Its been a while for celebrating your vanity. Life demanded my attention so beauty writing hasn't been on my list of priorities, but I return with a review of a new app that's been grabbing headlines in the world of brown-skinned beauty: Cocoa Swatches. This is the first time I've ever reviewed an app, so there's likely a lot of things I'll miss, particularly with regards to accessibility but luckily it's completely free and available on both the Android and Apple app stores and has a website so you can try it out.

Now, what is it? Cocoa Swatches is basically the answer to many a brown beauty enthusiasts frustrated question: sure it's cute, but how will it look on me? In clear, well lit photos, Cocoa Swatches shows you what various makeup products - mostly lip colours - look on darker skin tones as well as providing a brief product review for each swatch. On top of that, you can watch videos from popular YouTubers like ItsMyRayeRaye and DestinyGodley and find new faves by checking out their list of recommended experts. If that's not enough, there's also the Cocoa Pick, which highlights (pun totally intended) great products like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in That Glow.

As for the design of the app itself, I found it really easy to use and pretty good looking. I've not had any issues with it crashing. The language used by the apps reviews is generally gender neutral - I haven't seen any gendered language used to address the user but I also looked through every single page - which makes it much more welcoming than most beauty related content.

However, that's not to say that it's perfect. For some reason, they've put the links in a pale pink which is really hard to read. Also, they don't list the cruelty free status of many of the products they swatch/review which means extra searching for those of us who care about these things. The range of products offered is also fairly limited, particularly when it comes to eyeshadow and fface products. But it is still fairly new so I imagine the range will widen quite a lot in future. The final drawback is no fault of the app; being an American app, the prices are in dollars and the links are to American sites. Also, it can be difficult to get brands like Milani and Anastasia Beverly Hills over here. Something to bear in mind for the trans and non-binary people who want to use this, lots of the makeup experts listed use highly gendered language and are often pretty cissexist. I know that this can get pretty stressful for me so I don't want you lovely people blindsided by it.

But, in my opinion, these relatively small drawbacks do not compare to how freaking awesome this resource is. It's gonna be responsible for me spending a ridiculous amount of money but it'll be so worth it.

Find Cocoa Swatches on their website, the Apple and Android App stores, and on Twitter and instagram @cocoaswatches


Second generation British-Nigerian fat agender person. Style enthusiast, decent baker and lazy poet.

Find me on instagram @mazisahedgehog