Mary-Lou Manizer from TheBalm ($24 at Sephora) is a shimmery champagne highlighter powder. When I first looked at it in the store, I dismissed it as more shimmery than I wanted. But it applies much more subtly than I expected.
Packaging isn’t that important to me (I know it is to some of you!), but with TheBalm products, it plays a big role, and you’re either going to love it or hate it. Mary-Lou Manizer is a pun on both “luminizer” and “manizer”, as in “womanizer”. So the picture is of a femme fatale in a mug shot, with her crimes listed.
The compact itself features a mirror and powder – no applicator.
The powder isn’t quite gold – it’s more beige than that. And it isn’t quite sparkly or glittery. Nor does it make you look oily. It has a way of creating a sheen that reminds me of gentle perspiration, or when humidity slightly dampens skin. The look is very natural and beautiful.
The amount you get is .3 ounces. All I know is, I’ve been using it daily for more than two months, and you can barely tell I’ve ever touched it. Given how long this product should last, it’s one of those rare high-end products that are actually a really good bargain. This has become my go-to highlighter.
This first swatch is one I put on very thick, so you could see just what this powder can do. This is much thicker than you would use for just highlighting, but it shows some of that sheen I was talking about – it gently shines instead of sparkling or looking like glitter.
The next swatch is more how you would apply it for highlighting. It’s a very faint sheen that picks up the light and looks natural.
I haven’t used all that many highlighters, but the ones I have tried are not dupes of this one. Make Up For Ever’s Uplight, a liquid highlighter, is even less shimmery, producing a truly dewy glow that I actually decided over time was a bit more subtle than I wanted in some areas. E.l.f. Studio Blush in Gotta Glow is more golden and a bit more shimmery – it’s still my second favorite behind Mary-Lou Manizer. NARS’ Albatross is way more golden and shimmery.
How to apply
You can apply this with a variety of brushes. I use Sigma’s F40 angled contour brush to put it all over the cheeks when I’m using a matte blush and want a little of the highlighter to show through. With a blush that has shimmer, I use Sigma’s F60 foundation brush to lay Mary-Lou Manizer down a bit heavier, just above the cheekbone – and after I’ve done that, I dust what’s left down the center of my nose, into my Cupid’s bow and just above my chin, and it produces the most incredible natural looking glow. To apply around the eyes, I use my usual eyeshadow brushes.
Will I repurchase?
Absolutely, unless I find something I like even better before then! It’s rare that I recommend a high end product over all others, but this one really is a bargain, considering how long it will last and how great it looks.