Right around the time I was scouting for a Nars blush, I tested a dupe from The Balm and also spotted their collection of highlighters and bronzers. I didn’t give it much attention back then as I wasn’t so big on highlighting and strobing, but now I’ve heard the buzz on The Balm Mary-lou Manizer (PHP 945 at The Beauty Bar) and I just had to experience it for myself.
Quick Specs: 8.5 g / 0.3 oz ; made in the USA
- I’m so happy to see a regular-sized compact with full-sized mirror. Definitely fluffy brush-friendly. It’s as big as your average face powder, so there’s plenty of highlighter to go around. While this compact does not leave room for an inclusive mini brush, you don’t really need touch-ups. Leave it at home.
- This finely-milled, champagne-gold powder will attract fans of the shimmery stuff. It’s an instant, soft-focus glow that works with the skin’s natural color, especially if you are on the beige- or yellow-toned side of the spectrum.
- Application has been a breeze. I’ve tried it over both dewy and matte bases set with a light finishing powder and have gotten the same result: Fine, soft-focus shimmer that’s easy to sheer out. The dewy base didn’t cause the shimmer to cake on and make me look like the gold-painted Jill Masterson from that old James Bond movie.
- I like the level of longevity I’m getting. Even when exposed to the elements, going outdoors in the heat and sweating away, it still soldiers on. Any fading disappears into the natural re-greasing of skin, so it’s a smooth transition. (Erm, does ‘dewiness’ sound better?)
- According to the box, it functions as shimmer, shadow, and highlighter. I haven’t used it for anything other than highlighting, but it’s good to know that there’s a possibility of maximizing its usage.
On a Personal Note:
- When comparing highlighter colors, I still think that champagne beige offers the subtlest glow as it replicates the color of the skin so closely. White or pink is a bit more stand-offish. Champage gold or rose gold is somewhere in the middle. Then again, the fineness of the powder is another thing to consider. As long as the pigments aren’t too big, sheering takes care of everything. Therefore, fineness is something I value as much as–if not more than–color.
- The compact is a generic silver that has a sticker depicting what’s on the front of the box. While I value formula way more than packaging, those who are sticklers for gorgeously-presented products will find the Mary-lou Manizer a little underwhelming. More so, when you compare the highlighter’s packaging to their cute shadows and blushes.
- Despite the practical packaging, the sturdiness of the compact is in question. I can tell that the hinges on their highlighters/bronzers aren’t the most secure, so one drop could prove fatal. Even the tester in-store had a cracked lid that was completely detached from the body. My friend, themigraineparty, apparently suffered that exact fate. She accidentally dropped her compact right after paying for it at the counter. The brand new powder broke. Ouch.
Verdict: I was lusting over another champagne-colored highlighter that had a much higher price tag. Thankfully, I found this one. The Balm’s Mary-lou Manizer has got me subtly glowing through any weather, even on my sick days. I’ve been using it non-stop, since I purchased it.