Beauty, Cosmetics, Holiday, Makeup

NEW! Natasha Denona – Eyeshadow Palette 5 – Holiday Edition (Joya & Aeris)

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From top to bottom: Joya #1 and Aeris #2. Photo from Temptalia.

Natasha Denona released two limited edition, five pan eyeshadow palettes, Joya and Aeris, as part of her Holiday 2017 Collection. In addition to Natasha’s classic metallics, mattes, duochrome and chroma crystals, these palettes feature ND’s brand new powder to cream formula. Each palette retails for $48 for 5 x 0.08 oz of product.

I can’t rave about these palettes enough. As I’ve come to expect from Natasha Denona, these shadows are silky smooth, highly pigmented and practically blend themselves. My favorite shade is 143CP Ice Blue which is in the Aeris Eyeshadow Palette. I like to pair it with 142CM Burnt Terracotta in the crease. 137CP Gold and 135DC Peach-Gold are the stand out shades for me in the Joya Palette.

A word of caution: These palettes are very fragile, so handle them with care.

If I HAD to pick a favorite, it would probably be Aeris because of the vibrant, unique blue mentioned above. I found the new powder to cream formula (CP) to be very workable. I grade these palettes an A+. I’d highly recommend picking up one (or both!) while you still can. The Joya and Aeris Palettes are available at Sephora and the Natasha Denona website.

Swatch photos below are courtesy of Natasha Denona:

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What’s your favorite holiday palette?

xoxo, Sarah

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Beauty, Cosmetics, Makeup

NEW! Tarte – Tartelette Toasted Eyeshadow Palette (Review & Comparison)

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Photo from Sephora

Happy Saturday! I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Today I’m reviewing the latest addition to the Tarte Tartelette collection, the Tartelette Toasted. I will also compare it to the Urban Decay Naked Heat.

The Tartelette 2 In Bloom Amazonian Clay Palette is one of my all-time favorite neutral palettes, so I was psyched to discover that Tarte was releasing a warm toned counterpart. I was lucky enough to get this palette for free by redeeming Ulta Platinum Points.

The Tartelette Toasted includes twelve warm neutrals in both matte and metallic finishes. The palette retails for $46 for a 12 x 0.053 oz. of product. It’s a permanent part of the Tarte product line. (Note: The original Tartelette Palette is all matte, but I haven’t tried it.)

The seven wearable mattes and five lustrous shimmer shades are arranged in separate rows to make three easy-to-DIY looks. The super blendable Amazonian clay-infused powder formula glides on like a cream, providing long-wearing, intense payoff that’s never chalky or patchy.

Let’s break it down into pros and cons…

PROS:

  • Compact size is ideal for travel.
  • Nice sized mirror inside.
  • Excellent pigmentation, blendability and wear time.
  • The metallic shades have a creamy consistency.
  • These shadows are super easy to work with whether you’re a beginner or pro.
  • The palette contains all of the shades you need to complete a full look – transition, crease, lid and highlighter.

CONS: 

  • Some of the matte shades are a bit powdery and kick up shadow in the pan. However, they’re still very buildable and blendable. I would recommend using an eyeshadow primer for best results.
  • Minor fallout which isn’t a dealbreaker for me since I always apply my eye makeup first.
  • Lack of variation in the shimmer shadows. For example, Sunset and Shimmer are pretty similar. Both are medium copper shades.

Now, let’s compare the Tartelette Toasted to the Urban Decay Naked Heat…

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Photo from Urban Decay

By comparison, the Naked Heat (pictured above) retails for $54 for 12 x 0.05 oz of product. Therefore, the Urban Decay Palette has a slightly higher price point for roughly the same amount of product as the Tartelette Toasted. (You can read my full review of the Naked Heat here.) The main difference between the two palettes is that the Naked Heat features a wider range of shades, mostly in the amber-hued family. Also, these shadows are darker than the Tartelette Toasted. While there is some color overlap between the palettes, they are by no means identical.

See comparison swatches below:

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Swatches are courtesy of the u.glow.girl Instagram

Final Thoughts: Do I think you need both palettes? Not necessarily, but I think they’re unique enough to justify owning both. I would recommend the Tartelette Toasted for makeup beginners. I think that intermediate to pro makeup lovers will get good use out of either palette. It’s really hard to pick a favorite, but I’m leaning towards the Tartelette Toasted because I’ve been using it constantly since its release. I like that I can create a quick and easy look on the go. I grade the Tartelette Toasted a well deserved A

Have you tried the Naked Heat or Tartelette Toasted?

xoxo, Sarah

Beauty, Holiday, sale, Skin Care

My Sephora VIB Sale Haul (Part Two) – Skin Care

Welcome to Part Two of my Sephora VIB Sale Haul! In Part One, I covered makeup. Today, we’re talking skin care a.k.a. my current obsession. I firmly believe that it’s crucial to invest in one’s skin.

The bulk of my purchases were skin care related because I’m completely revamping my routine. I’ll post a haul update at a later date since it generally takes twelve weeks of usage to see results. For reference, I’m in my early 30s with dry skin.

Many of the new skin care products that I picked up were on the recommendation of Stephanie Nicole. (I strongly suggest checking out her YouTube Channel. Her videos are very thorough, informative and unbiased.)

Again, these are only my first impressions of the products. Most of these products are new to me. Sale prices are based on my 20% Rouge discount before sales tax.

This is going to be a long one, so get comfortable…

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Photo from Sephora

1. Josie Marian – Best of Argan Skin Care Revivers ($52/Sale $41.60 – $88 Value – Limited Edition) – Argan oil is a fantastic natural skin moisturizer because it’s extremely rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids. I apply a few drops to my skin at night before moisturizing. This holiday set includes a full size 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil (1.7 oz.) as well as three of Josie Maran’s best selling products: Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter (0.34 oz.), Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter Unscented (2 oz.) and Whipped Mud Mask in Lavender Citrus (0.5 oz.) The face butter is an incredible, rich nighttime moisturizer, so I expect the body butter to be just as amazing. I’m looking forward to trying the mud mask too.

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Photo from Sephora

2. Josie Maran – Argan Cleansing Oil ($32/Sale $25.60 for 6 oz.) – I’ve been using this product in conjunction with the 100% Argan Oil. I apply this all-natural, hydrating cleansing oil at night as the first step of my double cleanse before going in with my Clarisonic Mia 2 ($169) and the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($38 For 5.1 oz.) I like that the Argan Cleansing Oil removes every trace of makeup without stripping my skin of moisture.

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3. Drunk Elephant – Volume 2: Come C About Me ($88/Sale $76.75 – Limited Edition) – This daytime skin care set is an exceptional value because it includes a full sized C-Firma Day Serum (1 oz.) B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel (0.5 oz.), Beste Jelly Cleanser (0.5 oz.) and Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 (0.5 oz.) The full sized C-Firma Day Serum usually retails for $80 on its own, so essentially you’re receiving three best selling products from Drunk Elephant for a mere $8!

The B-Hydra Intensive Gel is terrific for moisturizing dry skin. (I like it so much that I stocked up on the full size.) It works well paired with the C-Firma Day Serum which is packed full of Vitamin C and antioxidants. (I apply the C-Firma Day Serum first.) I’m currently testing out the jelly cleanser and SPF in the A.M., so I’ll get back to you with my thoughts on those products.

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 Photo from Sephora

4. Belif – Holly, Jolly, Hydration Kit ($38/Sale $30.40 – Limited Edition) – The last holiday gift set that I purchased was the Holly, Jolly, Hydration Set from Korean brand, Belif. For the price of a full sized bottle of the amazing Belif True Cream Moisturizing Bomb ($38 for 1.68 oz.), you also receive the Hungarian Water Essence (0.33 oz.) and the Moisturizing Eye Bomb (0.17 oz.)

If you have dry skin, then these products are winter must-haves. Belif claims that both the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb and Moisturizing Eye Bomb provide up to 26 hours of hydration. NOTE: It’s easy to confuse the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb with another product in the line, the True Cream Aqua Bomb. The Aqua Bomb is a lightweight gel-cream that’s best suited for oily to combination skin types.

I really love the Moisturizing Eye Bomb and will purchase the full size ($48 for 0.84 oz.) when I run out. I haven’t had occasion to try the Hungarian Water Essence yet.

Since the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb has a thicker consistency, I prefer to wear it at night mixed with a couple drops of Fresh’s Seaberry Face Oil as the final step of my P.M. routine. According to Stephanie Nicole, you can also substitute seaberry oil with argan oil.

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Photo from Sephora

5. Fresh – Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil ($52/Sale $41.60 for 1.6 fl. oz.) – As mentioned above, I like to mix this oil in with my nighttime moisturizer. Seaberry oil, also known as seabuckthorn oil, is a powerful antioxidant rich in moisturizing Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9. Fresh’s Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil contains a blend of pure oils (seaberry, cranberry seed, camellia seed, grapeseed and sweet almond) that maintain the skin’s elasticity and smoothness and help to retain moisture. Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 protect the skin from aging free radicals.

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Photo from Sephora

6. Laneige – Lip Sleeping Mask ($20/Sale $16 For 0.7 oz.) – This is a great leave-on lip mask by Laneige that I apply immediately before bed. My lips definitely feel smoother and more hydrated the next morning. This product will be a godsend in battling chapped lips this winter. Plus, the bottle is huge so it should last a long time.

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Photo from Clarisonic

7. Clarisonic – Glow Getter Stocking Stuffer 2 Pack ($49/Sale $39.20 – $62 Value – Limited Edition – This set contains a Radiance Brush Head and the new Sonic Foundation Brush. I was due for a new Clarisonic Head anyway, but I’m most excited to play with the Sonic Foundation Head. I think that this set is a total steal even at regular price.

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Photo from First Aid Beauty

8. First Aid Beauty – Detox Eye Roller ($26/Sale $20.80 for 0.34 oz.) – This multitasker eye treatment helps revitalize, smooth and brighten the under-eye area. The cooling metal ball and caffeine work to reduce the appearance of dark circles and under-eye puffiness. Sodium hyaluronate and advanced Peptides provide anti-aging benefits, while the FAB Antioxidant Booster helps combat free radicals.

I’ve been using this product for about a week and have noticed that my under-eyes look less puffy. I did experience a stinging sensation at first but that seems to have subsided with repeat usage.

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Photo from Sephora

9. Dr. Jart+ – Ceramidin Cream ($48/Sale $38.40 for 1.6 oz.) – This is my new go-to daytime moisturizer. Dr. Jart+ infused the formula with ceramides which strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier while also providing a moisture boost. This cream’s consistency is thick, but not overly heavy, so a little goes a long way. The tint is not noticeable once the product is rubbed into the skin. It contains SPF 15 but I would still advise applying a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 on top.

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Photo from Sephora

10. Sunday Riley – Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($10/Sale $84 for 1 oz.) – Moving on to Sunday Riley

Luna is a trans-retinoic acid-ester (retinol) complex that works throughout the night to deliver more visibly youthful, luminous, even-toned skin in the morning. It’s balanced with blue tansy (which gives it it’s color) and German chamomile essential oils that soothe redness and sensitivity.

Previously, I had used The Ordinary’s retinol products but didn’t notice much in the way of results. Short of medical grade Retin-A, the general consensus seems to be that Luna is one of the the best over-the-counter options. So far, I haven’t noticed any adverse reactions or irritation. I’ll let you know if it’s really worth the big bucks.

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Photo from Sephora

11. Sunday Riley – Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil ($42/Sale $36 for 0.5 oz. – Online Only) – Sunday Riley describes Juno as a nourishing oil that gives obsession-worthy radiance and helps restore skin’s natural moisture barrier with a unique blend of antioxidant-rich, superfood oils. Not going to lie, this stuff smells terrible but it’s supposed to deliver serious results as far as dryness and anti-aging are concerned. (Side note: It’s actually a good thing if your skin care products smell horrible because that means there probably isn’t any added fragrance.) Again, I will keep you posted.

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Photo from Sephora

12. Sunday Riley – Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment ($105/Sale $84 for 1 oz.) – I’ve searched far and wide for another product that compares to this powerhouse lactic acid treatment without much success. (If anyone knows of a less expensive alternative then please enlighten me.) Lactic acid exfoliates, smooths fine lines and retexturizes for younger, more radiant looking skin. Good Genes is enhanced with licorice which brightens the complexion. I use this product nightly before Sunday Riley’s Juno and after Luna.

Final Thoughts: Congratulations if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post! This concludes my Sephora VIB Sale Haul for Winter 2017.

What are your favorite skin care products? Please leave a comment below.

xoxo, Sarah

Beauty, Cosmetics, Holiday, Makeup, sale, Shopping

My Sephora VIB Sale Haul (Part One) – Makeup

Today, I’m going to share with you Part One of my Sephora VIB Sale Haul. Admittedly, I went a little crazy, but I had a couple of gift cards and store credits burning a hole in my pocket. Plus, how often do you get the chance to save 20% on luxury products that never go on sale?

I will be breaking this up into two parts: makeup and skin care. (My skin care haul is going to be pretty epic.)

This will be a first impressions review because we’d be here all day if I discussed everything in greater detail. I’ll update with more in-depth reviews once I have a chance to test out the products. FYI: The sale prices listed below are based on the 20% Rouge discount before sales tax. So, let’s talk makeup…

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Photo from Sephora

1. Sephora Collection – Outrageous Effect Volume Lip Gloss ($12 each/Sale $9.60 for 0.169 oz.) – I purchased this plumping lip gloss because I’ve been hearing a lot of rave reviews about it lately. I picked up Shade 1 – Universal Volume, Shade 2 – Nude XXL and Shade 4 – Exponential Pink. I was blessed with naturally full lips, but a little extra oomph never hurts. This gloss has a slight peppermint tingling feeling, but it doesn’t sting like many other lip plumpers.

The Outrageous Effect Volume Lip Gloss is a close dupe for the Dior Addict Lip Maximizer Plumping Gloss which costs three times as much! Both products contain Chili Powder as the main plumping ingredient. Surprisingly, I prefer the Sephora Collection Lip Gloss because it feels more hydrating. The plumping effect is subtle, but noticeable. The formula is not sticky either. This gloss will make a fantastic lip topper or it can be worn on its own for a low maintenance makeup day.

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Photo from Hourglass

2. Hourglass – Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 ($80/Sale $64 for 0.49 oz. – Limited Edition) – I included this palette in my sale recommendations, so it should come as no surprise that I picked it up. Hourglass’ powders and blushes are nothing short of amazing. This product is an incredible steal since a full sized blush or powder (0.15 oz) retails for $38 and this palette includes three mini powders (0.04 oz each), two blushes and a bronzer for only $80. This palette features three bestselling and three new, exclusive powders. It’s currently sold out on Sephora, but it’s still available on the Hourglass site.

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Photos from Sephora

3. Pat McGrath Labs – Mothership I Eyeshadow Palette – Subliminal ($125/Sale $100 for 0.47 oz.) – I’ve been obsessed with the new Pat McGrath Mothership Eyeshadow Palettes as of lately, so I decided to splurge on the Mothership I to complete my collection while it was on discount. The stand out shades in this palette for me are Blitz Blue (vivid sapphire), Pale Gold 002 (cool platinum gold), VR Violet (pinky violet duochrome) and Astral White (white with blue flash.) The formula is highly pigmented, blendable and the shadows layer beautifully on top of one another. Each palette includes a terrific matte black shadow, Xtreme Black, that can act as a base to make the metallic shadows really pop. I wasn’t that psyched about this particular palette until I swatched it, so I really think that these shadows should be experienced in person. In my opinion, all three Mothership Palettes are worth owning. The Mothership I will be perfect for days when I’m trying to achieve a more neutral look. My full review of all three palettes is coming soon.

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 Photo from Sephora

4. Marc Jacobs Beauty – The Wild One Eye-Conic Eyeshadow Palette ($99/Sale $80 for 20 x 0.028 oz. – Limited Edition) – I really love the updated formula of the new Marc Jacobs Beauty Eye-Conic Eyeshadow Palettes that launched over the summer. (Read my review of the Provocouture Eyeshadow Palette here.) When the holiday collections were first announced, this beauty immediately caught my attention. Yes, the price is a little steep, but when you consider that the permanent Eye-Conic Palettes retail for $49 for seven shadows, then $99 for twenty shades isn’t such a bad deal. (In comparison, the regular Eye-Conic Palettes’ pans are 0.30 oz.) I was also very tempted by the Edgitorial Palette from the brand’s permanent range, but that one can wait until the spring sale.

Last year’s holiday palette didn’t really interest me, but I do prefer its sleek, gold packaging to this year’s zebra print casing. Personally, I think it looks kind of cheap for such a luxe, expensive palette. On a more positive note, it does include a large mirror. However, packaging aside, this is an absolutely gorgeous palette.

In a sea of neutral palettes, I find the unique, vibrant color selection to be refreshing. The palette contains a mixture of matte, frost, duochrome and metallic finishes with a glitter shade (Hen Party) thrown in. Hen Party is a bit of a mess worn on its own, but I think it would make a nice lid topper paired with some glitter glue. The shadows are intensely pigmented, long-wearing and blend well. Some of the shadows, particularly the mattes, kick up some excess powder in the pan. Therefore, I’d suggest applying your eye makeup first to avoid any potential issues with fallout. The shadows are supposedly arranged in a vertical fashion to create specific looks. Overall, I’d count The Wild One amongst the best holiday palettes of 2017. Seriously, my swatches don’t do it justice!

See swatches below. As per usual, I did not use a primer:

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(From left to right: Funny Bunny, Hen Party, Chameleon, Lion’s Share, Nest Egg, White Elephant, Early Bird, Sheepish, Nine Lives and Paper Tiger)

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 (From left to right: Crow’s Nest, Cat Call, Bearish, Free Bird, Foxy, Pea-Cocky, Bull’s Eye, Dog and Pony, Cat Fight and Golden Fleece)

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 Photo from beautyblender

5. beautyblender – beautyblender nude ($20/Sale $16) – I can’t function without a beautyblender in my makeup routine. I prefer the nude color because it’s easier to keep clean. If you’ve never tried a beautyblender, then go buy one now and thank me later. It will drastically change your makeup game.

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Photo from Sephora

6. Smashbox – Photo Finish Primerizer ($42/Sale $33.60 for 1 oz.) – I’ve been wanting to try this primer and moisturizer in one for a while. Smashbox claims that it delivers 24-hour hydration so it’s ideal for combating dryness, dullness, uneven texture and fine lines and wrinkles. It plumps and moisturizes with niacinamide (which improves skin’s vitality and barrier repair) and hyaluronic acid (a molecule that holds water within the skin to prevent moisture loss.) Stay tuned for my thoughts on this item.

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Photo from Sephora

7. Sephora Collection – Dry Clean Instant Dry Brush Cleaner Spray ($14/Sale $11.20 for 2.0 fl. oz.) – This quick-drying cleaner instantly removes makeup product from brushes for instant reuse. I find that many brush cleansers have an overpowering chemical smell, but this one is surprisingly pleasant. It will come in handy for makeup tutorials.

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Photo from Sephora

8. Marc Jacobs Beauty – Snake Charmer 5-Piece Petite Enamored Hi-Shine Gloss Lip Lacquer Collection ($39/Sale $31.20 for 5 x 0.05 fl. oz. – Limited Edition) – My second Marc Jacobs Beauty purchase was this lovely holiday set. I’ve been meaning to try Marc Jacobs’ Lip Lacquers for a long time now. In this set, you receive five of their bestselling, high-shine lip glosses: Sugar Sugar, Skin Deep, Raspberry Beret, Boys  Don’t Cry and Ch-ch-changes.

Enamored Hi-Shine Lip Lacquer lip gloss delivers maximum color and brilliance with its unique Triple Shine Complex, a blend of high-performance ingredients that provide unstoppable wear and shine like 30 coats of lacquer.

I really enjoy these lip glosses. They are pigmented, comfortable to wear and not sticky. Similar to the Sephora Collection Lip Glosses mentioned above, they are mint-scented. My personal favorite shades are cult favorites Sugar Sugar (a champagne-gold shimmer), Skin Deep (a opaque taupe-mauve) and their newest, limited edition shade Ch-ch-changes (a transformative plum with a blue-green shift.) The full sized products retail for $28 for 0.16 oz. Again, these make great lip toppers or can be worn on their own.

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Photo from the brand

9. Sephora Favorites – Mini Perfume Box ($65/Sale $52) – Finally, I decided to treat myself to a fragrance. Oddly enough, I can’t find any photos or information about this set online. Anyway, I purchased a Sephora Favorites Set that includes deluxe sized fragrance samples of Chloé, Miu Miu, Black Opium and Mon Paris by Yves St. Laurent, Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Lavande and Daisy by Marc Jacobs. What makes this such an excellent deal is that not only do you get the deluxe sized samples, but you also receive a certificate for a 1 oz. bottle of any perfume included in the box at no additional cost! I chose Mon Paris which normally retails for $70.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Sephora VIB Sale Haul! I also have Ulta, MAC and drugstore hauls planned for the next future.

Did you shop the Sephora VIB Sale? Please leave a comment below. Also, please like this post if you enjoy hauls.

xoxo, Sarah

Beauty, Cosmetics, Favorites, Skin Care

My October 2017 Favorites

Welcome to my October favorites! So, let’s get to it!

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Photo from Too Faced

1. Too Faced – Just Peachy Velvet Matte Eyeshadow Palette ($45 for 0.48 oz) – This stunning palette from Too Faced’s Peaches and Cream Collection really surprised me.  I didn’t intend to purchase this palette because I already own their Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette. However, there’s not really much shade overlap between the two. While the Just Peachy features twelve all matte shadows, the Sweet Peach includes a mix of both mattes and shimmers. Also, the peach scent isn’t as overpowering with the Just Peachy Palette.

As far as formula goes, the Just Peachy Mattes are highly pigmented, creamy and blendable. These shadows are infused with exclusive comfort matte technology for blendable, intense color-payoff. If I had to choose between the Sweet Peach or Just Peachy Palettes, then I’d pick the latter. The Peaches and Cream Collection is exclusive to Sephora.

See swatches below. As per usual, I did not use a primer:

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(From left to right: Chocolate Dipped, Just Ripe, Peach Tart, Peach Sangria, Peach Punch, Peach Cobbler, Fresh-Picked, Just Peachy, Peach Tea, Peaches And Cream, Peach Butter and Peach Meringue)

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Photo from Sephora

2. Mario Badescu Skin Care – Enzyme Cleansing Gel ($14 for 8 fl oz) – I’ve really been loving this affordable, effective cleanser. It has an exfoliating AHA-enhanced formula that deep cleans and removes excess shine. This face wash is ideal for oily or combination skin. Also, it doesn’t strip my dry skin of moisture.

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Photo from Amazon

3. Essence – Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara ($4.99for 0.304 oz) – This drugstore gem volumizes as well or better than most luxury mascaras that I’ve tried. And did I mention that it will only set you back five bucks? Yes, please!

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Photo from the brand

4. Hourglass Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette ($62 – Limited Edition) – I just discussed this palette in my Sephora VIB Rouge Recommendations, so I’ll keep this brief. If you’re a highlighter junkie, then you need this beauty in your life. Trust.

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Photo from Ulta

5. Sleek MakeUP – Solstice Highlighting Palette ($14.99 For 0.137 oz) – This highlighting palette has been on my wishlist for quite some time now. I was thrilled to discover that Walgreen’s now carries the U.K. based Sleek MakeUP.

Sleek MAkeUP’s versatile face and body Solstice Highlighting Palette includes two baked powders, one luxurious cream formula and one silky shimmer powder. The iridescent, metallic finishes add a radiant and luminous glow to the skin. 

This palette is relatively small in size, but it really packs a punch! These intensely pigmented shades are a cool icy pink. I dig the chic gold packaging. Also, this palette is very travel friendly.

See swatches below. I was unable to find names for these shades:

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Photo from Ulta

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6. Too Faced – Unicorn Survival Kit ($26 – Limited Edition) – Too Faced’s Unicorn Survival Kit includes a super cute limited edition makeup bag, deluxe highlighter, deluxe Melted Latex Lipstick and deluxe La Crème Lipstick in Unicorn Tears. I like to layer the high-shine liquid lipstick over the crème lippie for a fun look. Unicorn Tears is an iridescent shimmer. The limited edition Unicorn Tears Highlighter is a highly pigmented icy blue purple. The Unicorn Survival Kit is exclusive to Ulta.

What products have you been loving lately?

xoxo, Sarah

Beauty, Cosmetics, Holiday, Makeup, sale, Shopping, Skin Care

Sephora Winter 2017 VIB Sale (Dates & Recommendations)

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Sephora’s highly anticipated biannual VIB Sale is almost here! I’m excited to report that there will be two sale events for VIB Rouge! As per usual, Rouge will have first access.

The Details:

  • Rouge save 20% from November 3-6 and November 10-15 both in stores and online. Promo code: 20FORROUGE.
  • VIB save 20% from November 10-15 both in stores and online. Promo code: 20FORVIB.
  • Beauty Insiders save 15% from November 10-15 both in stores and online. Promo code: 15INSIDER.

The VIB Sale is the perfect opportunity to:

  • Stock up on your favorite products such as foundation, skin care, fragrance etc.
  • Try out new brands and products (particularly more expensive items) at a discounted price.
  • Pick up holiday gifts for your loved ones.

During the holiday season, most major brands release limited edition gift sets that can save you some serious cash. The Sephora Favorites sets are always a big hit at this time of year because they include multibrand full and deluxe sized products.

Read on for my VIB Sale recommendations…

 

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Photo from Sephora

1. Cover FX – Custom Enhancer Drops Set ($42/$50 Value – Limited Edition/Online Only) – The Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops Set features four bestselling liquid highlighters in the shades Celestial, Halo, Rose Gold and Moonlight. Each mini contains 0.15 oz of product for roughly $10.50 a piece; whereas the full sized bottles retail for $42 each for 0.5 oz. Basically, you’re getting four products for the price of one. The formula has a high concentration of ultra-refined pearls, so a little goes a long way. Therefore, the miniature bottles should last you a while. This set is also ideal if you want to sample the different shades. Celestial works best on my fair skin tone. These highlighters can be worn alone for an intense highlight or added to a liquid foundation for a more subtle, all-over glow. This set is on my wishlist.

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Photos from Sephora. From top right: Sephora Collection – Sephora PRO Warm, Editorial and Cool Palettes

2. Sephora Collection – Sephora PRO Palettes ($68 – Limited Edition) – The Sephora PRO Palettes are available in three color story shades: Warm, Cool and Editorial. These palettes contain 28 high pigment, high performance shades in chrome, matte, shimmer and satin finishes. Each pan contains 0.04 oz of product. The palettes were designed by Sephora PRO Artists and include simple instruction application techniques. They are similar to the Morphe palettes in size but much more sturdy with a large mirror. I own all three palettes.

I would recommend purchasing them in the following order: 1. Editorial, 2. Warm and 3. Cool. Editorial is my favorite because it’s the most unique. I love the bright, bold colors and duochromes. However, I think Warm is the most wearable if you’re looking for an everyday eyeshadow palette. (See my review here.) The Cool Palette is my least favorite but it features some beautiful mattes. Since these shadows are so packed with pigment, you may experience some fallout. This isn’t a major issue as long as you apply your face makeup second. These palettes are limited edition and tend to sell out quickly, so don’t sleep on it!

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Photo from Sephora

3. Beauty Blender – Blenders For All Seasons ($65/$80 Value – Limited Edition/Exclusive) – How did we ever live before the invention of the Beauty Blender? I use mine daily for multiple purposes such as blending out my undereye concealer, applying foundation, primer and liquid highlighter. There are a few different Beauty Blender gift set options, but this one seems to be the best bang for your buck. You receive four bestselling, full sized Beauty Blenders and an exclusive crystal nest. Since an individual Beauty Blender retails for $20, you are saving $15 by purchasing this set. Essentially, you’re getting a blender for free. It’s recommended to change out your blender every other month, so this set should last you well into 2018.

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Photo from Sephora

I also recommend the liquid blendercleanser ($13-30) because it keeps your sponges and brushes squeaky clean. Personally, I prefer the liquid over the beautycleanser solid.

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Photos from Hourglass

4. Hourglass -Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 ($80 – Limited Edition) – I have two products to recommend from Hourglass. First, let’s talk about the Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3. This beauty is at the top of my personal wishlist. Seriously, how gorgeous and luxe is that rose gold compact?! (Is it just me or are makeup companies really stepping up their packaging game this year?)

The palette features three bestselling and three new exclusive powders: Dim Light, Diffused Light, Surreal Halo, Pure Effect, Luminous Bronze Light and Hypnotic Strobe Light. Each pan contains 0.04 oz of product. Considering that an individual Ambient Lighting Blush will run you $38, this palette is an incredible deal. Hourglass’ powders are silky smooth and look beautiful on the skin.

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Photos from the brand

 

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5. Hourglass – Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette ($62 – Limited Edition) – This amazing highlighting palette will blow your mind. It includes Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Powders in Absolute Strobe Light, Pure Strobe Light and Lucent Strobe Light. Each pan contains 0.10 oz of product. These powders can be worn on their own or swirled together to create a custom glow.

Each shade is formulated with intensely concentrated, multifaceted pearl particles in varying sizes and refraction levels to give the most reflective glow to the high points of the face. The velvety texture ensures a smooth application as it glides across skin to reveal your most intense, amplified highlight, while the concentrated formula utilizes photoluminescent technology to intensify the way light reflects on the skin.

If I had to choose one palette over the other, I’d probably choose this one. Hourglass is a luxury brand, so I’d highly recommend taking advantage of the discount. You won’t be sorry as their products are of the utmost quality.

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Photos from Beautylish. Natasha Denona – Joya #1

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Natasha Denona – Aeris #2

7. Natasha Denona – Holiday Edition Eyeshadow Palette 5 – Joya #1/Joya #2 ($48 each – Limited Edition) – This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but I’d recommend purchasing any eyeshadow palette by Natasha Denona during the sale. They are my all-time favorite eyeshadows and worth every cent in my book.

In particular, I’d suggest checking out Natasha’s two limited edition holiday palettes which feature her new cream-powder hybrid shadow formula. Aeris is my personal favorite because I’m obsessed with the shade Ice Blue (143CP.)

If you’re looking to drop a little more cash, I’d recommend the Sunset Eyeshadow Palette if you favor warm tones or the Lila Eyeshadow Palette if violet and fuchsia shades are your thing. Both palettes retail for $129. (See my Lila review here.)

And if you’re going to bite the bullet and invest in one (or both) of her famous 28 pan palettes ($239 each) then you can better rationalize to yourself, significant other, parents etc. that at least they were on sale. They are perfection.

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Photo from Sephora

8. Tatcha – Skincare for Makeup Lovers Obento Box ($59 – Limited Edition) – Moving on to skincare, the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist is an essential in my routine. I use it as a primer or to refresh whenever my dry skin is feeling parched. This set is a great bang for your buck because you get a full sized Dewy Skin ($48 For 1.35 oz) in addition to three other Tatcha favorites such as the anti-aging Water Cream Moisturizer, Violet-C Radiance and Gold Spun Camellia Lip Balm. When you do the math, you’re only paying $11 for the three extra products! It’s a fantastic set to pick up if you’re interested in trying out Japanese Beauty Products. I’m really hoping to get my hands on this one. It’s currently available online but has sold out a couple of times so get it while you still can!

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Photo from Pat McGrath Labs

9. Pat McGrath Mothership Eyeshadow Palettes ($125 each) – I recently acquired the Mothership II (Sublime – green) and Mothership III (Subversive – pink) Eyeshadow Palettes and they had me shook. From the formula to color selection and luxe packaging, legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath does not disappoint. I would go so far as to say that these are my #2 favorite eyeshadows after Natasha Denona. They are part of McGrath’s new, permanent line that also includes lipsticks, lip liners and eye pencils.

I’m not saying that everyone needs to drop $125 on an eyeshadow palette. However, if you’re going to splurge on these palettes, then now is the perfect time to indulge.

Mothership I (Subliminal – white) is the most neutral palette in the collection, but I think that Mothership II would also appeal to a lot of people. It’s probably my favorite out of the three. Mothership III includes more fun, fashion-forward shades to create edgy, editorial looks.

If you’re a serious makeup junkie, then I’d suggest treating yourself to at least one of these fabulous palettes. You really need to experience these magical shadows for yourself.

I’m dying to try her new LuxeTrance Lipsticks as well. (Read my review of the MatteTrance Lipsticks here.)  I hope to find the Mothership I Palette under the Christmas Tree.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth review of the Mothership Eyeshadow Palettes.

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Photo from Sephora

10. Sephora Favorites – Give Me More Lip ($68/$259 Value – Limited Edition) – I wanted to mention at least one Sephora Favorites set in this post. This multibranded lip set features fifteen very wearable lipsticks ranging from glosses to lip creams – including five full size lippies. A few of this year’s included brands are Too Faced, Huda Beauty, Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and Marc Jacobs. There’s really something for everyone here. It would also make a terrific gift. I predict that this set will fly off the shelves.

Final Thoughts: If you’re not already a Beauty Insider, then hurry to your local Sephora and sign up. You don’t want to miss out on this amazing sale! The program is free and you receive points for every dollar spent that can be redeemed for exclusive sets. Existing Beauty Insiders should receive an invite in the mail from Sephora sometime between now and the beginning of the sale. (I received mine yesterday.)

I hope that these recommendations have been useful in helping you get the most out of your hard earned cash. What’s on your wishlist for the VIB Sale? Please let me know in the comment section below.

xoxo, Sarah

Beauty, Cosmetics, Makeup, Skin Care, Unboxing

Boxycharm Unboxing – October 2017

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Photo from Boxycharm

I just have to share with you the incredible assortment of items that I received in my October Boxycharm!

Boxycharm is my favorite beauty subscription service because you receive four to six full sized prestige products for only $21 a month. In contrast, most other boxes only offer deluxe sized samples.

The theme of this month’s box is Spellbound which is appropriate since Halloween is right around the corner.

So without further ado, let’s delve into the goodies…

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Photo from Sephora

1. Tarte – Tarteist Quick Dry Lip Paint (MSRP $20 for 0.20 oz) – I received the shade Get It! which is a lovely apricot nude. I like that this formula is full coverage, transfer-proof, non-drying and comfortable to wear.

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 Photo from Ulta

2. Dr. Brandt – PoreDermabrasion (MSRP $58 for 2.0 oz) – This full sized exfoliator was a major score from this month’s box. This product deep cleans, helps refine the appearance of pores and smooths the appearance of skin texture. It’s recommended usage is 1-2 times a week.

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Photo from Dirty Little Secret

3. Dirty Little Secret – Eyeshadow Chubby (MSRP $14 for 3 g)

I was previously unfamiliar with the indie brand Dirty Little Secret. Discovering new brands is one of my favorite things about subscription services. I received Illusion, a stunning bronze shade with golden undertones, that can be worn alone or as an eyeshadow base. The formula is highly pigmented with a creamy consistency that glides effortlessly onto the eyelids. It can also double as a highlighter. I’ve been getting into using eyeshadow sticks lately, so I’m excited to play with this one.

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Photo from Jonteblu

4. Jonteblu – Lip Liner Pencil (MSRP $5 for 0.04 oz) – Jonteblu is another new brand discovery. I received their Lip Liner Pencil in the shade 955 Spice. This brown toned nude would flatter many different complexions.

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Photo from Sephora

5. BECCA Cosmetics – Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter (MSRP $38 for 0.28 oz) – And last but certainly not least, you receive a full size Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed or Liquid Highlighter in the shade Prosecco Pop!!! Becca’s Highlighters are super pigmented, creamy and provide a lit from within glow. Prosecco Pop, the little sister to Becca’s best selling Champagne Pop, is a beautiful warm gold.

Overall, I think that this month’s box is amazing! The total MSRP of the box is $135.  I am officially hooked on Boxycharm. I only have two critiques:

  1. I wish that they’d included an eyeshadow palette.
  2. I didn’t receive the manicure set pictured above.

I can’t wait for next month’s box!

Are you a Boxycharm Subscriber? If so, which products did you receive? What are your favorite beauty subscription services?

xoxo, Sarah

Beauty, Cosmetics, Holiday, Makeup

NEW! Fenty Beauty by Rihanna – The Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette (Holiday 2017)

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Photo from Fenty Beauty

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of months, then you’ve probably heard that singer Rihanna recently launched her namesake makeup line, Fenty Beauty. (Fenty is Rihanna’s surname.) The brand is exclusive to Sephora and the Fenty Beauty website.

Although Rihanna has lent her name and likeness to the brand, Fenty Beauty is actually owned by Kendo. Their portfolio also includes some major players in the cosmetics industry such as Kat Von D Beauty, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Ole Henriksen and Bite Beauty.

Aside from the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife, the other products from the initial release failed to excite me.

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The Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife. I’m envious of anyone who can pull off wearing this on their face, but it makes a nice eyeshadow for lighter skin tones. I have only swatched it since this stunner is almost always sold out in store.

For Holiday 2017, Fenty released The Galaxy Collection which includes the brand’s first ever eyeshadow palette.

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Photo from Temptalia

The limited edition Galaxy Collection includes the following:

  • The Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette ($59 for 14 x 0.04 oz of product)
  • Four Starlit Hyper-Glitz Lipsticks ($19 for 0.34 oz)
  • Three Eclipse 2-in-1 Glitter Release Eyeliners ($20 for 0.13 oz)
  • Galaxy 2-Way Eyeshadow Brush ($24)

I purchased The Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette with a Sephora store credit. Admittedly, it was an impulse buy, but I wanted to try something from the Fenty line. Plus, I’m a total glitter junkie.

Is this palette worth all of the hype? Read on for my thoughts…

Launch your eye look into a new glittersphere with the limited edition Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette. Hyper-reflective sparkle meets a rainbow of celestial-inspired colors that range from sheer, glittering topcoats to smoky/shimmer-drenched hues. Like jewelry for your eyes, these glimmering eyeshadows and topcoats are the ultimate accessory to every look.

I have a lot to say about this palette, so I thought I’d break it down into pros and cons. This may not be a popular opinion, but I have to stay 100% honest with my readers.

PROS:

  • The packaging is absolutely beautiful. The shadows are housed in a sleek, metallic, jewel toned case. The only downside is that every single fingerprint shows up on the palette when handling it.
  • The palette features a big mirror inside.
  • Shade names are listed on the back of the palette.
  • The color selection includes a nice range of both vibrant pops of color and neutrals. This palette includes some really pretty, unique shades.
  • The shadows make nice eyetoppers. They work best layered over a base shadow.

CONS:

  • There are no matte eyeshadows included in this palette. All fourteen shades are hyper-reflective sparkle shadows. Therefore, you must pull transition and crease shades from other palettes to complete an entire eye look. For this reason, I’d consider it more of an accent palette.
  • Lots of fallout. You will definitely want to apply your face makeup second.
  • These shadows are more on the sheer side with weak color payoff. Basically, they apply as loose glitter without much of a base pigment or binder. It’s almost impossible to wear these shadows on their own.
  • The shadow texture tends to be gritty and chunky due to all the glitter.
  • These shadows are difficult to work with. You have to pack on a lot of product over a glitter glue to reach any kind of opacity. Note: Glitter glue is a must-have when using this palette. 
  • The shadows aren’t long wearing. The most pigmented shade in the palette, Xtra Terrestrial, noticeably creased and faded a mere four hours after application. My boyfriend even commented that he didn’t care for it.
  • The palette doesn’t include a brush. Instead, it’s sold separately for $24.

See swatches below. As usual, I did not use a primer:

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(From left to right: The first seven shadows – Midnight Bolt, Lightyear, Ultraviolet, Cosmic Ocean, Mars On Fire, Xtra Terrestrial and Oh-Zone)

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(From left to right: The last seven shadows – Milky Way, Sunburst, Space Owt, Jupiter Sand, Planet Ex, Sublime and Meteor Crush)

Final Thoughts: Is this palette worth it? Sadly, I think not. In my opinion, $59 is too high of a price point for a palette of eyetoppers. Essentially, you’re paying for the Rihanna name and pretty packaging. This formula reminds me a bit of the MAC Dazzleshadows or Urban Decay Moondust Shadows, but I much prefer the latter two. To be fair, I don’t think the brand ever intended for this to be a standalone palette.

I’m not a professional makeup artist but I’m not a newbie to eyeshadow application either. I experimented with different brushes and my fingers as well as using the shadows both wet and dry, and I still struggled to make this palette work. FYI: I would recommend using these shadows wet for greater intensity. I also tried pairing these shadows with multiple eyeshadow primers without much success. I think that these shadows are best used as eyetoppers. Ultimately, I think that the palette had a strong concept but a flawed execution.

I hate to sound like I’m bashing the brand or Rihanna because I am interested to try Fenty’s other products. This particular palette was just a disappointment. Hopefully, Fenty will improve the formula for their next eyeshadow palette.

There are so many other great alternatives on the market that it’s difficult to justify my keeping a subpar palette that I may never use. Unfortunately, it looks like I will be returning this one.

Also, I think the new Urban Decay Heavy Metal Metallic Eyeshadow Palette ($55) will be a terrific alternative to The Galaxy Palette. My advice would be to skip the Fenty palette and get the Urban Decay palette instead. It’s cheaper too!

I grade Fenty Beauty’s The Galaxy Palette an A+ for packaging and a C for formula.

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The Urban Decay Heavy Metal Metallic Eyeshadow Palette. Photo from POPSUGAR.

Have you tried any products from Fenty Beauty? Will you be buying anything from The Galaxy Collection?

xoxo, Sarah

Beauty, Cosmetics, Makeup

My Top 10 Favorite ColourPop Pressed Powder Shadows

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Photo from the brand

When ColourPop released their Pressed Powder Shadows earlier this year, the beauty world took notice in a major way. The brand had previously been best known for their creme-powder Super Shock Shadows which have a unique bouncy texture. ColourPop’s Pressed Powder Shadows retail for $6 each for 1.5 g (0.053 oz) of product. These shadows can be purchased as single pans or in compact form. (I prefer to store the single pans in a palette as shown above.) They are also sold in curated shadow sets. ColourPop has recently branched out to add 12 pan eyeshadow palettes to their line. (See below)

 

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ColourPop’s best selling Yes, Please! Palette. Photo from the brand.

Currently, ColourPop products are only available on their website, but the brand officially hits Sephora on 10/31/17.

The Formula: ColourPop’s Pressed Powder Shadow formula rivals popular brands such as Makeup Geek and MAC. The ColourPop Shadows are silky smooth, highly pigmented, easily blendable and long-wearing. Some of the more pigmented mattes (such as Criss Cross) kick up a bit of powder in the pan, but fallout wasn’t an issue. These eyeshadows are available in both matte and metallic finishes.

If you’re looking to build your ColourPop Collection, then now is a fantastic time because the curated 5 pan palettes are on sale from $18 to $12. Generally, this means that the product is being discontinued or repackaged but I’m unable to confirm this.

In celebration of ColourPop’s big launch at Sephora, listed below (in no particular order) are the top 10 ColourPop Pressed Powders that I consider essentials in my makeup collection. NOTE: I will only be discussing products currently available on the ColourPop Website.

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All photos from the brand

1. Paper Tiger – This matte mustard yellow may seem daunting in the pan, but it’s surprisingly wearable. I like to use it packed on the lid or to warm up the crease.

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2. Bel Air – If you’re looking for the perfect cool toned transition shade then search no further. This matte cool taupe does the job remarkably well.

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3. Come and Get It – If you’re a fan of rose gold, then you need this shadow in your life. This duochrome rose with a gold flip makes a beautiful lid shade.

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4. Criss Cross – This matte brick orange is insanely pigmented and pairs well with any warm toned look. Also available in the Lo-Key Pressed Powder Shadow Palette. (Sale $12/Regular $18)

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5. Soft Core – I’d best describe this gorgeous shade as a warm salmon pink with a matte finish. Also available in the Belle of the Ball Pressed Powder Palette. (Sale $12/Regular $18)

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6. Stay Golden – This vibrant, matte raspberry will be totally on trend for a Fall 2017. It’s reminiscent of Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Venetian Red from the Modern Renaissance Palette.

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7. Save It For Later – This metallic Amber looks amazing packed on the lid. Save It For Later is a close dupe for MAC’s Amber Lights except the former has a more metallic finish. It also has a better color payoff than Amber Lights. This shadow has a very buttery texture.

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8. Popular Demand – if you don’t already have a matte red brown in your makeup arsenal, then i’d highly recommend picking up this stunning eyeshadow.

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9. Let Me Explain – I love using this metallic ivory to highlight my browbone and inner corner of the eye.

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10. Top Notch – Everyone needs a great matte terracotta brown in their collection. Top Notch is versatile enough to create a wide variety of looks.

See swatches below. As usual, I did not use a primer:

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(From left to right: Let Me Explain, Popular Demand, Save It For Later, Stay Golden, Soft Core, Criss Cross, Come and Get It, Bel Air, Paper Tiger and Top Notch)

This concludes My Top 10 Favorite ColourPop Pressed Powder Shadows. Have you tried these eyeshadows? If so, which are your favorite shades?

Like this post or leave a comment below if you want me to review any of the new 12 pan eyeshadow palettes. (I own all 4: She, Yes, Please!, I Think I Love You and My Little Pony Palette.)

Check out my other ColourPop Favorites below:

Super Shock Shadows

Ultra Matte Lips

Ultra Satin Lips

Lippie Stix

xoxo, Sarah