Review: Essence LE Cubanita (Jumbo Highlighter, Baking & Banana Powder, Cosmetic Bag)

Two of my favorite Essence Limited Editions have to be their Christmas or December edition as well as summer edition. This year Essence decided to go with a Cuban vibe named Cubanita, which I am very pleased about. I would actually love to visit Cuba. The vibe seems so fun and chill. Fun fact, I also understand a lot of Spanish language. I actually learnt it through watching telenovelas for years when I was in school (I still watch some here and there) and I would love to go to Spanish speaking countries. My salsa dance ain't that bad either.

Limited Edition Cubanita is giving us tropical products with tropical designs and fun colors. I really wanted to get a highlighter, because I knew it was going to be good (Essence makes one of the best drugstore highlighters) and I was also intrigued by that banana powder. We've probably all heard of Ben Nye banana powder (a crowd favorite) and now many more brands do these variations. 

Cosmetic Bag - 01 La Banana Cubana

The collection also has this cute small makeup bag. It looks kind of small, but can actually fit a good amount of products. I could fit all my daily essential touch up products in it and more. These kind of makeup bags usually end up in my bag with additional makeup products and some touch ups.

It has a canvas feel to it and it reminds me of linen, but it's more like a thick durable cotton. It has cute banana on it and the writing livin' la vida banana!

The price is 3.29€.

Baking & Banana Powder - 01 Livin' La Vida Banana

This is a soft yellow mattifying loose powder that is perfect for concealer baking or used as a banana powder to set matte highlights

It comes transparent plastic pot with black plastic lid and yellow writing. It has a small puff inside that is actually very soft and not too fluffy. I often times apply powders with a puff, especially in the summer, because it gives you a lot of coverage and my skin tends to produce a lot more oil in summer. 

It has a plastic layer on top and small holes through which you can shake the powder out. The puff is also nice to keep inside, because it prevents powder from spilling all over.

Powder has a very light yellow tone to it. It's finely milled and feels like nothing on the skin. It blends into skin without a trace. The texture is not too wet, but also not dry. It has a matte finish, but doesn't keep my skin matte for long time. At least not any more than usual powders, especially now in summer, when my skin gets a lot oilier. 

It's very lightweight and fine, so it doesn't look cakey on the skin. It sets makeup well and gives it a matte smooth finish.

I tried to bake with it under my eyes and it worked good. I don't usually practice baking, because it can make me look too matte and the dryness accentuates my fine lines. 

As you can see on the left photo I applied a very light concealer and on the right photo I applied a heavy amount of banana powder. The right side looks darker after the powder and it has a bit of yellow undertone to it. The powder is by no means dark, it's actually suitable for fair, light and even light to medium skin tones. On darker skin, this would probably look ashy. 

Because of the yellow tone to it, it will neutralize those purple tones under the eyes. 

I mostly just use it all over my face. I have about NC15 skin tone (although now I'm probably more NC20 with darker foundations) and the yellow tone to this powder actually turns my neutral foundations just slight bit more yellow toned, which I love. I have a lot of yellow undertone in my skin naturally and most of my foundations can look more neutral toned. 

Yellow powder could also be nice for those of you with lots of redness or pink tones that you'd like to cover. It's just a very subtle veil of yellow tint on top of other makeup products.  I need to touch it up through the day in the summer, although I feel in the winter this would stay on my skin for the whole day. 

As you can see on the photo bellow, I don't look particularly yellow, because it's a very subtle effect.

In it is 7 grams of product and it costs 3.99€.

Jumbo Highlighter - 01 Mi Corazon

Highlighter comes in a black plastic packaging with transparent plastic lid. Essence describes it as golden highlighter with intense metallic shine. They also say that it has summer-like coconut scent, buttery soft texture and that it applies very nice.

It has palm leafs embossed in it and I like the design. Although I'll ruin it with use.

The shade 01 Mi Corazon is light gold champagne. It's that perfect light gold shade with slightly peach toned base. The shimmer in it is very small and it gives it a metallic finish

Texture is more on the wet side, which also means it has nice pigmentation. You don't need to scratch it off to get color payoff. 

It actually has a good staying power. I still see it on my face at the end of the day, although it sort of melts into my skin and it definitely fades. 

The scent is nice, although not coconut. It smells more like something tropical, but not fruity nor coconut like. It's very subtle and almost not that noticeable. So, if you're trying to get it only because of scent, don't.

Here I also wanted to show you how you can bring out the intensity of Cubanita highlighter. You can apply it very light or build it up to a super shiny sheen.

This really is a jumbo highlighter, because it's huge. In it is 20 grams of product (which should almost last you a life time) and it costs 3.99€

Essence Cubanita Jumbo Highlighter vs. theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer

I also compared it to theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen the swatches and my photo saying that these are dupes and I still stand by what I said.

Dupe is different for everybody. For me dupe is something that has very similar color (because let's face it, you're not gonna find the exact same shade) and similar texture. 

They are both gold toned champagne shades. The tinniest difference is noticeable once you apply several layers as a swatch. Then you'll notice that Mary-Lou Manizer has a bit more peachy undertone, but looks a lot more metallic and is in general more pigmented with just one swipe. Cubanita is just slightly more yellow toned and can look a tad darker, if you apply several layers, but it has the same tone and is just a bit less metallic. The shine isn't as strong. 

Saying all that, once you apply both on each side, you can't really tell a difference. They both look the same on the skin. 

If you've always wanted to try theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer, but you can't because it's too expensive or you can't get a hold of it, I definitely recommend you to get this one from Essence. For the price and amount of product you really can't go wrong. Obviously Mary-Lou Manizer has even better texture, pigmentation and metallic sheen, but that's what you would expect from an expensive products.

theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer has 8.5 grams of product and it costs around 20€.
Essence LE Cubanita 01 Mi Corazon Jumbo Highlighter has 20 grams of product and costs around 4€.

I also compared it to some other highlighters. As said before theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer is very similar, only more metallic and has a bit more peachy base. Essence LE Metal Glam 01 Gold Digger is my favorite Essence highlighter ever. It's even more metallic than theBalm's. It also has a very light white based gold shade. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Moonstone is also a light yellow gold shade, but it's actually darker than Metal Glam. 


Since I got all of these products for review purposes and I already bought one of the highlighter before, I now have two. So I've decided to give one away to one of you. All you have to do to enter is that you have to follow me on Instagram here and like my Essence LE Cubanita photo. Under the photo on Instagram comment which is your favorite highlighter of all time

The giveaway is opened to Slovenian residents only and it will end on 20th of July 2017.

Limited edition is already available in Müller.

The Cubanita Limited Edition did not disappoint. I love all the products. The bag is just cute and perfect for carrying around with you in small bag. I have these kind of makeup bags with me all the time. 

Banana powder is really nice, because it's so fine, lightweight and has that smooth finish with yellow tint to it. If you're like me and struggle to find light yellow toned foundations, you'll use this all over your face. If not, this is great for extra coverage and correcting under the eyes. 

Highlighter is the closest cheaper dupe to theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer I have ever seen and you get a huge amount. I love the champagne gold tone to it, it has nice shine, wet texture, stays on the skin well and it will last me for the rest of my life. If you like gold toned highlighters or are a highlighter freak like me, you'll want this one in your collection.

*PR products


  1. Ooooh sploh si nisem predstavljala, kako velik je dejansko highlighter, 20 gramov?! :D Je pa res cudovit, cela kolekcija je simpaticna <3

    1. Ja ful je velik. Dejansko za celo telo :D. Poletne kolekcije so itak vedno luškane :).

  2. Great post! This collection is so pretty, I have to see if I find it at my local beauty store, I want to get the highlighter!

    1. Thank you :). The highlighter is definitely my favorite from this collection. Hope you find it in your store ;).

  3. Imaš mogoče tudi Essence Pure Nude osvetljevalec za primerjat odtenek? Če je ta Cubanita svetlejši me zanima :)

    1. Imam. Pure Nude je definitivno temnejši. Cubanita je veliko svetlejši in ima zlat odtenek. Med tem ko je Pure Nude že bolj breskvast in na meni pretemen - nosim ga samo, ko imam malo zagorele polti. :)

  4. O super, hvala ti za ta podatek! Je že naročen, takoj ko sem tvoj odgovor prebrala :D

    1. Ni za kaj. Upam, da ti bo všeč :)

    2. Kako sem vesela, da sem prebrala tvojo objavo, ker ne spremljam več novosti v drogerijah in bi šel tale osvetljevalec čisto mimo mene. Vonj mi gre sicer malo na živce ampak je zaradi odtenka vseeno skočil na prvo mesto pri meni. Res je lep, točno to kar sem iskala že en čas :)

    3. O super, da ti je všeč :). <3 Essence in Catrica imata tako pogosto omejene kolekcije, da je včasih prav nemogoče sledit. Vonj res ni ne vem kaj, sem pričakovala bolj nekaj pravega kokosa, ampak odtenek je pa odličen. Pa tudi sama formula. Essence zna nardit res dobre osvetljevalce :).

  5. Sama ne bom ravno hitela v trgovino gledat to kolekcijo, ker sem jih že čisto naveličana, ampak sem takoj posredovala tvojo informacijo o highlighterju sestrični, ki je ravno iskala enega dobrega in ga je kupila :)

    1. Jaz še najmanj rabim še en osvetljevalec, but it's and addiction. :D Je bil vreden, ker je res lep. Upam, da bo tudi tvoji sestrični všeč :).

  6. The highlighter looks great. Maybe a bit too yellow but still awesome. I have The balm's one but if this ever come to Bulgaria, I would probably pick this one too :)

    1. Yep, this one is definitely a bit more yellow, but they are very similar. I bought it not knowing that they're so similar. At least I can take this cheap one with me to travel and I won't regret, if it breaks :).