I got a recent Ask Afrobella question that dovetails nicely into this review/giveaway I’ve been working on. Away we go!

I just came across your website yesterday. It is indeed great! I found it through temptalia’s website (ed — which I adore. Check em out for makeup tips!).

Anyway, I did come across on your blog about afrobella’s on a budget. I am really interested in Queen Latifah’s collection for covergirl. To further my fascination with make-up, I decided to use the CG make up mirror on the website. It gave me the opportunity to choose colors based on a photo that I could upload from my computer (but of course it would have to meet the requirements of the mirror) or use one of the models instead. But my question is, since I am on budget right now, and can’t afford to indulge in MAC, benefit, and all the other brands that I am a fiend for. Could cover girl, Maybelline, and other drugstore make-up can up hold to the other pricier brands? Could I still look fabulous with cheaper make-up? Especially foundation, I have been worrying about that.

From a trouble el cheapo afrobella…..

Hola, el cheapo afrobella! In a nutshell, my answer to your questions are… sometimes, and definitely yes!

I’ve been extremely disappointed in pricey Sephora brands, and thrilled at the quality of drugstore brands. And honey, you can look fabulous beyond belief with just items you get at the drugstore. I’ve given loving reviews to Milani and HIP, two of my favorite drugstore brands. Now let me focus on what you’re most interested in — Cover Girl’s Queen Collection.

Few makeup lines have provoked such a polarized response. I think the bad feelings started with that misguided casting call last year, but look, even as recently as my last post, announcing the Every Woman is a Queen Contest I got totally opposing comments. One reader loves it, another called it a “a low-rent knock off of Iman’s collection.” Ouch. Every bella is more than entitled to her own opinion, but I’d definitely say don’t knock it till you tried it. I tried it. There are wonderful aspects of Latifah’s makeup line. And there’s some not-so-impressive aspects too. Allow me to break it down for you item-by-item, so your shopping decisions can be informed. And yes, there’s a giveaway offer at the end of this post, so keep reading!

For foundation, Queen’s got you covered with three different options in a range of shades. The oil-free moisturizing makeup offers decent coverage, but I’m not a fan of liquid makeup for a reason. I found myself unexpectedly greasy, and by afternoon most of my t-zone coverage had sweated off in the Miami sun. For a self-described el cheapo afrobella, I’d recommend the Natural Hue Foundation. I prefer it by far. Wonderful coverage, it’s a perfect match for my skin tone and blends like a dream. I love it. I wanted to love the powder foundation for the same reasons, but the coverage is sheer. Didn’t cover my hyperpigmentation much at all, but it made my t-zone look matte and picture perfect until well in the afternoon. So if your skin’s more or less clear, the powder foundation could serve your needs quite nicely.

I have absolutely no complaints about the Queen Collection eye makeup. The eyeliner is par excellence, especially if you like self-sharpening liners with smudgers on the end. If you’re looking for some sophisticated alternatives to plain black or brown liner, I’d definitely recommend the grey khaki shade. It looks subtle but effective on me, and it’d look even more fly and noticeable on bellas of a darker skin shade. Loving the grey khaki. If you’re jumping on the nautical springtime trend, definitely check out the midnight blue. It makes an awesome cat’s eye look.

The pigments in the Queen’s eyeshadows are fine for drugstore brands — the one-kit shadows come in a warm, flattering range of glittery browns that just give a subtle pop to those of us with warm skin tones. In fact, some of them might be too subtle — apply with a wet brush if you really want these colors to stand out. The eyeshadow quads aren’t bad — I am a sucker for blue shadow and yes, I realize that confession could get me banished to the Eighties… but whatevs. I say blue shadow on brown skin for the win. The blue notes quad is pretty, and the colors are all easy and blendable without too much sparkle.

Before I move on, I’d be extremely remiss to not mention CoverGirl’s LashBlast mascara. I love it, and I’m not alone. I’ve been rocking this stuff all last week, and it makes my lashes look long and thick without being clumpy or spiky (it’s all about that funky brush!) and because it’s waterproof, it lasted through an unexpected patch of PMS-related weeping. Good stuff!

Besides foundations and eye makeup, the Queen Collection features moisturizing lip color which is cool if you’re into lipstick. I’d moved away from lipstick for a long time, but this is slick enough to make me happy, and lasted longer than the glosses I’ve been using. The lip gloss is poppin’, it isn’t as sheer as some other drugstore glosses, and it lasted quite well on me. My lips tend to get very dry and crackly during the day, and this product didn’t accentuate that as much as my lip stains sometimes do.

The Queen Collection also has a three-in-one nail color and a glittery top coat (sold seperately so I haven’t yet tried it). I am ALL about that Purplexed color, and as I move into summer fun, I’m planning to try the rhythmic blue shade. I am so over pale pink nails right now. I was recently inspired by a funky mohawked chick I saw at Starbucks, rocking neon green nails. Bright colors make me smile, so I’m feeling funkier shades these days. Those are the funkiest two in the Queen Collection, and there are lots more traditional manicure shades you can choose from there.

So that’s my general overview on the Queen Collection. If I had to give these products grades, the eyeliner, natural hue foundation, mascara, and nail color all get A’s. They won’t make you regret spending your hard earned cash. The lip products get a B +, because I’ve tried better. And the other foundation items and eyeshadows get a B. And the Queen Foundation website’s “Find in Stores” link gets a D.

I tried to figure out where bellas could find these items — I’ve had more than a few readers complain that they just can’t find this stuff on their shelves. Well when you click “find it in stores” on any Queen Collection item, it opens a dumb pop-up that says something like, “look for the silver lipstick tube in stores!” GEE THANKS. I know what the packaging looks like, just tell me what store I can find it in! CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart… which store? So if you’re having a hard time finding this stuff, keep looking among the Cover Girl store displays, or check out Drugstore.com.

Aside from that D, that isn’t a bad report card overall, right? You can make yourself look quite glam with the Queen Collection. And in fact… here’s your chance!!

The peeps at Cover Girl have put together a special Queen Collection giftbag for two lucky bellas. Each bag will contain the following

— 1 CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara

1 CoverGirl Queen Collection Natural Hue Foundation (must provide shade preference)

2 CoverGirl Queen Collection 1-Kit Eye Shadows

2 CoverGirl Queen Collection Lip Glosses

2 CoverGirl Queen Collection 3-in-1 Step Nail Colors

1 CoverGirl Queen Collection Vibrant Hue Shine Lipstick

1 CoverGirl Queen Collection Vibrant Hue Color Lipstick.

That’s a whole new range of looks right there. What do you need to do to be down? Leave me a comment that begins with the phrase, “Crown me!” and let me know what your preferred Natural Hue foundation shade is. I’ll close these comments by Friday and choose a winner over the weekend.

By the way, the Every Woman is a Queen contest is open till January 31! So enter now if you want to be featured in Queen Collection ads.

Oh, and did I mention that The Fabbies website is working? If you’d take a moment of your afternoon to vote for me, that would make my day!

** edited Friday at 9:30 a.m. — contest is officially closed. A winner will be chosen by Monday. Thanks for entering, bellas!

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Brokey McPoverty says:
January 29, 2008, 11:47 am
crown me!! my preferred shade is toffe (and i voted for u, btw!) :)
Nic says:
January 29, 2008, 12:00 pm
Crown me! My preferred shade is toffe also.
misstwists says:
January 29, 2008, 12:04 pm
About a year or two ago, Trya Banks did a make-up intervention show. On the show she stated that she does not believe in spending a lot of money on make-up! Every since then, I have said - if Tyra doesn't spend a lot on make-up - neither will I! Thank you Afrobella for providing us with insight on how to be fabulous on a budget! Misstwists
alwayzreal302 says:
January 29, 2008, 12:25 pm
Crown me!! My preferred shade is spicy brown.
~Kimberlaya~ says:
January 29, 2008, 12:58 pm
Crown me!!! My preferred shade is Sheer Espresso. I've declared a new year, a new me so I've decided to try to look my best on a daily. This includes wearing make up. At the moment, I just wear lip gloss but I want to try my hand at make up!
Brokey McPoverty says:
January 29, 2008, 1:06 pm
im with you, kimgerlaya.. im 25 and am *just* gettin into the whole makeup deal. i figure this shld be the year i get up off my bum and learn some stuff... that's why i was so interested in this giveaway :) thanks for doin this bella!
Brandi says:
January 29, 2008, 1:08 pm
Crown Me!!!! I was just in CVS looking for makeup and eye creams. Why oh why is it so hard to pick a color, type, brand? I was there for more than 1 hour looking at each brand and comparing colors trying to figure out what does what. I swear I left out more confused than when I started. Well a trip to Covergirl's website and creating the mirror, I discovered that my color is Golden Honey | Q525! Finally, I'm getting somewhere. By the end of this year, I will learn how to apply makeup. Also, testing makeup on your hand in the store doesn't work unless your hand is the same color as your face. Duh right? Well I didn't realize that they weren't the same until today. Thanks Bella!
Michelle says:
January 29, 2008, 1:16 pm
Crown me!! My preferred shade is Amber glow. I just turned 39 last Thursday and I'm ready to shine and do my best this year.
Ms. Aja B. says:
January 29, 2008, 1:18 pm
Crown me! My Natural Hue foundation shade is Spicy Brown. Having said that, thank you, Bella, for the review of the Queen Collection. As I have mentioned before, I did love the foundation, but hadn't ventured out into other items except the mascara. I'm 30 and *just* getting into a very girlie phase. Also, I know for a fact that Walgreens sells the Queen Collection here in the Bronx, NY. But, I had to request it. I imagine I wasn't the only one, because a couple of weeks later, it was there and is always flying off the shelves. So ladies, if it isn't in your local drugstore, request it.
Katrina says:
January 29, 2008, 1:42 pm
I must say, that even drugstore products, which I happen to love by the way, are getting rather expensive. I went to my local Target, and was nearly blown away by seeing a tube of mascara for ten dollars!!!! You do have to pick and choose the different products, but I happen to love Victoria Secret's make-up, and also Bath and Body Works.
Shones says:
January 29, 2008, 2:15 pm
Crown me! My preferred shade is Golden Honey. Your site has prompted me to become a product junkie! I went on a cheap eyeliner quest this weekend and came away with a little electric blue Sephora eyeliner (#221). The color is rich, but it doesn't have the staying power I'm used to... perhaps I need a primer, or maybe because it's not khol? I digress. Pick me! Pick me!
msscmoore says:
January 29, 2008, 2:45 pm
Crown me, Bella Baby!!!! My pockets can not keep up with my MAC addiction. My shade is fittingly SPICY BROWN!! Big Ups to the marketing department for the choice of the shade colors!!!
alwayzreal302 says:
January 29, 2008, 3:28 pm
I'm with all the ladies on here. I'm a new bella so its nice to see everyone wanting to start on a new path.
Davina E says:
January 29, 2008, 3:47 pm
"Crown Me" My preferred shade is Spicy Brown. I have never been a much of a makeup wearer except for when one of close friends got married and I needed makeup since I was a bridesmaid. I went to Sephora and paid money for makeup that I was never quite comfortable wearing. However there is something about the Queens Collection that sparks my attention everytime I pass the display in the store. Perhaps this will be my chance to try to fall in love with makeup.
MBA Mama says:
January 29, 2008, 4:16 pm
CROWN ME! I beleive that I am a toffee shade. I am never sure when it comes to these things! :) I am ready to kick of my new year with a new look. I have GONE NATURAL ith my hair and need new makeup to finish off my new look!
Danielle says:
January 29, 2008, 4:27 pm
Crown Me! My preferred shade is Spicy Brown!
Fiona says:
January 29, 2008, 4:53 pm
CROWN ME!! My Shade is Rich Mink -my product junkie stage has moved on to the next level – after being really shy and missing out that very important girly stage during the early years of my life, I am only now working on this at the tender age of 29 !!! As part of the process I decided to college and studied a course in make up just completed I am now thinking OMGOSH I have to get some products!!! ------being crowned and adorned with this wonderful gift will allow me not only to use and practice some more great tips (recently learnt from the temptalia’s site ….:-) but to work with other women who share similar experiences as myself to show then how they too can become Queen !!!
ednita says:
January 29, 2008, 5:09 pm
I haven't tried the Queen line for myself, but I did purchase it for my partner and I was really impressed w/ their shade offerings. As someone who is too timid to buy a drugstore foundation w/out being able to try it on, I was surprised that the color in the pacaging was true to what goes on the skin when you get home. For the ladies interested in learning about how to put on makeup and read product reviews (written by consumers), check out www.makeupalley.com thousands upon thousands of reviews on every product you have ever tried or want to try. best of luck to everybody!
Melonie says:
January 29, 2008, 5:25 pm
Crown me!! I'm either Spicy Brown and Toffee! I LOVE proving there is a market out there for women of color who want to enhance their beauty!
Harridelle says:
January 29, 2008, 6:10 pm
My natural hue color is toffee. I really appreciate all of the beauty tips you provide your readers. I am a connoisseur of anything beauty related. I have been a natural bella going on 4 years this August. Shout out to you Trinigirl, my husband of 11 years is from Trinidad (Williamsville). God bless you for all that you do.
Meka says:
January 29, 2008, 8:00 pm
Crown me! My shade is Soft Copper!
Vivrant Thang says:
January 29, 2008, 11:37 pm
I was just the winner of another fabulous prize so I'm simply here to co-sign on the Lash Blast. It makes me look QUITE lashalicious. Since I obviously need Applying Fakes Lashes for Dummies in order to get it right, this was right on time. Sephora's expensive Lash Injector has nothing on this! Oh and I rocked the vote!
Paulicia says:
January 29, 2008, 11:57 pm
CROWN MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! lol!! My Natural Hue is Rich Mink. I live in Kansas where it is hard in my neck of the woods to find foundation that actually works for my dark brown skin tone. I've had it with looking like a mime, Golden Brooks- whoever except me! Puhleeeeease help a fellow queen find her 'crown', Bella.
Circa1978 says:
January 30, 2008, 12:34 am
Crown me! Hi Bella, I have a question for you. When buying foundation at a drugstore, how are you supposed to know which shade is right for you without sampling it? I think its hard to choose colors at the drugstore, for foundation or even other products. With that said, my natural hue is sheer espresso according to the Cover Girl website. Is it just a crap shoot? What are your thoughts?
Queen Ray says:
January 30, 2008, 12:50 am
Crown Me!!! My preferred shade is toffe!! Thank you afrobella!
bella says:
January 30, 2008, 1:27 am
It's super late and I'm exhausted.. so I'll tackle that one in the morning Don, for sure. I feel compelled.
tanmitch says:
January 30, 2008, 2:58 am
Crown Me! I'm celebrating!! After 4 months using my Clarisonic (based on your review) I'm seeing a change in my skin that excites me. A new makeup ritual is in demand. My natural hue is Toffee.
Cynthia W says:
January 30, 2008, 3:06 am
Crown me! I prefer the Golden Honey shade.
NeoSewMama says:
January 30, 2008, 6:53 am
"Crown me!" My Natural Hue is Spicy Brown (or so I believe). Ms. Bella, thanks for always being so naturally fly. Your site is a constant source of inspiration--especially for a vegan, natural hair rockin' girl like myself. I personally use a mix of natural store, drugstore and specialty store care items as part of my daily regimine. I had been using Burt Bees Tinted Moisturizer in lieu of foundation. But when my store stopped carrying my color (deep sisters need live too!), on a whim I decided to try Maybelline's Dream Matte Mouse Foundation. I mixed it with a bronzer I already had and to my suprise it covers perfectly! Although I have always been a fan of Wet and Wild liner, I am no longer against using drugstore make-up.
Ingrid says:
January 30, 2008, 11:32 am
Crown me Queen of the Bellas!! I'm working on my self-image and want to put my best face foward - literally! ;-p I'm very proud of Queen Latifa and would love to support her line. But, you know how it goes...when money is limited it's kind of hard to spend on products you're not sure will actually work. I would love to feel Easy, Breezy and Beautiful in the Rich Sand Natural Hue Foundation and all the goodies that comes with it. Thanks, Bella! ;-)
Davina says:
January 30, 2008, 12:09 pm
Crown Me! :) Toffe is the shade! Thank You :D
Mamacita says:
January 30, 2008, 12:46 pm
Crown me! Rich Sand works for me! Gracias! :)
joyous says:
January 30, 2008, 2:05 pm
crown me! my shade is rich mink. thanks so much, and thanks for maintaining this beautiful site!
ChrissyBaby says:
January 30, 2008, 2:26 pm
Crown Me! I am in need of a change and I want to put my best face forward with the help of Maybelline's regal Queen Collection. Please choose me! My preferred shade is classic bronze. Thanks! :-)
Sherrin says:
January 30, 2008, 2:44 pm
Crown Me! My preferred shade is Golden Honey! As, a woman of color, my I always grew up watching my mom apply her make-up and then hearing her shreik when the Maybelline made her look like a Tangerine, because the line had no clue how to match the different tones in our rich skin. I find this to be true with many products today many of which leave me ashy as my knees on a cold winter day! As a college student there is no money for luxury MAC and Lancome make-up. Crown me and Crown me again! P.S. I voted @ the Fabbies!
Gingi says:
January 30, 2008, 4:35 pm
Crown Me!! My preferred shade is Rich Mink. I'd like to try the new foundation. And if I can save money, so much better. Gingi
Angela says:
January 30, 2008, 4:47 pm
Crown me! My shade is Spicy Brown.
J9 says:
January 30, 2008, 6:19 pm
CROWN ME!! My shade is spicy brown
Aisha says:
January 30, 2008, 7:16 pm
I guess it all depends on where you live. I live in Katy, TX, and I haven't seen the Cover Girl Queen Collection in any store. I guess there aren't enough black folks out here. I'm very dark skinned, so when I wear makeup, I need it to have high pigment and last a long time. MAC really has been the best for me and no drugstore brand has ever compared.
misstwists says:
January 30, 2008, 10:55 pm
Crown Me - my natural hue is toffee.
Nanz says:
January 30, 2008, 11:06 pm
Crown me!!! I believe my colour is spicy brown. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I spend far too much on expensive makeup and would love to try this cheaper line and see how it works on my skin.
theHotness Grrrl says:
January 31, 2008, 1:32 pm
CROWN ME!!!! I'm a MAC fanatic but not a fan of how much loot I have to lay out for lipstick, lipglass and face powder. It usually requires my credit card. Would love to find a product that I can get something I like for 10 or 15 dollars. Please hook a sister up. Rich Sand looks like it's my shade. Thanks afrobella!
thecla says:
January 31, 2008, 10:10 pm
crowm me. my shade is toffee.