Milk Makeup’s latest KUSH launches did not disappoint.

Milk Makeup knows how to hype up a good launch, even in quarantine.

Known for being 100% vegan and all about self-expression, Milk Makeup works hard to put out nothing but the very best time and time again. Cult-favorite lip + cheek sticks, Hydro Grip Primer, and of course their KUSH line. They know what they’re doing that’s for sure. 

Their latest launch expanded on their KUSH line and came right on time for 4/20. Though it could have been really difficult to create buzz around a new launch, Milk Makeup had no problem teasing their new KUSH Triple Brow Pen on Instagram and announcing a live tutorial just days before. But they didn’t stop there, they also launched 3 color versions of their popular Kush Lip Glaze.

Was it VGL Approved? Read our thoughts!

KUSH Triple Brow Pen ($22)

Featuring a triple tip like no other brow pen we’ve seen before and the power to fill, condition, and detail. The product comes in eight different shades and you can make your swipes as minimal or intense as you’d like depending on your preference. It’s water-resistant and uses plant-derived and sunflower oil along with aloe to hydrate and condition even the thickest of brow hairs. The felt applicator is angled and triple tipped perfect for feathering in hair-like strokes. Milk Makeup says it best themselves, “the look of microbladed brows, no appointment necessary”, and we can’t disagree.

VGL’s take

This pen was exactly what my untamed beastly quarantined brows needed. Usually, I skip filling in my brows because I’m both terrible & lazy about it. However, this pen has taught me it’s easy and I swear, I have a new face now. 

I must admit, once revealing the tip of the pen I was a bit intimidated. I wondered how a tiny tip resembling a crab claw could help me out. I wasn’t sure how to start and I thought it would be best to practice on my hand a couple of times. When I was ready to commit to my brows, I tried to be as light as possible to create a feathered look. It’s actually an incredibly easy-to-use pen and the triple tip actually acts as a guide when applying. Since it’s waterproof, you’ll need an oil-based makeup remover but it slides right off. Milk Makeup recommends you store it upside down or horizontally to take care of it. 

KUSH Lip Glaze ($18)

A high shine lip glaze with all the good stuff and none of the sticky sh*t. The launch included 2 new shades, Nova & Rosebud. The cult-favorite product only came in clear before these were released. These can be used alone for subtle color or on top of any lip color to add high shine and lots of pigment. TBH, I’ve been trying both ways. Plant-derived oils, shea, cocoa, and mango butters create the magic behind the hydration these glazes offer. Perhaps the best part is they taste like peppermint. 

VGL’s take

I’ve never met a shiny gloss that isn’t sticky, until these. I usually opt for subtle lipsticks over glosses because I can’t stand stickiness. I was unsure if the lip glazes would be sticky given the word ~glaze~ but both colors were too up my alley to not try. I’m bad at describing colors but I feel Nova is a subtle orangy nude while Rosebud is a dusty light rose. Both formulas are soy-free and gluten-free.

I’m pretty fair-skinned and my lip color already resembles something like Rosebud. But, after telling a few friends about these new lip glazes they wanted them too. It’s clear these shades are universal and complement many skin tones and lip colors. Also, I tried them with a full face of makeup, and then on days when I went makeup-free…they just work for whatever vibe. 

First thoughts: insanely pretty colors. If you’re looking for a bold lip, these aren’t it. But, if you’re looking for a fancy natural gloss that can take you from a day of errands to date night…these ARE IT. Although they’re considered ‘high shine’ I thought they offered an effortless, natural-looking sheen. They left my lips hydrated all day long and never once became sticky. Oh, and they taste good due to that peppermint extract.

TLDR;

  • Milk Makeup launched some awesome new products within their KUSH line
  • The triple brow pen takes some practice but your brows will never look better
  • Their new lip glazes are hydrating, never sticky 
  • As always 100% vegan and cruelty, paraben, silicone-free
  • triple brow, $22…lip glazes, $18

BUY or BYE? For this one, definitely BUY!

Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask Review: Your lips are saved

Quarantine skin, how real are you?

I don’t know about anyone else who’s surviving these now normalized (?) times, but no matter how much I pamper, massage, or drench my pores, my complexion still looks like I’ve woken from a tomb from the depths of hell. My eye sockets are swollen, my skin is bumpy and my lips are super dry. The latter is due to a mix of using a heater and then suddenly trading it in for an air conditioner (if you couldn’t feel spring, does she really exist?).

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

As my lips have crackled and become two dehydrated pieces of jerky, Charlotte Cho from Then I Met You, sent over her latest. And it’s a lifesaver. Following in the footsteps of the brand’s Calming Tide Gel Cream, which has the most soothing consistency, one perfect for sweaty months ahead, the brand just launched its first lip mask. Called the Honey Dew Lip Mask ($22), it’s supposed to both heal your chapped lips as well as make it even plumper with each wear.

Honey dew has a special meaning to Charlotte as it conjures memories of her youth. “My fondest memories were when my grandma lived with me and she’d take care of me and my siblings. She’d cut up honeydew melons when the weather got warmer and I remember watching her cut them for us,” she tells me during a Zoom call.

Taking her nostalgia for the fruit along with her need to soothe her own lips, Charlotte and the Then I Met You team took honeydew as the main ingredient in its lip mask. With so many lip masks coming in a dew pot or a round container, Charlotte wanted to ensure that bacteria from one’s hands never touched the products. “It comes in a silicone tube and it’s the most hygienic way to apply something on your lips,” she says.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

What really awesome is that all first-day sales (yes, 100%!) goes to the Amalgamated Foundation’s Families and Workers Fund, one that will go towards supermarket and grocery store workers – truly, some of the heroes during this pandemic.

The main ingredients include: Avocado, squalene oil, honey and honeydew. But perhaps most surprising is that the formula includes lactic acid. “It’s the most moisturizing AHA and helps with dead skin cells,” Charlotte says. Not only is it great for plumping your lips, but the AHA ensures your lips are constantly regenerating new skin cells to replace the ones that have died.

It makes sense that you need extra TLC for your lips. Like your undereyes, your lips have no pores, leaving them to become dehydrated, fast. This, especially in dry climates or air conditioned indoors.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

While I tested this for a few days, I did feel as if the formula was super hydrating without being sticky. Most lip masks on the market are thick, goopy, and glue-like in form. That makes sense as it’s usually used before bed and needs to last through the night. Unlike competitors, this one glides beautifully – like sweet nectar from well, a honeydew – and stays on your lips.

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

Though from honeydew, I didn’t feel as if there was a flavor. This was is relatively fragrance-free without a particular flavor profile. If you’re seeking more of a sensorial experience with smell and taste, this isn’t for you. But if that’s not too important, this one seems like a true winner. Not only do your lips glide, your lips do recover in no time.

Meaning, instead of thinking about your chapped lips, you can use your brain power during quarantine for more important things like, is it a hot dog with Doritos for dinner, or chicken fingers for the seventeenth time?

Then I met you Honey Dew Lip Mask

(Photo by David Yi/ Very Good Light)

TLDR;

-Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask glides on smooth without stickiness

-Ingredients include: Honeydew, honey, avocado oil, squalene, lactic acid, and more

-No flavor or fragrance

-Super hydrating and can be used day and night

BUY Then I Met You’s Honey Dew Lip Mask here, $22

This bar soap cleared and healed my cystic acne.

I’ve never read a good thing about bar soap when it comes to face washing.

I cringe when people tell me they wash their face with a Dove Beauty Bar or worse, Irish Spring. Even bar soaps said to be meant for your face catch me off guard a bit. In high school, a friend turned me on to the Neutrogena Facial Bar to help with the single pimple I contracted every two months or so. Years later, I’m certain the bar did absolutely nothing and those pimples just cleared on their own. 

Carbon Theory Bar Soap with pink background and yellow sparkles

It wasn’t until college when I experienced some ugly side effects of stress, leading to cystic acne. I’m talking stubborn, painful, and hot to the touch acne. I’ve iced, patched, doused myself in salicylic acid, and I’ve even snagged a tretinoin prescription from my dermatologist. But no single product or action ever worked and these cysts needed their time to be alone. I’ve learned to be patient with them. As they throw temper tantrums, I’ve given them space. And so, I’ve come to accept them as a part of me. 

SEE ALSO: This $7 acne gel destroys your cystic bumps in a day

That is, until I heard about this brand called Carbon Theory.It’s a UK brand that’s been shaking things up when it comes to acne-prone skin. Their claim to fame? A miracle face wash that’s a bar. Yes, a soap bar. It’s one that’s made with tea tree and charcoal, not unusual in terms of acne-fighting ingredients. But it was being written about everywhere and in February, it hit shelves at Ulta and completely sold out online after one week in stock. Okay Carbon Theory, you have my attention. 

Upon first glance, this brand is ~very~ cool. They believe in ‘clear, cleansed, and clean AF skin’, a motto I can get behind. They’re 100% vegan and cruelty-free as well as affordable (their bar is only $10), and they’re committed to sustainability within ingredients and packaging.  But still, could this product actually clear and ultimately heal my cystic acne? That’s a tough test to pass. 

Ingredients:

The science behind this bar is all thanks to activated charcoal, organic tea tree oil, and shea butter. The activated charcoal in the bar acts as a sponge to unblock your pores by drawing out dirt and excess oil. Tea tree oil cleanses the skin and kills the bad bacteria. It’s also a natural antiseptic that reduces inflammation (cystic acne’s specialty) and redness. Lastly, shea butter is able to nourish your skin with moisture without clogging your pores. And because shea butter is rich in fatty acids and Vitamin K, it helps pimples heal faster. 

VGL’s take:

When I got the bar, I was immediately relieved it came with a resealable package. The biggest inconvenience of a soap bar is not having a soap dish to let it dry out after each use. 

My best piece of advice is to get the bar wet and lather it in your hands, not put the bar on your face. This way, you can keep the bar free of all that acne-provoking bacteria on your face and it’s just easier to wash your face this way too. 

The bar gives you a tingling clean feeling after washing. There’s actually a tiny bit of exfoliation from charcoal specs but, this bar is totally gentle enough to use as a daily wash. Cystic pimples almost never come to a head and if they do, it’s usually a process you see happen over many days. But after just one wash with the bar, I woke up seeing the 3 cystic pimples I had for weeks, had actually come to a head. A white, poppable head. And no, it wasn’t due to my acne medication. I actually stopped using it to really see if this bar was the real deal. It was. 

But what about pimples that were in the early stages? The bar brought my cystic pimples stuck in purgatory to a head but could they send one’s that are sprouting to pimple hell? You bet. I felt a tiny bump forming on my chin one day and I hadn’t used the bar since it worked its last miracle. Knowing if I let the bump go its natural course, I would wake up with a full-blown cystic mess. I washed with the bar and went to bed eager to see what would happen. To my surprise, I woke up and the beginnings of my pimple had been banished. I haven’t skipped a day washing with the bar ever since. 

TLDR;

  • Carbon Theory sells a magic face bar that sends cystic pimples running
  • You can snag one for yourself on ulta.com
  • 100% Vegan & Cruelty Free
  • It’s only $10

Bye or Buy?

Definitely BUY – and say bye to cystic acne for good.

The 5 best concealers to cure and cover your acne

A pimple sprouted overnight.

Do you:

1) Pop it, risk blood getting everywhere and potential scarring?

2) Be bold and rock your big fat pimple?

3) Sob in your bathroom, refuse to come out, listening to Sia on repeat?

4) Simple dab a concealer and let it treat your pimple?

If you’re living on the edge, please, go with #1-3. For the rest of you, know that there’s something call concealer and there are acne-treating ones that really do the most.

SEE ALSO: Every drastic thing I did to kill my cystic bump in hours

For those who don’t know what a concealer is, it’s literally what it sounds like: it conceals. Whether it’s dark undereyes, discoloration or pimples, it really does hide it away.

The reality is, like anything, it’s always good to ease into it — especially when a little can go along way. When approaching acne coverage specifically, the rule-of-thumb is to opt for something noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores) and oil-free (won’t overwhelm your potentially already-oily skin).

The next step is identifying your coverage needs. If you’re dealing with scarring, you might better fit with a lighter liquid concealer, otherwise fresh blemishes will need something a bit thicker. You can layer a thinner product by tapping it into the offending spot — a brush or sponge will make it the most even — and building it out, but remember, shade-match is always key.

Now let’s dive into the best for every need, below.

Neutrogena Skinclearing Blemish Concealer:

Pros: If you can’t quite bring yourself to get behind makeup-wearing, let yourself off the hook with a “tinted” spot-solution instead. This Neutrogena formula offers all the benefits of a targeted acne treatment, with the added plus of coverage. It’s noncomedogenic, so you won’t be clogging up your skin any further, fragrance-free, and serves up a low dose of Salicylic Acid to stop your spots in their tracks.

Cons: The shade-range is limited, but this cheap and cheerful problem is an excellent buildable basic if you do want apply an additional concealer for extra coverage.

BUY HERE neutrogena.com– $9.99.

Ulta Bye Bye Breakout Full-Coverage Concealer

Pros: If you haven’t already heard of this one, its discovery might just prove life-changing. This product will not only heals everything from cysts to hormonal blemishes but provides particularly pigmented coverage so you can literally see imperfections disappear. It’s also available in seven shades, which is rarer for a multi-purpose concealer. Ulta recruited the help of plastic surgeons to develop its formula, and frankly we are thankful.

Cons: You’re paying a little more for this one at $32 dollars, but considering this one ticks every box it’s probably worth it.

BUY HERE ulta.com– $32.

Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer

Pros: Give a warm welcome back to Salicylic Acid. Clinique’s offering is green-tinted to help combat redness (this will work particularly well on scarring. The concealer prevents acne by unclogging pores and boasts a “matte-finish,” all of which is bound to impress your dermatologist.

Cons: You’re going to run into shade limitation again with this one (it’s available only three shades), but in a similar vein to the Neutrogena’s Skinclearing concealer, this is the type of product that starts you off with a strong base.

BUY HERE sephora.com – $19.

Almay Clear Complexion Concealer With Salicylic Acid

Pros: Almay takes acne-clearing concealer to the next level by adding its key ingredient in the title: Salicylic Acid. Coming in at under $7 dollars from your local Target, this is a cost-effective spot treatment that also keeps your skin looking smooth. Despite the low price, Almay didn’t skimp on the good stuff: this little number is non-comedogenic and dermatologist-tested with aloe and camomile to make sure your skin stays in great shape.

Cons: Again, you’re looking at three shades from this one, which is likely why you’re spending so little. Also, while this is very good at preventing breakouts, reviews indicate may not be as effective when it comes to existing blemishes — we’d recommend pairing with another one of these babies.

BUY HERE target.com – $6.79.

Bare Minerals Blemish Rescue Skin-Clearing Spot Concealer

These acne patches are the quickest fix for all of your breakout woes

Breakouts are always a bummer.

Seriously, with the rise of high-tech laser facials and extremely natural-looking beard plugs, shouldn’t there be an easy fix to acne at this point? Well, while we can’t say that there’s a one-hundred percent true way to keep your skin blemish-free forever, there is a quick hack to keep petulant pimples at bay: acne patches.

SEE ALSO: 8 new face oils to upgrade to

First came the beloved sheet mask for hydration, and now the Korean beauty market has #blessed us yet again with a helping hand to patch up all of our acne woes. These tiny acne stickers work to get deep to the root of the source, and go overtime throughout the night to help absorb oil and impurities so you can wake up with significantly clearer skin. While some have microneedling technology for cysts, others are made from hydrocolloid dressings, which are great at slurping excess pus.

From playful patterns to minimalist clear patches, there’s surely an acne patch that will fit into your skincare routine. Below, take a look at some of the best acne patches for guys that will keep your breakout woes to a bare minimum.

For The Minimalist: Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots, $32

Don’t need the extra bells and whistles? Then meet this tried-and-true hero. These clear acne patches may be tiny, but their mighty formula is packed with 0.5% salicylic acid to tackle oils and impurities lurking in your pores. It’s tag-teamed with acne-fighting tea tree oil, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and oil-absorbing volcanic ash to ward off any blemish-forming bacteria, sans irritation or dryness.

For The Maximalist: Starface Hydro-Star Pimple Patches, $22

If you want a more eccentric style to your skincare routine, then allow us to introduce you to your new skincare essential. These pore-perfecting stickers not only add a little more happiness to your regimen through its fun star-shaped style and smile-plastered packaging, but they work overtime via blemish-blasting hydrocolloid to absorb fluid, shield pores from harsh bacteria and prevent you from picking or popping (which is a major no in skincare 101). The result: happier, clearer skin.

For The Daylight Treatment: Cosrx Clear Fit Master Patch, $6

Do you have one stubborn pimple that decides to pop up at the worst moment? Yeah, we’ve all been there. So, get straight to the source while you’re living your day-to-day with this ultra-clear acne patch. It has the same formula you know and trust from Cosrx’s beloved original patches, all packed into a thin and unnoticeable sticker — so you can live your life, without any pesky pimples bringing you down.

For Major Breakouts: Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Surface, $17.99

So, you’ve got more than one pimple that’s crying out for an SOS. Instead of wasting all of your precious patches in one sitting, try out these large and in-charge patches. They’re big enough to cover major breakouts on your forehead, cheeks, chin, and body, and use hydrocolloid (an acne patch favorite) to absorb any blemish-causing oils and impurities. Plus, these patches are ultra-thin, so you can wear these while you’re out and about — or just binging Netflix, the choice is yours.

For A True Feel: ZitSticka Killa Kit, $29

Sometimes, we want our skincare to have some pain and pleasure. That’s when we reach for these patches, which are spiked with a microdart technology to mimic the feel of microneedling. It seems intimidating at first, but these gentle darts dissolve and absorb quickly into the skin, so its powerful formula of niacinamide, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil goes swiftly to the root. This kit also has alcohol swabs to quickly clean off any oils and dirt lingering on top of your skin for a clean, fresh slate.

For The CBD Obsessed: Truly CBD Acne Patches, $13

In case you don’t know, CBD has been having a moment in the skincare landscape. So, it’s no surprise that they’re popping up in our pimple patches. But, don’t be fooled, as these patches are way more than just another gimmick. They combine the powers of acne-fighting salicylic acid with calming CBD to give your pores the extra TLC they’ve been craving.

For The K-Beauty Lover: Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch, $6

The patch to start them all: this fan-favorite is a must-have for your skincare routine. This OG works overnight to extract and absorb excess oils, while adding an extra boost of much-needed hydration to your parched pores. And if you’ve got the case of night sweats, no need to sweat it: these patches are waterproof, so they’ll stick on and work their magic without any sliding or budging. Plus, they’re under $10, so it’s perfect for any skincare connoisseur’s budget.

Aesop’s new moisturizer wants to calm your fussy skin

My skin’s so sensitive, I believe I can hear it cry. Every night.

Once seemingly impervious to acids, exfoliators, or peels, my skin had become a lot more fussy, and rejected most products I introduced to it. Like a baby that becomes more accustomed to foods, my skin had become fed up with harsh products like AHA BHA or even some Vitamin C’s. The combination of any acids sent my face into hyper-overdrive, and it would throw a tantrum and I could feel it screaming.

AESOP Seeking Silence Facial Hydrator

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

SEE ALSO: Avoid these alcohols at all costs. 

It was just recently when I realized that this all meant that I’d have to clear our my medicine cabinet and start all over. That the products I was using was way too harsh for my sensitized skin. My skin barrier was no longer able to protect me and it was now the reverse: I had to start protecting it.

I proceeded to switch to mostly all sensitive skincare products since, ones that are thoughtful in their approach to catering to those like me. One such product that’s been on my rotation of curated moisturizers is one from Aesop, which just launched its Seeking Silence Facial Hydrator today. The product, which is $60 and is 2.1 oz., is a completely new formulation, one that adds to Aesop’s line of over 100 products.

This one uses two all-new ingredients to the Australian brand: green microalgae, rich in anti-oxidants called Dunaliella Salina Extract and one from dormant bulbs of daffodils, Narcissus Tazetta Bulb Extract. Together, they work to soothe irritated skin while reducing angry redness.

According to Aesop’s founding associate, Suzanne Santos, using dormant plants is crucial to slowing down cell proliferation and offering a plant protection during unfavorable growing conditions. AKA it also reduces skin irritation in states of heightened stress to bring it back to a calm state.

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

Though there’s no concrete reasoning for sensitive skin, Suzanne tells Very Good Light all the way from her hometown of Melbourne, that it’s due to “hyper-activity.”

“It is relatively poorly understood, subjective and frequently self-diagnosed,” she tells Very Good Light. “You may notice redness, rashes, stinging or burning after using certain products or upon encountering a particular ingredient, or skin can react readily to changes in climate.” This can also come from using certain ingredients in cosmetics, or a reaction to certain foods.

Testing Aesop’s newest product allowed me to really lean in to what was causing my own skin sensitivity and I figured it was due to over-stimulating my face with too many products.

For six weeks, I tested Aesop’s Seeking Silence Facial Hydrator and was pleased with how it allowed my skin to calm TF down. For one, I appreciated the light texture and how seamlessly it soaked into my skin. It has to do with this product being water-based, which allows for easy blending.

AESOP Seeking Silence Facial Hydrator

(Photo by David Yi / Very Good Light)

The non-sticky formulation goes for smooth application and the fragrance is similar to many of Aesop’s “natural-smelling” products. That is, there’s a certain earthiness and musk from each with a hint of lavender, this, thanks to other main ingredients including: ginger root, wood and jojoba oils.

It’s now become a mainstay. Today, I keep it tucked away in my refrigerator where the cooling sensation allows for extra calming and my skin has looked its best ever since. No more redness. No more pain. No more tantrums. It allows me to have extra headspace to think about more important things – finally, in silence.

BUY Aesop’s Seeking Silence Facial Hydrator , $60 HERE