Saturday, October 24, 2015

Holiday 2015: "Sephora Favorites Superstars" Review & Swatches!!!

Originally I planned for a consolidated blog post sharing my thoughts on a lot of limited edition palettes and value sets that have come out for the 2015 Holiday Season. But I am simply not having enough time to extensively research on the sets I want to include. Instead, for now, allow me to share my 2nd pick from these very tempting gift items! Meanwhile, I am absolutely loving Bite Beauty Rewind set which was my very first choice…check it out here!

Today I am talking about this year’s Sephora Favorites Superstars (It’s going to be a long post :-) )! I love these Sephora Favorites Sets although my interest level drops if it costs me more than 50 bucks! :- ) But when I was going through all holiday sets from different companies, this set interested me the most primarily for these reasons -
  • Out of all the sets, I found that this gives me the most return for my money- quality and quantity wise.
  • Sephora included some of the best and most popular products. A lot of which I never tried.
  • Beauty Blender and Stila Eyeliner are some of my holy grail products.

Let’s talk about the price. It is a Sephora Favorite so it is obviously a good deal! You can find it in Sephora Retail stores and on at a price of $75. It is marketed to be of $207 value set I followed my own method and per my calculation the value of this kit is 212$ (220$ if you consider the price of Smashbox Primer in travel size). Here is the price break down :-)

Amount in Kit

in Full-Size
Full-Size Price (USD)
Value in Kit (USD)
Beautyblender® original
Full Size
NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Himalia
Full Size
0.05 oz.
Urban Decay Eye shadow in Lounge
Full Size
0. 05 oz.
Stila Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black
Full Size
0.016 oz.
Touch in Sol Stretchex Stretch Lash Effect Mascara
Full Size
0.24 oz.
Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL™ Extreme Longwear Eyeliner in Noir Intense
Full Size
0.042 oz.
Benefit They're Real! Mascara
0.1 oz.
0.3 oz.
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight
Full Size
0.21 oz.
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Highlight
0.06 oz.
0.26 oz.
Tarte the Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer in Park Ave Princess™
0.06 oz.
0.09 oz.
Tarte The Slenderizer Bamboo Contouring Brush
0.035 oz
Available in doble sized brush
MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer / Base Step 1 Skin Equalizer
0.16 oz.
1 oz.
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water  
1 oz.
1oz/3.9 oz 

Basically it is of incredible value. Let’s discuss the products one by one before the post gets 100 pages long :-)

Beauty Blender “the original”: I waited so long to try this! But when I finally did try it, I have been in UTTER love. I have been using this since this Spring. It makes foundation application so darn easy! As instructed I use it little damp to apply my foundation and within a minute I have amazing flawless skin. It works the same way with foundation and BB creams! You need to try this!

MAKE UP FOR EVER Step 1 Skin Equalizer Hydrating Primer / Base Step 1 Skin Equalizer: MUFE is one my most favorite brands! I am disappointed in the size though. You have just a week or at most, 10 day’s worth of product. All the other items in this kit are decently sized. It did a good job as a primer. My makeup held on good, but around my mouth where it typically gets dry the foundation started to break towards the end of the day. I like it but I am not 200% impressed with it yet.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water: Everybody loves this product. I was not sold on this first but now that I have been using it constantly, I am slowly falling in love. It has a nice spritzer that works great in dispersing even amount. I have used it under makeup as well as a setting spray and it does a good job in elongating the wear time of my makeup, including my lipstick :-) I am very much enjoying this right now but I am yet to be impressed enough to recommend this to you to go out and buy it in full size.

Benefit Cosmetics "They're Real! Mascara": Honestly, I am a little annoyed with Sephora for putting this mascara in each and every set. A lot of people love it. I don’t like the plastic bristles and I don’t enjoy how it makes my lashes crisp and separate. But I do grab it when I need to wear waterproof mascara and also when I am photographing for the blog. So while it is not my most favorite, I still find use for it!

NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in “Himalia”: Thanks to my value set addiction, my NARS collection is slowly growing :-) :-) :-) I have shared many times before that I find the most pleasure while playing with colors when makeup is concerned; so neutral shades like this do not excite me as much as a blue eyeshadow. But now that I have a more conventional work environment and can wear a bit of makeup every day, I am finding “Himalia” to be extremely useful! It’s a perfect “One-shade-and-done” lid color! I thought it would be much lighter but I am so glad that it’s a little deeper. It is a taupey bronze in metallic finish. VERY pigmented, very easy to apply and blend, even with my finger. It does stay a decent time without primer; with primer it has a wear time of around 6-7 hrs. and then it starts to fade while still looking gorgeous. I adore the packaging - minimal, elegant, has a magnetic closure and I love the embossing on the eyeshadow itself :-) I have slowly started to ponder that NARS rocket-high prices may just be justifiable.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in “Lounge”: Such an elegant metallic duo-chrome shade and Urban Decay does the best metallic. It has an intense olive green/teal shimmer on a coppery reddish brown base. It is a fun, fancy color to swatch and to use :-) And it is sophisticated enough to use it subtly for an everyday look. It is not crazy pigmented so I need to use 2-3 layers to get an even and intensely pigmented look. I did try using it wet and it looked a little more foiled then using dry! It lasted with the same intensity for more than 10-11 hrs! I will never pay full price considering it is neither an extremely unique nor innovative shade! But the more I am using it the more I am falling in love.

Stila Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in “Intense Black”: I got this last December in one similar set exclusive to Sephora inside JC Penny. It’s one of my MOST favorite eyeliners. I use it in rotation with some of my other favorites. Its waterproof, has a felt tip and the finish is slightly glossy. It applies smoothly and truly stays all day. Whenever I want to ensure that I get a quick and easy wing liner that needs to last all day, this is what I use. I simply adore this liner.

Touch in Sol Stretchex Stretch Lash Effect Mascara Sol Mascara: It is a lightweight lengthening mascara and it does give serious length to my tiny lashes! It is not volumizing. I am not crazy about extreme volume or curls on my lashes so that’s fine with me. I love the wand too; it is little curved, not too big or too small. Perfect for my small hooded eyes. Sephora website says that you can remove it with warm water, but no! You need a strong makeup remover for this.

Lancôme DRAMA LIQUI-PENCIL™ Extreme Longwear Eyeliner in Noir Intense: This a fairly new product line from Lancôme. There some kickass shades like pink and yellow and periwinkle blue :-) This is the black shade and it stayed for a long time on my upper lash line. But on my waterline, I have to keep applying it for 2-3 times to get the color to cling on to it. It did not tug and it did not hurt to apply that many times but it was annoying. Once I could get an even application it did last at least for 5-6 hrs. I have similar types of eyeliner so it is by no means a must-have product for me. But I can still never have too many black eye liners as I am always going to use them!

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight: Before I tried Champagne Pop from Becca, highlighters never interested me. Now I want to try everything :-) It’s a giant cream highlighter, extremely pale baby pink shade with very minuscule shimmer speckles…nothing too metallic though! Very creamy and super blendable. Being so creamy, I did not expect it to last long but I could see this glowing beautifully at the very end of the day! It’s a strong and extremely pigmented highlighter! If you like a subtle, simple makeup I would not recommend this, but personally I am loving it!

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Highlight: So many beauty addicts over the world are mad about this highlighter. I have never been interested in it mostly because of its steep price. But I am always excited to try things that are so widely loved, that too at a fraction of full size price. I really love the size of it, it is so much better than the full-size. In my experience baked product has a nice fluffy and creamier type of formula. But I felt this one is a little dry when swatched. It applies a bit dry as well! It would be perfect for oily skin but I personally prefer a less dry formula. Having said that I have to agree that I am really enjoying it. It’s very pigmented, blendable and long lasting.

Tarte the Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer in Park Ave Princess™: I love cream products in general; it is so much easier to work with my dry skin. I don’t have a huge interest in contouring but once again it is proving to be very useful in giving my face a little bit of shape especially when I am photographing new product application for this blog. At first look it appears slightly warm for contouring but when applied on the face it does not show that warm on my skin tone. It’s very creamy, easy to blend out and stays nicely for 5-6 hrs.

Tarte The Slenderizer Bamboo Contouring Brush: This is the cutest mini brush you would ever see… and it totally works! It’s very useful in placing the contour color. I was also able to blend the tarte contour I got with this set. I did have to go back with a more fluffy brush to blend it more. 

Points to complain about: We all need to write a petition to Sephora requesting them not to include “They're Real! Mascara” in each and every value set :-P It’s not a horrible product but I don’t want to see the same old products repeated in these sets (e.g., Too Faced Melted Peony Liquid Lipstick, Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Peony, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer etc.). I also wish they’d include a blush or maybe a lip product instead of 2 mascaras and 2 highlighters. That would have made this the most perfect value set for this holiday season! But it still is a great set. Out of the 13 products, 8 are full size and they are some of the most loved products available in Sephora. Apart from MUFE, rests of the mini products are also decently sized. I am thoroughly enjoying at least 70% of the products, and performance wise not one product has disappointed me. Overall, this is a set worth looking into :-)

What have you been shopping for the holiday season? :-)

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