Monday, December 14, 2015

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer VS. Cindy-Lou Manizer


I remember browsing through something which bloggers raved about - "highlighter" - and all the highlighters I knew about at that time would come from Staedtler in NEON colors. It was a novel idea at that time and I was most fascinated by it. The first ever highlighter/illuminator I had were Benefit High Beam, Benefit Girl Meets Pearl, and ELF Facial Whip in Lilac Petal. I loved Girl Meets Pearl as it was easiest to sport without any base, while the other two were too frosty shimmery for my linking.

Then came along the highlighter that sparked my ever-growing interest in highlighted cheeks <3 The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer. It had its thumbs-up and thumbs-down, but *spoiler alert* I love how it complements my skin. While I was recovering from my obsession, there it was - the CINDY-LOU. While the promised sunshine and warm embrace of highlighters may be blinding ;-) You do need to make sensible makeup choices.

To get or to not get.... both. That is the question.

Here I am... possibly making the choice easier ;-) - Clickity Click:


The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer AKA The Luminizer ($24.00 for 8.5g) is promoted by The Balm as a 'highlighter, shadow & shimmer' that 'diffuses light' to make your skin appear 'younger' with 'soft glow'. In contrast, The Balm Cindy-Lou Manizer AKA The Con-tour Artist ($24 for 8.5g) is also claimed to be an 'all-in-one' product which you can use as an 'eyeshadow, blush, and highlighter'. It adds 'splash of color' and 'hint of shimmer' on your cheeks. Although both are considered identical products, there are subtle differences in the claims. This is actually what I just found out reading the website descriptions. It's a good practice to read up before purchasing the items and possibly weigh the claims against reviews - just so you can set your expectations right.

First up, the packaging - I love the cheeky vintage mugshot-esque paintings of fictitious 'Mary' and 'Cindy'. Cardboard packaging always makes the product more 'sophisticated'. The product inside is fixed securely in the packaging and you don't hear the rattle. However, do not be fooled by the seemingly metallic round product packaging inside. Why? I'll tell you after you have had a good look at these:




These sturdy-looking metallic finish pans should come with a big FRAGILE tags. The highlighter pan and a compact mirror appear to have fit securely inside the packaging. However, the product inside is overly prone to breakage during transit and handling. I was heartbroken when Cindy-Lou Manizer reached me in a broken mess despite the bubble-wrap securely packed around it. Without any obvious signs of trauma, my beloved new highlighter had been reduced to chunky messy powder. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I was too eager to keep it and reached a settlement with the seller. Through the couple of years, I have witnessed many cases of similar product damage - a big red flag for The Balm to address. Thankfully, my Mary-Lou is intact till date, but there is always that sword hovering over my head. No matter what people say/show, I can never trust alcohol to repair the broken powdered products that well. Mainly, I feel the performance suffers, but that could just be me. Let's have a closer look at the product experience:

Mary-Lou Manizer was love at first swatch. I grabbed it on a bargain from an online cosmetics page HASH. Great page! It was super easy dealing with them and the transaction was smooth.It's pale champagne gold color that complements my NC20-25 skin pretty well. The texture was buttery smooth without any glitter flecks (which are a deal-breaker for me). It was pigmented and intense, so I had to apply ever-so-slightly on the high points on my cheeks. Initially, I felt comfortable applying and blending this with my index finger without any complaints. Later on, the stippling brush would give nice diffused glow. The Mary-Lou landed on my bed one fine morning as I was getting up. Since I was about to leave for office, I simply put it on at 11:00 AM and returned at 5:00 PM with glowy bulb-y cheeks lasting through the summer heat. It became my go-to highlighter for both subtle lit-from-within on bare skin (now promoted as 'strobing') as well as the full-throttle highlight for evening looks. If you have read my bridal makeup review, you would know that I mentioned using Mary-Lou for my functions. It ticks all the right boxes for me, but is it a universally-flattering highlighter? I am afraid, it's not. There seem to be certain question marks with it. One, it is reported to leave white-ish cast on people with skin-tones NC35+ or medium-tan. Given the fact that majority of our population lies towards the medium-to-tan complexions, it might not be the best bet for dusky dames. Another issue which I sometimes noticed was that the Mary-Lou applied heavily would emphasize pores in the absence of the base or primer. However, it did was not a big issue as I would lightly dust it with a fan brush and the pigmentation showed up nicely on my cheeks. To be honest, I am too rushed to pick up the fan brush, so my highlighters are applied with finger pats. In that case, I have to apply and blend with blush brush. It is not the best way to go for it, but oh well! Those who have noticeable pores, you'd better watch out with this one.



Cindy-Lou Manizer was heart-attack at first swatch :-/ It arrived broken to the boot from the transit. I purchased it from International Makeup in Pakistan and the admin of the cosmetics page was super accommodating and offered to return and refund. I, however, opted for partial refund and kept the product as I wanted to make it work for me. I tried pressing the shattered mess with alcohol swab and actually experimented first with a cheap blush by breaking and mending it. Was not impressed with the results of it, so eventually ended up passing it on in my blog sale. Let this be a word of caution to you all, life is short... and even shorter for the The Balm Manizer products -_- even when they are packed nicely in bubble-wrap and the whole shebang. Just be careful in handling these bad boys. All right, so let's get cracking on this (sad pun intended). Cindy-Lou Manizer is cool-toned pale pink with peach undertones. I would not classify it as warm-toned, but rather neutral or balanced. The pigmentation is significantly less than Mary-Lou Manizer and there are noticeable tiny specks of shimmer in this one. When applied lightly, it gives off a soft glow to your face that is not over-the-top. Packing it up over cream blushes made it look like a luminescent blush instead of a highlighter. I was bummed out to see that it took a lot of effort for it to show up nicely against my skin tone. In the swatch below done on my Mom with neutral undertones and NW/NC15-20 skin, it took multiple swipes for the swatch to show up. The fine glitter specks were a nuisance for me as it would not complement my warm skin tone. The only way it flatter my skin was in layering as a blush or over a cream rouge. My high expectations with this one were short-lived. However, I have seen it flatter pale skinned beauties. Interestingly, it did not emphasize the pores and gave a nice frosty highlight to go with silver makeup & dresses.


(L) Cindy-Lou Manizer  (R) Mary-Lou Manizer
I did eye Betty Lou for a while to complete my set and great news for all The Balm lovers, a limited-edition holiday set contains all three of the Manizer highlighters and looks like a good value for all those wanting to try all three.

The Balm cosmetics are now available in-store within Pakistan at Scentsation, Dolmen Mall Clifton. The Balm orders can be placed directly on their US website and they do deliver to Pakistan with 30-45 days of international transit. Look out for amazing deals and flash sales that they have on their website as well as HauteLook.

Are you a fan of highlighters? Have you tried any of these The Balm highlighters? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Cheers,

Bia

23 comments:

  1. I agree to these heart "breaking" thing I own Cindy n simply love it, despite its fallout n breakage this was my love till I recently got TASTY by CP.
    Nice review.

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  2. I agree to these heart "breaking" thing I own Cindy n simply love it, despite its fallout n breakage this was my love till I recently got TASTY by CP.
    Nice review.

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  3. I have theManizer sisters palette and I don't dig these highlighters at all. They are way too over hyped in my opinion. All three of them. They are way too intense to fake a subtle inner glow. Argh! Seeing that palette makes me angry every day. I barely reach for it even though I wanted to love Mary-Lou so badly!
    I'll take my Laura Mercier Matte Radiance over all three of these any day. Now that one is a gorgeous, gorgeous highlight that imparts a healthy glow and doesn't leave a golden streak across your cheek bone. Not cute..unless you actually like golden strips. No comments on that.

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  4. I had my eyes on Mary-Lou for quite long but then I got MUR Golden Lights and now I have CB palette with 4 different highlight shades which blend like butter. Now I can say I don't regret getting Mary-Lou because for one, I'd have died of a heart attack if I had received it broken (itna mehnga aur toota hua!?) You get it, right? And secondly, now I have my eyes on ABH So Hollywood Skin illuminator and I know I will end up NOT buying that as well. So expensive :'(

    P.S. I am a HUGE highlighter fan. I can ONLY wear a bright lip, do my brows and a highlighter and I am good to go :D

    -Fizzah

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  5. Wow I really wana try these out, they are super gorgeous :)

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  6. So this is the detailed review of the Balm Highlighters i had been looking for...honestly i wanted a fair review about the mch hyped Lou Manizer Sisters and dats spot on...Thanku so mch Bia for helping out ☺

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  7. I love your detailed reviews from each prespective ive been eying on mary-lou , im afraid it wont suit my skin tone ��they look super gorgeous�� owww they are so pretty �� im sorry for your cindy-lou

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  8. Hello
    Loved the detailed review... i was searching for the highlighter u made it easier for me to decide which one to buy... mary-lou is a love... cant wait to get my hands on it

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  9. Aww very nice and detailed review.I was in search for s good highlighter from long time.after reading your review i'm thinking to get this one in mary -Lou -manize.As it is a bit pricey but when it comes to quality it's worth buying.u have done lovely swatches.Thank you :)

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  10. This product is great in both shades as i can be used as highlighter and the one in pink tone can be used as blush .great review .Thanks

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  11. Your blog is amazing, you define each and every review in a unique way which is outstanding, love you blog much 😍😍 I love very view blogs on which your blog included and your reviews at very helpless fr buying products after knowing their pros and cons 😊💞💕

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  12. Awesome review.Thanks for a brief review.

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  13. Thank you for the very honest review. Each and every blogger whose reviews I have read so for for balm cosmetics are highly positive and I badly wanted to try these out So I have order the Balm sisters Lou manizer limited edition palette. It has not reached to me yet. I will keep all your points in my mind while using to try to get the best results. One should be careful to purchase all.

    And you were right it really get heart ache to see such costly products in broken form and if they do not work out well for you.

    Thank you ... !

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  14. Really amazing review... I really like it.. Thank you soo much for sharing with us.. This is really helpful for me and others as well ☺

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  15. A comparison post was definitely due because I thik most people just pick up a hyped up product without thinking about their own skin tone and preferences. They really should fix the breakage issue. I wonder how they look used as shadows especially Cindy-Lou because the pigmentation is lower than Mary-Lou. Eversince I got the Carli Bybel palette every other highlighter seems over hyped because they are 4 to choose from which all make great eyeshadows and you are getting some great shadows apart from these 4 too!

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  16. They got so much hype, but your comparison and detailed review made it easy which one to go for, em loving mary lou more <3

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  17. I have yet to see highlighters making a huge impact on skin tone like mine not fair not too dark .I just over do or under do it . I have yet to try brands and products as a new makeup learner I don't want to invest in something that will break or overhyped or over priced . Thank You for the review .

    Ayesha Javaid

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  18. Yeah i've tried this one it's cool

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  19. I think marry lou is perfect to flatter desi skin tones than cindy one... lovely review

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  20. Very detailed and thorough comparison. I love these because of its awesome packaging.
    http://www.ThatGrlInHighHeels.blogspot.com

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  21. I like this post especially cuz of the swatchesss 😍😍 thankyou for the wonderful review ♡

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  22. Well You are doing so good. It feels so good to see your blog as you 're Pakistani. keep going and you have wrote the best detailed review :)

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