One immediate struggle when moving to another country is being unfamiliar with the local brands and products. When I go to the drugstore in the U.S., I have a more or less good idea of what products are worth my time and money. Here in Brazil, it’s been trial and error.
As a makeup addict, I am constantly seeking out new shades and new products because of course I need a tenth shade of purple lipstick. Forced to turn away from my familiar American brands because of insane price hikes (a single Urban Decay eyeshadow will set you back R$93 or 45 USD) I now look to Brazilian brands to see what’s out there.
Quem Disse Berenice? is a relatively new brand launched last year by the cosmetics giant O Boticário. Its name loosely translates to “Says Who?” and is a reflection of its overall vision.
We know that life is full of rules and so much “can” and “cannot” that freedom is forgotten. But we’re here to remind you that you can be everything you want to be! We want a world full of colors and new things in your life, without fear of failing. Oh, things didn’t work out? Then come with us and try again. (From QDB? Facebook)
Yes, it’s a good marketing strategy, but I like the idea of ignoring the rules and just going for a color, conventionality be damned.
Now on to the actual products. The brand has a wide range in products from foundation to fragrance to brushes, but its main product seems to be lipstick, with over one hundred shades. They also launch limited edition collections throughout the year, with a recent one featuring a platinum colored lipstick. (I was disappointed to find it didn’t suit me.)
I have two lipsticks from QDB? Lilavanda is a lilac colored lipstick with a sheen and has buildable coverage. It was a bit difficult to apply to get an even color, and I found it much easier to work with once I applied it over a lip pencil. It works better as a tint than an opaque lipstick. However, it lasts quite awhile, even through a meal.
The second lipstick is Verdete which is a green based glitter lipstick. Despite its name and description, there is no discernible green color on my lips, but rather just glitter. This is also buildable, so you can have a subtle sparkle or lips that resemble a disco ball. I actually like it as something pretty yet understated to balance out a heavier eye.
Depending on the finish, the lipsticks cost from R$21 to R$25 (about 10 – 12 USD). For Brazilian cosmetics, this is in the mid-range, although it is still difficult for the average Brazilian to pick up one of their lipsticks often. Currently only in São Paulo (I’m discovering this city’s the center of everything), the stores are meant for customers to try on the products and experiment with different colors, which is nice since they don’t allow returns on opened or used merchandise. The sales associates, in my experience, will offer to help choose colors and sanitize products but will leave you alone if so desired and won’t push products. While not of the highest quality, I still think it’s a brand worth checking out for its wide range of colors.
One aspect of the brand I really admire is its unabashed Brazilian-ness. Little details on the packaging like imprinting “Se joga!” (Wear it!) on the lipsticks or releasing a collection called Gabriela, Mel e Pimenta (Gabriela, Honey and Chili Pepper, a nod to the classic Jorge Amado book Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon) make the brand stand out. In Brazil and other countries, it’s often more common to see English printed on clothes and products than the native language (even when the English doesn’t completely make sense), so it’s special to see a national brand that has fun and takes pride in its origins.