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7 Beauty Products You Won't Be Mad You Spent Your Money On

My lipstick stayed on through a teeth cleaning, so yea.

Hey guys! It's Essence again, and beauty products make me feel like THIS! Here's another review of seven skincare and makeup things I tried and am totes loving. Most of them are pretty cheap, too, so check 'em out.

Throwback to a warmer and more pleasant time when I wasn't angry for no reason. #SummerIsTheBestSeason #DontComeForMeFallTrolls
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

Throwback to a warmer and more pleasant time when I wasn't angry for no reason. #SummerIsTheBestSeason #DontComeForMeFallTrolls

1. Chapstick DUO is my new boo because it's cheap, smells yummy, and keeps my lips hydrated.

Fall is officially here, which means your lips need to be shown some extra love. There are so many balms out there making more empty promises than your ex bae. That good ol' faithful Chapstick, though, always follows through. Now the brand has taken their same formula and made these cute and fun Chapstick DUOs. Basically, they're these little half-egg shaped balms, that you can buy individually or in a pack of two, and you can snap them together to make two balms in one. I snapped Sweet Peach and Strawberry Kiwi together.Here's why I like these Chapstick DUO things: They're cute and fun to play with, but they also deliver. It's Chapstick's formula that's been around longer than you and I have, but in cooler packaging. And you get to switch between scents, which smell sooo good, whenever you want. Also, they're cheap: $2.99 for one or $4.99 for a two-pack. There are eight flavors—Berry Sorbet Shimmer, Vanilla Shimmer, Fresh Coconut, Tropical Pineapple, Strawberry Kiwi, Cool Mint, Refreshing Watermelon, and Sweet Peach—so you can make 28 different combinations. Price: $4.99Make your own DUO combos here.
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

Fall is officially here, which means your lips need to be shown some extra love. There are so many balms out there making more empty promises than your ex bae. That good ol' faithful Chapstick, though, always follows through. Now the brand has taken their same formula and made these cute and fun Chapstick DUOs. Basically, they're these little half-egg shaped balms, that you can buy individually or in a pack of two, and you can snap them together to make two balms in one. I snapped Sweet Peach and Strawberry Kiwi together.

Here's why I like these Chapstick DUO things: They're cute and fun to play with, but they also deliver. It's Chapstick's formula that's been around longer than you and I have, but in cooler packaging. And you get to switch between scents, which smell sooo good, whenever you want. Also, they're cheap: $2.99 for one or $4.99 for a two-pack. There are eight flavors—Berry Sorbet Shimmer, Vanilla Shimmer, Fresh Coconut, Tropical Pineapple, Strawberry Kiwi, Cool Mint, Refreshing Watermelon, and Sweet Peach—so you can make 28 different combinations.

Price: $4.99

Make your own DUO combos here.

2. Feeling this NYX Prismatic Shadow, and I'm not even an eyeshadow person.

I used to play more with eyeshadows when I first started wearing makeup, but now approaching 30 (#January7th #CapricornBaby), I don't have time for the extra and actually enjoy a simpler makeup look. But, every once in a while, I'll dabble in a little shadow for funsies. Here, I'm wearing NYX Prismatic Shadow in Blue Jeans. NYX describes the Prismatic collection as "kaleidoscope color," and the Blue Jeans shade is a "cobalt blue with silver shimmer."Now, the few times I do wear shadow it's NEVER blue because blues remind me of Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Blue Jeans, however, is cool because it's not tacky, imo, and the shimmer is not overboard. I didn't use a primer, and the pigment was still really good. If you want that super-rich color, though, I'd totally go with a primer—or you can just layer it on heavier than I did. The wear is also long-lasting. It'll def carry you through the workday or a night of partying without having to reapply. The Prismatic collection comes in 24 shades, and they're only $5.99 each. The price is a major selling point for me because I rarely wear eyeshadow, so I don't want to pay anything over $10 when I do. It's cheap, it's pigmented, and it lasts, and that's everything I want in an eye color.Price: $5.99Check out all the colors here.
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

I used to play more with eyeshadows when I first started wearing makeup, but now approaching 30 (#January7th #CapricornBaby), I don't have time for the extra and actually enjoy a simpler makeup look. But, every once in a while, I'll dabble in a little shadow for funsies. Here, I'm wearing NYX Prismatic Shadow in Blue Jeans. NYX describes the Prismatic collection as "kaleidoscope color," and the Blue Jeans shade is a "cobalt blue with silver shimmer."

Now, the few times I do wear shadow it's NEVER blue because blues remind me of Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Blue Jeans, however, is cool because it's not tacky, imo, and the shimmer is not overboard. I didn't use a primer, and the pigment was still really good. If you want that super-rich color, though, I'd totally go with a primer—or you can just layer it on heavier than I did. The wear is also long-lasting. It'll def carry you through the workday or a night of partying without having to reapply.

The Prismatic collection comes in 24 shades, and they're only $5.99 each. The price is a major selling point for me because I rarely wear eyeshadow, so I don't want to pay anything over $10 when I do. It's cheap, it's pigmented, and it lasts, and that's everything I want in an eye color.

Price: $5.99

Check out all the colors here.

3. This Too Cool For School Pumpkin 24K Gold Mask makes my foundation go on a lot smoother.

Here's the thing with sheet masks. I don't even know if most of them really do anything. I'm sure there's one out there that Beyoncé uses and it actually visibly tightens your pores, but it's probably not in the budget of a beauty editor living in the Tri-state area who orders delivery at least four days a week. That being said, I stick to the $5 - $10 ones that come in envelopes and make your skin feel soft. Most recently I tried Too Cool For School's (LOVE THIS BRAND!) Pumpkin 24k Gold Mask. I tried it mainly because I thought I would look like a pumpkin for 15 to 20 minutes and that truly delighted my adult self. But only the packaging was pumpkin-shaped and not the actual mask. One more dream killed, but I pressed on.Like all the Too Cool For School masks I've tried, the pumpkin felt great on my face. It was folded and soaked in a serum or whatever the goody stuff is that's supposedly good for your skin. I let it sit on for about 15 minutes before gently pulling it off and rubbing in the excess product. My skin felt soft and smooth, and looked vibrant because of the hydrating product. As far as I can tell, my pores didn't shrink and my skin didn't feel tighter or any other dramatic difference like that. For me, though, it was still a win because I don't really expect a lot from sheet masks. It's always about the pampering experience and soft feel afterwards. I will say, though, that my foundation did go on very well, and it looked flawlessly even after the mask. I'm assuming because of all the moisture from the product. Would totes do it again on a Saturday or Sunday when I just wanna feel pretty and fancy and get baby-soft skin quickly.Price: $7.90Add to your collection of pumpkin things this fall and get it here.
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

Here's the thing with sheet masks. I don't even know if most of them really do anything. I'm sure there's one out there that Beyoncé uses and it actually visibly tightens your pores, but it's probably not in the budget of a beauty editor living in the Tri-state area who orders delivery at least four days a week. That being said, I stick to the $5 - $10 ones that come in envelopes and make your skin feel soft. Most recently I tried Too Cool For School's (LOVE THIS BRAND!) Pumpkin 24k Gold Mask. I tried it mainly because I thought I would look like a pumpkin for 15 to 20 minutes and that truly delighted my adult self. But only the packaging was pumpkin-shaped and not the actual mask. One more dream killed, but I pressed on.

Like all the Too Cool For School masks I've tried, the pumpkin felt great on my face. It was folded and soaked in a serum or whatever the goody stuff is that's supposedly good for your skin. I let it sit on for about 15 minutes before gently pulling it off and rubbing in the excess product. My skin felt soft and smooth, and looked vibrant because of the hydrating product. As far as I can tell, my pores didn't shrink and my skin didn't feel tighter or any other dramatic difference like that. For me, though, it was still a win because I don't really expect a lot from sheet masks. It's always about the pampering experience and soft feel afterwards. I will say, though, that my foundation did go on very well, and it looked flawlessly even after the mask. I'm assuming because of all the moisture from the product. Would totes do it again on a Saturday or Sunday when I just wanna feel pretty and fancy and get baby-soft skin quickly.

Price: $7.90

Add to your collection of pumpkin things this fall and get it here.

4. Literally OBSESSED with how soft Kiss My Grits Lip Scrub makes my lips feel!!!

For the last five years my job has literally been to try beauty products, so I've seen a lot of things, guys. I've got stories. But NEVER have I seen a full line of skin and body care made with actual grits. Maybe I'm just late to the party and grits beauty has been a thing (which is possible because I have the soul of 73-year-old black woman named Ethel), but my Georgia-raised heart hasn't been this excited over a scrub in a while. So this company called Salacia Salts, based in Savannah, GA, makes all these cool products, and one of their collections is called Kiss My Grits. The only product I've tried so far is the Kiss My Grits Lip Scrub, and UMMAGAWWWSH! It's officially my new favorite lip scrub. It comes in a little jar, and you just put some on your finger and spread it over your lips. I motion my finger back and forth across my lips almost like I'm brushing them with a toothbrush. Then you rinse, OR LICK, it off. I didn't lick it off because the thought of having dead skin flakes in my mouth grossed me out, but the instructions def say that's an option. I did get some of the grits in my mouth by accident though and they were good and salty in a weird way. To get all the grits off, though, I wet a wash cloth with warm water and gently scrubbed them away.My lips felt so damn soft, y'all. You can actually see how smooth they are in the pic! I'm gonna go ahead and order another one so that I'm fully stocked for this disrespectful winter I feel coming. If you have dry lips, or if you just want a good lip scrub for the fall and winter, I 100% suggest giving this a try. And it's only $12.95, too, which makes my coin purse very happy. I'll probably get a few as stocking stuffers because it's so reasonably priced. I have the plain flavor, but they also have Peach and Margarita. They make a variety of Kiss My Grits Nourishing Lip Balms, too, but I haven't tried them yet.Price: $12.95.Get a Lip Scrub here, and check out the rest of the collection.
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

For the last five years my job has literally been to try beauty products, so I've seen a lot of things, guys. I've got stories. But NEVER have I seen a full line of skin and body care made with actual grits. Maybe I'm just late to the party and grits beauty has been a thing (which is possible because I have the soul of 73-year-old black woman named Ethel), but my Georgia-raised heart hasn't been this excited over a scrub in a while.

So this company called Salacia Salts, based in Savannah, GA, makes all these cool products, and one of their collections is called Kiss My Grits. The only product I've tried so far is the Kiss My Grits Lip Scrub, and UMMAGAWWWSH! It's officially my new favorite lip scrub. It comes in a little jar, and you just put some on your finger and spread it over your lips. I motion my finger back and forth across my lips almost like I'm brushing them with a toothbrush. Then you rinse, OR LICK, it off. I didn't lick it off because the thought of having dead skin flakes in my mouth grossed me out, but the instructions def say that's an option. I did get some of the grits in my mouth by accident though and they were good and salty in a weird way. To get all the grits off, though, I wet a wash cloth with warm water and gently scrubbed them away.

My lips felt so damn soft, y'all. You can actually see how smooth they are in the pic! I'm gonna go ahead and order another one so that I'm fully stocked for this disrespectful winter I feel coming. If you have dry lips, or if you just want a good lip scrub for the fall and winter, I 100% suggest giving this a try. And it's only $12.95, too, which makes my coin purse very happy. I'll probably get a few as stocking stuffers because it's so reasonably priced. I have the plain flavor, but they also have Peach and Margarita. They make a variety of Kiss My Grits Nourishing Lip Balms, too, but I haven't tried them yet.

Price: $12.95.

Get a Lip Scrub here, and check out the rest of the collection.

5. I legit got my teeth cleaned and Motives Maven Mattes liquid lipstick STILL stayed on!

I know that there are some good matte lipstick brands out there for way cheaper, so let me just start with why Motives Maven Mattes collection is worth the extra coin. I don't know what it is about my lips, but most lipsticks, no matter how "long-wearing" they claim to be, don't last on my lips. I have to reapply them at least twice a day, and they ALWAYS come off after meals. Very rarely do I find one that can survive time or my constant snacking, so when I do, I like to tell people about it. I applied my Motives liquid matte (I'm wearing the color Mocktail) and an hour later I ate lunch, which consisted of a chicken breast and a half (stop judging me), yellow rice, salad with oil dressing, and there was also quite a bit of hot sauce drizzled over my food. Through all of that — even the sauce and olive oil dressing — my lipstick was still intact. THEN, I went to a dentist appointment about an hour later and got an exam and teeth cleaning. My dentist did the full shebang, scraping my teeth with that metal pick thing and polishing them with that blue stuff that tastes good but is also kinda gross. Lipstick STILL. ON. POINT! Even my dentist and his assistant were like, "Daaang! That's some goooood lipstick!" So if your lips for whatever reason don't hold lip color, or you just want something that can carry you through a night of clubbing and a tornado, I def recommend it. I like it obviously because it lasts super long, and because you don't need a whole lot. The color is super-pigmented, so just a dab will saturate your entire lip. The feel is another perk, as it is very soft and velvety going on. I love mattes but hate the dry feeling, so a moisturizing formula like this one is an absolute must for me. Motives Maven Mattes is a must-try if you're a lipstick lover. Price: $21.95.Check out all the colors here. I have Rust 'N' Roll, Sorry Not Sorry, Try Me, Scandalous, and Mocktail!
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

I know that there are some good matte lipstick brands out there for way cheaper, so let me just start with why Motives Maven Mattes collection is worth the extra coin. I don't know what it is about my lips, but most lipsticks, no matter how "long-wearing" they claim to be, don't last on my lips. I have to reapply them at least twice a day, and they ALWAYS come off after meals. Very rarely do I find one that can survive time or my constant snacking, so when I do, I like to tell people about it.

I applied my Motives liquid matte (I'm wearing the color Mocktail) and an hour later I ate lunch, which consisted of a chicken breast and a half (stop judging me), yellow rice, salad with oil dressing, and there was also quite a bit of hot sauce drizzled over my food. Through all of that — even the sauce and olive oil dressing — my lipstick was still intact. THEN, I went to a dentist appointment about an hour later and got an exam and teeth cleaning. My dentist did the full shebang, scraping my teeth with that metal pick thing and polishing them with that blue stuff that tastes good but is also kinda gross. Lipstick STILL. ON. POINT! Even my dentist and his assistant were like, "Daaang! That's some goooood lipstick!" So if your lips for whatever reason don't hold lip color, or you just want something that can carry you through a night of clubbing and a tornado, I def recommend it.

I like it obviously because it lasts super long, and because you don't need a whole lot. The color is super-pigmented, so just a dab will saturate your entire lip. The feel is another perk, as it is very soft and velvety going on. I love mattes but hate the dry feeling, so a moisturizing formula like this one is an absolute must for me. Motives Maven Mattes is a must-try if you're a lipstick lover.

Price: $21.95.

Check out all the colors here. I have Rust 'N' Roll, Sorry Not Sorry, Try Me, Scandalous, and Mocktail!

6. The Brush Craft Oval 6 is just as good as a $55 foundation brush and it's $30 cheaper.

If you're super into makeup, you've probably seen those fancy Artis makeup brushes. They're crazy expensive (This foundation brush is $55, and this full brush set of nine is $450!!!) But, the same company also makes a more affordable line called Brush Craft, and they're perfect if you're not looking for next-level professional tools. They make four brushes, ranging from $18.50 to $24.50, and each one is multi-purpose. For instance, the Oval 6, which is what you see in the pic above, can be used for foundation, contour, and blush. The Oval 6 is my fave, mainly because I don't wear much else besides foundation, blush, and highlight. But if you're a mini Pat McGrath and you need different size brushes for your eyes and certain parts of your face, def look at the full collection. So when I use my Oval 6, I just squirt a little foundation on the brush and I dab it on my forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose. Then I blend it all together with the brush until it's nice and even. It feels AMAZING; very soft. Also, there are a lot of fibers, making this little bed for the product so that it doesn't fall to the bottom of the brush. I find myself getting more coverage with less product with the brush than I do when I just use my fingers. Will I permanently set aside my lazy ways and fully commit to using this brush instead of my fingers? Hell naw. But will I use it when I want my foundation to lay extra cute and when I'm not rushing to get out of the door? Absolutely!Price: $24.50.If you're a fancy pants makeup addict, you'll want to check out all of the brushes here.
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

If you're super into makeup, you've probably seen those fancy Artis makeup brushes. They're crazy expensive (This foundation brush is $55, and this full brush set of nine is $450!!!) But, the same company also makes a more affordable line called Brush Craft, and they're perfect if you're not looking for next-level professional tools. They make four brushes, ranging from $18.50 to $24.50, and each one is multi-purpose. For instance, the Oval 6, which is what you see in the pic above, can be used for foundation, contour, and blush. The Oval 6 is my fave, mainly because I don't wear much else besides foundation, blush, and highlight. But if you're a mini Pat McGrath and you need different size brushes for your eyes and certain parts of your face, def look at the full collection.

So when I use my Oval 6, I just squirt a little foundation on the brush and I dab it on my forehead, cheeks, chin, and nose. Then I blend it all together with the brush until it's nice and even. It feels AMAZING; very soft. Also, there are a lot of fibers, making this little bed for the product so that it doesn't fall to the bottom of the brush. I find myself getting more coverage with less product with the brush than I do when I just use my fingers. Will I permanently set aside my lazy ways and fully commit to using this brush instead of my fingers? Hell naw. But will I use it when I want my foundation to lay extra cute and when I'm not rushing to get out of the door? Absolutely!

Price: $24.50.

If you're a fancy pants makeup addict, you'll want to check out all of the brushes here.

7. Real talk, my love for Laura Mercier's Face Illuminator in Seduction almost equals my love for salt and carbs.

I didn't use highlighter until early this year because all the beauty bloggers were doing it and I'm a weak individual who's easily influenced. The first highlighter, which is still my favorite, that I tried was this Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in the shade Seduction. It's a bronze-ish/gold-ish color and I may just be addicted to it; not even joking. I wear it every time I wear makeup now.It comes in a compact and although it's powder, it's pressed and packed together in one solid form so you don't have to worry about it flying everywhere when you put it on. I take my fan brush, sweep some of the product on it, and dust it on my cheek bones and sometimes my temples and nose. Tbh, this pic doesn't even do it justice because it's more glowy in real life and makes your skin look exceptionally rich. I usually get complimented on this illuminator every time I wear it. I tend to stick to bronze and gold metallics over silver, so I really love the shade. Also, I love that it has true staying power. I can put this on in the morning and it's still on in the evening. Sometimes I'll touch it up just so it's extra poppin' if I go out after work or something, but I never have to completely reapply it. And it will have your selfies on ten, too!!! It's that one little detail you didn't know you needed until you actually put it on.It's about $40, which may seem steep, but it lasts all day and it's A LOT of product in that compact. I've had mine since May and I'm nowhere near running out. Also, it doesn't have that extra glittery look that some other highlighters have. Price: $44Get it here and get your glow on! Also, check out their other shades Addiction, Devotion, and Indiscretion.
Essence Gant / BuzzFeed

I didn't use highlighter until early this year because all the beauty bloggers were doing it and I'm a weak individual who's easily influenced. The first highlighter, which is still my favorite, that I tried was this Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in the shade Seduction. It's a bronze-ish/gold-ish color and I may just be addicted to it; not even joking. I wear it every time I wear makeup now.

It comes in a compact and although it's powder, it's pressed and packed together in one solid form so you don't have to worry about it flying everywhere when you put it on. I take my fan brush, sweep some of the product on it, and dust it on my cheek bones and sometimes my temples and nose. Tbh, this pic doesn't even do it justice because it's more glowy in real life and makes your skin look exceptionally rich. I usually get complimented on this illuminator every time I wear it.

I tend to stick to bronze and gold metallics over silver, so I really love the shade. Also, I love that it has true staying power. I can put this on in the morning and it's still on in the evening. Sometimes I'll touch it up just so it's extra poppin' if I go out after work or something, but I never have to completely reapply it. And it will have your selfies on ten, too!!! It's that one little detail you didn't know you needed until you actually put it on.

It's about $40, which may seem steep, but it lasts all day and it's A LOT of product in that compact. I've had mine since May and I'm nowhere near running out. Also, it doesn't have that extra glittery look that some other highlighters have.

Price: $44

Get it here and get your glow on! Also, check out their other shades Addiction, Devotion, and Indiscretion.

Until next time, my loves. Stay perfect, and let me know in the comments below what you want me to review next! 😘

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