Noteworthy and New at Sephora

I was browsing, as I often do, and came across some noteworthy and new items on 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?

Beauty Fails of 2014

Last week, I shared my favorites of 2014 – so why not do a fails of 2014, too?

Beauty Fails of 2014Beauty product fails of 2014

Benefit they’re Real! Push-Up Liner – I feel like I’ve talked about this product a lot. In reality, this product isn’t a total fail – the applicator truly is brilliant, but the gel liner inside makes me sad. No one wants wings that flake off. Here’s hoping Benefit improves their formula.

Elma & Sana Argan Oil – Admittedly, I wanted to believe I was just paying for a name with my Josie oils. I shelled out for a far less expensive variety and really got what I paid for. On top of that, the (English) label was written by someone who is not familiar with the language…and apparently there was no proofing or editing before being sent off to print. Unprofessional presentation, sub-par product. After the dropper-cap started acting up, I tossed it out of exasperation. I won’t even link to them or their product because it was so disappointing.

Glambot – Initially, I was impressed and thrilled. But when I found out that they don’t bother to check batches of received items to make sure they aren’t expired or nearly-expired, I was miffed. When I then brought that to the attention of their management, no effort was made to ensure my satisfaction as a customer. You can check them out if you’re dying to try something for less than retail but be warned: it may be expired.

More details after the jump…

Read more

MAC Marketing is Weird, Sometimes


If you saw the following photo in a retailer’s catalog or on their site without context, what would you imagine they were selling you?

MAC Marketing is Weird

Tartan plaid, maybe? Shirtless, kilt-and-boot-wearing long-haired men? Going barefoot in a dress with a portrait neckline?

I really wasn’t sure to think. After I looked at it for a few minutes, I decided that sometimes images used to sell fragrance are weird like this sometimes. Let’s set up a weird photoshoot with a couple mdels, dress them weird/fancy/whatever, instruct the models to put on a smoldering gaze and toss their hair around carelessly. Somehow, that is supposed to translate into, “This is the imagery this scent inspires!” Tartan Mystique, let’s call it.

Maybe it’s just trying to say, “This scent is so awesome that this is what you’ll feel like while wearing it. Off with you! Get your dress, your tartan, your random rocks and a watercolor backdrop!”


As it turns out, however, this is not trying to sell you fragrance.

Read more

Buying Safely

Counterfeits exist. We all know this – be they counterfeit bills, bags, whatever. Someone makes a convincing (or not-so-convincing) knock-off, sells it to some unknowing (or uncaring) consumer at what appears to be a deep, deep discount. Fakes and counterfeits exist in the beauty industry, too, so it is important to know who you’re doing business with so you can be sure you’re making good choices and buying safely.

Before my interest in the beauty industry grew, I knew there were fakes – long before I owned my Naked palette, I had seen knock-offs trying to pass themselves off as the real thing from Urban Decay. Oh sure, that palette with the wrong font, wrong-color case, sold by an atypical vendor (eBay? random Amazon Marketplace merchant? Flea-Market [yes, really]?) that only costs $10 is clearly the same thing.

We all love a good deal, we all love not paying full price for something. I personally make it a point not to pay full retail whenever possible (legitimately, of course) but at some point I’d think a red flag would be triggered. This isn’t always the case, however; the siren song of cheap prestige makeup, skincare, and haircare is strong and lures people away from buying safely all the time.

A friend of mine (who isn’t as into this stuff) recently mentioned buying a Tarte Lipsurgence from Ulta ($24-25ish), but bemoaned the fact that she found it on Amazon for $9.97 + shipping after the fact. Eyebrows raised, I investigated…

Buying Safely - An Example of What to be Skeptical Of


…and found this.

I want to think it is reasonable to get that that cheap (or from Amazon at all), but unless that Tarte product is that cheap on sale from Ulta, Sephora, QVC, or the brand itself, steer clear. In addition to not wanting to waste money on a fake, you have to ask yourself:

If a seller is willing to pass their product off as that of another brand in order to make a sale, what else are they hiding about that product?

The ingredient listing, surely. You have no way of knowing what is in that product you’d be slapping liberally on your lips/eyes/etc. I’m not willing to gamble on that – if you are, congratulations on living on the edge, I guess. I won’t want to risk harming my eyes or lips to save a couple bucks that way. I’ll save up until I can buy it from a trusted source or I’ll buy a drugstore alternative; buying safely is too important when it comes to beauty items.

The reviews cried out that this listing was not legit, that they were sent fake product, etc. You should definitely check the reviews, but there are other things to look at. See how the features are formatted? You will never see legitimate (respectable!) retailers selling authentic product like this. It isn’t professional. Also, check their return policy. If they do not accept returns or exchanges for any reason, that’s sketchy.

Generally, be skeptical of:

  • eBay – The likelihood of you finding legitimate prestige products on eBay is pretty low. It is possible, but not likely, so I’d suggest avoiding it. You’d have better luck with Glambot – they verify legitimacy (but not batch/age).
  • Anything on Amazon that is not Shipped from and Sold By – There ARE a few Amazon Marketplace merchants who sell legit products but they are few and far between; and you’ll find that the legit products won’t have much (if any) of a discount as compared to traditional retailers. That said, itself does sell some prestige brands (LORAC, Stila, Cargo, The Balm, Eyeko, Butter London, and Deborah Lippman are some examples), so as long as you see that it is shipped from/sold by them, you can usually rest assured that you are buying safely.
  • Flea Markets – It makes me cringe to even have to mention this, but seriously. Fake palettes and products pop up all the time at these. Sometimes, the seller may not even realize they’re selling bad/fake product. Basically, don’t ever buy makeup or skincare at one of these (Avon is probably safe if you see it – no one is going to bother with counterfeits of it).

Basically, you can be pretty sure you’re buying safely if you’re buying from the brand directly, through Ulta, Sephora, a department store,, or other authorized retailers. If you aren’t sure if a retailer is authorized or legit to carry/sell those products, reach out to the brand to see if they can confirm.

Prestige/salon hair products are a bit more accessible. As far as hair products go, you sometimes see warnings to be skeptical of salon brands (like Tigi, Paul Mitchell, Sexy Hair, Redken, Matrix, etc) sold at drugstores, grocers and mass-retailers like Wal-Mart and Target. While you should be skeptical of buying those lines from the merchants I listed above, large chains like Walgreens, CVS, your local large grocers, Wal-Mart, and Target are not going to bother selling shady products, period. It would be a foolish risk for them to take. If you prefer to purchase them from your stylist or salon to help support their business, that’s awesome of you and you will definitely be buying safely – but you needn’t worry that you aren’t buying safely from your drugstore or mass-retailer of choice, either.

Be safe, buy safe. It isn’t just an authenticity issue, it’s a safety issue. If you aren’t sure, ask someone who is more experienced with such purchasing. If you don’t know anyone personally, there are a lot of great, helpful online communities that would be happy to help guide you.

Christian Louboutin Nail Polish

As you may imagine, as a beauty blogger I spend a lot of time on various beauty sites to check out what it new. On one of my recent trips down the makeup-on-the-internet rabbit hole, I came across this:

Louboutin Nail Polish – Rouge

This is nail polish. The bottle looks kind of neat (in fact, the cap reminds me of Julep’s Plie wand [that I have not tried]).

Christian Louboutin Nail Polish

Read more

Worth It? Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55

Indulgent. Exquisite. Envy-Inducing. We’re presenting our most coveted gift sets of the season. No one deserves them more than you.

was how a recent email I received from Sephora started out. Eyebrow already cocked.

This brush (via the Wayback Machine), the limited edition Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55, was referenced said email. “Oh, a sparkly brush. That’s fun,” I thought. I didn’t see the price in the email.

Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55

Later on, while browsing Sephora’s site, I came across it again.

The Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55 costs $275. One brush. Nothing special other than the fact that it is decked out in rhinestones. I could revamp my entire brush collection in Sigma and have money left over.

This is not even a specialty brush. Just a basic brush. The regular version (which has outstanding reviews!) costs only $34. See:

Classic/Regular version of the Sephora Pro Airbrush 55 as compared to Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55

On top of being ludicrously expensive, the, “luxurious,” Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55 is also wildly impractical – if you ever try to use it, good luck not getting makeup caked onto it. It will become a breeding ground for bacteria, the sparkle that you ostensibly purchased it for will dull. Cleaning in between the stones will be hellish at best. Even routine cleaning would be nerve-wracking – what if the adhesive holding the Swarovski crystals on weakens due to exposure to moisture?

For the love of cats, no, this Sephora Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55 brush is not worth it. Brushes are tools not decor; and while I can certainly appreciate an aesthetically pleasing brush, I don’t want or need my brush handles to resemble a cheap-quality, vastly-overpriced mall-kiosk cell phone case that a 12 year old would slap on her phone.

I’m all about investing in quality tools. I do believe that the right tool can make or break your experience (and not just with makeup, with anything. Ever needed to unscrew something but couldn’t find a screwdriver and had to use something like a butter knife? IT SUCKS) but there is also a point where it doesn’t make sense. Sephora’s Swarovski Pro Airbrush 55 crossed that point well over $200 ago.

Fortunately, the very few reviews this brush has point out that this is not a great buy. If you want to give someone a cosmetic-related gift, try something else (like a holiday palette or some Sigma brushes). At least it was good for a laugh!

I really enjoy Sephora and they come out with a lot of neat stuff, but unfortunately some things are just misses. What other hilariously-priced (and not possibly worth it) tools have you come across?