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    7 Beauty Products I Actually Tried Before Telling You How Awesome They Were

    A $6 foundation that actually looks good, and a bunch of other good stuff.

    Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

    Hey! I'm Essence, beauty editor here at BuzzFeed, and here are a few beauty products I've been feeling lately. You should also know that my eyebrows haven't been done in two months and look a hot mess in the following images you are about to see. Thank you for your patience.

    Essence Gant

    1. Wet n Wild Photofocus Foundation is the answer to my big demands and small pockets.

    Essence Gant

    Who knew that a broke and bougie gal like me could actually fall for a foundation that costs under $40?! This happens about as often as a Love & Hip-Hop cast member actually drops a single, so you know it's real. Wet n Wild's Photofocus Foundation, though, is AHMAZINNNNNNG! I truthfully only started wearing it because I ran out of my MAC Matchmaster and I figured it'd be fine for a day or two until I picked up another bottle. But it's been about two weeks now and I still haven't replaced my MAC.

    I knew the foundation was a good match because I'd tried it for a quick project a few months prior when it was released. It's totally different, though, trying something on your face for an hour tops and then wearing it for a full 10 hours. I was totally surprised at how well it lasted through the day. I've never had to touch it up, just an oil blot a time or two as I always do no matter what I'm wearing. The formula is also the perfect consistency, not too thick or runny. But what I'm most blown away by is how good it blends into my skin. It's almost like the foundation just becomes one with your skin and adjusts itself to match your complexion exactly. I rarely find a drugstore foundation that can do this, which is why I always just pay more for department store brands. Even if a cheaper brand has a foundation in my shade, the actual formula often looks cakey or dry on my face and it doesn't blend in the way I like. Wet n Wild delivers, though.

    I still plan on replacing my MAC at some point, but I think I'm going to keep using my Wet n Wild Photofocus, too. I'll probably wear it as a good everyday foundation because it's so affordable, and I'll wear my MAC for special occasions. If you're on a budget and you need a good foundation with good coverage, get on that Wet n Wild.

    Find your shade at Amazon for $5.99.

    2. J.R. Watkins Hand Cream smells like a yummy piece of lemon cake and it makes my hands so soft.

    Essence Gant

    I hate dry-looking and feeling hands about as much as I hate cold fries, so I stay with a few good hand creams in my life at all times. A little over a month ago I tried the J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Hand Cream in lemon and it is sooooo good! I've been keeping it on my bathroom sink, next to their lemon hand soap that I equally love, and I use it after I wash my hands. The cream is good if you just wanna carry it in your bag or leave it on your desk at work. I personally like pairing it with the soap, though, and keeping it in my bathroom because it makes me feel like a real adult. Fancy adults ALWAYS have coordinating hand soaps and creams.

    The texture is thick and creamy like I imagine the butter in heaven to be like. And it feels amazing when you're rubbing it into your hands, too. It makes them feel so soft and silky. My favorite thing, though, is the scent. It smells ridiculously delicious, guys, like a fresh homemade lemon cake. I've legit thought about tasting it, just like quickly licking my hand before rubbing it in 'cause it's so hard for me to believe that something that smells this good isn't flavorful. You should also know that it's crazy affordable even though it def seems like one of those products your retired and rich auntie would splurge on for her guest bathroom. I love it so much!

    Get it from Amazon for $7.59.

    3. Kopari Lip Love makes my lips so soft that I kinda wanna kiss them my damn self.

    Essence Gant

    So I wear mattes almost always, but every now and then you might cash me ousside wearing a gloss. For a few months, I've been trying out Kopari Lip Love, a hydrating gloss made with coconut oil, vitamin E and, Shea butter. It gives you shine, but it also nourishes your lips and keeps them soft.

    Most of the time when I wear it, I apply it as a base. I let it sit for a minute or two, and then I layer my matte lipstick on top. The lipstick eventually dries as a matte, but it feels less drying with the coconut gloss underneath. Lately, though, I've been on some faux bold shit, so I do non-daring stuff, like wear gloss instead of matte, and then convince myself that I've really stepped outside of my box. I like it as a gloss because it's not greasy, and it makes my lips feel really soft. It does a good job of keeping your lips smooth throughout the day, and it lasts for a while too so you're not always reapplying. In a workday, I only reapply it two or three times, and that's usually after I eat or drink something and it rubs off. In the pic here, I put it on top of my lipstick so you can see how it looks if you want the color from a lipstick, but the shine from a gloss. I'm wearing the same lipstick in #5, too, so you can see what it looked like before I applied the Kopari.

    It smells great and it's a good quality gloss, but what I like most is how nourishing it makes my lips feel. If you have dry lips, I recommend it.

    Get it at Sephora for $10.

    4. All my people who rep team oily seriously need these MAC Blot Film sheets.

    Essence Gant
    Essence Gant

    I had lived my whole life unaware that I belonged to Squad Fve-head until college when a guy I dated, and dumped, brought it to my attention: "Yo' forehead big as HELLLL!" he said shook AF. "Why yo' hairline start back so far?." (We didn't break up because of this, btw, and are actually best friends now.) But the little lame was onto something. I DO have a big forehead, which means when I shine, I SHIIIIINE! You can practically see your reflection in my forehead when it gets oily.

    I tried blotting the oil with napkins, but that didn't work, and I could never get with that toilet seat cover hack because I couldn't stop thinking about all the germs they must carry from hanging over or beside a toilet all day.

    MAC Blot Films were the first blotting sheets I gave a chance, and they really work. I literally just press one on my forehead, then my nose and cheeks, and you can see the difference instantly. In the before pic above, my forehead and cheeks had a little shimmer—and not cute shimmer that looks like highlight. But in the after pic, you can see that I look a lot more matte. The MAC film is really cool because before you blot, it's this thin rubbery blue rectangle. But then after you blot, it absorbs all the oil and turns into this sheer sheet; you can literally see right through it. I'm a fan!

    Get a pack of 30 from MAC for $16.

    5. Glossier's Cloud Paint cream blush is CA-UUUUTE and makes me feel like an artiste!

    Yes, I know I look two different complexions in these pics. It's because I took the first one with the flash so that the letters would show up, and the second without the flash so that you could see what the product looked like in natural lighting. Moving on.

    I see Glossier on my Instagram all the time. It's still somewhat of a low-key brand, but it has a pretty solid fanbase. I've tried a few of their products, and I like the packaging, but I never jumped on the bandwagon. In all fairness, I have my go-to brands that I stick to for staple products, so there's little room for brand experimentation. I was eager to try Glossier's Cloud Paint blush, though, only because I saw this model try it and she was giving me all kinds of life. Not sure if I thought a few dabs and BAM, I'd transform into her or what, but she sold me on it.

    So the product comes in four shades, and they're packaged in those little tubes like oil paints from art class. Cute move, Glossier! You just squeeze some on your finger, dot it on your cheeks, and then dab it into your skin. End result? Blushed cheeks. I really like this product. I don't know how often I'd use it, mainly because I do my makeup on the train in the mornings so I don't know how easy it'd be apply a cream blush and commute with pink-stained fingertips, but I'd def use it on weekends when I put more time into my routine.

    I love that a little goes a long way. I'm all for products that last forever, and I can tell that this one def will. In addition to the cute packaging, it's also sleek and practical. It's not a big ol' compact that's occupying space in your makeup bag, and if you drop it, it won't shatter. *Moment of silence for every compact we loved and lost to the bathroom floor.* Another major plus is that you don't have to use a brush. It's good to keep in your bag for those days you leave the house bare but wanna jazz up just little for drinks after work or whatever. I could see it being a life-saver in those instances when you want a little tint to the cheeks, and to the lips, too but you don't have all your brushes and products.

    Get it from Glossier for $18.

    6. Get you a Bad Medina Lip Paint in Obsession that can make you smile like this. #TrueLove.

    Essence Gant

    I carry this lipstick so much that the pretty gold lettering completely rubbed off in my makeup bag. It's a liquid matte from Bad Medina's Lip Paint collection, and the color is appropriately called Obsession. I love purple lipsticks, and this is officially one of my absolute favorite shades! It's so bright and vibrant, and the color on my lips looks exactly like the color in the tube. I wore it a lot in the winter and fall because the brightness really helped pump my mood as New York's unpredictable weather unapologetically tested my gangsta.

    Also, the formula is legit like paint. It applies with such ease, and it doesn't crease, crack or go on blotchy. Even when it dries matte, my lips still feel hydrated and soft. Another plus is that it stays on so you're not reapplying every time you eat or drink something. I've worn it countless times now, and just about every time I have it on, someone asks me who it's by and what the color is. Tbh, as poppin' as it looks in this pic, I don't even think the pic does it justice. I also have the color Young Rouge, which I'm wearing in the intro and in pic #4, and it's such a good red if you're on the hunt for one!

    Get it from Bad Medina for $21, and check out the other lip paints and makeup, too.

    7. I created this eye using Lancôme Grandiose Eyeliner in Saphir Mirifique and Too Faced Sketch Marker in Sky Blue.

    Essence Gant

    So I have this condition where I think Oprah and I make the same salary, and then I fall madly in love with things that I can't afford to keep purchasing. Like these two eyeliners that work so beautifully together, for example! I paired Lancôme's Grandiôse Bendable Liquid Eyeliner in Saphir Mirifique and Too Faced's Sketch Marker Liquid Art Eyeliner in Sky Blue. I put on the Lancôme one first. It's a gorgeous, dark sapphire that I'd probably wear for date night or a club turn-up with the girls. I wanted something a little more lively for the day, though, so I swiped a line of the Too Faced liner on top. I made the Sky Blue line a little thinner so that a peek of the Saphir Mirifique was still visible. On its own, the Too Faced's Sky Blue is much lighter, but layering it with the sapphire muted the playfulness just a bit and made it a lot richer. I rocked the look at a potluck brunch, where I contributed a bottle of Prosecco because cookware and I don't get along, and it was a hit!

    What I like about both eyeliners is that they're easy to apply. The Lancôme Grandiôse liner is a liquid with a very fine brush, and the handle is actually bendable "for easy and precise liquid liner looks." I never bend the handle, though, because it just seems like one of those features that really doesn't make a difference either way. The Too Faced Sketch Marker liner is "inspired by Japanese calligraphy pens" with a felt tip applicator like a marker. You just gently press it against your eyelid for a solid stroke. If the color shows up a little faint, put the top on and give it a shake or two and then press it against your lid a little harder.

    Are they a tad pricey for eyeliner? Yes. But are they worth it? Yes. I feel like when it comes to a lot of liquid color liners, they dry out fast and/or show up so faint and you can barely see the color. These don't do that, though, and the pigment shows up in one good swipe. I'm all for easy to use products that are no fuss, so I don't mind spending the extra cash that I'd probably put towards Ainsworth's Classic Burger with cheese and bacon anyway.

    Get both the Lancôme Grandiôse Bendable Liquid Eyeliner and Too Faced
    Sketch Marker Liquid Art Eyeliner
    on Sephora for $32 and $20, respectively. Forgot to take a pic holding them, but you can see what they look like in the links.


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