When I did my “12 Black-Owned Makeup Brands That AREN’T Fenty Or Pat McGrath” video a couple of months ago, I included a list of 4 bonus brands that I hadn’t ordered from yet, but was interested in: The Lip Bar, Mented Cosmetics, Propa Beauty, and Black Radiance. Well, yet has come and gone and I have had a chance to pick up products from all four of those brands! The products from The Lip Bar were actually on their way to me when I made the video (and have been reviewed, HERE), and this review is going to cover the products that I got from Mented Cosmetics and Propa Beauty. Black Radiance will be in a separate review – I got a few more products, and they represent more categories, so they really deserve their own space.
In my video, I mentioned that the main reason I hadn’t ordered from Mented Cosmetics before that point was because they have a lot of products that are nude or neutral. This is true, but their thing is that they are all about fierce pigmentation. So when I saw that they were having a sale where you could buy any three items and get a discount, I decided to try out some of their face products. I’m always on the lookout for cool-toned or neutral contour options, and I’m an absolute whore for blush lately, so I picked up one of their Sunkissed Bronzers in the shade Out Of Office, and two of their blushes in Berried Away and Peach For The Stars.
Here are the swatches. Since it’s a cheek product, I didn’t lay down any sort of primer. I did a finger swatch to give you a representation of the color at its most concentrated on my skintone, and then did a wider, more diffused swatch with the brush with a little building up to simulate how I would use it. The top photo is under my studio lights with no flash; the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
This is such a gorgeous bronzer shade! I don’t use bronzer typically (and if I did, this would obviously not be the shade for my pasty ass!) but I love a neutral or cool bronzer to use for contouring and this is a lovely option. It’s got some good pigmentation (duh – it’s Mented!) and it blows out nicely and get diffused with a brush without sheering out too much or losing too much of the color. I can definitely see using this for contour a lot, especially when I want a deeper base to the contour.
L to R: Berried Away, Peach For The Stars
But nothing could have prepared me for these blushes. I am in love. Berried away is a gorgeous berry with a sort of satin finish. It blends out nicely and keeps that berry red at its core, though you can definitely make it less aggressive than I tend to do (what can I say, I like an aggressive blush?!). But Peach For The Stars? Jesus, take the wheel. This is probably my perfect orange blush. Orange can be tricky, and this hits all the notes of what I want in an orange blush: it teeters right on the edge of peach, so it’s not too brassy or too deep orange, and it’s got this really stunning gold shimmer to it. I mean, if you’re going to do orange blush, obviously you want to glow, right?! Right. Glad we settled it. This is a stunning color and look at how smooth it settles when brushed out. This is my peachy dreamsicle blush fantasy for all time.
The packaging is pretty solid, simple black compacts with a gold logo embossed. They seem to be some variant on soft touch, which I don’t love because of how easily it gets dirty, but these seem a little easier to clean than typical soft touch so maybe it’s a different kind or a new process? It’s elegant and sleek, and feels sturdy, so I’m here for it.
I am definitely going to be trying more from Mented Cosmetics. I’m still not 100% sold on nude and natural, but there are at least two other shades of blush that I’m sure will make their way into my collection and I’m interested enough to maybe venture into some other categories as well. When they say that pigment is their thing, they are definitely not lying about it!
Now let’s switch over to Propa Beauty. They are still pretty new to the scene, and their collection that they launched with is definitely not my typical jam: nude stick lipsticks optimized for women of color. I am a technicolor nightmare Easter parade float, so what the hell do I need with anything even slightly resembling a chocolate nude? Well, nothing. But I’ve heard so many of my favorite YouTubers like Audra @ Home and Angelica Nyqvist absolutely raving about them, so I decided to give them a shot. And since their lipsticks are only $12, I had absolutely nothing to lose.
Now, I’m not much of a straight up brown lipstick person, but I do sometimes love a dark lipstick moment, so decided to pick up three of the darkest shades in the line. Two of them were deep brown, one with a reddish tone and one more neutral, and one that was a little lighter but skewed a little more berry in tone.
L to R: Empower, Her Magic, Driven
For these, I did arm swatches as well as lip swatches. For the arm swatches, they just went on straight from the stick. For the lip swatches, I put down some foundation (another BOMB favorite, the Uoma Beauty Say What?! foundation), cleaned the foundation off my actual lips, and then applied the color. For the arm swatches I took photos with and without flash like usual, but for the lip swatches my phone battery was dying and wouldn’t let me take photos with the flash. I know, I’m a disaster. You’ll get the idea from what I have, I hope.
L to R: Empower, Her Magic, Driven
These are all “Luminous Satin” lipsticks, which basically just seems to mean a glossy lipstick, but not the kind of glossy that’s basically a tinted balm. I can’t keep up with how cosmetics companies use words these days! They have a nice shine, but are pretty pigmented and give your lips pretty good coverage. Empower is the darkest of the 3 (though the sticker is lighter!) and it’s a deep coolish brown. This reminds me of 1978 by Gold Label Cosmetics, another fantastic BOMB, but this has more shine to it than that formula. It’s a gorgeous color, and that’s the sort of dark lipstick moment that I tend to go for. Her Magic is a berry-leaning chestnut, and this one actually complemented my natural lip color really well. It’s almost like my natural color, with a slightly deeper flush to it. I was expecting it to be a little more berry, but on my skintone it comes out more of a beautiful rosy chestnut. Driven is like melted chocolate, very pretty and warm. It’s not the kind of color I gravitate to often, but I appreciate the depth and that it has such great shine while also given full coverage to the lips.
The packaging feels light, but not flimsy. It’s an attractive design, and definitely has a unique look to identify the brand. It has a snap closure to keep the top on that’s maybe not as sturdy as a magnet, but feels plenty secure for most people. The Propa Beauty logo is embossed on the top of the lid in a similar copper color as the inside barrel. They clearly took their time creating a custom component that would make their brand easily identifiable, and the definitely succeeded.
Now, am I going to buy any more of their current collection? Probably not. Like I said, nude/brown lipsticks are my typical thing. But having tried the brand, I can say that I’m definitely excited to see how they expand. If you like these colors, I would definitely suggest checking them out, especially if you like glossy/shiny lipsticks that have some real color to them and aren’t just glorified lip balms. These still have a great punch of color to them, and they are super comfortable on the lips.
Now that I’ve added these two great new Black-Owned makeup Brands to my collection, as well as a few others, it might be time to film a sequel to that earlier video. let’s see how many new brands I can try out before it’s time to film!
(If you have any suggestions of BOMBs that you LOVE, definitely leave them below in the comments; or, if you’re looking to discover some BOMBs for yourself, consider checking out my video linked above – that will give you more than 12 great places to start, including the two great brands featured in this review!)