Whatever Happened To Bite Beauty?

Bite Beauty's cult-favorite Amuse Bouche lipsticks could be found in nearly every purse and makeup bag by 2015. Founded by Susanne Langmuir, this popular Canadian beauty brand kicked off in 2011 with its collection of high-impact lip products. Langmuir offered a unique line of buttery, highly-pigmented lippies handcrafted using 12 edible — yes, edible — oils, which helped set them apart from competitors. The nourishing ingredients and dimensional color options quickly led to the brand's ascension to cult status among makeup experts and casual wearers alike. "Essentially, what you put on your lips you also ingest, so the reliability of using things that are food-based was really appealing," Langmuir explained in an interview with Yahoo back in 2015.

In 2020, however, a major rebranding decision would have drastic consequences for the company's reputation, resulting in the eventual decline of Bite Beauty. But, as it turns out, not all Bite Beauty products have disappeared from the shelves. If you're a fellow Bite Beauty fan, you'll be interested to find out what we've dug up.

The rise of Bite Beauty

It's easy to understand the reasons behind Bite Beauty's popularity. Looking back on the company's immediate success following its launch in 2011, Bite Beauty checked all the boxes for the criteria of a rising star within the beauty sphere. In the early stages of its launch, the company had everything going for them with an exclusive spot on Sephora's shelves and a growing interest from David Sultineau, the former CEO of Sephora and Kendo, shortly after.

"The brand launched exclusively at Sephora and I met Susanne," Sultineau shared with Women's Wear Daily in response to his acquisition of the company in 2014. At the time of the acquisition, Sultineau was the CEO of beauty incubator Kendo, which separated from Sephora in 2014 to join luxury beauty brand Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LMVH), per Women's Wear Daily. "In the beauty business, there are very few legitimate creative powerhouses, and she's one. Second, it was hard not to like the idea of a brand that was built around the idea of edgy, edible, innovative products for lips. And the brand has flourished."

On top of the acquisition, founder Susanne Langmuir also celebrated the successful 2013 launch of Lip Lab in Soho, New York, according to Yahoo, before she left Bite Beauty in 2018.

Signs of a struggle

From a strategic perspective, expanding the product line to include complexion and eye products was a logical move, especially considering their blossoming success. However, this was arguably one of the significant factors in the brand's eventual decline. By continuing to invest resources into expanding its product offerings, the company's more popular lip products soon became an afterthought.

"As Sephora continued to grow and bring in new brands, and Kendo continued to add brands to their lineup, Bite Beauty sadly fell by the wayside and faced a lot more competition," beauty industry expert Rachel Anise shared in an interview with BeautyMatter. "Bite was chiefly a [lip-focused] line for a long time. They tried to add some new things in [like] the foundation line, but it was too little too late. So many color brands at Sephora had full face options, and the fact that Bite was limited to lips probably worked to its detriment."

The decision to go vegan

Bite Beauty's downward trajectory quickly spurred executives into action, leading to a discontinuation of their entire product line in 2019 and a subsequent rebranding. The beauty brand relaunched its all-new vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free products just a year later. Bite Beauty's new Power Move Soft Matte lipstick collection replaced its beloved Amuse Bouche lipstick, along with an extension of eye and complexion products, such as the Daycation Whipped Blush and Changemaker Supercharged Micellar Foundation.

The luxury brand advertised that all the reformulated products were free from common animal-derived beauty ingredients such as beeswax and lanolin . To appeal to vegan consumers, Bite Beauty ensured all products only included plant-based ingredients. Interestingly enough, however, Bite Beauty's parent company, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH), which also owns OleHenriksen, Benefit Cosmetics, and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, is not exclusively cruelty-free as many of their brands do test their products on animals, per Cruelty-Free Kitty.

A major miscalculation

Bite Beauty had always been ahead of its time, even before its vegan re-branding. The original product formulations contained revolutionary ingredients, such as edible oils with nutrient-rich benefits. That said, the decision to rebrand proved timely with the insurgence of health-conscious consumer habits and a focus on environmental sustainability.

Nevertheless, the clean-beauty brand failed to mitigate the backlash from dedicated fans of the original Amuse Bouche lipstick collection. Ultimately, Bite Beauty underestimated the effects of Amuse Bouche devotees' collective disappointment, which likely impacted a key percentage of its continual sales.

The other rebranded beauty products performed well enough, specifically the Upswing Full Volume mascara and Changmaker Supercharged Micellar foundation, according to Temptalia. But consumers still lamented over the Power Move collection, which replaced the Amuse Bouche collection, noting the lip products underperformed in terms of moisture, texture, and shade range. Past fans also commented on Bite Beauty's classic Agave Lip Mask, which was once a beauty staple. The lanolin-free reformulation simply did not live up to expectations and consumers quickly turned to competitor equivalents, such as Laneige's Lip Sleeping Mask.

The legacy left behind

On May 16, 2022, the company shared a post on Instagram announcing the end of Bite Beauty after a decade of existence. Stock slowly disappeared and Bite Beauty offered steep sales to clear out leftover inventory, both on the shelves and online.

However, despite the end of Bite Beauty, founder Susanne Langmuir's Lip Lab remains standing. Now with over 13 locations, including New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, Lip Lab offers a unique experience where you can create customizable lipsticks and lip balms in-store. Custom lipsticks go for $65 and you can even engrave the tube for a truly luxurious experience.

It would be difficult for Bite Beauty to make a comeback at this point due to the loss of reputation and consumer trust. Bite Beauty failed to compete with rival clean-beauty brands, and it was unable to stay relevant amid the trend of influencer-affiliated brands and celebrity-owned makeup companies. In spite of this, brand loyalists can still get their clean beauty fix at their nearest Lip Lab.