BRAGAIS: A review of the local lipstick brand that beauty queens ALWAYS wear
With the recent coronation of a new Binibining Pilipinas, Catriona Gray has passed on the title to Gazini Ganados. Of course, Queen Cat continues to reign supreme as Miss Universe (and over our hearts)! Serving look after killer look, Catriona inspired us to take a closer look at the intricacies of pageant makeup. Her bold red lip had the local beauty community scrambling to find out what lipstick she has used, and it’s what led me to visit an unassuming little compound in Quezon City.
BRAGAIS, the namesake brand of renowned designer Jojo Bragais, has been the official go-to of Philippine beauty queens since 2015 for sky-high heels that allow them to slay the runway without killing their feet in the process. With his rise to success, the designer put up a flagship store in Diliman, where one can fit the famed nude heels, sample his latest fragrances, or take a closer look at his latest designs.
But according to his star-studded clientele, fashion is no longer this designer’s sole territory. The designer has since gotten his feet wet by crafting luxurious lipstick formulations adored by the likes of Rachel Peters, Venus Raj, Gabriella Isler, and Catriona Gray who painted her pout Fierce to pair with the Mayon Volcano-inspired Mak Tumang evening gown number. Curious why these kweens swear by his lippies, we took a peek at the Shades of Bragais collection!
With 10 highly-pigmented shades to choose from as well as a heavy-duty lip primer, the Shades of Bragais lipsticks look absolutely gorgeous when swatched. Delivering bold color in a single swipe, it isn’t difficult to see why beauty queens and celebrities alike lauded the designer’s foray into beauty products. It’s worth noting that the shades have a satin-matte finish that makes the lips look lush and full, and look flattering when photographed.
The lippies carry a scent reminiscent of cucumber melon sprays, which I personally found pleasant, but can prove to be irritating for others. The shade selection isn’t very diverse but offers practical picks for its target clientele. Bragais sticks to classic hues of berry reds, nude pinks, and deeper chocolate browns. Conquer (mauvey nude), Strut (vivid salmon pink), and Aura (muted reddish brown) were easily my favorites while swatching at the store.
The tube also won as the best lipstick packaging I’ve ever seen in a local beauty brand. A trendy rose gold with a metallic finish and a magnetic cap offers a luxe feel, but with a surprisingly affordable P499 price tag! The collection can also be purchased in sets of 6 (P2,490) or as a whole (P4,490). The reasonable price, classy packaging, and rich pigmentation all sound good on paper, but how do they perform when subjected to the day-to-day hustle of your average Filipina?
I picked up the shades Conquer, Fierce, and Yas to test the performance of different shades. I wore each on my usual busy days to see if certain pigments wore better than others. All three offered amazing color and a comfortable, even moisturizing feel. I sat through a few classes and a meeting with relatively undisturbed makeup but I discovered that the lippies were not so budge-proof when I lightly brushed my shirt sleeve against my lips and the color quickly transferred. This was a consistent problem with all the colors, with the lightest tap resulting in color transfer to anything and everything it made contact with. The lipstick slid off almost immediately after a meal, and I was a little shook to see Conquer smudged on my soup spoon even if I was barely sipping.
Admittedly though, the color fades gracefully into a berry tint reminiscent of K-beauty lip stains so a natural flush remains on the lips. The formulation is also forgiving enough that reapplying is a breeze if you prefer that full pigment pout. I tried these lippies with a lip primer from another brand, but maybe it would have lasted longer and clung to my lips better had I used Bragais’ Canvas lip primer.
The Shades of Bragais lipsticks packed a punch of pigment that was both comfortable and buildable. Honestly, I’d even call it one of my favorite local lippie formulations because it leaves your lips looking oh-so plump and juicy. The packaging makes for easy application and that nifty magnetic cap ensures that you can tote it around without worry. But as they say, you can’t have everything. These fell short in terms of staying power and resiliency, so while it’s a great choice for working the camera as a celebrity, it’s not a practical option for those with active and busy lifestyles that need their lip to stay put. I also wish that would add more shades and different hues, since many of existing shades come from the same color families.
This lipstick is definitely worth trying if you like comfortable wear and high pigmentation. Cop one to use during special events, on days when you have time to retouch, or whenever you need to channel Queen Cat and conquer what lies ahead.
Product photography by Nicole Quindara, onsite photography by Khae Aruelo