i.e. five must-have beauty essentials [created by women-owned brands aka #girlboss brands] that you should try this summer!
Foreword: Why Girlboss?
I am all about women's empowerment. I come from a family of strong, hard-working women and am surrounded by some of the loveliest, most supportive and inspiring females both at work and in my beauty-obsessed blogosphere. Not that long ago it has dawned on me, that at least 90% of the brands I love and use on a daily basis, are all founded/owned by [you guessed it right] #girlbosses.
Becca Cosmetics (founded by Rebecca Morris Williams) was the first brand that saw potential in me, despite the fact that I only had 300 followers on Instagram. It was Tonya Crooks (celebrity brow artist/founder of The Brow Gal) who showed me so much love and even found time for an interview, despite her hectic schedule. It was Megan Hess, who shared my love for a glittery shadow and encouraged me to keep on illustrating. It is a Glossier (founded by Emily Weiss) product review, that still attracts thousands of readers to this site and eventually took me to the top on Google search. It was both Pat McGrath and Fenty Beauty (founded by Rihanna) who gave my platform a great boost; not because I had six figure digits, but because they believed in my work. Finally it is my amazing female audience (and a couple of very nice boys, hey!) - I wouldn't be where I am now, if it wasn't for you! You really showed me that GIRL POWER is not just a slogan; it is a real thing.
I used to have a love/hate relationship with sunscreens. My biggest pet-peeves are: white cast and peeling. But that was until I tried Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40. This is a unique brand founded by Holly Thaggard, that solely focuses on UV protection. I am new to Supergoop! but from what I can tell - it really has the most impressive and green suncare range available at Sephora today; whether you want an SPF facial mist or eye/lip suncare, they have it all!
What attracts me the most is the fact that this sunscreen is: a) invisible and clear; b) suitable for pretty much all skin types, but mainly dry skin thanks to Red Algae, Meadfoam Seed Oil, Frankincense, Jojoba, Shea and many other wonderful (antioxidant) ingredients. It looks/feels like your typical pore-filling, smoothing primer. Think Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Primer, except 100 times better, because it actually protects you from sunburn/pollution/cancer.
It has a very faint sweet scent, but nothing overpowering. I find that it does smooth my texture, but doesn't feel greasy/oily at the same time. It is the most perfect "unseen" layer of sun protection any makeup junkie could ever ask for. Once it sinks into the skin, it won't move/budge/get blotchy/separate or anything like that. It really does feel like an invisible primer, that additionally allows a better makeup application. The only thing, this is not the most hydrating sunscreen ever (after all it is a gel, not a cream). Whenever I use it - my skin looks a touch satin/matte at first, however, it does go back to its dewy/hydrated state in a matter of 3-4 hours. It actually holds my makeup in place for a very long time too and is perfect for a humid climate. Didn't break me out, didn't cause any drama. In three words, I looooove it and think that everyone should experience a magic of Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40.
#2 Liquid Highlighter
If you are a friend to this blog (welcome back!), then you know just how much I love all things Becca Cosmetics. My most used product from the brand is their iconic Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter. Their pressed powder highlighters are still my HG, but there is nothing like a drop of liquid Opal or Champagne Pop mixed in with your foundation (especially if your skin is naturally as matte as mine!).
People often compliment me, saying just how glowy skin looks both in person and on social media. No secret here: it is always Becca's liquid highlighters you guys. Look at any makeup photo on my Instagram; 100% chance I am wearing one. Since it is not as blinding as the brand's pressed formula (check out my Glow Glossary article to find your perfect Becca Cosmetics highlighter), I will often use it to sheer out some of my medium/full coverage foundations or gently pat a small amount of product on high points of my face to add dimension. This formula acts as a great base for a pressed highlighter as well. Use it on face or body to glow like a Victoria's Secret model. Perfect summer essential here. Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter is also every makeup artist's backstage secret; Lisa Eldridge has been using this gem for well over 15 years now and if that doesn't tell you something, then I don't know what will!
Keeping up with a theme of all things glowy, I must confess that I am totally in love with Becca Cosmetics newest Gradient Sunlit Bronzer. It comes in two shades (for lighter/deeper skin tones) and is practically a baby of Sunlit Bronzer and Opal (the brand's best-selling highlighter shade for light-medium complexions) or Rose Gold (Chrissy Teigen's favourite for medium-deep complexions).
Sunlit Bronzer came out earlier last year and was a massive hit right away. Just like everything else that the brand offers, this product too comes in a diverse and inclusive shade range. My perfect shade is Capri Coast; it is a beautiful buttery smooth and neutral-toned bronzer, that never looks muddy or orange. It is infused with a very fine amount of the brand's iconic pearlescent shimmer, however, in a way that your complexion looks radiant/alive/sunkissed (never "disco ball tacky" or odd). You can hardly detect any of that shimmer on the skin, yet your complexion will appear as if you are glowing from within.
L to R: Sunlit Bronzer in Capri Coast, Gradient Sunlit Bronzer in Sunrise Waves
Opal is the most universally flattering highlighter available on the market today. It is not too cool, not too warm - a perfect neutral-yet-blinding shade that looks amazing on everyone (your frenemy included). Now, imagine mixing three light/medium toned bronzers with your favourite highlighter. You get an absolutely phenomenal, illuminating bronzer that will give you the healthiest sun glow of life.
Gradient Sunlit Bronzer is perfect for beauties of all ages; it doesn't accentuate texture, lines or pores. Doesn't stick to dry patches either. I find that it gives me the most natural warmth and I don't even need to reach out for a highlighter; I get a perfect subtle amount of glow + bronze from one product only. It has replaced my love for every other bronzer in my collection and for that reason alone, I can't recommend it enough!
Think what you want about Kat Von D, but most of her products are fire. When she came out with an entire new line of brow products a few months ago, I knew I had to try her 24-Hour Super Brow Long-Wear Pomade. And boy oh boy, I am not disappointed!
Basically, this is a much better version of Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow mainly because it applies easier, wears longer (I mean you can take a shower or dive into a pool, your brows will still be there!), doesn't bunch up or look blotchy/patchy and (my favourite part) the texture is much softer/bouncier than that of ABH. I got Graphite, which [let's be honest] looks like a hella scary crow black in the pot. However, it is the most perfect/natural shade for us, gals with black hair.
I have naturally thick brows, but there are a few gaps here and there. I fill them in using an angled brush and my new favourite 24-Hour Super Brow Long-Wear Pomade. My mom actually has typical sad 90's brows and she can easily create a very bold, natural-looking brow using this same product but in a different shade. Just remember: little goes a verrrrry long way, so don't be greedy and use this pomade sparingly. Plus once it is on, it is on; it sets super fast, which is why work one brow at a time.
#5 Bold Lipstick
Nothing says summer more than a bright red matte lipstick. My current favourite formula has to be Laura Mercier Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick. I have tried almost every single shade in the range and must admit that Dominate is my ultimate favourite. It is one of those blue-toned reds that will look phenomenal on beauties of all ages and complexions.
This formula is incredibly user-friendly (no need for a lip liner), long-lasting and comfortable. I normally dab a small amount of lip balm to prime my lips beforehand, but generally speaking - you don't really have to (unless you are a walking Sahara desert like me). You can read all about this amazing lipstick range in a separate review here.
On your left: I am wearing all five products mentioned in this post; what do you guys think? Let's chat some more in the comments!
Becca Cosmetics, Laura Mercier (PR gifts) / KVD, Supergoop! (Purchased)
This review is not sponsored - full disclaimer here