Melanin and Highlighters

The perfect highlight is all people seem to be able to talk about on the makeup front. This girl on my Facebook has all sorts of names for the highlight game. My YouTube homepage keeps suggesting homemade highlighters. My Pinterest has the Top 10 best Highlights of 2016 as the third pin I saw when I opened it.

I am a millennial, which means I am a sucker for most things that get enough social media exposure. Due to this, I began the search for the perfect highlighters for black girls. These are things I have learned.

1. Reasonably priced highlighter is hard to find for girls on #teammelanin.

So there is the Cover FX custom enhancer drops which from every video I have watched look like a liquid highlighter version of heaven. Tragically, not all of us have $42 to drop on one makeup product. I, personally, am in school and pushing $200K in debt so I want to look like I stepped off a runway in Milan for a grand total of $25 or less.

The first thing I tried when this trend became popular was the E.L.F baked bronzer I wrote about in an earlier post. Since then I have tried their baked blushes and baked highlighters. Several of my friends who are much lighter in complexion have raved about these and to my knowledge they are cruelty free and not tested on animals, in addition to being fairly priced. That being said, their baked line is not a product line I would recommend.

I began watching a lot of YouTube videos and I noticed that if you want to have a reasonably priced highlighter and you’re deep into team melanin. Making one yourself from pigments works pretty much as effectively as buying one. This is something I tried and I have ZERO regrets.

If you aren’t into the DIY scene, the Maybelline Master Glaze Bronzer in Glistening Amber has gotten me all the compliments. The size of the glitter in this is larger than my DIY one, which has much finer flecks of gold in it. That being said I might save this more for going out than going to work but you should definitely keep it in your cabinet.

2. Gold always. The more you look like a Grecian statue dipped in pure gold the better.

I have literally tried every single one of the E.L.F facial whips. Firstly, I do not think these apply nicely at all. Either be a powder or be a liquid like the Cover FX kind. It’s hard to do highlight in anything else considering you usually apply it over foundation and powder. Who really wants to put a cream that doesn’t spread well over a powder? Not I. Also they have a ridiculous amount of silver glitter in it which is fantastic if you have all of the pigment of an albino in Canada during the winter. But silver tones do not work well with anyone in the range of caramel to ebony.

I know what you’re thinking.

You thinking to yourself: “Shouldn’t that be obvious? Why would a black girl even try that? I imagine you would just come out looking like you were silver-y ashy…”

Yeah. I had that same thought. Youtube and good lighting will have you thinking all types of voodoo is possible. It is not. Don’t be an optimist. The tragic part of this is that when I searched on Amazon for the 5 star highlighters, it gave me mostly suggestions that would only be good for white people. I need makeup brands to start coming through for black girls more in their highlight.

That is all.




Disappointing Products: July

Hey Guys and Gals!

So recently I’ve been getting a lot of new makeup and unfortunately I have gotten a lot of things that I just haven’t really loved so I wanted to share them with you guys and hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes that I did. 

Foundation: Mary Kay Foundation Day Radiance Cream in Walnut Bronze ($16)


Here’s a little background on why I bought this in the first place. My current most used foundation is my Maybelline Fit Me Foundation because it applies well and gives good coverage but it’s better for winter when the weather and my skin are a lot drier. It doesn’t stay in place quite as well during the summer, which is why I was looking for a good summer foundation. This is not that.

Pros: It has a good formulation. It’s a very light weight cream that is closer to a mousse and applies nicely with very good coverage.

Cons: It has a god awful smell. I would have thought this was expired or had been laying around several months if I didn’t buy it brand new myself. Also, because it’s more of a cream and not a liquid, it’s not as easily blendable and spreadable. I tried it with brushes, my fingers, and my beauty blender. I got it to blend, but only after I put in work. I even let my younger sister try it and still saw streaks when she tried to apply it. For something so difficult to blend out, you would think that it would actually stay on your skin, but this will smudge on EVERYTHING. I usually set my foundation with powder and I use a makeup setting spray at the end of my looks, but I probably ruined so many of my friends collars from this foundation.

Highlight: E.L.F Baked Bronzer in Maui ($5.70)


I was looking for a highlight that was relatively subtle but would still have an effect. I like all of my other face and skin makeup to look very matte and natural and for my highlight to add a subtly glow. Before purchasing I had watched several YouTube reviews on this product and people had advised that for an African American skin tone this would be a subtle glow.

Pros: If you put Vaseline on your face first and then dab this on top (which I thoroughly do not recommend), the color is nice. It works as a good very subtle highlighter for African American skin tones and it doesn’t have large and cheesy flecks of glitter in it.

Cons: I understand that this was a baked bronzer, but again this is something I would have thought sat on the shelf for too long. After my experience with the Mary Kay product, I did check with the manager of the drugstore to see when they got the newest shipment of this product to ensure I was not buying a product that had already sat on shelves for months. It was very very dry, like hard clay. It is shaped like a shallow half sphere and people applied it directly to their cheeks in the videos. I tried it, to no avail. Fingers and brushes also failed. Upon putting it into my makeup drawer in my bathroom it completely broke apart and was a mess upon me reopening my drawer. I even tried to make this work by using a little Vaseline and dabbing this on top. For anyone wondering, that makeup hack really only works for like 12 year olds who don’t wear any other makeup. This wouldn’t work if you were layering over foundation or BB cream and it doesn’t really apply evenly.

As of now I am using a golden bronze cream eyeshadow as my highlight. Let me know if you guys want to see a makeup look with me doing that by commenting.

Lipstick: 1. Sugar Butter Lipstick in Roasted Coffee ($3.00)


There’s no backstory here. I wasn’t looking for anything specific, I just like lipsticks and I get the same brand of lipsticks all the time so I wanted something new and this was cheap. The few times I have branched out, I have been left disappointed.

Pros: It is a moisturizing lipstick. They truly meant it when they called it a butter lipstick.

Cons: It’s not as matte as I prefer. My other lipsticks are not the matte liquid lipsticks but rather the old school traditional kind made with wax. This was not even as matte as that. It applies more like a gloss and it is not nearly as opaque as my other ones. You get what you pay for. The color is also a disappointment. When I order a matte brown lipstick that is labeled as roasted coffee, I expect it to be more brown, but this was more wine colored with loads of red undertones.

I would recommend Revlon Matte Lipstick in Wine Not. It’s one of my favorites.

2. L.A. Colors Makeup Intense Flat Smooth Finish Matte Lipstick in Wicked ($4.56)

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At this point, I wanted a new dark lipstick to replace the failure that was the sugar butter lipstick above. This one had similar problems and at this point, I am discovering how much I hate crappy lipstick.

Pros: It is in fact matte, so if that is a look you’re going for and you’re on a budget this is a reasonable lipstick to buy. It was more opaque than the Sugar Butter lipstick in roasted coffee.

Cons: Looking at the picture above, you would think that this would be a deep purple, almost black. Considering this is the darkest shade offered in this collection, that is what I was expecting. It is not. It is right in line with the “coffee color” of the Sugar Butter lipstick in that this is more of a wine color. It is less moisturizing than the Sugar Butter and still less opaque than the Revlon lipstick I recommended previously. The formulation of this is absolute crap. Spend the $3.10 on the Sugar Butter and trash this! This is just dry and hard. It looked so pretty in the packaging and wasn’t terrible when I swatched it on my hand, but when I went to put it on my lips it did not want to go. I practically had to smash it on there and I had to go over it 4 times. On top of that it did not apply evenly and was patchy. Lastly, it smelled awful. It has a retched chemical smell to it that was not at all tolerable to my nostrils.

If you’re in the market for a deep purple color, I would recommend Revlon Super Lustrous Crème Lipstick in Va Va Violet. Full disclosure: I am not endorsed or supported by Revlon in any way. I simply think that they have the best formula of lipstick if you’re looking for drugstore priced items. They also have the largest breadth of colors to select from.

Lipgloss: L.A. Girl Matte Pigment Lipgloss in Playful ($5.67)


I was looking for more of a liquid lipstick for a good price and these just kept tempting me by appearing on my Amazon suggestions. This is my largest purchase regret in the last couple years. It even swatched well on my hand when I first opened it. Despite the previous reviews it dried well, didn’t feel sticky, and did not budge when I went to wipe it off.

Cons: By itself this is a horrible product. Firstly, the formula is kind of thick. It’s not light and blendable at all. Secondly, it does not apply evenly. It is very streaky and patchy with application. I will say that it is very opaque in the places where it does apply. By itself, it is very sticky when you try to talk, and it does not come off well. I first tried this on right before I was supposed to go out with friends and it was a nightmare of epic proportions to try and fix.

Pros: Very bright color. Doesn’t look nearly as toned down as the Amazon website photos would have you believe. It’s a couple notches down from an early Nikki Minaj lip look on my very chocolately skin tone. Although, I still think it would look pretty cute with the right outfit. It’s good if you have a lipstick on underneath. It got better when I put on chapstick and Maybelline’s Color Blue Cream Matte Pencil in Fast & Fuschia on underneath it. After I did that I found that it wasn’t nearly as sticky, but I still would probably avoid rubbing your lips together and would wait 5-10 minutes for it to dry. Also, with another product on underneath, it is easier to take off, I just wish I didn’t have to do all of that to love this product because I was so looking forward to a good reasonably priced liquid lipstick.

P.S. I had photos of the products and swatches but for some reason my wordpress is not letting me upload any of them so I will try again later. But let me know if you guys want any other pictures or have any other questions


Head 2 Head: Makeup Removal Products

Hi Guys! So today we are talking about makeup removal. I have found a new love in life. Up until about a year and a half ago, I only wore face makeup for special occasions. My primary method of removal was when I washed my face. That’s still an option for some, but if you prefer to keep your wash cloths looking pretty, I would recommend using makeup removing wipes. I like the freshness and the feel of makeup removing wipes. Now, you’re probably wondering,  “Why wipes?” Why not a makeup remover solution and cotton balls? Firstly, let me touch upon the difference in cotton balls and cotton rounds. These are two different things meant for different things when it comes to beauty. For anything involving your face, use cotton rounds. More to the point, I prefer makeup removing wipes or pads better than a solution and any form of cotton simply because it’s more efficient and doesn’t leave behind wisps of cotton on my skin. Plus it’s more versatile. I can stick a packet of wipes into a purse for touch up or travel and not have to worry about anything spilling or it being over the 3 oz. limit.

My natural default is cheap. I am in school full time in a competitive field. My schedule doesn’t allow for an extra job so I am at the mercy of loans and my family, neither of which I like to use any more than I have to. This is the case for many of us, so we’re on the same page. I wasn’t picky about where I got my makeup remover. It was a step up from ruining my washcloths, right? Wrong. I’m not saying go out an buy the most expensive thing you can find, but be picky and check dates. A lot of times these are in the aisle at you local super market, but depending on how popular that market is and how often they restock things like that that packet of wipes could’ve been there for a while. I have had the displeasing experience of opening a package only to find they were dried out. Know your store or order online. I actually found that it was easier to ask questions about when they got the product in from the manufacturer when using Ebay or Amazon.

First Try: Garnier Clean Cleansing Towlettes


These really weren’t my favorite. The ones I got were dried out on the top, so I ended up throwing out almost half the pack to get to the ones that still had moisture. Even the ones that were in the condition they should be didn’t seen to do much in terms of getting my makeup off. Normally, I wash my face after removing my makeup and my wash cloths still did a lot of the work. They didn’t feel super soft, and didn’t smell good or bad.

  • Average Price: $5-6 for 25 count
  • Average number used: 4
  • Final Verdict: Pass on these

Trial #2: Revlon Makeup Removing Towelettes with Pomegranate and Chamomile

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These were better. They got more of my makeup off they felt softer and they smelled good. There is a fair amount of fragrance in these so if you have more sensitive skin or have had previous skin allergies or conditions, I would avoid these. I liked them. Were they the greatest thing I’ve ever tried for removing my makeup? No, but that probably makes these better for on-the-go touch up work.

  • Average Price: $6-7  for 25 count
  • Average number used: 3
  • Final Verdict: Go for it.

Trial #3: The Creme Shop Cleansing Towelettes with Aloe


This is what I call the “Mom approved contender.” Thankfully for me as I was running out of Revlon makeup removing wipes, my mom came into town and dropped these off. These I love for makeup removal! They are soft and plush and super moisturized. I swipe it all over and there is enough moisture for me to feel without it dripping everywhere. By the time I am done, it feels as if my face is freshly washed.  Plus these are not labelled specifically as makeup wipes, they are meant to be multipurpose wipes for skin. These are also great for sensitive skin as they lack irritating agents. I use these after the gym and they are also great for ladies who like to be thoroughly clean in the groin area during periods. So these are the perfect tool to stick in your backpack, purse, or gym bag.

  • Average Price: $6 from what I found online
  • Average number used: 1.5
  • Final verdict: Love these purely for the versatility. BUY THESE if you have an on-the-go lifestyle.

Last but not least: Signature Club A Makeup Remover Pads

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This was actually the best product of the four for makeup removal. For layered on, professional grade makeup this WORKS! And the pads actually use argan oil for the removal so these are great if you have dry skin and they are significantly less likely to ever dry out. I only had to use 1 pad. I had to use both sides but still that’s pretty amazing. Plus, despite the deceptive picture this case is small, so these pads are not big. I would keep this on hand for special events to remove your makeup afterwards.

  • Price: $9
  • Average number used: <1
  • Final Verdict: If you wear full face makeup or model get these. Today. Right now. If you don’t or aren’t a model get them anyway for special events. No special events coming up? Get a life, go out, find a reason to dress up! 


Product Review: Pure Minerals


So I watch a lot of other beauty bloggers on Youtube because generally the rule is: “See one, do one, teach one.”  Many of them use a foundation primer before they put on their foundation, but of the people I know in real life I would say I have a handful of friends who actually use primer. I wanted to try it to see if it would make any difference in my makeup. This product is Pure Minerals Prep & Prime. I purchased it after looking through Amazon for different foundation primers. Many other bloggers use ones from Mac or NYX and they seem to get pretty consistent reviews, but I was having difficulty finding things that got really positive reviews for less than $20 and that’s my maximum for any one beauty product. This product got several very good reviews on Amazon and was only $13. My general rule before purchasing is that is has to be four stars or higher out of five and have more than twenty reviews total.

Here’s my view on the stuff after having used it for a week. It says use 1-3 pumps, I used two but found it to be too much and so I switched to one. It promises to extended the wear of the foundation, cover pores and blur wrinkles, and create silky skin. It feels very smooth and moisturizing to apply which I like. It also is very lightweight so it doesn’t feel like you’re clogging your pores or adding on a whole new layer. It does extend my foundation as promised but I did not notice my makeup being any smoother than when I applied foundation without the primer, thus it did not fulfill its purpose. I am definitely going to shop around for more options.

Final Grade: B-

Update (7/2016): I use this a daily moisturizer whether I am wearing makeup or not. Normally, I dislike a lot of facial moisturizers so currently I would give it a B as a primer, but an A- as a moisturizer.