More Than Basic: A comprehensive review of blk Cosmetics’ Universal Collection
When the #blkUniversal Collection was first announced, expectations were immediately set high. After all, it promised “Universally Flattering Shades”, “Multi-Use Essentials”, “Longwearing Formula”, and “On-the-Go Cosmetics”. Alluringly packaged in the trendy minimalist aesthetic, I found myself virtually lining up soon as they launched online.
The collection features six makeup products covering your base, brows, and color needs. On sale for just P1,499 (promo price), the Universal Color Kit Bundle already comes with the Universal Brow Stick Pencil + Mascara in Taupe, All Day Lip in Latte, Universal Tint Duo Matte + Water in Nutmeg, and the Color Adapting Moisture Balm. I purchased the Skin Tint Sun Shield (P499) and Multitasking Color Stick (P399) separately
Skin Tint Sun Shield SPF 30 UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum (P499 for 30ml)
Blk Cosmetics jumps on the skin tint wagon with a light face base supposedly designed to be used by everyone. But while the sunscreen factor and light to medium coverage provide positive points, the product only comes in four shades: Vanilla, Butterscotch, Almond, and Chestnut. I was a bit surprised that I matched with Butterscotch, the second to the lightest shade, since I’m usually at the middle range of the spectrum. I don’t think the four shades can cover as much ground as they hoped, but being a skin tint does allow for some adjustability. I hope they release more shades though as I find the tint to be quite useful for on the go application.
I can apply with my fingers or a makeup brush, but rarely do I use my sponge as the formula is quite watery and I don’t want to waste a lot of the product. The droplet in the photo isn’t deliberate - it just dripped onto the table while I was taking photos! That’s how runny it is.
Coverage wise, I like that it makes my pores seemingly disappear and my skin to even out, but only for an hour on a hot day if I don’t set with powder. Setting is a must if you want longevity; with powder, I got around six hours of wear before I felt too oily all over.
Multitasking Color Stick (P399 for 10g)
There are four shades for the Multitasking Color Sticks named after your drink of choice: Champagne, Merlot, Cocoa, and Rosé. I have Rosé for color and Cocoa for contour. These were the products I was most excited for as I felt they fit my current lifestyle the best – new mom, working on the go, mostly applying makeup in a moving car.
Rosé is a bright coral pink that creates a pretty monochromatic look when used on the eyes, lips, and cheeks. However, it doesn’t really work well as a multi-use product since performance varies depending on where you apply. The creamy product works best on the cheeks, but creases within an hour of application as an eyeshadow. On the lips, it settles unflatteringly into the fine lines - I can only make it usable if I tap the color ever so lightly on my lips. Sadly, this is not usable as a multitasking product for me.
However, the Cocoa shade is a different story. I like this particular shade as it straddles that warm/cool line that you can use as a contour product or a bronzer, depending on your skin tone. It also works as an eyeshadow because creasing isn’t obvious with the brown color. I didn’t try it on the lips though as the texture is still the same and I don’t think it will perform differently from Rosé.
Universal Brow Stick Pencil + Mascara (P399 for 1.5ml)
I love dual-ended brow products, and the combo of pencil + mascara is something that is rarely done well. I like this one from blk though! Taupe is a good shade match for my in-between hair of black roots and brown ends. The shade has enough gray in it to not skew too yellow or too red as other brow products sometimes do. In terms of being a universal shade, Taupe is definitely a good candidate.
The pencil tip is angled and leans a tad bit creamy, which I prefer to the harder formulas. I find it easier to use and blend, though not for brow detailing work. I will recommend this especially if you’re a beginner just starting to learn how to draw your brows.
Meanwhile, the brow mascara on the other end features a teeny, tiny brush that’s quite perfect for coating the tiniest of hair strands! I like to just swipe this on and go, as it volumizes my brows enough and fixes the brow hairs into place. The tint is also enough to cover sparseness - ’m wearing just the Mascara in the makeup look above. Best of all, this product lasts almost the entire day on me - around six hours with tolerable fading, and longer if the mascara is layered on top of the pencil.
Universal Tint Duo (P399 for 5ml)
Now this is my favorite product from the entire collection! Featuring a Water Tint and a Matte Liquid Lipstick, this is another multitasker that can be used on the cheeks, eyes, and lips. And this time, it performs well on all counts. There’s minimal creasing on the eyes with the matte shade, while the water tint is great on the cheeks and lips as it makes them look healthy.
I can just have this product and it would be enough to create a looks without needing three separate products. Staying power on the lips is okay but not incredible; neither formula can last through a meal. The duo I have is in Nutmeg (warm, burnt sienna) but there’s another pair in Cinnamon (wearable mauve tint and a peachy brown matte shade).
All Day Lip (P299 for 3.4g)
I have previously reviewed blk lipsticks for their first K-beauty collection, and was pretty happy with my experience then. This new release is housed in the same signature blk acrylic lipstick case, but with a pink inner tube and tan logo. The shade Latte stays true to that formula, though I feel that in this particular collection, the Universal Tint Duo outshines the tube lipstick! The three other shades (Caramel, Mocha, and Toffee) all look wearable across different Pinoy skin tones.
Color Adapting Moisture Balm (P299 for 3.4g)
L-R: Bare lips, Color Adapting Moisture Balm, Multitasking Color Stick in Rosé
Remember when blk released a lip balm in tub packaging? I’m glad they’ve decided to make it easier to use, and with an adaptive pigment that stains lips with a lovely flush of healthy color. I appreciate this product a lot as I have pale lips that are constantly dry, though the moisture doesn’t last for very long. Still, I reach for this for a quick, natural-looking color.
I liked most of the products I tried from the blk Universal collection. With few exceptions, the products are easy to use, portable, and multipurpose. I love the look of the packaging, too. My top three picks are the Universal Tint Duo in Nutmeg, the Universal Brow Stick in Taupe, and Multitasking Color Stick in Cocoa. After a good powder foundation, these three perfectly round up my on-the-go essentials!
Have you tried blk Universal yet? Which items would you pick for your kikay kit?