TBT: Sephora’s Jem and the Holograms Collection

So there’s a Jem and the Holograms movie that’s come out recently. Apparently it has more-or-less bombed in the theatres, but old fans riding the nostalgia wave are still sure to appreciate all the tie-ins it has generated.

Truth be told, Jem is before my time. So I won’t wax faux-fangirl with you – I’m pretty sure I never saw so much as an episode in my childhood.

That said, Sephora has come out with a Jem and the Holograms Collection. Before I restate it on EACH item in the collection, if you’re buying these for a Jem fan, it will likely go over well, regardless of any other factors, even if for the novelty/nostalgia factor.

First up, the Truly Outrageous Palette:

Sephora Jem and the Holograms Collection - Truly Outrageous Eyeshadow Palette
Sephora Jem and the Holograms Collection – Truly Outrageous Eyeshadow Palette

Housed in glittery black cardboard-style packaging with very 80s-feeling lightning bolt motifs inside, the Jem and the Holograms Truly Outrageous shadow palette features 24 shades with a variety of finishes. Looking at it, it’s pretty loud – which falls in line with the show and, arguably, the decade, with a few neutral shades thrown in. To me, it feels very much like a Vice palette from Urban Decay – but I’m fine with this (after all, UD did not release it). As it turns out, though, it is much smaller – the pans are roughly the size of the pans you’d find in a Lorac PRO or Lorac PRO2.

What I am wholly skeptical of, though, is the quality of the shadows. Some Sephora shadows are great, but others lackluster (a challenge many house-brands have). Couple that with the fact that this is a limited edition promotional tie-in, and… well, I’m doubting these shades, pretty though they are, are knocking it out of the park with pigmentation and performance. Reviews on Sephora’s site are mixed. Unless you’re a die-hard fan, memorabilia collector, or gifting this to someone, I would personally pass.

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2015 Holiday Sets

Now that we’re nearly in October (tomorrow!), most (if not all) of the 2015 Holiday Sets have been announced.

I’m not impressed, unfortunately.

Actually, that’s not true – the Kat von D Mi Vida Loca Remix palette ($59) is so awe-inspiring that it is about beyond words, actually. Pretty sure it’s been out of stock since it hit the shelves and site though. Just look at it, though. It is colorful, but not jarring like UD Electric can be – and it. has. neutrals. to help balance out the brights. Santa?

2015 Holiday Sets - KvD Mi Vida Loca

Otherwise, though – not impressed. No one is killing it this year!

Too Faced always goes cutesy, but Jarrod’s vision this year is just weird. French-inspired cutesy. With sets like Le Grand Palais at Sephora for $59 (that looks oddly familiar)…

2015 Holiday Sets - Le Grand Palais

and La Petite Maison at Ulta ($39; actually has many of the same shades as Everything Nice; pretty sure none of them are unique to this palette)… meh.

2015 Holiday Sets - Too Faced La Petite Maison

I’ve already talked about Vice-however-many, $59. I’ve been over it. No need to go into it more, here.

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Too Faced Everything Nice Palette Unboxing

I listed the limited edition Everything Nice Palette from Too Faced in my 2014 Prestige Makeup (Holiday) Gifts. Fortunately, my awesome husband not only got it for me, but gave it to me early (we’re kind of bad about that). I’ve had a few weeks to play with it now, and I have a ton to say – but for now, we’ll just unbox the Everything Nice Palette to avoid TL;DR.

Here’s the box, front (left) and back (right):

Too Faced Everything Nice Palette - Box Front and Back

Let’s crack it open. It says, #own your pretty. Or is it #ownyourpretty?

Too Faced Everything Nice Palette - Unboxing 1 - #ownyourpretty

The glittery, hot pink clutch is safely tucked in along with a deluxe sample tube of Too Faced Better than Sex mascara.

Too Faced Everything Nice Palette - Unboxing 2

Get rid of those and lift the flap…bingo!

Too Faced Everything Nice Palette - Unboxing 3

“That’s what pretty girls are made of,”

Too Faced Everything Nice PaletteEverything Nice Palette by Too Faced

Glorious makeup, out of its box. Twenty shadows, two blushes, a bronzer, a highlight, three brushes, and an impossibly glittery clutch.

Too Faced Everything Nice Palette - All Unboxed

For cheap tools included with a value palette, the three included brushes aren’t bad. It includes a shader, an angled brush, and a flat face brush.

Too Faced Everything Nice Palette - Tools and Clutch Detail

And here’s a closer, top-down view of the Everything Nice Palette, opened:

Too Faced Everything Nice Palette - Top Down

Although the Everything Nice Palette is similar in format and color scheme to last year’s Too Faced mega palette (which was Too Faced My Favorite Things), it is different enough to be worth buying if you have last year’s edition (I do not have it). Retailing exclusively at Sephora, it goes for $56 in stores and online (when it isn’t sold out)! I’m curious to see if it will linger after the holidays for a little while as its predecessor did.

Review and swatches to come soon!

2014 Prestige Makeup Gifts

All of the 2014 Prestige Makeup Gifts (Holiday sets) should be out by now, with MAC appearing to be this season’s stragglers – here are my picks for what’s worth a look at.

1. Too Faced Everything Nice (Sephora Exclusive), $59

Of all the holiday sets, this is by far my favorite. I actually don’t own any Too Faced shadows, but last year’s version of this palette (A Few of my Favorite Things) was my favorite of 2013. Twenty shadows with a nice mix of neutrals and (usable) colors, two blushes, two bronzers, some brushes (that honestly probably aren’t that great, but still), a Better Than Sex mascara mini and a cute bag for it to live in. The looks I’ve seen created with this so far have been pretty fun, and I hope I can get one before the season is over/they run out.

2. LORAC Ultimate PRO Collection (Ulta Exclusive, Online Only), $98

2014 Prestige Holiday Gift Sets - LORAC Ultimate PRO

Last year, Ulta had a LORAC Pro set that included a couple other things for $3 less than the regular LORAC Pro Palette price of $42. This year, we have a really nice bundle including the original PRO Palette, the PRO Palette 2 (each come with a wee tube of Behind the Scenes eye primer), the PRO Powder Cheek Stain in Rosy Glow, one of their new lauded PRO Matte Lip Colors in Pink, PRO Mascara, and PRO Cream Liner. This is a pretty damn good set. Considering each palette is worth $42, the the mascara goes for $23, the lipcolor for $16, the liner for $19, and the blush for $20, this set is a steal as compared to regular retail. I haven’t tried anything aside from the palettes, but even if just one of the other items is good, this set is worth it.

3. The Superstars Collection from Sephora (via the Wayback Machine) (Sephora Exclusive), $75

This would be a great gift for someone either just starting with makeup or wanting to check out a variety of prestige brands without the financial commitment of splurging on all the full-size varieties (though many items in this set are full-size). For me, this set includes I’ve tried and definitely like and would gladly welcome backups of, products I’d like to try, and a few things I would pass along to another makeup-user who has different tastes. This is a pretty versatile set – whether you’re looking at this as a, “Treat yo’self,” gift, a gift for a loved one, or a means of getting several smaller gifts for a handful or two of people, this has you covered if in doubt.

4. Too Faced La Belle Carousel, $49 at Ulta and Sephora

The name doesn’t drive me crazy but this is more of a cute gift than a practical one. While I don’t doubt the quality of what lies within, I do doubt the claim that it is a $282 value – unless the impractical packaging is valued higher than I’d expect (which wouldn’t surprise me). This is definitely something I could see buying and splitting up or getting for someone who, “has everything,” but might appreciate bite-sized palettes for travel or to simplify decision making (for those with 4,000 palettes and nothing to wear..)

5. Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot, $36 at Ulta and Sephora (via the Wayback Machine)

2014 Prestige Holiday Gift Sets - Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot

Despite my recent confession that Benefit’s packaging doesn’t do it for me, I’d be way more inclined to pick up this palette of cheek products from them. For the price of one regular sized blush you get seven products – five blushes, Hoola bronzer, Watt’s Up highlighter – and a brush. If you’re about that blush life and have wanted to try this, drop hints – it is a good value.

6. BeautyBlender & Solid, $25

Practical (yes, even when it comes to beauty) gifts always please and are nearly-universally appropriate. This holiday-edition BeautyBlender comes packaged with a BlenderCleanser Solid. Whether the user is new to makeup spongers or is an aspiring BeautyBlender hoarder, this is sure to please. Appropriate for novices all the way through professionals this versatile tool comes with cleanser to take care of it properly. Love it.

7. Urban Decay Ten 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil Set, $52 at Ulta and Sephora (via the Wayback Machine)

I chose this set over the dual-ended Black Magic set because one only needs so many shades of black eyeliner in their collection and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. If we’re in the business of gift-giving (and we are), this would definitely be something a makeup fancier might look at and add to their wish-list but not prioritize very high if they aren’t abundantly passionate about colorful eye looks.

Those are my top picks of the 2014 Prestige Makeup Gifts! Vice 3 underwhelmed me and didn’t make the list because it was too similar to other years. The Benefit Advent calendar is a really cute idea, but reviews suggest that it includes non-makeup items such as hair ties and non-beauty items such as paperclips and notepads. MAC’s holiday brush sets are notoriously lower-quality than their regular-run counterparts. The LORAC Mega PRO would have made my list if it hadn’t sold out a week after release with no plan for more production.

What are your favorite picks from the 2014 Prestige Makeup Gifts so far? What is on your wishlist, and what are you gifting to others?