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7 Really Good Products I Tried And Would Actually Recommend To Other Beauty Addicts

Masks, makeup, and jewels!

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Sup, guys?! I'm Essence, a beauty editor here at BuzzFeed. I love trying new makeup and skin care and hair products, so people are always asking me for recommendations. Here are some of my beauty faves that I've been on lately — plus a few style things, too!

(I don't really put on my makeup like this, but a little boy wouldn't stop staring at me on the train so I just struck this pose and held it. He kept staring.)
@TheEssenceOf_ / Via instagram.com

(I don't really put on my makeup like this, but a little boy wouldn't stop staring at me on the train so I just struck this pose and held it. He kept staring.)

1. Too Cool For School Pore Tightening Egg Cream Mask, $6

My pores are big, and I've never really tried to do anything about them. I just let them do their thang and invade my face space. Recently, however, I got the Too Cool For School's Egg Cream Pore Tightening Mask and decided I'd give it a whirl. It comes in a cute little pouch, folded up and drenched in a cold, slimy serum. The instructions are simple enough. All you do is unfold the mask and apply it to your clean, product-free face. Smooth it out and just chill for 10—20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I peeled mine off and rubbed in the excess serum. I didn't see a difference in the visibility of my pores; still giant and disrespectful. What I DID notice, though, was this nice glow afterwards. YAAAASSSS! My skin was mad radiant, and it felt really good, too!After that, I put on my moisturizer — but not that much because the serum was quite moisturizing — and went about my beauty routine as normal. It didn't work for me as a pore tightening mask. Maybe you see better results as you keep using it over time? It did, however, make my face more glowy, so for that reason I'd totally do it again. I'm actually getting some for my besties and me when we do our girls' night sleepover in a few weeks!
Essence Gant / Via BuzzFeed

My pores are big, and I've never really tried to do anything about them. I just let them do their thang and invade my face space. Recently, however, I got the Too Cool For School's Egg Cream Pore Tightening Mask and decided I'd give it a whirl. It comes in a cute little pouch, folded up and drenched in a cold, slimy serum.

The instructions are simple enough. All you do is unfold the mask and apply it to your clean, product-free face. Smooth it out and just chill for 10—20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I peeled mine off and rubbed in the excess serum. I didn't see a difference in the visibility of my pores; still giant and disrespectful. What I DID notice, though, was this nice glow afterwards. YAAAASSSS! My skin was mad radiant, and it felt really good, too!

After that, I put on my moisturizer — but not that much because the serum was quite moisturizing — and went about my beauty routine as normal. It didn't work for me as a pore tightening mask. Maybe you see better results as you keep using it over time? It did, however, make my face more glowy, so for that reason I'd totally do it again. I'm actually getting some for my besties and me when we do our girls' night sleepover in a few weeks!

2. Suva Beauty UV/Blacklight Hydra Liner, $10.99

Kinda obsessed with this stuff, y'all! I'm pretty simple half of the year: liner, mascara, and some shade of red lipstick. But when summer rolls around, the sun gets my skin just right and I love playing with bright makeup to complement my glow. This brand I stumbled upon on Instagram, called Suva Beauty, makes THEE coolest makeup and will probably be my go-to for eye colors this summer.Here I'm wearing their Hydra Liner in the color Scrunchie. I didn't even use a primer and the pigment was still this bright. Also, all of the Hydra Liner colors glow in the dark!!! It comes in this little pot, and you just wet your finger or brush, dip it in the product, and apply. I used a really old angle brush, so my precision wasn't that great, but the product still went on with ease and showed up well in one swipe.I noticed that it helps if you gently swirl around your brush in the product a second or two and let some of the liquid dry. For the best pigment, you want the product damp, not super wet. It's cool because you can use it for so many different things: liner, eyeshadow, rainbow brows, body paint. Basically wherever your creativity leads. I mean, look at these lips and these eyes! And it's not expensive, either.
Essence Gant

Kinda obsessed with this stuff, y'all! I'm pretty simple half of the year: liner, mascara, and some shade of red lipstick. But when summer rolls around, the sun gets my skin just right and I love playing with bright makeup to complement my glow. This brand I stumbled upon on Instagram, called Suva Beauty, makes THEE coolest makeup and will probably be my go-to for eye colors this summer.

Here I'm wearing their Hydra Liner in the color Scrunchie. I didn't even use a primer and the pigment was still this bright. Also, all of the Hydra Liner colors glow in the dark!!! It comes in this little pot, and you just wet your finger or brush, dip it in the product, and apply. I used a really old angle brush, so my precision wasn't that great, but the product still went on with ease and showed up well in one swipe.

I noticed that it helps if you gently swirl around your brush in the product a second or two and let some of the liquid dry. For the best pigment, you want the product damp, not super wet. It's cool because you can use it for so many different things: liner, eyeshadow, rainbow brows, body paint. Basically wherever your creativity leads. I mean, look at these lips and these eyes! And it's not expensive, either.

3. MDM Flow Liquid Matte Lipstick in Ninety Four, $20

The '90s are back (YAY!) so brown lipsticks are everywhere. The various shades of java and cocoa look good on everyone, and they're especially great as "nude" for brown skin tones. Lately I've been on this shade Ninety Four by MDM Flow that reminds me of a deep reddish-brown lipstick my grandma would wear to church. I really love the color because it's neutral, but it doesn't completely blend and get lost with my complexion. The application is also amazing! Liquid mattes are tricky because they can quickly feel dry or start caking, peeling, and all that not-so-cute stuff. MDM Flow is so moisturizing, though, and it still looks smooth after it dries. It actually has beeswax in the formula, which makes it more blendable so that it gets into the cracks and crevices of your lips for an even finish. This stuff also stays on the whole day, which is rare for me. My lips hardly ever hold color for a full day without at least two or three reapplications, but this formula does, even after I eat and drink. I have about five of the colors and will def be getting more because the pigment and quality make it one of my absolute faves! It's a U.K-based brand, but you can still order off their site, which has all the colors and more products. With U.S. shipping, though, the liquid lips total to about $40. Or you can also get them here from Nasty Gal for only $20. They have other products from the line, too, but not everything.
Essence Gant

The '90s are back (YAY!) so brown lipsticks are everywhere. The various shades of java and cocoa look good on everyone, and they're especially great as "nude" for brown skin tones. Lately I've been on this shade Ninety Four by MDM Flow that reminds me of a deep reddish-brown lipstick my grandma would wear to church. I really love the color because it's neutral, but it doesn't completely blend and get lost with my complexion.

The application is also amazing! Liquid mattes are tricky because they can quickly feel dry or start caking, peeling, and all that not-so-cute stuff. MDM Flow is so moisturizing, though, and it still looks smooth after it dries. It actually has beeswax in the formula, which makes it more blendable so that it gets into the cracks and crevices of your lips for an even finish. This stuff also stays on the whole day, which is rare for me. My lips hardly ever hold color for a full day without at least two or three reapplications, but this formula does, even after I eat and drink. I have about five of the colors and will def be getting more because the pigment and quality make it one of my absolute faves!

It's a U.K-based brand, but you can still order off their site, which has all the colors and more products. With U.S. shipping, though, the liquid lips total to about $40. Or you can also get them here from Nasty Gal for only $20. They have other products from the line, too, but not everything.

Chokers have also made their way back, and I'm TOO hype because I looove my brass "Monsta Queen Choker" by Beads Byaree. It is def the statement piece. This day I didn't even wear earrings with it, and it was the only accessory I needed. Other than the fact that this choker is just dope as hell, I like it because it's so well-crafted. Anyone can spot the letters from a mile away, it's big but still lightweight and comfortable, and it's easy to put on with a simple hook closure.

What I really love, though, is it makes me feel better. I love being black and a woman, but sometimes it's freakin' hard, man. There's something about wearing this piece that just always makes me feel like I'm the shit, though. You know how you feel after a fresh blowout, or when your threader just took your brow game to new levels? Well, I feel like that times 10 when I wear this! No matter what I see on the news that day, or who comes at me sideways while I'm walking down the street, it reminds me — and everyone who sees me — of who TF I am. A queen. Style and beauty can be superficial, but there's no denying that when you look good, you feel good. And this choker helps me to feel good.

Follow them on Instagram to see more fly shit!

5. Ouidad Curl Immersion Low-Lather Coconut Cleansing Conditioner ($36) and Triple Treat Deep Conditioner ($38) collection.

Now I know you may be looking at these prices like Helll nawww! so let me start by saying I've tried cheaper drugstore collections for natural hair and most of them just don't work for me. Trust me, I wish I could pay $20 for shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in, but those products always leave my hair looking and feeling dry. Over the course of my six-year natural hair journey, I've found that I have to invest a little more in products for my hair to feel and shine the way I want it. If you're so lucky as to find products that work for you in the drugstore, keep using them. But if not, these are worth a try! I have a lot of hair. Like, A LOT! It's extremely thick and has a kinky-curly pattern. Finding a shampoo and conditioner that get the job done without drying or tangling my hair is always a struggle. But every once in a while I come across a real winner. This time it was Ouidad's Curl Immersion Low-Lather Coconut Cleansing Conditioner and Triple Treat Deep Conditioner, both specifically made for kinky curls.Although the shampoo is "low-lather," it still suds enough so that you feel like you're getting a good clean. It has a good slip factor, too, so your hair doesn't snap when working it through with your fingers. You know how some shampoos feel like they're literally stripping your hair of every drop of moisture? Well, this doesn't do that. My hair didn't feel brittle, and it was light and clean when I finished. I followed up with their deep conditioner and LOVED IIIIIT! It's also moisturizing, and it made detangling sooo much easier for me. I typically don't even bother to detangle because it's too much work, but I did this time while the conditioner was still in my hair. It took me about an hour and a half, but that's literally no time considering how thick my hair is and how long I'd gone without even so much as finger detangling. My list of shampoos and conditioners I'd actually use on my hair is very small, but these made the cut!
Essence Gant

Now I know you may be looking at these prices like Helll nawww! so let me start by saying I've tried cheaper drugstore collections for natural hair and most of them just don't work for me. Trust me, I wish I could pay $20 for shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in, but those products always leave my hair looking and feeling dry. Over the course of my six-year natural hair journey, I've found that I have to invest a little more in products for my hair to feel and shine the way I want it. If you're so lucky as to find products that work for you in the drugstore, keep using them. But if not, these are worth a try!

I have a lot of hair. Like, A LOT! It's extremely thick and has a kinky-curly pattern. Finding a shampoo and conditioner that get the job done without drying or tangling my hair is always a struggle. But every once in a while I come across a real winner. This time it was Ouidad's Curl Immersion Low-Lather Coconut Cleansing Conditioner and Triple Treat Deep Conditioner, both specifically made for kinky curls.

Although the shampoo is "low-lather," it still suds enough so that you feel like you're getting a good clean. It has a good slip factor, too, so your hair doesn't snap when working it through with your fingers. You know how some shampoos feel like they're literally stripping your hair of every drop of moisture? Well, this doesn't do that. My hair didn't feel brittle, and it was light and clean when I finished. I followed up with their deep conditioner and LOVED IIIIIT! It's also moisturizing, and it made detangling sooo much easier for me. I typically don't even bother to detangle because it's too much work, but I did this time while the conditioner was still in my hair. It took me about an hour and a half, but that's literally no time considering how thick my hair is and how long I'd gone without even so much as finger detangling.

My list of shampoos and conditioners I'd actually use on my hair is very small, but these made the cut!

6. Black Up Full Coverage Cream Foundation, $43.50

I recommend this blessing known as Black Up Full Coverage Cream Foundation to all my melanin-rich beauties. First of all, it literally glides on like butter so the application is truly a pampering experience. It's a creamy full-coverage formula, hiding any imperfections, but it still doesn't feel heavy. Here you can see my before, with no makeup, and my after, with makeup. In the after, I only put on the foundation, no concealers or highlights or anything so you could really see the foundation for what it is: EVERYTHING!What really got me was a) the match and b) the finish! It's literally my complexion in a tube, no mixing with another shade. The finish is very natural, too, and it doesn't look cakey, which is always a worry of mine with full-coverage formulas. I really like minimal-looking and feeling makeup, and this absolutely nails both. You literally only need a little drop and it still covers your whole face. I always put a small dab on my finger, then spot it on my forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. Then I just rub in everything with my fingers, like I would a moisturizer, and the coverage is TOO real! Start with a little dab first because it covers really well. If you want more, just add it.It's a small tube, but a little goes such a long way so it lasts for a while. I've been using mine for about two months now, and I still don't need to restock. Also, it has good staying power. I had it on in the scorching Miami heat and it didn't run, smear, or smudge. It's so worth it!
Essence Gant

I recommend this blessing known as Black Up Full Coverage Cream Foundation to all my melanin-rich beauties. First of all, it literally glides on like butter so the application is truly a pampering experience. It's a creamy full-coverage formula, hiding any imperfections, but it still doesn't feel heavy. Here you can see my before, with no makeup, and my after, with makeup. In the after, I only put on the foundation, no concealers or highlights or anything so you could really see the foundation for what it is: EVERYTHING!

What really got me was a) the match and b) the finish! It's literally my complexion in a tube, no mixing with another shade. The finish is very natural, too, and it doesn't look cakey, which is always a worry of mine with full-coverage formulas. I really like minimal-looking and feeling makeup, and this absolutely nails both. You literally only need a little drop and it still covers your whole face. I always put a small dab on my finger, then spot it on my forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. Then I just rub in everything with my fingers, like I would a moisturizer, and the coverage is TOO real! Start with a little dab first because it covers really well. If you want more, just add it.

It's a small tube, but a little goes such a long way so it lasts for a while. I've been using mine for about two months now, and I still don't need to restock. Also, it has good staying power. I had it on in the scorching Miami heat and it didn't run, smear, or smudge. It's so worth it!

7. Essence Murjani necklaces, $60–$67

I'm absolutely obsessed with Essence Murjani Jewelry. (Same name, but unfortunately we're not related and I get no coins from these sales.) I have the "Melanin," "Black Girl Magic," and "Black As Fuck" necklaces, and I love them so much. They're minimal, so they're perfect as everyday accessories and easy to wear with anything. I've literally worn my necklaces with denim shorts and a T-shirt, and with a sexy dress and platform sandals. My mood usually determines which one (or two) I'm gonna wear for the day.They come in two different lengths, 16 and 18 inches, so you can wear two at a time and layer them. You can also custom order a different length. Since I've had them, I haven't had any issues with them losing their luster or turning. They're 14K gold-filled, hand-stamped plates, so the appearance keeps up way longer than gold-plated jewelry.On my low-key days (basically every day) when I still want to make a statement, these are my go-to. I love a dainty necklace, and knowing it says "melanin" or "black as fuck" just feels all the more right. It's a celebration of myself, and other melanin gods and goddesses. It's always funny, too, when a white person on the train leans in like, "What does that say? Black. As. Fuuu... Oh!" and then smiles awkwardly. Check out EMJ's "Melanin Queen," "Brown Suga," and other necklaces here.
Essence Gant

I'm absolutely obsessed with Essence Murjani Jewelry. (Same name, but unfortunately we're not related and I get no coins from these sales.) I have the "Melanin," "Black Girl Magic," and "Black As Fuck" necklaces, and I love them so much. They're minimal, so they're perfect as everyday accessories and easy to wear with anything. I've literally worn my necklaces with denim shorts and a T-shirt, and with a sexy dress and platform sandals. My mood usually determines which one (or two) I'm gonna wear for the day.

They come in two different lengths, 16 and 18 inches, so you can wear two at a time and layer them. You can also custom order a different length. Since I've had them, I haven't had any issues with them losing their luster or turning. They're 14K gold-filled, hand-stamped plates, so the appearance keeps up way longer than gold-plated jewelry.

On my low-key days (basically every day) when I still want to make a statement, these are my go-to. I love a dainty necklace, and knowing it says "melanin" or "black as fuck" just feels all the more right. It's a celebration of myself, and other melanin gods and goddesses. It's always funny, too, when a white person on the train leans in like, "What does that say? Black. As. Fuuu... Oh!" and then smiles awkwardly. Check out EMJ's "Melanin Queen," "Brown Suga," and other necklaces here.

That's all, beauties❤️. Keep it cute, and let me know in the comments below what you want me to review next!

Vh1 / Via giphy.com
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