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    7 Things I Actually Tried In March Before Telling You How Great They Are

    Some gold hoops that Halsey also has, an all natural deodorant that keeps me fresh, among other things!

    Hey, fam! For those who don't know me my name is Essence Gant, and I'm the Sr. Beauty Editor here at BuzzFeed. Getting to try a lot of stuff is one of the perks of my job, so every now and then I make a list of some of the things I'm feeling at the moment. The last thing on my list, though, is usually not a product, but a thought or experience that I feel like yapping about.

    1. Reina Rebelde Rebel Eye Paint for Brows & Eyes took my brows from struggling to flourishing in a matter of minutes, and this is the kind of promise we need in the world.

    Essence Gant

    Back in my day, teen girls all across America were tweezing and waxing their eyebrows to thin, barely there hair strips, also known as a sad time for us all. Little did we know that many of us would suffer permanent damage and never fulfill the Cara Delevingne brows of our dreams in later years. I was one of the many who suffered, and now my brow hairs are very fine and faint. I'm way too scared to get them tattooed because that's a commitment I'm just not ready for, so brow pomades and pencils have become my remedy.

    I tend to like the heavier, creamy/waxy pomade-like formulas, which normally run about $20. Not too bad, especially considering the product lasts forever. However, if you can find a dupe that's just as good but significantly cheaper, why not give it a go?! I was put onto Reina Rebelde's Eye Paint For Brows + Eyes, which retails for only $14, after my homegirl Daniela SWORE by the brand. (Follow her. Your life will instantly change for the better!) She's one of those people who's really into aesthetics so I basically trust everything she says about beauty and style. I finally gave the eye paint in the shade Frida a try and I was immediately impressed. A lighter shade, La Doña, is also available.

    The product came in a pot and the formula was like that of a pomade, just like two of my more expensive faves. I dabbed my angled brush in the pot and begin to fill in my brows, and the product blended into my faint hairs with ease. It picked up really well, and just a little basically filled in my whole brow. My favorite thing about the product, though, is how natural it looks. It doesn't look like I filled my brows in with a Sharpie; you honestly can't even tell it's not my own hair. In the pic above I filled in my left brow with the Reina Rebelde's Eye Paint For Brows + Eyes, and I left my right brow undone so that you can see what a difference it makes. The right side is like, "We tried but ultimately we were too tired and gave up on life." Meanwhile the left side is like, "Honey, we have arrived, we're ready for a promotion, and Oprah follows us on Instagram!" It's honestly one of my favorite additions to my makeup bag and I just want everyone to know about it!

    Get it from Target for $13.99.

    2. I tried Crystal Mineral Deodorant Stick as an all-natural alternative and I'm proud to report that I don't stink.

    Essence Gant

    Let me first say I'm not at all a naturalist. I wear makeup, I eat processed foods, and I love a deodorant that eliminates body odor. As someone who gets headaches from potent smells and someone who's constantly interacting with people in the beauty space for work, I was exclusively team chemical deodorant. Can you imagine being the editor nobody wants to invite to beauty launches because she smells like a whole Planet Fitness? But then after multiple pitches for natural deodorant I was like, No harm in trying it out! Little did I know that there would be harm, lots of harm, and I'd like to apologize to myself and anyone else who had to smell me during this trial experimenting with multiple brands. But after trying a few different formulas and brands that didn't work for me, I finally came across Crystal Mineral Deodorant. I heard Erykah Badu talk about crystal deodorants once on a Breakfast Club interview, and I'm not sure if she used the same brand or not, but her co-sign made me trust the idea. She's been to our office several times and she smells like heaven!

    So the thing with the Crystal brand is that you have to wet it first and then swipe it under your arm. The instructions read "Moisten top of stone and apply generously to clean skin," so after I run the stone under water, I swipe it under one pit, up and down, about ten times or more. Then I wet the stone again and repeat under the other armpit. The only ingredient in it is pure mineral salt, as it claims to be free of aluminum chloride, chlorohydrate, zirconium, parabens, and fragrance. This made me skeptical but in the name of beauty reviews I persisted. I first tried it on a work day and I was pleasantly surprised that I still smelled fresh throughout the day. When I got home from work around 7:00 P.M I was still B.O-free and I honestly couldn't believe it. I tried it again the next day and the day after and still the same thing. Around maybe the third or fourth day I noticed a little irritation, nothing too intense but a little stinging when I applied it. Because it wasn't painfully uncomfortable I decided to keep trying it and see if it would go away, and the next day everything was back to normal. I'm assuming my body had to adjust to something new and maybe detox what I was using before? I have no idea if this is what happened but in my head it makes sense.

    I also noticed that it's not strong enough to carry me through bedtime. If I don't shower at night, it'll definitely wear off by the next morning, which isn't a big deal to me because 1) I'm taking a shower in the morning anyway, and 2) If a deodorant is strong enough to fight B.O. for over 24 hours then it's probably not that healthy for my skin. Even when I do shower at night, I wash up my underarms in the morning and reapply just to be sure I'm good throughout the day.

    I've been using the Crystal Mineral Deodorant Stick for over a month now and I'm EXTREMELY pleased with it! I'm very particular about my presentation and I appreciate how this let's me smell good and be a little healthier in my day to day life. It's also made me curious as to what other natural beauty and personal care alternatives are out there. I'd 100% recommend this and I know it's something that I'll keep buying.

    Get it from Amazon for $6.80.

    3. I wear these gorgeous J'Lani Jewels Stella Hoops like every day. Also, Beyoncé wears the same jewelry brand and I'm officially hyphenating Knowles to my last name.

    Essence Gant

    I don't know how I'd never heard of J'lani Jewels until Beyoncé wore them at Global Citizens Festival in South Africa. It's a sustainable and affordable jewelry brand that she, among other celebs like Halsey, Kourtney Kardashian and Taraji P. Henson, have all worn for fancy appearances. I'm a hoops girl so the designer actually sent me these as a thank you after I wrote about the brand, and I honestly haven't been able to stop wearing them. Fun fact: Halsey also has them.

    They're 2.5 inches and unbelievably lightweight — which is definitely a plus if you have thin earlobes and/or stretched piercings from all the heavy hoops you've worn throughout the years like I do. I honestly don't even feel them. Additionally, they're 14k yellow gold plated stainless steel so you don't have to worry about them turning colors or fading on you. I'm in New York where the winters are brutal, and I've worn these in snow and rain/ice, and they're still as good as new. It's a great option if you want quality jewelry, but you're not ready to pay for solid gold or silver.

    What I also love is the design of these earrings. They're not your standard wire or band hoop, but they have this cool cut-out feature. I'm honestly just obsessed with this brand and the quality of the products. I actually bought the dainty Cross Choker after I saw it on Kourtney Kardashian because I had such a good experience with the earrings. And any day now I'm going to be adding the Flat Cuban Necklace to cart! Most of their pieces come in both gold and silver.

    Get it from J'lani Jewels for $80 (Originally $110).

    4. Yea, I know you're not supposed to go to sleep without washing your face, but in the event that you do, Lauren Napier Cleanse Facial Wipes are a quick way to get off all your makeup until you have energy for your full routine in the morning.

    Essence Gant

    Lauren Napier Cleanse Facial Wipes are luxury makeup wipes and I never even considered trying luxe remover cloths until I was put onto these. Like all things high-end, you're paying for the quality with Lauren Napier Cleanse Facial Wipes. The ingredients include aloe, chamomilla, and cucumber extracts to hydrate and smooth the complexion and reduce redness and inflammation while removing makeup. The first thing I noticed about these wipes is that they didn't leave my face feeling irritated. Sometimes when wiping away stubborn makeup with certain brands, my face stings a bit and I have to wait a few minutes for my skin to calm before following up with my normal routine. But after I wipe away a full face, which almost always includes a matte lip tough enough to withstand a dental cleaning, with a Lauren Napier wipe, my face just feels fresh and supple — no burning, stinging, or redness.

    They also come individually packaged which makes me super hype because I can't tell you how many times a whole pack of makeup wipes have gone dry after I've lost the sticker seal that's supposed to keep them fresh. Individually packaging also makes traveling easier, especially for short weekend getaways when you only need a few wipes and not a bulky case of them. I keep at least two in my purse at all times so that I have them when I want to do a quick lipstick switch from work to a happy hour turn-up, or just for any makeup hiccups that may occur throughout the day.

    Because they're pricier than your standard makeup wipes, I recommend using if a) you're traveling and want something individually wrapped that won't dry out, and/or 2) you have sensitive skin that reacts to the chemical ingredients in other makeup wipes.

    Get them from Lauren Napier Beauty for $20.

    5. One of my biggest fears is being ashy in public with no signs of a body moisturizer in sight. Nivea Creme tins keep that fear from becoming a reality.

    Essence Gant

    I really don't like being ashy. And I know nobody does, but like, I reeeallyyyy don't. If I had to pick between being hungry for two hours or being ashy for 10 minutes, I'd pick being hungry. I put on lotion immediately after I shower, and if it's the fall/winter, or a summer day where I'm showing a lot of skin, I seal in my lotion with a body oil so that my skin looks extra rich. And I'm super particular about body moisturizers, too. I don't buy the value size watered down stuff. There are about three lotion brands that I use consistently, depending on the need, and Nivea is one of them.

    They have multiple formulas, but I like the thick, heavy creme the best. Nothing beats Nivea Creme because it's rich, but doesn't clog your pores, and it lasts all day. For my home, I keep the big blue jar, and for my handbag I always have these mini creme tins. I like the mini tins because they're small enough to fit in my bag, or even in my wallet, and it makes keeping my hands soft that much easier. This is especially important after I wash my hands or after I walk in the New York cold for more than five minutes and my skin is screaming for moisture. It's one of those small things you're glad to have on you at all times. They recently launched their U.S. city packaging, with the same great formula of course, and there are four different major cities available: New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami. You can't select your fave city online but you can in Target stores. Currently in my bag is the Chicago tin.

    Get it from Target for .99.

    6. Supergoop's limited edition Rebecca Taylor SPF, In Bloom kit has all the brand's hero products but in stylish travel-friendly packaging and this is proof that it really is the little things!

    Essence Gant

    Even before this cute little collab, I loved Supergoop's Unseen Sunscreen formula because it's lightweight, fast-absorbing, and most importantly it doesn't leave a white or gray cast, which is def a thing that happens to people of color when all we're trying to do is avoid hyperpigmentation and apply sunscreen. So naturally when they launched the Rebecca Taylor SPF, In Bloom kit I was like YAAAAAZ-UUUUUH!

    First of all, fashion designer collabs just make me feel fancy and sometimes you want something simply because it's cute and makes you feel like you belong in Black Beverly Hills. The packaging is floral, which gets me into the spring mood, and it's a cute thing to pull out of your bag. Beauty is an experience, ya feel me? But in addition to that, Supergoop and Rebcca Taylor's SPF, In Bloom collection includes all the essentials — Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40, and Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 — and they're small enough to travel with in their cute little zip clutch, and light enough to stuff in your purse or tote for touch-ups. In the left pic I have on the moisturizer and SPF, and as one can see my skin looks every bit of poppington ... if I do say so myself. I haven't tried the setting mist because I never set my makeup with a spray (STOP JUDGING ME!), but it's good to know it's in there for the people who want their face snatched at all times.

    Get it from Supergoop! for $25.

    7. Accepting the things I cannot change is something I know I should be doing, but I still struggle with it so I made a sticky note reminder!

    That's all for now, dahlings! Keep up with some of my other favorite beauty products and general antics on IG, @TheEssenceOf_, and I'll see ya'll soon ❤️