TikTok is a modern-day oracle in that it foretells which brands, products, looks, and techniques are about to blow up in the beauty space. So far, we've seen the emergence of skin cycling, siren eyes, nail slugging, and a $5 blush that's taken over the internet. Need I go on?
These are certainly some of the most noteworthy of TikTok's recent obsessions, but we can't forget about the rise of formerly low-key makeup brand Exa Beauty. It all started when the brand's color correctors went viral on the social media platform. People were raving about how they canceled out redness, blemishes, dark circles, and sallowness to create a flawless complexion. (I actually reviewed them in length because of all the fanfare.) From there, the brand's other products caught on (especially the foundation after it was revealed that it's Olivia Rodrigo's go-to product). So in the name of beauty journalism, I thought it was time to come back to Exa Beauty and test more than just the color correctors. Keep scrolling to see the 14 products that are worth your time (and money).
I started out by applying this primer to clean, dry skin. I chose to test this one first (as opposed to the brand's other primer) because my skin has been feeling more dehydrated than normal thanks to the dry, cold weather. I thought a hydrating primer was just the thing to make my skin look plumper and healthier.
Right off the bat, I appreciated its good-for-skin ingredients. It's formulated with blue spirulina, prickly pear, and niacinamide, so it's actually kind of like a serum-primer hybrid. It's also oil-free, so even those with blemish-prone skin can use it. As for the texture, it has a gel consistency that is silky and lightweight. It felt nice and cooling on my skin, and it created a semi-matte base for the foundation.
The other option is this smoothing formula. The main difference is the ingredients. This one contains cocoa fruit powder to soothe skin, CoQ10 to stimulate collagen, and fatty acids to repair skin. It promises to blur pores, smooth lines, and lock in makeup.
If the other primer is a gel, this one is definitely a cream or lotion consistency. It's a little thicker and richer. Even though I liked the other primer, I actually (and surprisingly) preferred this one. It made my skin feel calm and smooth, and there was no dry-down time. I instantly picked up my Beautyblender ($20) and reached for the foundation.
Next, it came time for the famous color correctors. As I said before, I've already tested these, and I really love the way they correct imperfections. To start, I swiped this light pink shade across my under-eyes and blended it out, once again, with my trusty Beautyblender. The pink cancels out the purples and blues of my dark circles. Note: This color works best on light skin tones. The brand offers more shades to accommodate deeper skin tones but more on that in a minute.
Once I had the pink color corrector blended out, I went in with this green one. The green color cancels out redness, and as I said before, I have a lot of that. It tends to pop up around my cheeks and nose, so that's where I concentrated the application. Once again, I swiped it on straight from the tube and blended it out with my Beautyblender.
The foundation comes in 43 shades, so shout-out to Exa for focusing on inclusivity. The shade I used was Stefania 470, which is light with red undertones (thanks, rosacea). I pumped it out on the back of my hand, dabbed my Beautyblender into it, and started applying it to my face. Immediately, I noticed it was creamy and easily blended. I was also impressed with the coverage. So much so that I didn't even have to follow up with concealer on any trouble areas.
It did give me more of a glow than I usually go for. In fact, to me at least, it was verging on shine. So I pulled it back with a little translucent powder, which worked like a charm. I was left with a satiny finish that I could either ramp up with highlighter or continue to pare back with powder. I chose the latter.
Next, I applied the brand's liquid eye shadow to my eyelids. There are two versions—a shimmer and a foil (in other words, one that has finely milled glitter particles in it and another that has more of a metallic finish). I chose the latter for a subtler eye look.
I squeezed a pea-size amount onto my ring finger and swiped it across my eyelids. I didn't reach for an eye shadow brush once; it blended like a dream and gave a really pretty light-reflective effect. Easy peasy.
The final product I used was this mascara. At first, I was hesitant since the brush has an hourglass shape that I feared would result in clumps. I was wrong. It swiped across my lashes easily and left length, volume, and definition in its wake. The best part is that it was easily buildable for a more dramatic look (and I'm all about a dramatic lash look).
My only complaint is that it did flake a little bit after a couple of hours of wear but only on my lower lash line, which is where my eyes tend to water from allergies, eye strain, and cold weather. It wasn't nearly enough for me to take it off or give up on it—it was more of an observation if anything.
Here's the final look. I liked how fresh and subtly dewy my skin looked. I also liked that my eyes looked bright and wide awake thanks to the foil shadow and mascara. It ended up wearing pretty well, too. By the end of the day, there was some slight creasing in the foundation near my nose and some slight flaking of the mascara on my lower lash line, but other than that, it looked as fresh and flawless as it did when I first applied it. That's a win for me.
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