Wednesday, April 30, 2014

$3 near-dupe/alternative to The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer (e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Elegant)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
I got The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter not too long ago using some HauteLook credits (thank to whomever used my link!). I really like it. It's easy to use, and natural-looking, and effective. But if you don't buy it when it comes up on HauteLook (invite link), that shit is $24 (or $20 on Amazon)! I mean, it's a big pan, but still. That's a lot for some shimmery powder.

I've mentioned before that you can use just about any shimmery product as a highlighter, so long as it's close to your natural skin tone or a little lighter. I was playing around with my e.l.f. loose mineral eyeshadows the other day and decided to compare e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Elegant to Mary-Lou Manizer. Here are the swatches, using the same brush with two layers on the left and then blended out on the right:

Swatches of The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer and e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Elegant
Swatches of The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer (left) and
e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Elegant (right)
As you can see, the e.l.f. eyeshadow is cooler-toned and a bit more reflective. Even though The Balm's highlighter is a pressed powder and the e.l.f. shadow is loose, when applied the texture is very similar. They are both super soft and smooth. The both blend beautifully. The thing I find most annoying about highlighters is when you can actually see the product on the skin - like when it doesn't blend out seamlessly around the edges. For that reason, I'm not a huge fan of Benefit Watt's Up. It's hard to get it to blend subtly without just rubbing it off. But neither of these powders have that issue. They really just leave the impression of light reflecting off the parts of your face where you apply them, which is exactly the fucking point.

Though they look fairly different in the swatches, in actual practice, at least on my face, they look very similar. I don't have the right equipment/lighting at the moment to take useful comparison photos of highlighter on my face, so you'll just have to take my word for it. The only real advantages of The Balm's product are that, since it's pressed, it's less messy, and it wears a little bit longer. The e.l.f. eyeshadow, used as highlighter, lasts long enough, but the Mary-Lou Manizer is even more tenacious.

So if you've been considering The Balm's Mary-Lou Manizer, but don't want to spend so much, you might consider picking up this e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow in Elegant instead. It's normally $3, but e.l.f. shit goes on sale all the time. It's also a pretty eyeshadow, of course, if you like loose pigments.

My favorite thing to do with highlighter is to run it down the length of my nose and across the tip. I think it just gives my face a little more dimension, especially if I've used foundation or a matte powder. I also use it on my cheekbones, but since I wear glasses, I don't think it's particularly noticeable there.

(By the way, I only "got" the joke in The Balm's highlighter names a couple of weeks ago. Sigh. Luminizer. Get it?)


  1. Replies
    1. Maybe I meant "Elegant"? Because I can't find anything called "Enchanted" now. Sigh. That would be a pretty ridiculous mistake. Sorry!

  2. Don't forget the Gotta Glow highlighter compact from e.l.f.! I like that one for it's portability, because applying powders like Enchanting is challenging in the car.

    1. I reviewed that one a while back, and it did not work for me at all. But I'm glad to hear it is useful for others!

  3. LOL you're not alone ; it took my 7 year old grandson to say it fast before it clicked.

    He's obviously smarter than me!


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