Review: Cheekbone Beauty

Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned cosmetics company operated out of Toronto by founder Jennifer Harper. Launched in 2016, Cheekbone offers products for brows, contouring, and highlighting, but its stars have always been liquid lipsticks and glosses, each named for Indigenous Warrior Women activists. Part of the company’s mission is to improve access for First Nations children to education and supporting First Nations families. 10% of profits are donated through Cheekbone’s First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) to Shannen’s Dream, an organization seeking to ensure First Nations children have access to the same level of education in ways that respect and honour their language, culture, and heritage.

My order to Cheekbone included one of everything. The company was offering bundles, one of which includes a liquid lipstick, one of the brow gels, and a choice of the hightlighter or contour palette. I also ordered one of the tube lipsticks. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the bundle I ordered is available anymore. The website currently states there may be delays in fulfilling orders, so this may be a matter of restocking. But I’ll actually talk more about that in my review, so let’s just to that, shall we?

Customer Service

I’m including this as a category because there was a delay in fulfilling my order. Jenn made an appearance on the recent season of Dragon’s Den, which just appeared on Netflix, and I’m hoping that brought her and Cheekbone a spike in sales. A day after I submitted my order, I received two emails: one from Jenn thanking me for my purchase, followed by another apologizing for the fact that the highlighter palette I ordered, Stardust, was currently out of stock. I could either wait for it to restock or exchange it for the contour palette. I chose to wait. Cheekbone has since expanded its line to include a lighter contour palette, but at the time, the shade range didn’t suit my complexion. The projected wait time was four weeks, but it only took about two for me to receive another e-mail explaining that the palette was back in stock and to expect my order the following week.

The emails were a courtesy, and a welcome one. When I responded with questions, they were answered promptly, and were typically signed from Jenn. It’s a personal touch that gets lost from larger companies and brands and it really inspired a lot of confidence. Even with delays, I fully encourage ordering from Cheekbone.

Your Brows Eyebrow Gel

Usually, at the point, I would go into talking about packaging, but I’ve decided to do that one a more case-by-case basis given how little I care about packaging, especially when it’s done well.

Your Brows Eyebrow Gel comes in four shades: tan, black, brown, and clear. It comes in a tube with a brush wand for application. The brush is more bulbous and round than the brush that comes with an Anastacia brow gel, and I thought it might create clumps or drag on my skin. It did neither. The tan shade tinted my brows to the perfect shade, giving me some extra depth and fullness without a steep learning curve or excess product marking up my face. I also liked the longer wand for working around my eyes. I could see what I was doing and made fewer mistakes despite the rounder shape of the brush applicator.

The gel compares in terms of price to my other favourite brow gel too: Cheekbone gel is 3 g and retails for $19, while Anastacia Dipbrow Gel includes 4.4 g and retails for $24. The math works out to about $1 more per gram of Cheekbone’s gel, which is a small cost for supporting an Indie brand, an Indigenous cosmetics company, and Shannen’s Dream.

Stardust Highlighter Palette

The palette contains three shades: Gold Dust, which is a warm gold-toned highlighter recommended for nose and under the cheekbones; Cheek Dust, which is a lustrous pink for cheeks and eyes; and Glow Dust, which is recommended for both the face and body as a highlighter.

Retailing for $45 individually, the palette is in a higher price bracket, especially considering the size of the pans. Each palette contains 18 g of product, so 6 g per pan. It’s closer in size to an eyeshadow palette than it is a highlighter palette.

BUT

As I’ve been testing these products, I’ve made a point of building as many looks out of just them as I possibly can (foundation and mascara excepted, since Cheekbone doesn’t include those in its line (yet)). All three Dusts wear beautifully. I especially love Cheek Dust, which effectively functions as a blush. I applied that with a little bit of Glow Dust and showed up to a Zoom meeting with cheeks better defined than they’ve ever been before. I looked amazing, is what I’m saying, and for a highlighter palette to supply both my blush and highlighter to a better degree than my current blush and highlighter, that’s awesome. This could become not only a new standard on the daily, but it would also be way easier to travel with than my other highlighter palettes.

Lipstick

Cheekbone’s tube lipsticks are the newest addition to their line. They come in 3 shades – Aki (bright, cool-toned red), Askîhk (plum), and Kéyah (dark peachy, pink nude). Because I really only wear one colour of lipstick, I purchased Aki, and then I experienced some buyer’s remorse over because I also bought the red shade, Autumn, as a liquid lipstick. Again, though, when I wear lipsticks, I really only go for red.

The tube lipsticks are all mattes, which already promises to be a thicker, drier formula. I actually prefer matte lipstick, but generally, the lipstick comes creamy enough to apply before drying on the lip. Aki applies with the same consistency that it wears. Warming it against my hand or applying with my finger gave it some traction, and once on my lips, it was transfer resistant, but getting it on proved to be a challenge. Given that the makeup was delivered, this may be a result of being exposed to elements during transit; it may be an issue with the batch. It may even just be the shade. I can’t give this one a thumb’s up.

But that’s why I didn’t end my review on this one.

Liquid Lipsticks

The liquid lipsticks (and glosses) are the real stars of Cheekbone’s collection. Originally sold as a duo for charitable donations, every purchase now counts towards a donation to Shannen’s Dream, so buying even one liquid lipstick helps support Cheekbone’s efforts towards improving education for First Nations students.

And the liquid lipstick is absolutely worth it. The shade range is more expansive than the tube lipsticks. Even for someone who really only wears reds, I was torn between deep plums and bright pinks. It was also a lot of fun to scroll through the names and see who the lipstick’s namesake was. Ultimately, I went with Autumn, named for Autumn Pelletier, the fifteen-year-old Water Protector and activist. The shade looks quite dark in the tube but on the lip it’s only slightly darker than Aki.

The liquid lipstick formulation is fantastic. I timed the drying process: it’s fifteen minutes from application to flawlessly matte lips, at least on me. I recommend using a lip scrub beforehand to make sure lips are looking super smooth. Like other liquid lipsticks, it does become quite dry after a while, but I made it a whole work day before I needed to clear my lips and reapply. I also found that my lips were still in decent shape after wearing it. There have been some liquid lipsticks that leave my lips almost cracked from how drying they are. Cheekbone’s liquid lipstick isn’t like that. I love it, and I can’t wait to use my 10% on a second purchase to expand my collection.

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