Sephora Favorites – Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted

Holiday beauty sets are everywhere it seems – and it also seems like more and more brands release more and more sets each year! Sephora Favorites is one of the best at putting together great brands and products in various themes, and I’ve always drooled over them, but never had the wherewithal to actually buy one. When I saw the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted set online, I knew I had to have it. Unfortunately I waffled for ages and it sold out online quite quickly. However, I managed to find it in a physical store – so even though it might be annoying for me to post about something that did sell out a while ago, it’s worth checking your local Sephora(s) for the set. While I can no longer link the set at Sephora, check out Temptalia’s itemized description and pictures here.

Generally speaking, what makes me so hesitant about buying sets, and palettes/kits in general, is that I want to make sure I will use every single item or colour in a set. Sure, it’s good value for money to get a palette or set, but if you’re only going to use a fraction of the product, then what is the point? Which is why I wavered a bit with this one – two products were giving me pause despite the fact that the price tag ($90 CAD) were well worth the other products in the kit. I have since given them away to a friend – the Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 714 and the Estee Edit Kohl Shadowstick. I have nothing against the lipstick, but I already own so many reds that I wasn’t sure what I’d do with another one, and I just can’t wear kohl eyeliner with my oily face.

The actual value of this set is insane – there are a ton of full-sized products and the minis are deluxe sized. Really, what I was after was the Foreo Luna Play, which by itself retails for $49, because I really wanted to try the Foreo without shelling out the full $200. I haven’t used it a ton, but it definitely works well – I’d say it’s quite gentle compared to the Clarisonic. My only gripe is that it’s exceptionally small – no more than 1.5-2 inches in diameter.

The other no-brainer products I was after in the set were the Beautyblender nude (you can always use another beautyblender), and the Kat Von D Eyeliner in Trooper, which I am currently running out of, so buying the set was quite timely. I also wasn’t about to complain about having minis of the GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment (about $20 worth), and NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer in Custard, which are perfect for traveling.

I recently went on a short trip and actually brought a few of the mini items in the set with  me, including the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder, which is my new favourite for under the eyes, the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Marine Boosting Mist (perfect for the plane and smells delicious too!), and the adorable Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone. I’ve never tried any Becca highlighters, although it must be the  most popular line of highlighters in the world, from what I’m hearing on YouTube. I always thought Moonstone would be slightly too pale for me, but with a light hand, it works perfectly well for day time or night.

The last two products in the kit I’m not 100% sure about: the CoverFX Enhance Click Highlighter in Bubbly, which is a lovely cream highlighter that leans slightly pink, and the Benefit Ka-Brow! in Shade 3, which is a warm medium brown that actually does sort of work for me since my hair is warmer than my eyebrows, but I’m completely unused to using any kind of brow product other than a quick swipe of tinted brow gel. The tiny bottle is also very hard to work with – product doesn’t come out of it easily.

Either way, I’m very pleased with this set and will be working my way through the products in the next year. Hopefully it’s still available at Sephora stores – what is your favourite holiday kit for 2016?

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Lemony Sweet Scents

Perfume isn’t really my thing. There’s something about the stuff that generally goes the wrong way up my nose and makes me sneeze like nobody’s business. I’m not sure if it has something to do with the spray part of perfume; whatever it is that spray bottles use to disperse the scent might be part of the problem (hence my tendency to go for rollerballs), but all I know is that perfume has never really agreed with me. Even the scents of typical perfumes have not ever been appealing to me.

But I still like to smell nice. While I am not a fan of perfume-y type smells, I quite enjoy scents that smell like things in life, mostly of the edible variety (count me out when it comes to the majority of floral scents). My favourite type of scent has to be lemon, or some other citrus fruit, since the tanginess seems to offset anything overly sweet. Here are a few that I have on rotation at present:

The Philosophy line of scents have been some of my favourites and actually form my first foray into the world of perfume. I have enjoyed both the Unconditional Love and Love Sweet Love scents, especially the latter since it smells like sweet grapefruits. I’m now getting down to the last few drops of my Loveswept rollerball, which is citrusy and sweet at the same time, without being overpowering. According to Sephora, it is scented with bergamot, which is where it gets its tartness from. Love this and would repurchase.

In the colder months I do tend to go for the line of ridiculously decadent Laura Mercier body creams, which all smell like baked goods (remember, I like edible scents). Her Tarte au Citron scent is to die for. I am fortunate enough to have both the full size and mini travel size of the scent, which smell of lemon, but are also rich, sugary and creamy. I can’t explain it – the best way is to find your way to a Laura Mercier counter and stick your nose in the stuff. You won’t regret it – it’s amazing. I expect the full sized jar will last me a good while, as it should, it’s bloody expensive. But when I do finally run out, you can bet I’ll be saving up my pennies to get another one!

The newest sweet citrus scent to my collection is the very popular Sugar scent from Fresh. I found it difficult to choose between the varieties of scents Fresh has, but in the end I settled on the original Sugar scent. Anyone who has tried Fresh’s lip products will know this tart but sweet smell. It’s definitely the most tart of the bunch I own, but as its name suggests, it is balanced by the sugar in the formula. It’s incredible and I would also love to get some of the other bath & body products in the line, if only I could justify spending that much money on them.

What are your favourite scents, and what would you recommend?

The Q3 Clearout

I can’t believe how quickly time flies! It’s already October, which means I was due to get rid of the trash collecting beneath my desk – all the things I used up in the last few months. It’s been good recently, and I feel like I’ve been using things up and freeing up space (to buy more products…………?). A few highlights:

I have finally used up my Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Loose Finishing Powder in the shade Naked Medium. This is an awesome powder and the first loose powder I ever bought. It’s completely undetectable on the skin and it sits really nicely over makeup. It took me ages to use up but I used this sucker up til it was really gone – I even took tweezers and pried open the sifter. I did the same with  my mini of the Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder, which was also a great powder, especially for under the eyes.

The Boscia Clear Complexion Treatment has become one of my favourite serums of all time – I’m almost done my second bottle of the stuff and am about to repurchase it again. It’s light and does its job without feeling greasy or tacky at all. Having tried both the cleanser and toner in the Clear Complexion range, I have to say this treatment is the best part of the line. While it doesn’t tackle the huge hormonal breakouts on my chin, it has kept the rest of my face much clearer than before. I use this everyday in the morning and the best part – it’s not overly expensive!

I’ve also got a very battered beautyblender, the corresponding cleanser and my empty bottle of L’Oreal Infallible Makeup Extender Setting Spray, all things I will either be repurchasing or trying to find dupes for.

What have you used up recently, and what would you repurchase?

Mini Reviews on Minis

What is it about mini products that just makes everyone go nuts? They’re so cute and the packaging is so adorable and… they’re also cheaper than the full-size and oh-so travel friendly. Between my Birchbox subscription from 2015 and point perks and the aisle of doom in every Sephora store, I’ve managed to acquire quite a few minis that needed to be used and used up.

The most exciting mini for me has to be the recently-released Urban Decay All-Nighter Liquid Foundation. I had the Naked Foundation a while back and it was alright, but once I heard about the new long-wearing full coverage formula,  I absolutely knew I had to try it out. The only thing that really gave me pause (other than the $49 price tag) was the Urban Decay colour selection. I had the 4.0 shade in the Naked foundation and always found it to be far too yellow for me. The other question I had was whether this new formula would oxidize the same way. I can unquestionably confirm that it does. I managed to pick up the shade 5.0 of the All-Nighter, and while upon first swipe it seems alright, it quickly darkens and goes far too dark and orange on my skin. The strange thing is that they introduced a couple of neutral undertone shades but not as dark as I need – a 4.25 would be perfect for me (currently, the Urban Decay foundation lines have the .0s as yellow-undertoned and 0.5s as pink undertoned). Colour aside, this is definitely the most full coverage foundation I’ve ever used – it goes on very smoothly and covers everything. It lasts a fair bit but I definitely still get oily and have to blot periodically, so on the oil control front, it’s just meh. But if you like a full-coverage foundation, and you have moderately oily skin, I would recommend this for sure – just make sure you go a shade lighter.

The next thing I had to try is the miniature Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara. I was extremely excited to try this because everyone and their grandmother has been raving about the regular Better than Sex mascara, which I have always avoided because I knew the formula wasn’t waterproof. Sad to say, my oily eyelids eat this stuff for breakfast. It smudges all over the place and I can’t wear it. Also, the brush is far too big and bushy for my eyes, so it tends to get everywhere. It’s another mascara fail for me, unfortunately, so the hunt continues for a more accessible and affordable mascara I can buy here. The packaging is insanely cool though – the fake water droplets though?!

Laura Mercier is a line I have always wanted to try more of, but it’s quite expensive, so I’ve had to pick little bits and pieces as I go. A while back they were offering a 100 point perk at Sephora of the Lip Glace in Bare Baby, which is a lovely light pink. The lip gloss goes on smoothly and isn’t sticky. The one thing I’m not crazy about is the scent – it’s smells strongly of sickly sweet vanilla, but if you like that smell then you’d probably love this product.

Onto the skincare – another 100 point perk I grabbed is the Ole Henriksen Truth Sugar Glow Polishing Mask, which is a gritty exfoliant that smells like oranges. You’re meant to spread it over the skin and leave it for 10 minutes before scrubbing it off and therefore getting both chemical and physical exfoliation. It’s nice so far but I haven’t noticed any massive changes. I will continue to use it until it’s gone but may not purchase the full sized product.

Eye creams are something that I’m not overly fussy about – the only things they really have to do are keep my undereye area hydrated, and not ball up and disappear when I put concealer there. The Benefit Puff Off! is supposed to help with puffy bags, but that’s not really a problem I have – however it’s a nice eye cream to use in the morning – not too heavy, and it sinks in instantly. I haven’t had any issues in the makeup department either.

Have you tried any of these products, and what did you think?