lasting coverage. Packed with a powerful blend of Vitamins, this tinted lip balm provides antioxidant protection against environmental stress and early signs of ageing. Its beautiful packaging looks a lot more luxurious than an old chapstick you’ve used to death so if you invest in one thing, make it this.

But of course my absolute favourite product of all is my own bespoke lipstick from Code 8’s Virtual Colour ID Lab. The process couldn’t be simpler whether you are physically in their store or doing it over zoom like I did. Simply go to the bespoke lipsticks section of the Code 8 website and select ‘book now’ to arrange your appointment at a time that suits you. Before your appointment it’s advised to position yourself somewhere with natural (but not too much) light and also to have no makeup on, that way your makeup artist can see your natural skin tones so they can determine what shades would look good on you.

Juan asked questions such as what makeup looks I go for during the day and when going out, what kind of colour clothes I like to wear, how outgoing I am and from all this he decided I was in need of a bold, deep red lipstick to match my confident and eccentric personality. The man was not wrong!

He then mixes three shades and has a camera angled so that you can watch it being done, it’s mesmerizing! All the way through he asks if you’re happy with it, if you want it darker, lighter, warmer, brighter etc. Once you’re happy with the look of your colours they are then posted to you to try. When you have chosen a shade you like best, simply let your mixologist know and they then create your signature shade and ask you to pick a name for it.

I went with ‘Bespoke Realness’ for my shade and when it arrived I could not have been more excited to open the beautiful box and uncover my very own lipstick that felt ever so personal and special. Its buildable formula allows for precision and control in application, to achieve defined lips in either a long-wearing matte tint or intense velvety matte finish in full-colour effect. Thanks to a balanced mix of waxes, the formula has been created to enhance the volume of the lips and glides on beautifully to achieve the perfect lip contour. Juan also recommended I use it in small amounts as a blush for my cheeks, which works really well and matches the lips without looking too bold or unnatural.

Armed with my new products, bespoke lip colour and a desperate need to show it all off I am now the most glamorous dog walker you’ll find in Manchester.

Category is… Bespoke Realness!


  • Christina Mitsi

    Born and raised in the picturesque Lake District, Christina Mitsi had a truly idyllic childhood. She then transitioned from being a head chef in Manchester to compiling the community pages and features for the Manchester Evening News. She is always ready for an adventure, whether it’s swimming in the Norwegian fjords or singing in the honky tonks in Nashville. Now running her own social media business, she loves nothing more than exploring with her dog Luther or being curled up with a good Netflix documentary.

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