Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer

After signing up for my first beauty subscription box (Birchbox) last July and starting this blog in January I've been learning a lot of about makeup, application, and techniques. I watched a video on contouring and highlighting last fall. I had a bronzer that worked great for contouring, but no product that would work well as a highlighter. After just a little searching I was set on getting theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer. I saved up my Birchbox points and here it is!

theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer
Mary-Lou Manizer without primer

A look without any cheek products

The addition of blush applied to apples of cheeks

The look with blush and bronzer applied in hollow of cheek bone, jawline, and sides of nose

The COMPLETE look with blush, bronzer, and Mary-Lou Manizer applied above cheek bones, above brows, center of nose, cupid's bow, and center of forehead

Mary-Lou Manizer is theBalm's famous highlighter. I love how the name is a play on the fact that a highlighter acts illuminate! So what is a highlighter? A highlighter is a beauty product that is brighter and lighter than your normal skin tone and should have some shimmer in it. It is used to brighten certain areas of your face and draw extra attention to those areas. Plus, it gives you a glamorous, polished appearance. It is also used to dramatize angles created with contouring. And contouring helps enhance your natural bone structured helping to thin out and accentuate what you've already got.

Many celebrities don't leave the house without having their face perfectly contoured/highlighted. My favorite example is Kim Kardashian. She always has a bright glow and perfect bone structure. You may think what you like of her, but you really can't deny that she is gorgeous. Although I do think she goes a little too heavy on the eye makeup and lashes. Using Kim Kardashian as an example, TheUntrendyGirl.com made an amazing tutorial photo of how to properly contour and highlight.

With those shapes in mind I myself got to work using an angled powder brush. I don't contour or highlight as heavily as in the tutorial photo. Instead I focus primarily on giving shape to my giant nose, adding a little plump to my upper lip, and bringing out the angles of my jaw and cheekbones. Until this year, I only ever wore a little blush, but boy does contouring and highlighting do wonders! My face loses 5lbs in an instant and in photos my face doesn't look pancake flat and dull.

Mary-Lou Manizer may be the only highlighter I'll ever try. And I mean that. Mary-Lou Manizer is a pressed shimmer powder that can be used as a highlighter, an all over shimmer (body/face), or as an eyeshadow. The powder is a honey champagne color that has very finely milled shimmer that diffuses light. The color is extremely neutral. I am very fair and pink, but I think this shade would work would well with any skin color or tone. The shimmer catches the light adding a subtle glow and making anyone's skin look younger and softer. I don't even realize that it is a shimmer, instead it is just an instant glow. You couldn't ever pinpoint a single piece of glitter nor is it so much shimmer that you feel like you are prepping for your Broadway opening. One swipe and your face perks up.

In the photos above I wanted to show you the full 'transformation.' The blush adds a necessary addition of rosey pink to my cheeks after I neutralized out all the red tones in my face with my foundation. The bronzer helps to define my faceline and nose. I think it really does an amazing job at thinning out my wide nose! Then with the addition of the highlighter I think my face just looks completed. I may have a bit of a sheen from the start at some of the most common highlighting regions, but it looks just like I am shiny. Once I add the highlighter my shine turns into a true natural looking, glow. And the definition of my nose is even more noticeable because the contrast of the highlighter against the contouring. My upper lip also looks a tad bit fuller. It may all be subtle, but I love the enhancement.

You do have to be careful of where you apply it, but that goes with any highlighter. You don't want to highlight your entire forehead or all over your nose or you'll go back to looking shiny. Nor do you want to highlight any noticeable zits, it just makes the imperfection even more noticeable.

This product is also highly pigmented! A little goes a long way! I only need to lightly touch my brush to the powder to have enough product for an everyday look. I've been using this product for almost four months now and I can still see the original pattern etched onto the majority of the surface. I have no doubt that this highlighter could last me a few years. Yes, a few years. I mean it. It seems like theBalm realized that a product that lasts so long needs a sturdy case. Many bloggers and reviewers have said the case is metal but to me it feels like any old hard plastic. Yet it is very sturdy and feels like it will hold up. Plus, the adorable pin up gal guilty of womanizing theme is too cute.

I really can't think of a single negative. It shows that a little research before buying a new product makes a difference. With so many options it can be hard to weed through it all. But this was a clear winner. And in my book, the best.

TheBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer retails for $24 and is worth every penny. Take a look at theBalm's website at: www.thebalm.com

The bottom line: Neutral, honey tone that works with all skin colors; Finely milled shimmer that adds a subtle glow; A little goes a long way; May be expensive, but will last for years.  5/5

Have your tried theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer? Is it your favorite highlighter? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. You're gorgeous! :) I love any kind of highlighters, Womanizer is nice! <3

    1. Thanks! I cannot get enough of them, it's now part of my daily routine.

  2. Do you remember what video you watched? I've been trying to learn more about both contouring and highlighting. I have the right products but not the skills. Good review. I liked that you included the progression :)

    1. This is the one that got me intrigued by contouring and highlighting. http://www.collegefashion.net/beauty-and-hair/makeup-how-to-the-art-of-the-contour/

      Then I watched this video that sold me on mary lou-manizer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7thfR11irI

    2. btw I just saw you are in Louisville! I just got back from a job interview there. Crossing my fingers I get it!

    3. Thanks for the info! I'll definitely look into it. Yeah, I've lived in Louisville for about 4 years. I love it! It's pretty fun for a city in Kentucky. Haha. Did you get to look around the city at all? Good luck on the job search! I hope you get the job too. You should let me know :D

  3. I absolutely LOVE this highlighter. I think it looks so glowy and natural, plus, it's going to last for eternity since you only need a teensy bit. I was lucky enough to snag it for about $10 from Hautelook when they had theBalm. Another favorite of mine is NARS' Copacabana.

    The worst highlighter? Stila's Kitten. It's a gorgeous eyeshadow, but I don't like that they market it as an all over shimmery. It's awfully frosty on the face and it makes my pores look like craters, haha.

    PS: How did your job interview go?

    1. I'm so jealous you got it on hautelook it was sold out by the time I logged on, but I shouldnt complain I got it free with BB points! I wonder how long it will last, 2 years? Longer even? I've been using it for 4 months and barely a mark!

      I'll have to check out the NARS. My least favorite is the NYX from the Butt Naked palette. It was the same way frosty and giant glitter everywhere.

      Thanks for asking! It went pretty well! Im crossing my fingers. I should find out in a few weeks :)

    2. To be honest, I think this highligther is totally worth the full price! It'll definitely last for ages and ages.

      Definitely look into the NARS. It's pretty expensive, but you just need the teeniest microscopic dab of product to get it to do its job. I've had it since Christmas, and it looks like I haven't made any progress at all on it.

      Glad it went well! If you got the job, you'd only be a four hours away from me!

    3. That's true! I'm glad I took the plunge! I've never had a NARS blush but everyone raves about them. Next time I see them on display Ill have to give them a look.

      That'd be exciting! Beauty meet up!

  4. Awesome blog hun ! Loving it just found it ^_^ Great post I really wanna get my hands on that highlight!

    romanianbutterfly206.blogspot.ca (Come check out my Giveaway!)

    1. Thanks Ashley! Make sure to subscribe via GFC so you stay updated!
      It is really the best highlighter ever! And Ill check out your blog! Take care :)

  5. Beautiful! I picked up Betty-Lou Manizer thinking the darker shade would be better for my Asian skin tone, but it's actually a little dark for me! I should have gotten Mary Lou!

    1. If you got it at Sephora or any of the big beauty stores they should be able to take it back even if it is used! Mary Lou is amazing and really seems to work with all shades of skin. I don't know how they did it, but this stuff is perfect.


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