Thursday, August 5th, 2010

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

A Highlighter for Generations

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer ($24.00 for 0.30 oz.) is a mega highlighter–no, seriously! This compact contains a ton of product–it’s double the amount of your average blush. I can’t fathom ever finishing this, because you need so little to get that shimmering glow.

It’s a soft, shimmering champagne with subtle gold tones. It’s not the subtlest highlighter, but it’s not glittery, heavy, or overly shimmery either. It seems to have a combination of noticeable shimmer and subtle, glowy sheen. I think it’s a very pretty shade–ultra flattering on most skin tones–but it is absolutely gorgeous on warmer skin tones.  (Again, this should work beautifully on cooler skin tones, too!)

On my cheeks, I just tap the tiniest amount on the tops of my cheeks using a tapered face brush, and then I blend it out. I will say that this is a product where blending is necessary–if you just tap it on, it will look obvious and accentate pores, but a few quick swishes of a brush will turn you into a glowy goddess.  You can also use this as a highlighter anywhere–cheeks, eyes, lips, you name it!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love highlighters and don’t own this one, I really think you may want to put it on your list.


See more photos & swatches!

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer
theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

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65 thoughts on “theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. Linda

    Ooooh I want this! I just love those healthy looking beams :) and wow with your makeups. alllll of them are gorgeous :'(

  2. baby in a corner

    i love the front cover too! it could prob double as a nice eyeshadow if you layer it a bit!

  3. YoYoYo

    Is it easy to blend out?

  4. Wow, that is just lovely! Looks great on you. :)

  5. Millie

    I love the packaging — cute mug shot! Do you like this better than Dior Amber Diamond?

  6. Madelynn

    I love this product. Love it. TheBalm is so underrated.
    Why did you give one point off packaging? Was it just not a “LOVE it” design for you? I do see how some would see it as tacky though.

    • Hey Madelynn,

      I rarely give 5/5 on packaging – it usually only happens on a near perfect product. Like it’s hard to explain what 5/5 is other than I know it when I see it, LOL. I guess there almost has to be something extra or innovative or particularly excellent there.

  7. Rebecca

    Ive been waiting for a good review on a highlighter cuz I dont have one yet! Looks like Ill definitely be picking this one up :)

  8. Hmm. I don’t need this, since I just got the LORAC perfectly lit one…. they look REALLY Similar, except this one is a touch more shimmery. The one thing I’d add, if they ARE that close, is that if you’re REALLY pale like me, you don’t get the same results. Mine looks nice and natural, but there’s NO contrast with my skin, so it really is more of a sheen, than a highlight. Nothing near as dramatic. I LOVE this on you, thought!

  9. sarah

    Can you see “glitter” or sparkle in this when applied???

  10. Cheyenne

    Wow I love the Balm’s packaging. I want this!!!! So cute!!

  11. Anna

    Love that you have multiple looks of you wearing it!

  12. Aida

    Funny…I just bought this two days ago on Tuesday after reading rave reviews on other blogs. I’m loving it so far and ingredients are non-comedogenic so hoping this does not break me out. Dior Shimmer Blushes break me out because of ethylhexyl palmitate ingredient :-(

  13. shontay

    I bought this highlighter some time ago and love it. I’m NC45 and it’s the only one I’ve tried that truly works on me.

  14. Haley

    Hmm this does look very pretty.. But I would take my Dior Amber Diamond highlighter over it, any day (which I just purchased yesterday, thanks to your recommendation, Christine!) .

  15. I think theBalm deserves a lot more credit as a beauty brand. You look lovely in this stuff. And, FYI, that first example look is super amazing.

  16. Angelique

    I don’t know if it’s the lighting, but I can see your foundation line.. maybe you should try sweeping bronzer over your hairline to darken/blend it into your skin better :)

    • My hairline is darker than my face, unfortunately. It’s probably emphasized by the flash which reflects more off my face than at the very top of my head.

  17. derri

    Im so confused about highlighter. Im about an nc45/47. Do i need highlighter and where would i apply it? Thanks :-)

  18. Sarah

    I LOVE THIS PRODUCT! And I’m so happy that you’ve reviewed it! This is my HG highlighter. I haven’t tried Amber Diamond or anything, but for me, it beats any MAC highlighter, NARS Albatross, and Benefit High Beam. You get soo much product, and the packaging is definitely sturdy and travel-friendly. For reference, I’m an NC35, so the champagne color definitely suits my skintone. This can definitely be used as an eyeshadow as it is very pigmented. I use it on my cheekbones with a fan brush for light application, down the bridge of my nose, and on my cupid’s bow. I don’t know why it is, but I’ve gotten several compliments on my lip color while wearing just Aquaphor and this along my cupid’s bow. A girl even asked what lip color I was wearing!

    Needless to say, I highly recommend this! Also, TheBalm’s Shady Lady palettes (both of them) are fantastic. Those two palettes plus my Urban Decay Naked palette have me completely satisfied in the shadow department.

  19. Heather

    I purchased this about two weeks ago and I adore it!!! Amazing finish! I use it almost every day!

  20. What a gorgeous product.

  21. good for eye highlight or too shimmery?

  22. Kristen

    I love, love, love Mary Lou! I have it myself and you are right, it’s awesome! It’s the best highlighter I’ve found yet!

  23. inaya

    mac candlelight could (if correctly used) dusted all over the face or even used as a blush; but due to the heavy shimmer on mary lou; they really can’t qualify as substitutes although both will give you a great glow

  24. Grace

    This is really pretty, I’m so happy that it doesn’t have any sparkle!

  25. Chau

    how is the color compared to Dior amber diamond? is it more golden or more beige than Dior amber diamond? great review as always. I love how you use this highlighter on different looks. very pretty!!

  26. Lacey J.

    Do you think this would be good as a brow and inner corner highlight? I am trying to find something that gives a subtle sheen and just makes me look more awake. It will also be my first and possibly only highlighter purchase since its enormous. Is it something I could wear everyday with my neutral makeup?

  27. Svetlana

    I can’t decide if I should buy this one or Nars Albatros Highlighter . I am a NC25.I could get this product here in Denmark where I live for around 25 euros (not sure how much it is in US dollars ),while for Nars Albatros Highlighter I would have to pay 29 euros + shipping 10 euros so it would be like 39 euros. What would you recommend me? I haven’t really used a real highlighter before , I’ve only used MAC’s Blanc Type eyeshadow as a cheek highlighter because that’s what MAC’s MUA recommended me some time ago…

  28. Christina

    I have NARS Albatross, do I need this?

    I found a bargain at 12usd though (:


  30. ChristineH

    How does this compare to Nars Copacabana in terms of shimmer? The swatch for the Mary-Lou looks a bit dull and not as shimmery as Copacabana. Any thoughts from someone who has used both products?

  31. Erica

    Love this product! It really does give the perfect sheen and love the compact mirror! Snagged it for $12.99 at Marshalls!

  32. Noah

    Which one do you thiink will give a more dewy look- Mary- Lou-manizer or NARS Miss Liberty Highlighter. I want a very dewy look

  33. francesca

    I love this highlighter! the product itself is amazing. the packaging is cute but I find it hard to open :( that is the only drawback for me.

  34. Hannah

    I just bought this after it was recommended to me by my best friend and reading this review. It is an excellent product! You were right when you said it comes with A LOT! I don’t see me running out of this product for a very long time! It’s beautiful on my skin and I am very fair. Thanks for another excellent review!

  35. I am planning to purchase this. And i think I really need this! Thanks for your Honest Review!!! Whenever I want to buy make up, I always look on your blog! 😀

  36. Megan

    Christine, do you think this is comparable to Mac’s Chez Chez Lame?  I’m trying to find a dupe for that, as mine is almost out and that highlighter works perfect with my pale skin. 

  37. freshpinklips

    Product itself is great. Reminds me of MAC Ricepaper used in the inner corner and arch of the eyebrows. The only thing I hate about this is the crappy packaging. I got mine from and i opened it the pan popped out of the compact and you see the gross dark brown glue at the back totally failed. I probably won’t repurchase.

  38. desigirl

    can you please update your highlighters for 2012? i know there are a few new ones out: makeup forever gel, too faced has one, any drugstore ones? i have only tried only mac’s lustre drops but they weren’t amazing. just ok.