Today we have an epic battle of two cult highlighters – The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer VS Becca Champagne Pop, which was developed in collaboration with beauty Youtuber Jacklyn Hill.
Both are über glowy highlighters and there are some similarities in the two products but they’re definitely not identical, so I’ll review and compare them as best I can in case you’re pondering whether you should buy one (or both) of them. I also dish some highlighter application tips at the end so stick around for those if you’re keen.
Let’s start with Mary-Lou Manizer. I bought mine while I was in Australia, but you can buy it locally from Retailbox here, along with some other cosmetics from The Balm. At R399 the price isn’t much more than what I paid for it in Oz.
The texture is fairly dense in the pan, but the powder picks up easily with a synthetic brush. For both these highlighters I use the Real Techniques Setting Brush – I find the small yet fluffy brush gives me the controlled application I’m after, but still allows for the buffing required.
In the pan Mary-Lou Manizer is a pale yellow, golden beige colour (it’s the best way I can describe it) but it doesn’t translate as warm onto the skin – ironically I would describe it as more of a champagne glow. It’s not the kind of highlighter that you can just sweep on – it needs a bit of buffing to look seamless. It’s very buildable, and I find it looks best when I apply, buff in, and then apply more where necessary as opposed to applying a whole wad at once.
The end result on my skin is a very beautiful sheen that doesn’t look glittery or stark at all – it’s just glowy and pretty.
On to Becca Champagne Pop Shimmering Skin Perfector. I bought mine from the Becca store/showroom in Sandton (address over here) for R650 – other shades of the Shimmering Skin Perfector were just under R500 if I recall correctly. They increased the price because it was a special edition, and I nearly choked when I had to swipe my card but I’ve wanted it for so long I just did it. You can also buy Becca online, but be aware of the R200 delivery charge.
The powder is very soft in the pan – just a touch of a brush kicks up some dust, so a light dab is all that’s required. The best way I can describe the colour is a peachy/coppery gold – it’s way out of my usual highlighter zone.
Champagne Pop is definitely not the easiest highlighter I’ve worked with, but the little bit of extra effort definitely pays off. It seems to stick to the skin exactly where you place it, so you need to put in some effort with the buffing in – I give a small dab in the pan, lightly sweep it over my skin and then buff away until I can no longer see any edges.
The result is a super striking golden glow that doesn’t budge at all – I’ve had nights where my contour and blush had basically vanished, but the glow was still firmly in place by the end of the evening.
Below are some side by side swatches – I had a really hard time photographing them to be honest, and I don’t particularly like these pictures but there’s method in the madness. It would have looked more impressive if I had taken them outside in the sun, but I wanted to give the most realistic impression of what they look like when applied to the skin.
Do you need both of these highlighters? Probably not, but I don’t regret either purchase one bit. If you’re fair I would go for Mary-Lou Manizer because it’s easier to wear and it’s super pretty. If you’re looking for something with a little more of a warm glow I’d go for Champagne Pop – it’s definitely not an ordinary highlighter.
Some application tips for both of these (and glowy highlighters in general):
- Use them only when you’ve been taking good care of your skin – they accentuate flaws like flaky skin and enlarged pores.
- Use a face primer to ensure your highlighter doesn’t unnecessarily draw attention to uneven texture.
- Don’t just sweep it on and leave it there – buff it with a soft brush to get a proper glow.
- A makeup setting spray/finishing spray makes a world of difference – it removes any last traces of powder and amps up the glow.
- If you’re prone to oil and shine, apply highlighter to the outer parts of your face only – cheekbones, temples and brow bones.
- If you have dry skin that tends to look dull, applying a light sweep of highlighter along your T-zone works wonders.