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Essence Festival officially starts on Friday and I’m beyond excited. Not only is it the 25th anniversary of this wonderful celebration of Black people, Black beauty and Black culture, it’s my very first festival. And like a newbie in anything, I’m still figuring out the landscape, especially when it comes to what to bring for that New Orleans heat. Let’s be honest: I’m going to overpack because I’m new to this and excessive. It’s such a bad combo.
But I did consult with other ESSENCE staffers (some vets, some other first timers) to find out what beauty products they’ll be bringing along. They each shared the one thing that they can’t live without when they travel, for Festival and otherwise, to keep their beauty game on point at all times.
MAC Prep + Prime
“My skin tends to get oilier than usual in extreme heat, so I expect this product to be my best friend during my first Essence Festival. A thin layer of this on my T-zone always keeps the shine to a minimum and my beat in tact.” —Jasmine Grant, Associate Editor, Wellness, Love & Relationships
Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub
“I have supersensitive skin, and this has worked the best! It’s invigorating and leaves your skin clean and clear (pun intended), and it doesn’t hurt that it has a great citrus smell, sure to revive you after a long night of working!” —Kimberly Hutton, E-Commerce Marketing and Merchandising Lead
Third Eye Head Wrap
“I’m au naturel, and who knows what that NOLA humidity will have my hair looking like. Hair accessories are an easy yet effective way to elevate your look without doing too much. I always pack several options just in case. A girl needs options!” —Metanoya Z. Webb, Lifestyle Director
Avène Thermal Spring Water
“This is an absolute necessity for hot summer days and will be perfect for New Orleans. It gives you a nice refresher but doesn’t mess up your makeup.” —Nandi Howard, Assistant Fashion Features Editor
Evian Brumisateur Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray
“My must have is Evian Facial Spray. That cool mist on a hot day reminds me that the heat isn’t going to kill me and that I will survive the humidity.” —Dominique Hobdy, Senior Commerce Editor
Laura Mercier + Fenty Beauty
“I need my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and Fenty Trophy Wife because the skin must glow!” —Nia Thomas, Marketing Coordinator
Cover FX Mattifying Setting Spray
“This keeps my makeup in place on hot, sticky, sweaty days!”
—Sara Sarakanti, Senior Experiential Logistics Manager
Fenty Beauty Blotting Papers
“If you plan to experience all that Essence Festival has to offer, you may be running around between venues. And since walking may be the fastest mode of transportation, I have to carry blotting papers to make sure I’m not supershiny at events.” —Joi-Marie McKenzie,
Senior Entertainment Editor
Eylure Luxe Magnetic False Eyelashes
This is my pick: “I’m a mess when it comes to putting on lash strips. These magnetic lashes are easy even for the greenest of beauty lovers, and you get almost 15 wears out of one pair. Absolutely worth the coins!” —Shalwah Evans, Associate Beauty Editor