R U Ready…for a fabulous makeup collaboration between drugstore darling Milani and queens of 90s hip hop Salt-N-Pepa? Ready or not, they are here and they didn’t come to play!
From the moment I heard “Let’s Talk About Sex” in small town North Dakota, I didn’t know what to do and I was obsessed with these brazen, beautiful, talented women! When I heard that they were not only putting together a makeup collection but doing it with one of my favorite drugstore brands, I knew that it would have to be mine. To my delight, not only did they have a full collection of lip and eye products (with a couple of highlighters included as well), but they also had a full PR-style package available with the whole shebang!
The collection is made up of two eyeshadow and highlighter palettes and two lip kits, with a liner and lipstick.
The PR kit is perfect: it’s a nice way to showcase the collection without being too bulky and creating too much waste, and the whole thing is made out of recycled paper. It balances the desire to feel like you’ve got something exclusive (even if you paid for it!) and appeasing the millennial woke-ness of minimizing packaging waste. The imagery is a perfect throwback to their colorful, 90s style.
I’m generally a big fan of Milani products – with the exception of the eyeshadows. I have a couple of their small “essentials” palettes with the clear lids and shiny gold plastic packaging. They aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great. I loved the variety of colors in these palettes, as well as the super shimmery finishes of some of the shadows, and I was hoping that they would be better quality than those older palettes. Luckily, this was generally the case:
For the swatches, I did them over the Ulta matte eye primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is my studio lighting with no flash; the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
The Very Necessary Palette
L to R: Somma Time Man, Break of Dawn, PSA, Groove Me,
No One Does It Better, Somebody’s Getting On My Nerves
Somma Time Man is a bit of a dud: a pale cream shade that’s matte and fairly chalky. It doesn’t have a lot of color payoff, so it’s probably best for blending out other shades or setting an eye primer. Break of Dawn is a silvery taupe shimmer, a little sheer but a lot of reflective shine. PSA is a sheer black shade with dark gold glitter. Groove Me is a bright copper orange shimmer. No One Does It Better is a gold shimmer with a blackened base, similar in mixed tones to PSA, but with a much higher concentration of gold. Somebody’s Getting On My Nerves is a forest green shimmer with golden sparkle.
L to R: Turn Me On, Big Shot, Shoop, Heaven Or Hell,
None Of Your Business, Whatta Man
Turn me on looks black in the pan but it’s actually a matte navy. It’s a little finicky: you can see a bald spot at the bottom of the brush swatch, and that’s after three layers of the product. I just kept adding and couldn’t get it to stick there. It’s not a bad color, but prepare for some inconsistencies. Big Shot is a royal blue shimmer. Shoop is a bright violet shimmer with silvery shimmer. Heaven Or Hell is a plum shimmer, not super reflective but definitely not matte. None Of Your Business is a bronze brown shimmer. Whatta Man is a forest green with a satiny shimmer to it. It’s slightly darker than Somebody’s Getting On My Nerves and not nearly as glittery.
Overall I like this palette. the matte shades are a little weak, but there are only two and the shimmers are pretty good. There are some that are more glittery and reflective, but all of the shimmers are generally pretty good. I love the variety of colors available in the palette, and I think you could get some great pops of color when pairing this palette with the other one, which we’ll get to next.
The Hot, Kool, & Vicious Palette
L to R: 1986, The Debut, Stupid Fresh, Push It,
The Remix, Beauty & The Beat
1986 is a matte tan brown, medium and leaning a little cool in tone. The Debut is a bright sunshine yellow matte, a little sheer but not chalky and nice color. Would be great over a white base to make the color pop. Stupid Fresh is a matte bone shade that is so much more opaque and consistent than the cream shade in the other palette. Push It is a bright coppery champagne shimmer, very glittery. The Remix is a red matte, nice opacity and a little yellow-y, sort of a tomato red. Beauty & The Beat is a medium warm-toned chocolate brown matte, basic AF but nice performance.
L to R: My Mic Sounds Nice, The Showstopper, I Desire,
Chick On The Side, It’s Alright, I’ll Take Your Man
My Mic Sounds Nice is a somewhat sheer berry matte shade. The Showstopper is a shimmery rose gold. I Desire is a dusty pink matte, a little bit dusty (no pun intended) but not unusable. Chick On The Side is a matte black; not the blackest black, but good pigmentation and great for building up and darkening different shades. It’s Alright is a medium deep cool-toned brown matte. I’ll Take Your Man is a glittery orange shimmer shade.
The mattes in this palette are better than the last, which is good since this palette only has 3 shimmers. A couple of the mattes seem like maybe they lean a little bit toward a satin finish, but I wouldn’t call them a full on shimmer. Not perfect, but I generally like the quality of these palette.
As for the hioghlights, they are very pigmented would work as shimmer eyeshadows as well.
The darker shade is Platinum Status and is in the Very Necessary palette, and the lighter shade is Certified Platinum in the Hot, Kool, & Vicious palette. The left swatch is a finger swatch, to show it more concentrated and give you the full color, and the swatch on the right is a diffused brush swatch. Platinum Status is a bronze shade that has a little bit of pinky tone that doesn’t really come through in the pictures. Certified Platinum is a white-based yellow gold and very shimmery.
The lip kits include a tube lipstick and a lipliner.
Shoop has a brown liner and a browny mauve lipstick that makes a deep nude almost ombre combination. Push It is a bright coral red, not quite as true red as it appears in the tube.
I’m a hot mess at doing lip switches, but I decided to try. I had a small ingrown hair from a show I had done the previous weekend, and I always overdraw my lips (no matter what I’m doing, I always have to be an overpainted drag queen clown). So here’s the result. Deal with it.
I love that this collection happened and I regret nothing. Salt-N-Pepa were huge when I was in high school and I absolutely rocked out to their music – as much as an awkward, closeted white kid in small town North Dakota can rock out to hip hop. Milani is on the higher end for drugstore brands, and with a lot of their newer releases they are started to push their price points even a little higher (each of the palettes retails on its own for $20). The good news is that the quality seems to be coming up with the prices. That rarely happens, so this is refreshing. I’m here for it, and I’m definitely excited to see what else Milani has planned for us.
As an aside…whatever happened to Spinderella, the third member of Salt-n-Pepa? I mean…I know her name wasn’t in the group name, like the other two, but are we just pretending she was never there? Be right back – I got some Googling to do!