2016 Favorites

I’m sticking to last year’s annual favorites format because it worked well.

2016 Favorites - Garnier & Simple Micellar Water

Garnier Micellar Water, $7; Simple Micellar Water, $8

If I had to pick a single type of product to name as a favorite in 2016, I’d have to say micellar water is it. I like both of these and purchase whichever is a better value at the time. I’ve totally given up makeup wipes in favor of using this with cotton pads or a reusable makeup removing cloth.

Pantene Pro-V Stylers Mousse, $6

This mousse is my, “daily driver.” Out of the (average) 135 days per year I blow-dry my hair, this product is in my hair at least 95 of them. (The remaining ~40 is either hyper-lazy, product-free, or calls for the big guns.) It is accessible, inexpensive, and reliable – and it works well on my hair.

Gimme Brow

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Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Full vs Travel

Last year, I won a travel sized Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (my post on it here) in Dim Light. I liked it so much that I splashed out for a full-size (on sale, of course). Sites obviously shares the volume of product in each, it can be hard to tell without a side-by-side. My local Sephora store, for instance, does not carry Hourglass – and when I have an idea that I think would have helped me, I like to share.

Side-by-Side

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Full vs TravelHourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Full vs Travel

The difference is pretty comical – so to put numbers to that picture, the left is 0.35 oz (for $46); the right is 0.04 oz (for $22). You’re getting over 8x the product for just over twice the price…and with how long the tiny travel size has lasted me (barely looks used), that is going to last me sometime into the 22nd century.

The Bottom Line

Unless you need the tiny size for some odd reason, skip it – the value just isn’t there. The price-per-ounce is already painfully high in the full size (I keep reminding myself of the fact that this stuff is going to last 2/3 of eternity) at around $131. The travel size comes in at a crushing $550 per ounce. It’s sheer (ha) lunacy.

What I Bought During the 2016 VIB Sale

 

 

Although I am not buying holiday palettes, that doesn’t mean I’m not shopping. I hit the 20% off VIB Sale at Sephora on Friday. Today is the last day.

Tartelette In Bloom

Look! I’m a cliche! I bought another palette of neutrals, this time on recommendation of Stefanie Nicole of YouTube. I love her no-bullshit approach to … everything, and I trust her judgment. Here’s hoping it works out for me in a way that Naked2 just didn’t. Review to come once I’ve had time with it.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder

After almost a year with the travel size, I decided to invest in the full size. I have yet to hit pan, which I think says a lot about its longevity. I love the finish it gives with and without foundation, and at this rate it will last me forever. The travel sized compact is available for $22.

Colorswitch by Vera Mona

To me, this is definitely a splurge item. I can imagine that there are more cost-effective ways to do accomplish what this does. I decided to pay for convenience – and I will definitely report back on whether or not this is worth it.

VIB Sale Recap

I didn’t go crazy this year. In fact, I wouldn’t have even gotten the ColorSwitch if I hadn’t been a couple dollars shy of locking in VIB for 2017. I was going to buy a larger bottle of Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil but decided against it in favor of trying another variety (gasp, I know – last time that didn’t go so well).

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder – Dim Light

Hourglass Ambient Lighting PowderHourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

If you’re looking for the Ambient Strobing Powders, sorry to disappoint. I haven’t tried one.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder line launched a couple years ago, and since then many have adopted them as their holy grail powders. They were firmly out of my reach, however, at $45 a pop. Lovely though they may be, are they worth almost fifty bucks? I’m skeptical.

Some months ago, a travel size of Dim Light (what appears to me to be one of the bestselling shades) came available at Sephora for only $22. I was lucky enough to win a wishlist-based contest in which the winnings were your choice of items of up to $X amount, so I chose the small (only 0.049oz) Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder to give a shot, for science and curiosity and, well, I don’t own any highlighters (really!).

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Noteworthy and New at Sephora

I was browsing, as I often do, and came across some noteworthy and new items on Sephora.com. I haven’t tried any of these products, but they’re interesting enough to talk about.

New at Sephora - Kat von D Shade + Light Contour Palette

Kat von D Shade + Light Contour Palette, $46

The KvD-branded makeup line has released a contour palette new at Sephora ostensibly as an Anastasia contender. It only comes in one set of shades (more similar to Anastasia’s lighter palette) and has spectacular reviews so far. Curiously, the darker pans (for carving out cheekbones and whatnot) contain more product than the highlighting/setting pans. KvD/Sephora also released this dual-ended HaC (that’s Highlight and Contour) brush to go with, priced at $36, though any you prefer, of course, will do.

New at Sephora - Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette

Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palettes, $58

It is no secret that Hourglass repeatedly produces things of beauty. And I don’t mean beauty products; the products and packaging are beautiful, elegant, amazing. Their new eyeshadow palettes are features housing similar to their highlighter and blush trios, and the panless presentation of shades is a sight to behold. The collection, which is currently only available to VIB Rouge members, includes seven palettes with five shades each. I don’t think I could justify this purchase for myself, but they’re really fantastic to stare at.

New at Sephora - Benefit Puff Off!

Benefit Puff Off!, $29

I can’t shake the, “Oh look, another gimmicky item from Benefit!” feeling I get when I look at this. This eye gel has a cutesy clothes-iron-shaped applicator for, “ironing out,” any fine lines or puffiness. Personally, I’ll leave my skincare to the skincare companies, but this will be at home in the collections of Benefit fans. This isn’t only new at Sephora; Ulta has this, too.

New at Sephora - The Stunningly Ridiculous and Actually Kind of Offensive $675 of Christian Louboutin Nail Polish

Christian Louboutin Starlight (via the Wayback Machine), $675

OH LOOK, more nonsense from the shoe brand. How lucky that they have a few shoe models in such a low, low price-point! Aside from its mere (annoying) existence, this item’s ridiculosity (yes) is compounded by the fact that the polish is the very same that I wrote about a couple months ago…its just that the bottle is adorned in Strass crystals. Not diamonds or anything, just…swarovski. So not just nail polish, but tacky nail polish in a gift box. Yay! Seriously, seeing this stuff on sale at Sephora makes me roll my eyes. How many of these are they actually selling? It has to be the single most expensive item they carry (not talking about sets or kits).

New at Sephora - YSL Volupté Tint-In-Oil

YSL Volupté Tint-In-Oil, $32

A new twist on lipcolor, Yves Saint Laurent delivers color suspended in oil as an alternative to a more-traditional gloss. Surprisingly, a lot of the reviews report that it is actually drying. Not sure what to make of that – I’d certainly have expected it to be hydrating. I wonder if other brands will enter the fray?

New at Sephora - BITE Smashed Agave Lip Mask

BITE beauty Smashed Agave Lip Mask, $26

Bite’s highly-touted lip treatment now in a rosy-red hue. I’d probably go for the original because I’d wear it to bed (don’t want pinkish red on my pillowcases, after all) but it is really nice to see brands responding to what consumers have been asking for.
New at Sephora - Dior Cheek & Lip Glow

Dior Cheek & Lip Glow, $37

Look! Dior’s making Benetint! Just kidding. I’ve never tried Benetint, but I know if this product preforms as well as the Dior Addict Lip Glow appears to (at least according to sales), it’ll have a cult following in no time.

And, let’s end on a positive note, because that’s a nice thing to do…

New at Sephora - Sephora Teint Infusion Ethereal Natural Finish Foundation

Sephora Teint Infusion Ethereal Natural Finish Foundation, $24

That’s a mouthful, but this is Sephora’s foray into the serum-foundation game (like bareMinerals bareSkin, Perricone No Foundation Foundation Serum, YSL Fusion Ink, etc). Sephora foundations, at least since I’ve been paying attention to prestige-level makeup, have gotten pretty good reviews and at only $24 the price is pretty damn nice (especially considering that some drugstore foundations are as high as $15 now). My main complaint is that currently this is online only – makes getting a color match pretty difficult. I’m not sure if this serum foundation’s shades are configured for ColorIQ matches, but I intend to find out because I really, really want to try it. It’s honestly my favorite (taking into account I haven’t tried any of this) of what I’ve found new at Sephora.

Have you seen anything new at Sephora – or anywhere else! Anything beauty-related – that was noteworthy?