My birthday falls in January and that definitely comes with few perks. For example when I was a student I could enjoy my birthday without having to worry about any tests as the school year would have just started. January born babes also get to collect the free birthday gifts from beauty stores like Ulta, Sephora or from other cosmetics brands comparatively sooner than the rest of the members! :-) This is something that I have been really enjoying for this past two years!!
I loved the gift that Sephora offered last year (blogged here). I came across a few sneak peak of 2015 Sephora Birthday gift via various social media in December and I have been pretty excited since then! The gift set was activated in Sephora website come January 1st, I ordered it ASAP. It reached my apartment within 4-5 days too! But I was out-of-station since then for work and it is just these past couple of days I have got around to exploring it. I am particularly more pumped because the NARS products in the set are highly raved about in the beauty industry and I did not have any of these in my collection yet.
Sooo, this year’s gift consists of deluxe-size velvet lip pencil in "Cruella" and satin lip pencil in "Rikugien" from NARS. I recently became a VIB Rouge (yes, I spend or waste(?) a lot of money in cosmetics :-)) my gift also included a bonus mini Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto. NARS and Sephora teamed up to design this kit named which they are calling as NARS Happy Birthday "One Year Bolder" kit.
Cruella (0.06 oz./1.8 g): This shade is described as "Scarlet Red" and you know I love my reds! (buy full-size here) If you compare it to the iconic Red- "Ruby Woo" from MAC Cosmetics, this is slightly more vivid, as to me it appears to have a very subtle orange hint. Personally, I prefer my reds to be a bit deeper! But after wearing it a few times I have really started to LOVE “Cruella”. It’s red, it’s bright and it’s playful! The finish is definitely matte but it’s easy-to-apply and feels weightless on the lips. It has not bleed or creased on me and it definitely does not make me conscious about wearing a red lipstick. I have had at least 9-10 hours of wear that survived a very cumbersome Indian Chai tea drink in a moving car. It faded after I ate a big homemade chicken roll but it did leave a beautiful stain. It does feel a little drying after 6-7 hrs of wear. But overall, I am very pleased.
Rikugien (0.05 oz./1.7 g): This appears as nude barbie-pink shade on my skin tone. But it is described as "rose pink" in Sephora website. (buy full-size here) Very pretty color, but I thought it will not look good on me. In fact when I first used it I did not like the feel as well the look on me for the first hour. I felt it was a bit too plastic-y, But after that, it settled on the lips pretty well and I loved the look thereafter :-) It is definitely hydrating compared to the velvet pencils. If you have pale skin tone, this shade will look so adorable on you. Sephora did a great job this year in assembling this comprehensive little gift; you get your red, your MLBB and the classic black liner :-)
Via Veneto (0.01 oz./0.3g): I am very glad that it was included in the VIB Rouge gift even though I was not very thrilled at the beginning about another black eyeliner. But I have to say, this one has impressed me the most in the kit. First of all, sleek packaging! It is automatic (I don't like things that need sharpening!) And it also comes with a tiny sharpener at the end. I may not use it ever but I always appreciate the option. The finish is matte, which makes me really happy because I did not have a black matte eyeliner till now. The staying power is very impressive; the first day I tried it without a primer and I took a small mid-day nap (guilty :-)) and I was surprised to see the liner intact. It may appear a bit less creamy than others, but I am loving it. (buy full-size here)
Now that, I have shared my excitement over the products let me describe Sephora's Beauty Insider program for those of you who is still unaware. It is a membership program which Sephora offers and you can register for it for free; online or in the stores. It rewards you with points against your purchases and later, you can claim sample reward products against those points that you have been accumulating. They also send you emails about some pretty cool promotional deluxe size products from time to time. (These emails have proved very dangerous to my financial health as I have purchased unnecessary items just to get the free products! I know :-) !!) They have different levels for their membership with few added benefits with each levels. In a calender year, if you spend 350$ you become VIB and if you cross 1000$ you reach VIB Rouge status. One of the perks that I have been TRUELY enjoying is the free shipping for VIB rouge members. So, even though you don't really shop regularly at Sephora, I suggest you open a Beauty Insider membership; it is a good thing.
Oh! Another thing! If you are not really very interested in the lip kit from NARS, you can choose this skincare kit from Peter Thomas Roth, another highly valued brand! I have used the mask and I love it! I am really glad that Sephora offered this interesting alternative.
Birthday gifts are redeemable in store (no purchase necessary) or online (you need to buy at least one merchandise to add this gift to your online order) during your birthday month. If you somehow forget to collect it during that month, you can always approach their customer service and they will reimburse you with beauty insider points in lieu of the gift (at least I have been told so, when I contacted them with the same query!)
I am thoroughly enjoying my gift! January and February born divas, go and collect your gift! For the rest of you, I am sorry but you have to wait :-)