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    7 Beauty Products I Actually Incorporated Into My Routine Before Telling You How Life-Changing They Really Are

    Beauty writer tested and approved!

    1. I wanna go back in time and fight myself for not getting aboard the Artis Brush train sooner. THAT'S how much I stan for these luxury makeup tools.

    Patrice Peck/BuzzFeed

    Alright story time! Sometime last year, I forgot all my makeup bags in another state. Tragic, I know! All of my go-to products and tools were in there, including my makeup brushes. Luckily, being a beauty writer means I've got TONS of backup at home and work. So I finally convinced myself to try out the fancy professional Artis brushes that I'd been way too intimidated to test out.

    Well thank goodness for happy accidents because now I swear by these incredible brushes for my foundation (Oval 7 in Elite Mirror Collection) and concealer (Oval 6 in Elite Smoke) application! Not only do these babies feature the softest fibers, but those same fibers are also bundled in a unique way that's exclusively patented by Artis. Combine that with the oval shapes that perfectly mimic the curves and shapes of my face, and you get the seamless blending brushes of your dreams!

    Get them in a variety of styles and designs at Artis, with prices ranging from $18.50 to $450 (for a 9-brush set).

    2. Danessa Myricks' products are the REAL DEAL. I already gushed about the amazing multipurpose ColorFix in a separate review, but I wouldn't be a good beauty writer if I didn't tell y'all about her show-stopping Illuminating Veil.

    Our skin is our biggest organ and yet, when it comes to makeup, we usually only focus on our face area. That's why I've decided to show some more love to my entire canvas—AKA my bod—by adorning it with Danessa Myrick's Illuminating Veil all summer long. This luxurious cream highlighter melts into my skin, giving me this insanely gorgeous glow that somehow looks both otherworldly and hella natural all at the same damn time.

    Also, this highlighter has range, y'all! I like to put some on my collar bone area, my shoulders, my cleavage, my neck...basically the "cheekbone" parts of my torso :) I even mix some with my foundation whenever I want to serve a Lupita Nyong'o-level glow (which is pretty much 24/7.)

    Get it in 8 shades, including Goddess (above), at at Danessa Myricks for $22.

    3. I love a sun-kissed dewy face, but in this crazy summer heat, there's a very thin line between glowy and sweaty. So whenever I wanna keep my beat from melting off, I whip out Beauty Bakerie's Translucent Flour Setting Powder.

    Patrice Peck/BuzzFeed

    What's the PERFECT scenario for a sweaty face? How about racing against the clock to your live TV appearance after having been stuck on a hot-ass subway car underground for God knows how long. That's what happened to me, which is why I made sure to dust my mug with Beauty Bakerie's life-saving Translucent Flour Setting Powder that same morning.

    By the time I finally arrived at the studio, my makeup looked EXACTLY as it had when I first applied it earlier that morning. My t-zone, which is notorious for getting hella shiny after a few hours, stayed matte without compromising the luminescent dewy glow that I've grown to love. All I wanted was a non-melted beat and what I got was a smooth, soft complexion for my TV debut. Oh yeah, and on top of it all, it's vegan! (BTW, I took that selfie like 4 hours after filming. Proof, y'all!)

    Get it in 4 shades at Beauty Bakerie for $24.

    4. My go-to ~lewk~ varies based on my mood, which is why I'm here for ALL eight shades of Black Opal's new COLORSPLURGE Liquid Matte Lipstick collection. From punk glam goddess to sweet brunch queen, there's really something for everyone!

    Patrice Peck/BuzzFeed

    When it comes to matte lipstick, my standards are smiple. There should be pigment and coverage galore, but absolutely NO crust-inducing dryness. It's also gotta stay put throughout the day, including lunch and dinner.

    Well I'm happy to report that these Black Opal lipsticks tick off all those boxes and more. Because I'd be cool with just the basic red and pink shades, but these brown, purple, and blue shades take this collection to another level. And then there's the well-designed brush, making it super easy to get a smooth, precise application in only a few strokes. All for under $10! As a wise, wise woman—hey, Donna!—once said, TREAT YO' SELF!!!

    Get it in 8 shades at Black Opal for $9.

    5. I dunno about you, but I'm ALWAYS putting off wash day until the absolute last minute. But now thanks to my new holy grail—Pantene Gold Series Repairing Mask—I'm actually looking forward to pampering my curls with the special attention they truly deserve.

    Patrice Peck/BuzzFeed

    Pantene recently invited me to a sink side (aka a live product demo) with celeb hairstylist Chuck Amos, who washed and styled my hair using moisture-rich products from the brand's premium Gold Series collection. I walked away with a cute set of cornrows and a bag full of products that I assumed would sit in a corner somewhere until 2021, considering my infrequent wash schedule.

    But then last weekend I finally had no plans whatsoever, so decided to break out the collection's Repairing Hair Mask and give my locks a long overdue deep condition. Chuck told me the products had been developed by a team of scientists and stylists who understand Black haircare concerns and formulated to work deep inside the core of each hair strand. That all sounded super impressive, but what won me over in the end was (1) the light consistency and slippage that allowed me to actually detangle my 4C hair in one go and (2) the final results: visible luster and juicy curl definition! (P.S. If you're wondering where my big-ass curly 'fro went, issa Toni Daley wig!)

    Get it at Walmart for $6.69.

    6. Brown Butter Beauty's Coconut Charcoal Purifying Mask vacuumed TF outta my pores and now I can't shut up about this magical stuff.

    Patrice Peck/BuzzFeed

    I keep my expectations low when I'm trying out skin care products, because it typically takes some time and consistent usage before you see any significant results. However, that was NOT the case with this supernatural clay mask. My skin was noticeably smoother, brighter, and even-toned after only one use!

    This all-natural mask most definitely delivers on its promise to "decongest" pores, drawing out toxins and excess sebum (apparently doing so with negative electrical attraction!) I was so shocked that I very sweetly forced my partner who also has normal/oily skin to try it out too, and guess what? Same game-changing results!

    Get it at Brown Butter Beauty for $24 and read my full review here.

    7. Last but never least we have the LUV SCRUB, the only mesh exfoliator that's finally convinced me to chuck the deuces to my trusty washcloth. And lemme tell ya, it's been smooth scrubbing ever since!

    Patrice Peck/BuzzFeed

    I personally love using washcloths for their soft texture and latherability (#newwordalert), but am also Team Loofah cuz I wanna actually feel a gentle scrub as I slough away my dead skin cells. Well, apparently those two items had a baby and named it LUV SCRUB, and now my skin is LIVING for its multifunctional design!!!

    It lathers like a dream, stretches all the way across my back, and both cleans and smooths my skin like no other, making it super easy for lotion to sink right in during my post-shower rubdown. The LUV SCRUB also helps keep ingrown hairs at bay in a very gentle, affordable way. Shout out to founder Caroline Owusu-Ansah for sharing her West African family staple with the rest of us!

    Get it at LUV SCRUB for $18.

    What products or tools should I try next? Lemme know in the comments below or via my Instagram.