Showing posts with label Sephora. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sephora. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

beautyblender micro.mini


After discovering beautyblenders last year I fell in love and have been using these sponges on a regular basis to blend my foundation and cream-based makeup products. The latest from beauty blender is a small duo called the micro.mini ($17.95 for a pack of 2). These are ultra cute baby-sized sponges designed for detail application like the inner eye corners, brow bones, sides of nose, and cheeks. According to beautyblender, the micro.mini is 1/4 the size of the original version and made of the exact same material. Online reviews are mixed on these, many state that it's simply too small to even fit in the fingers, but I think the key to using these is to use them damp. When you get these wet they expand and double in size and become more bouncy. The expanded/damp application blends cream products flawlessly and smoothly versus a dry sponge.

micro.mini vs. original:


glass canister from Crate and Barrel

I've been testing the micro.mini for a few days now and I'm a fan. I really like these for applying makeup under the eye or blending products around the nose. I'm always twisting the full size version when I blend concealer under the eyes to get a more precise blend, the mini is the perfect solution for those tiny areas you want to blend where a sponge is too big but a brush is too detailed. I'm one who doesn't like to use the same tool for foundation and concealer (I just don't like mixing two products on one tool), so the micro mini is perfect for me. I know many like tools that are multi-purpose. If you don't mind using the same sponge for concealer and foundation then this won't be a necessary tool.


Above: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers in Custard and Ginger, review + thoughts here

When the micro.mini is dry it's ultra tiny making it difficult to hold even in small hands or fingers. The best way to use these is damp where they expand to double the size. Below shows the size difference dry vs damp. Even when they are damp they are still small. If you find it slips out of your fingers try squeezing the excess water out with a paper towel. The first couple times I used it I found I needed to dry it more.


The uses are endless with the beautyblender sponges. You can apply product on the face and then blend with the sponge. Or you can mix products on the back of your hand (or makeup palette) and dip the sponge in and then apply to the face. There's no one method I use for applying concealer. Sometimes I like to dab straight on the face. Other times I'll apply it to the back of my hand first.



I really like the micro.mini. For someone who like to keep separate tools for concealer and foundation this is perfect. I've been one who usually blends concealer with fingers, a clean end of a sponge or a small makeup brush. I find if there is excess foundation on a sponge, the dewiness or luminous texture of the foundation will sometimes dilute or mess up the pigment of concealer if it's mixed with the same tools. It's not always a bad thing but sometimes I really want concealer to cover up areas, so using a clean tool is a must for me. The small size of the micro.mini works really well for me for concealer, although I don't suspect it will be a must-have for all. Some will probably prefer a brush, fingers or just use a regular sponge. They are ultra tiny so I suspect they might be difficult to hold for some (it's just the right size for me but I have smaller-than-average fingers).

There are multiple uses listed for the mini version which includes contouring and highlighting, but for me I think it's too small for either of those purposes. I prefer powder for contour and for cream or liquid highlighters I prefer brushes. If you've tried these I'd love to hear how you use them.


You can find the micro.mini beautyblenders in packs of two for $17.95 now at Sephora and Nordstrom. Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

The micro.minis were provided as press samples for review consideration.
As always, all opinions my own.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Marc Jacobs Beauty #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15


For spring Marc Jacobs Beauty released three contouring duos called the #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powder ($49 each for 0.31 oz each side) along with the Shape and Contour Blush Brush No. 15 ($38). I've put these to the test for a few weeks now and can say that I am extremely impressed. The contouring duos are finely milled powders with a buttery soft texture that melt into the skin. They give a natural contour with medium buildable coverage. Both shades blend flawlessly into the skin without looking cakey, powdery or fake. There is enough color for the shades to be visible on the face but they are soft enough that you won't be left with any harsh edges.

Top to bottom, Dream Filter, Mirage Filter and Hi Fi Filter

When it comes to contouring I am usually not a fan. I find most powders or creams are good for photographs but in real life I simply find it too harsh (no matter how much I blend). I prefer a soft tan powder or bronzer applied in a 3-shape motion around the edges of my face from temples to chin to create soft dimension. I have friends who are very much into the contouring right now and their biggest challenges they have with contouring include powders darken too much after a few hours or they just end up looking too harsh. If you're not a contour pro and want something that will define and highlight, the Marc Jacobs #Instamarc duos are the solution to give a goof-proof contour that looks natural and flawless.

Each color has one highlight shade that naturally highlights in a non-shimmery way, and one contouring shade that helps add definition and dimension. Both sides melt into the skin and blend easily. The lighter colors help soften any harsh edges. There are three different colors, all three seem to be designed for the light to medium skin color spectrum:

Dream Filter is pink-toned described as a soft pink / medium bronze
Mirage Filter is cool-toned described as light gold / light bronze
Hi Fi Filter is the darkest with neutral tones described as warm peach / deep bronze


Dream Filter is a soft neutral pink. It resembles NARS Paloma Contour Blush which is more pink (the Marc Jacobs is more neutral and softer). On my skin this is the most natural. Both shades have a satiny finish. They look like mattes in the pan and on the face, but there appears to be a very slight satiny sheen which gives these dimension on the face. If you're afraid of shimmer, no need to worry, there is no shimmer on the face. On the flip side if you don't like mattes, these aren't your typical matte powders. They won't make the face look flat.


On my medium olive toned skin, Mirage Filter has the sharpest contrast since it has cool-tones. I was worried the light gold/yellow side would be too yellow, but it blends into the skin beautifully without making the skin look sallow. The darker contour side is what I think of when it comes to traditional contour, it's a cool-toned tan with a very slight hint of grey undertone.


Hi Fi Filter is the darkest option but on the skin it's the most neutral in tone. This one warms up the skin nicely. It's the warmest option so if you prefer warm tones on your skin, this is a good one.


Swatches:



Comparisons to some other contouring products and bronzers, below you can see how large the Marc Jacobs compacts are:


  • Chanel Les Beiges #40 (review here) is quite a bit warmer than any of the Marc Jacobs contouring duos, this one is good to add depth and warmth all over the face
  • MAC Emote (discontinued) is darker and cooler toned compared to any of the Marc Jacobs duos, it's also a full matte with no satiny sheen or texture
  • NARS Paloma Contour Blush (reviewed here) is a pinker darker version of Marc Jacobs Dream Filter, the texture is similar in that it's also buttery soft and easy to blend
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow (review here and here) is warmer and significantly more blowy than any other bronzer or contour duo I've used without being orangey
  • Marc Jacobs O!Mega Bronzer (worn here) is a really good warm bronzer, swatches below make it look orangey by comparison, but on the skin it's not orangey at all


In addition to the three powders, Marc Jacobs released a brush designed for contouring called The Shape Contour and Blush Brush #15. It's ultra soft with an extremely sturdy handle. This is the first brush I've tried from Marc Jacobs and I thought due to the synthetic material it would be somewhat problematic to use. The bristles are extremely soft but dense and work surprisingly well to pick up quite a bit of powder. It blends product nicely on the face and is soft enough for sensitive skin so there's no poking, tugging or harsh feeling if you blend.


These are definitely worth looking into. Do note that they swatch much better on the face than they do on the hands. On the hands swatched with fingers they can look a bit chalky. Once you apply with a brush on the face you will be surprised at how smooth they look. The above swatches show that these are on the neutral-cool side compared to some warm bronzers, so if you prefer warmer tones you may want to stick with your regular powder bronzer. Also if you can't do satiny mattes at all these will be a skip, although I will say you should still give these a look. They don't look flat, cakey and don't emphasize pores.

You don't need all three although I do like each one for different purposes. My top two picks are Dream Filter #20 and Hi Fi Filter #60. Mirage Filter is sharper on my skin because of the cool undertones, it works but I prefer something with a bit more warmth.

The #Instamarc Light Filtering Contour Powders retail for $49 each and The Shape Contour and Blush Brush No. 15 retails for $38. Both available now at Sephora and Marc Jacobs Beauty. (PS right now there is a promo code for 2 minis with any $50+ order online at marcjacobsbeauty.com using code SPRING).

Have you tried these yet? If you're a contouring fan what's your favorite contour?

The Marc Jacobs contour duos and brush were provided courtesy of Marc Jacobs Beauty for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bite Beauty Smashed Agave Lip Mask


Bite Beauty has a new addition to their line called Smashed Agave Lip Mask ($26 for .52 oz / 15 g) which is a sheer lush berry red. This comes in a squeeze tube and in my experience I've found the Agave Lip Masks really easy to use, however I found that packaging this round required less squeezing to dispense product compared to the Champagne Agave Lip Mask (reviewed last August). Smashed is a sheer lush cherry red. It's ultra hydrating and plumps the lips. There is enough color to provide a sheer tint of color which makes the lips look healthy with a slightly flushed look - but I found it very sheer.


The formula is similar to Champagne in the sense that it on the thick side but feels very smooth on the lips. There is a slight vanilla almond-like fragrance to the product. I know some of you could not stand the way Champagne tasted when some transferred from the lips. I didn't have issues, but the fragrance and taste of Smashed has improved in my opinion. With these lip masks I have mixed feelings. The formula is really good in terms of how they plump the lips naturally without irritating. They also work wonders for dry or chapped lips. It's like wearing a soft cushion of moisturizer on the lips, the Agave Lip Masks feel really nice and aren't sticky.

The pigment and colors are a bit disappointing in terms of how sheer they are on the lips. If you look at the shades in the tube or swatched on the hand they are gorgeous! I understand these are primarily lip treatments with a tint added for fun. I do wish the pigment was richer or more opaque on the lips because the colors look really pretty. The second miss for me is the delicate nature of the packaging. In my last post several of you mentioned that you wanted tips on how to keep the tubes looking fresh and in tact. The pliable nature of the tube makes these easy to use but you can't just throw these in the makeup bag and hope they retain their shape. I've primarily kept mine at home or in a flat cosmetic bag so that it doesn't get smashed by other products.

One more positive notes include the fact that the lip product doesn't transfer or bleed. On me it lasted for four hours and through a cup of coffee (although not through snacks). For me it's important that a lip balm does not slide or feel like it's sliding off the lips onto the face. This one adheres well to the lips and I like that it stays put.


Swatches:




Some comparison swatches:


By Terry Baume de Rose Cherry Bomb (mini wand version, review here)

If you want more color, I highly recommend checking out Fresh Sugar Cherry or By Terry Cherry Bomb. Overall I give the Bite Smashed Agave Lip Mask a thumbs up for formula but a meh/iffy review on the color. If you don't mind sheer colors and want a very slight flushed tint, it is a really good one. I don't always mind sheer lip items but for this one I think I could give it a 100% glowing review if it had more color. Long-time Beauty Look Book readers know I'm a fan of super natural lips, but even with this one, I find myself craving more pigment and color. I do recommend you check out the 150+ customer reviews on Sephora.com. I usually find them helpful.

Bite Beauty Smashed Agave Lip Mask retails for $26. It's currently an online exclusive at Sephora.com

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sephora Favorites - The Great Cleanse Set (Limited-Edition)


I picked up the Sephora Favorites The Great Cleanse Set ($48 for 12 items) while I was in store the last week of 2014. I went in for one hand cream and of course left with more than I intended. I've been putting several new cleansers to the test and when I saw this set had some that I had been wanting to try for a long time I decided to give it a try. This set has deluxe sizes of 11 cleansers, I like that they are larger than the usual freebies you can occasionally find which means you can give each one a serious test drive to see whether or not you like it. There are two items in the set that I've already tried, purchased and loved which include the Caudalie Cleansing Water and Ole Henriksen Foaming Cleanser. The remaining items are new to me and in the past couple of weeks I've given each item a test 2-3 times.


I have some initial thoughts to share although I will have to do more testing to give a thorough review. Since it does take time for skincare to show how effective it is, how long do you test a face cleanser before deciding whether or not it works for you? For me if there is irritation on the skin or if the scent is unpleasant, I usually don't go past the first use. In addition to these cleansers, I'm currently testing a few others, I think by the end of the month I'll be able to have a good idea of how they all work and I'll have a roundup post on what worked and what didn't.

Back to the Sephora Favorites Great Cleanse set. Sephora has created a set that has a variety of cleansers to try. They've split the items into categories like Remove Makeup, Cleanse Skin and Cleanse and Treat. Some overlap with each other. I'll list the sizes of each item and my initial thoughts. If you have tried any of these I'd love to hear about your testing experience as well. There are a couple that I know I don't like - if you love them tell me what you loved so I can figure out what it is that I'm doing wrong. For reference Sephora.com has the ingredients listed for each item in their set in the set product listing.



  1. Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water 3.38 oz is a long-time favorite. It's gentle but effective at removing face makeup without stripping the skin. I love the soft scent and soothing feel that leaves my skin refreshed and soft. It won't remove waterproof eye makeup but for the face and lips it's reached holy grail status for me.
  2. Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil 1.7 oz is new to me but has been on my list to try for ages. I was thrilled to see a mini in this set. I found it went on the skin smoothly and emulsified nicely. It removed all traces of makeup (although I did remove eye makeup with a cotton pad and eye makeup remover first because I don't like oil getting in my eyes). It left the skin feeling residue-free without stripping.
  3. Nude Skincare Perfect Cleanse Nourishing Cleansing Oil 0.5 oz is another one I was really excited to try. I have almost bought the full size on numerous occasions because of all the raves. After trying this one I am glad that I did not. This one didn't work for me. Several customer reviews indicated this one just sat on the skin and didn't emulsify. This was what I experienced. I applied it on dry skin and then tried to rinse off with warm water. The oil just thickened and my face was covered with a thick paste of foundation, powder and oil and just sat there. I had to use cleansing water and a second cleanser to remove everything.
  4. Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser 1.5 fl oz is a long-time favorite. It cleans the skin really well and has a lightweight feel. (A more detailed review here).
  5. Origins Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash 1 oz is a foaming cleanser. It has a super lightweight texture and foams up really nicely. It smells minty like toothpaste which I wasn't a huge fan of. I found it a bit too strong for my skin, it left my face feeling super clean but there was a tight almost dry feeling afterwards. It didn't make my skin peel, but I suspect for right now with the dry winter weather this will be too strong. If you have oily skin and need something that does a super cleanse, this one is worth looking into. I'll be putting this to the test a few more times before deciding for sure, but the scent alone is making me not love this.
  6. Glamglow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment 0.5 oz is one of the newest masks from Glamglow. I tried a sample packet before and it left my face feeling a bit irritated. It didn't burn, it just felt like there were tiny areas of slight irritation around my face after use. I gave it another try twice (the small tube will last about two, maybe three uses if you use it sparingly). This time there was no irritation, but I found it didn't really do much for my skin. I prefer the Youthmud and Supermud to this one.
  7. Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover 1.69 oz is a dual-phase eye makeup remover. It is very gentle and does remove regular eye makeup, but I found that it wasn't really effective with waterproof or long-wearing cream shadows and mascara. For example it didn't take off the NARS Velvet Shadow Sticks, By Terry Ombre Blackstar or Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof with two swipes of a soaked cotton pad. I'll keep testing this with other brands of makeup.
  8. Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser 1.5 oz is a unique cleanser that turns into an oil when you massage it into the skin. It is on the thicker side and there is a scent to it that smells almost like almonds. If you have super dry skin this might be a good one to try. I found it a bit too moisturizing and rich for me, but it did take off all traces of makeup and left the skin feeling moisturized after rinsing with water.
  9. Fresh Soy Face Cleanser 1.7 oz has been a miss for me in the past. It was a miss again. If you love this please tell me what I'm doing wrong. I find it is a lightweight cleanser in texture but I don't find it effective in cleansing and it leaves a film on my skin.
  10. Philosophy Purity Made Simple 2 oz is another popular cleanser that I always thought was over-hyped. I tried it for the first time and think it works ok, but I will have to test it more to see how I really feel about it. It left the skin clean without stripping, irritating or leaving any film. So far it seems to be a good one but I'll have to test it a few more times.
  11. Boscia Tsubaki Oil-Infused Exfoliating Powder 0.36 oz is water-activated powder cleanser. It foams up nicely and lathers well, but as many others have noted, the packaging makes it quite messy. It comes in a jar with a lid, but unlike Tatcha's Enzyme powders, there is no dispenser or small opening to help control how much powder you pour out. I've tried this with bare hands and also tried pouring this over the Boscia cleansing sponge. Either way, it does take a bit of work and I found that it was hard to get just the right amount and I ended up wasting product because of over pour. That being said, it does clean the skin really well. For right now it's too stripping for morning use (probably because of dry weather) but I do like this in the evening. I've tried this as a single cleanser and it does take off all the makeup.
  12. Boscia Mini Konjac Cleansing Sponge is an interesting item. Dry it is quite stiff, but it softens when you rinse it with warm water. I was worried it would be too rough for my sensitive skin but it really is just the right texture to exfoliate the skin. It's not as harsh or rough as a washcloth but not too soft to feel like your bare hands. The one that comes in the set is small, I'm not sure if the one sold individually is larger but if it is, it's something I would seriously consider purchasing. 


Have you tried any of the Sephora Favorites sets? This is the first one I've tried although I always find them tempting when I see them in stores. The sampler minis are so appealing but I try not to buy unless I think I'm going to try 75% or more of it. I'll have a more detailed review with thoughts on all the cleansers I've been testing recently at the end of the month. For now, I hope you find this introductory post helpful. As always I'd love to hear what you think or if you've tried any of these.

The Sephora Favorites Great Cleanse Set retails for $48. Online and in stores now, it is listed as limited-edition. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

On My Radar / New In Beauty


Happy weekend everyone! New spring collections and launches are starting to trickle in. Spring seems to be filled with some lovely pinks and roses. A few things on my beauty radar, from top left clockwise:

Guerlain Spring is filled with soft delicate pinks. I have my eye on the Les Precieux Eyeshadow Palette, Rosy Silk and Peach Satin Kiss Kiss Lipsticks and Baby Rose Nail Lacquer.

Diptyque's latest is the Rose and Ivy Collection. There is a new candle out called Rosafolia. Available now at online Diptyque and in Diptyque Boutiques. In addition there is a new scented oval and perfume released with the collection.

NARS Eye-Opening Act is a new launch exclusive to Nordstrom. I will have a review out next week. It includes St. Lucia Multiple (which is stunning!), two eyeshadow palettes in Yeux Irresistible and Inoubliable Coup d'Oeil along with five new Velvet Shadow Sticks.

Hourglass Cosmetics has new Eyeshadow Palettes coming out this spring called Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes. Infinity is the first one released, available now at Barneys New York. I can't wait to see this in person.

Dior Kingdom of Colors has two new Nail Lacquers in Glory and Lady for spring. There is also a really interesting Top Coat that looks like confetti.   

YSL Volupté Tint-In-Oil is a lip tint suspended in oil. It comes in eight colors. I've read mixed reviews but I have three sitting in my shopping cart. I can't decide whether or not to pull the trigger and buy without testing first. 

Bite Beauty has a new Agave Lip Mask in Smashed which is a berry hue. I am putting this one to the test right now and hope to have a full review with swatches later next week.

The Sephora + Pantone Universe Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio keeps calling my name. I think it's only a matter of time before I cave and purchase this too. If you bought it, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

What's on your beauty radar this weekend?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sephora + Pantone Universe Pure Marsala Matte Lip Creme & Facets of Marsala Multi-Finish Eye Palette


The Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year is Marsala and there are some beautiful options for lips, cheeks and eyes that have been released. In this year's color collection we have:
I have two items to share with you today (and a giveaway too!). First up is the Pure Marsala Matte Lip Creme. This is a full coverage cream lipstick. It's labeled as a matte finish color but I didn't find it to be a true matte. It has a creamy feel with a slight sheen making it look more plush than a pure matte. This is the first Sephora branded lipstick I've tried and I found the pigment and coverage phenomenal. There's no added fragrance although it does have a slight lipstick scent. On me it's a dark pink wine color but not so dark that it's a vamp shade. It is darker than what I am normally used to wearing but I found the color naturally flattering. If you want a darker lip but don't want something quite as dramatic as a vampy shade, this is a good in between transition color. Texture is very smooth and glides on the lips easily. I found lasting power to be very good.



Here it is swatched with two swipes each lip, I found that if you layer it with a few more swipes, you can get a deeper more pigmented/vampy dark lip look:


A few comparisons to other shades (previous reviews are linked):

Charlotte Tilbury Stoned Rose (review soon)


Next up is the Facets of Marsala Multi-Finish Eye Palette. This is an impressive palette with 24 pigmented shades. The focus is primarily on reddish burgundy shades, but there is a good mix of others in the palette to coordinate with the reds. The colors in this palette are very much outside of my comfort zone although during makeovers artists often like to use warmer sable shades or wine shades on my eyes layered to warm up the entire look. I've experimented with some (like the wine shimmers from Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscopes) but use the color in small doses. This palette has a wide range of finishes and textures. Most of mattes are good if used as a liner or smokey eye, some of the textures of the mattes are a bit chalky if you try to use them all over the lid. I think they are best layered for added depth or as a liner. The shimmers range from glitter to finely milled shimmer to chunky sparkle. There are a few finely milled shimmers that have a very smooth easy to blend texture. Some of the chunkier shimmers have fallout when you apply them, but I found they did adhere ok to the lids once they were on the eyes. The glitters weren't my favorite (I'm not a fan of glitter eyeshadows in general), but I'm still experimenting with them.  I think performance and quality does varies per shade.



Colors are swatched by row:


  • Autumn Blonde is a pale matte bone colored base with silver glitters, this one was very powdery and chalky on my skin
  • Toasted Nut is a shimmering pumpkin color, it has a medium-to-high frost with a smooth texture
  • Marsala Matte is a pigmented matte red wine color
  • Marsala Satin is a pigmented semi-matte/semi-shimmer red wine
  • Shifting Sand is a chunky silver with a high frost, there was fallout when applying this shade, but once it's on the lids it stays put
  • Cocoa Brown is a satiny cool brown with a slight sheen


  • Burro is a neutral cool satiny matte color, it has a slight sheen but on the eyes goes on matte
  • Deep Taupe is a cool-toned bark brown that looks more blue on my skin
  • Marsala Metallic is a shimmering red wine, it has a smooth texture, I found it easy to blend and layer with other eyeshadow shades
  • Marsala Glitter is a red wine with red and silver tiny glitters
  • Kelp is a warm olive gold metallic, it has finely milled shimmer
  • Dusty Olive is a darker metallic olive, it also has good pigment and finely milled shimmer


  • Desert Mist is a highly frosted buttercream gold
  • Butterum is a medium golden copper metallic sparkle
  • Macaroon is a satiny tan with a hint of camel and pink
  • Chutney is a reddish matte red
  • Nimbus Cloud is a chunky cool-toned silvery white sparkle
  • Moonlight Blue is a sheer glittering blue, you can get more pigment if you layer it with a damp brush or over a liner but alone it's pretty sheer


The last row of colors includes my favorites in the palette:

  • Carob Brown is a satiny medium-warm brown, it's primarily a matte but has a slightly reflective quality when layered and swatched in a large area
  • Bracken is a dark chocolate cool brown base with gold shimmer loaded into it
  • Russet is a warm matte brown, this also looks satiny because of the flash, but it performs like a matte
  • Hot Chocolate is a warm reddish brown matte
  • Castor Grey is a duo-chrome metallic similar in concept to MAC Club Eyeshadow
  • Red Mahogany is a matte plum red brown

I'm really pleased with the quality, pigment and color of the Marsala Lip Creme. It works just like a lipstick should. I think the Eyeshadow Palette is a good value set that will offer a diverse range of colors, textures and finishes. There are a lot of different looks that that you can create with the 24 shades. The quality of the shadows is mixed, but overall it's a good palette. Color-wise, I'm almost exclusively a neutral eyeshadow wearer but I've played with this for a week now and found that I can use some of the reds layered with the cooler-toned shades and it's very wearable. If you're at a Sephora store, I definitely recommend you giving this a look.

For the other Marsala beauty items, I've played with the lip crayons and blush palette. There are a number of spring releases trickling in stores now so I'm waiting to see other items before purchasing, but the blush palette is seriously tempting me.

I have an extra set of the two items featured in this review to giveaway thanks to Sephora! This is an international giveaway, but you must be 18 years or older to qualify for entries. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter Widget below. One winner will be selected at random to win (x1) Pure Marsala Matte Lip Creme and (x1) Facets of Marsala Multi-Finish Eye Palette. Entries will be collected through 1/8/2015 (refer to terms and conditions in the widget for all the details). All entrants must submit their own entries. Please note if you select to leave a comment via the Rafflecopter option, any with links or urls listed to blogs, websites, giveaways, Facebook pages etc. will be considered spam, will not be published and the entry will be disqualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

The Sephora + Pantone Universe items in this review and
giveaway were provided courtesy of Sephora.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Solid Perfume


The latest addition to the Elizabeth and James Nirvana line is the Solid Perfume Compact ($48 for 3.9 g / 0.14 oz). I'm a huge fan of the Nirvana Black in both the Eau De Parfum Spray and Mini Rollerball version (previous review can be found here). It has a mix of violet, sandalwood, vanilla making it a warm deep scent I like for date nights and going out. The solid perfume comes in a small but very sturdy mirrored compact. It has the signature Elizabeth and James Nirvana packaging in either black or white with the gold edging. The compact itself is quite beautiful. It comes with a soft black protective pouch you can store it in before placing it into a clutch or pouch if you carry it on-the-go.


The scent of the Nirvana Black Solid is identical to the Eau de Parfum versions although it has a slightly softer feel and not quite as strong throw. It's still noticeable and lasts just as long as the liquids (at least in the few days I've tested it). I think it's perfect for touch ups and the subtle nature of the solid makes it where you don't have to worry about your fragrance being overwhelming if you apply in public.



For size reference, in the palm of my hand:

The Solid Compact shown below next to the 1 oz Eau de Parfum Spray and the Nirvana White and Black mini 0.24 oz rollerballs (previously Beauty Insider 100 point exclusives, but you can buy them for a limited time as a Rollerball Set for $20 at Sephora)


I like all three versions, but am slightly partial to the mini rollerballs because they are so cute and easy to carry around with me. Perfume is something I usually forget in the mornings so having something I can have with me in my purse to spray on in the car is really handy for me. The Solid Perfume is cased in a beautiful compact which makes applying perfume a really nice experience. If you're new to the Elizabeth and James Nirvana line I highly recommend looking into the Mini Rollerball Duo as soon as you can - it's a great way to try both fragrances at a fraction of the price for the full sized bottles.


The Elizabeth and James Solid Perfumes in Nirvana Black and Nirvana White retail for $48 each and are both limited-edition. Right now they exclusive for purchase to VIB/VIB Rouge Members on Sephora.com but will be available for everyone to purchase online starting next week and expected to be available in stores starting January 2015.

The Elizabeth and James Solid Perfume was provided as a press sample for review consideration. All other items purchased by me, roller ball minis redeemed by me with my own Sephora Beauty Insider Points.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Formula X Paint the Town


Formula X has quite a few cute holiday sets out this year. One of the most impressive value nail sets is the Paint the Town Can (on sale in stores for $39) which has 22 mini nail polishes (4 ml/ 0.13 fl oz each). The set has a mix of creams, shimmers and glitter polishes. It just sold out online yesterday after it was marked down from $55 to $39, but I spotted stock at my local Sephora store today. If you're making your shopping rounds and doing some last minute holiday shopping this is a really fun gift for nail polish addicts. It has enough colors to keep you busy for months and the colors are suitable for teens and grown ups (even the glitters are fun for the holiday season).

The polishes come in a fun plastic paint can:


They're all stored in a plastic sleeve that rolls up into the can:


All 22 shades ranging from nudes to pinks to reds to purples and glitters:

I swatched these on some nail wheels to get a post up quickly for those still looking to shop for gifts in store. The colors are pretty much true to what you see in the bottle. The Formula X nail polishes have really good pigment and coverage. All the shades are available for purchase individually with the exception of the sparkles and glitters which seem to be exclusive to this set.


A+ is a pink raspberry cream
Gemini is a bubblegum pink
Pyrotechnic is a classic bright red
Ignite is a deeper red cream


Fathom is a creamy medium blue
Wunderkind is a sheer but build able deep metallic blue
Dark Matter is a dark grey
Dramatic is a lavender purple cream
Umph is a shimmery purple-grey
Pedal to the Metal is a metallic violet


White Matter is a pure white cream
Need for Speed is a metallic silver chrome
Illusionary is a cloud-white-grey shimmer
Perfection is a mauve taupe cream
Monumental is a creamy nude
Astronomical is a creamy beige


Shock Wave is a fuchsia pink glitter
Absolute Zero is a mix of silver, beige and black sparkles
Moon Sign is a mix of teal blue, baby blue and silver sparkles
Stratosphere is a blue and purple glitter mix
Luminosity is a gold and copper sparkle glitter
Starlight is a slightly chunky gold glitter


On the thumb is Monumental with Starlight on top


Spotted in store today at Sephora (there were about half a dozen cans scattered around the store, smaller Paint Party Press Pods is also on sale and still available online, also available is the Press Pods Gift Tags Set):


Overall a really fun set to play with. It's a great introductory set to the Formula X line at a value price. I tested a few of the glitters and found them pretty easy to remove with nail polish remover which is a huge plus for me (most glitters take forever to remove). If you're heading to a Sephora store in the next few days I highly recommend looking into this as another gift option.

Have you finished your holiday shopping? What has been your favorite set so far this season?

The Paint the Town set was provided as a press sample for review consideration.

 

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