Yep, kids—it’s that time again! It’s another Big Beauty Tuesday here at The Glow Up, which means we’re trying out another round of black-owned beauty brands!
Is it just me, or was this past week a week of mishaps? It seemed pretty much anything that could go wrong, did, and to us astrologically-inclined folks, the chaos could be readily attributed to the first Mercury Retrograde of 2019 (we’ve still got nine more days, so hang in there). Since I’m already accident-prone, I kept my routine this week relatively simple, finishing up my two-week Glow Up Challenge with last week’s featured skincare brand, Elements of Aliel—which is balancing me out, as promised—while continuing to unpack my massive beauty stash in our new digs. (First looks at The Glow Up’s new office coming soon!)
But as I discovered, it was also a week for happy accidents, which is exactly what happened when I tried out a few selections sent to me from the KayCee V Collection. Founded by fellow Chicagoan Kennesha “KC” Valentine, this growing cosmetics line primarily consists of organic and/or vegan lipsticks and lip glosses, though they’ve also got lashes, men’s products and recently entered the eyeshadow game with a new neutral palette. But when Valentine sent me a packet containing a glittery red lipstick, lilac-colored gloss and a warm brown jumbo crayon, I knew none of this—in fact, I didn’t even know the colors of two of the three shades, since they weren’t on the packaging. (Note to beauty entrepreneurs: if you’re sending out samples to editors, make sure everything is clearly labeled, and it helps to include a packing or product list, if possible; otherwise, you’re just creating work for us.)
But I was instantly attracted to that lovely brown crayon. And, just to be clear, there is an intended use for it. See below.
However, without a label that clearly indicated what it was, I took one look at that beautiful brown and instantly mistook it for one of my other favorite beauty products: an eyeshadow crayon. I may own as much makeup as your average department store beauty section, but for years, my daily go-to has been a single shimmery brown shadow stick from NYX that I adore because it travels well, is easy to control and smudge, deposits true pigment and stays on all day without creasing. Thrilled at the prospect of receiving another brand’s version, I quickly smudged KayCee V’s crayon on my lids on my way out to an event ...
And you know what? It was the jam.
In fact, it wasn’t until I got home (many compliments later) and started researching the brand’s products that I realized I’d used a lip crayon on my lids—and by the way, that brown has a name: “All Talk.” Though I’ve since tried it on my lips (looks good, if a little dark for my preference), I’m now convinced this should be marketed as a multipurpose product.
KayCee V describes their Jumbo Lip Crayon ($5) as: “When Lipstick & Lip Liner meet.” Personally, I’m prone to call it an “all-in-one.” In addition to traditional lipstick shades, the lip crayon also comes in shades like olive, violet, blue, black and even custom colors—how am I not supposed to want to use these on my eyes, too?!?
To be clear: while you can technically use lipstick on any part of your face (blush is always a natural application), going from mouth to eye isn’t highly recommended (because your mouth isn’t as clean as you think). That said, a clean, dry lip to eyelid application is doable, and in my case, it was the making of a very wearable sepia-toned look—especially after I used that lilac-colored gloss to lighten up the effect on my lips.
And oh, that gloss—what a texture! While lilac isn’t my usual color of choice (according to the site, the color is “Crystal,” named for Valentine’s late mom), the feel and finish on this gloss ($12) was gorgeous, and I want more. It was not at all sticky, was super-moisturizing and blended beautifully with lipstick—which was great, because while I love, love, loved the slightly orangey but otherwise true red hue of KayCee V’s limited edition “Birthday Blitz” ($14), the slight hint of gold and ruby microglitter made my first application a bit dry and gritty. A light swipe of Crystal underneath helped it slide right on (the brand also makes cocoa butter-based flavored balms, (2 for $3). Though I needed a couple of passes to get the color where I wanted it, this is definitely a shade this red lipstick lover would wear again—maybe on my own upcoming birthday, which falls on ... you guessed it, Big Beauty Tuesday!
So, what was my takeaway from KayCee V? This is a product line with promise—and in the long run, most of it will likely be fulfilled via branding and marketing. I already love their logo, which is done in a cool holographic style on their gloss. Additionally, the price-points are excellent. But in a beauty arena this large, it’s all about that extra polish—whether it’s your online presence or labeling. And the tipping point toward success is often as simple as identifying any little thing you can to stand out. (I’m telling you, K.C., consider rebranding those crayons, because they’re going to be doing double duty in my makeup bag!) But KayCee V is definitely a brand to watch—and like all our featured beauty entrepreneurs, (Tyra voice) we are all rooting for you!