If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
When it comes to favorites sets, no one puts them together like Sephora. I have a really hard time passing on favorites that are makeup and skin care related causing me to buy more than I should. The Sephora Favorites Kits have been hit or miss lately. Most products in sets are great even if they are repeats from earlier favorites, but I still cannot wrap my head around the $45 I paid for last year’s Summer Stash for a kit containing nothing but deluxe sizes. It is one I should have passed on.
I purchased Summer Stash on 04/19/14. As recently as June of 2015, they were still trying to move them for $30, which is 33.3% off. That should have told Sephora they priced it too high. As if I did not learn my lesson on the early summer release, I also purchased the Sephora Favorites Summer Crushes kit on 07/12/14 for $45. While the sizes were bigger, it was still a kit of deluxe sizes. To add insult to injury, the price went down online the day after I bought it. While some convinced me that I could get the price matched, I did not even bother trying.
I have still made purchases for favorites between then and now, but I usually wait a little longer before buying them. It gives me a chance to see what demand will be like and the opportunity to wait for a price drop. Sometimes that strategy pays off. Other times, it does not. Sephora Pantone’s Marsala items come to mind. My desire to get the best deal caused me to ignore the Rouge pre-release at the end of 2014 to wait for my VIB 10% discount code to reset. The problem is all the items I wanted sold out online by 01/03/15. That was three days after being released to the public.
When The Bronze Bares All Kit released, I initially ignored it. I even convinced myself I would not buy it. Unlike other Sephora kits where I already own more than half the items, there was only one item in this kit I owned, but who does not own Too Faced Chocolate Soliel! Well, I technically owned Half Baked, which is one of my favorite eyeshadows, but I did not own Twice Baked. Getting more Half Baked is always okay with me. Of the 8 items inside the kit, three are full-sized. Not only do they more than cover the cost of the kit by themselves, but who knows when Sephora will release the next kit with that many full-size items. It has been a while. Even when they released the last one, it certainly wasn’t $39!
The problem is I once again waited too long and saw these sell out online. My trip to the local Sephora was unfruitful as well. I accepted that I once again waited too long to pounce on a good deal. But wait; there’s more, said in my best Matthew Lillard from Scream voice. Sephora sent me an email saying it was back in stock. I cannot even tell you how low I am on the staggered lists for promotional emails. Seriously, I am not the person to bring you the scoop on Sephora deals, because by the time I find a great deal or promotion, it is gone. Affiliates, people high on the staggered lists, or the super sleuths (we know who they are) have a better shot of alerting you to what is going down at Sephora.
I placed the order right when I got the email stating it was back and it disappeared for good very shortly afterward. Finally, a little Sephora luck despite the late notifications. When Sephora releases a nice kit with a good price, they do not have to occupy the sales section for months. Although, we all enjoy playing the game where we stalk the sales section to see how long items will last and have enjoyed countless laughs thanks to the exploits of an aforementioned sleuth.
Sephora made it all up to me with the Bronze Bares All Kit. At $39, this kit was $6 less than both of last summer’s offerings that duped me. The products were fine, but I paid a lot for nothing but samples, which most retailers gift with a purchase. I’m trying to find a balance between buying kits to try products at a cheaper buy in and finding the same samples naturally as I purchase other things. Sometimes, you have to buy them and other times you can find them for free if you look hard enough. The best part about the seven new items is I really wanted to try them all.
I also redeemed a VIB promo for three Giorgio Armani items, VIBTRIO. This code is no longer valid, but I list valid codes on Sephora’s page. There have not been many VIB codes that caught my eye this year, but this was an exception. With a $35 purchase, this Sephora gift included a 0.16oz Fluid Sheer worth $9.92, a 0.06oz Black Ecstasy Total effect Intensity Mascara worth $5.82, and a 0.05oz Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color in 400 worth $7.73. This promo code had a total value of $23.47, which is respectable.
The Lip Maestro Intense Velvet color in 400 is a beautiful red. This feels nice for a product that wears like a stain and does not accentuate my dry patches. It does last longer than a gloss and some lipsticks. My only issue is it wears unevenly as it fades, which looks messy.
The Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer gives a very subtle radiance. I used it as a highlighter above the cheekbones, brow bones, the bridge of my nose, and cupid’s bow. While I can see the ever so slight difference, I do not think the difference is enough to use as a sole highlighter. If I am going for a super subtle look, I’d prefer to skip the highlighter/fluid sheer altogether. Next time I try it, I will use it as an all over base to see if I prefer it that way.
Sephora always lets you pick three small samples (usually foils) with any purchase. The selection was impressive. Any time I can get free Marula Pure Marula Facial Oil, I am getting it. Oils are wonderfully hydrating, and this is one I love. Ole Henriksen has so many products I love, so I look forward to trying this Sheer Transformation Creme. Amore Pacific Intense Vitalizing Eye Essence is another product that is new to me, but I have a hard time passing this brand when it is a sample choice.
Sephora always packages their items nicely. Around the same time I received this, I received a kit from Ulta (article coming) that included a mini Becca powder of its own. Thanks to everything carelessly placed in tissue paper, the powder arrived broken. This one arrived all in one piece with every item in its proper deeply set place. There were a couple that took serious effort to remove. I appreciate that.
Although the end of August does not technically mark the end of summer, it was time to finally break out my bronzing kit and put it to use. Prior to creating this look, I had never used some of these items. That means it was the first time I used all of them together. I used everything in the kit plus Benefit Roller Lash Mascara, Julep Don’t Leave Your Brows at Home, Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel, Origins Smarty Pants CC Cream in Light to Medium, Lancome Maquicomplet Correcteur, NARS Pro Prime Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, It Cosmetics No. 50 Serum Anti-aging Collagen Veil Primer, and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. This picture has the lip gloss layered over the lip pencil.
In these swatches, the pencil is on top and the gloss is on bottom. The pictures are with and without a flash.
The 0.18oz Nars Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Supervixen is full-size, and it retails for $26. I like the gloss and the color. This is a formula I would repurchase. It is not sticky at all, and the color is very pretty. With its slight shimmer, it fit the bronze look a little better than the pencil.
The 0.05oz Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Madeira is worth $12. Bite typically sells minis at this price. Although I am not overly fond of most nudes, this was beautiful. I really like this Bite formula, because it is so moisturizing, looks nice as it fades, does not accentuate dry patches, and lasts a decent amount of time. This color is a really great nude for me. Prior to this, I’ve found some nudes I like, but it is safe to say I love this. Although I am in love with everything about this pencil, I prefer the look with the gloss. It fits this overall shimmery look a bit more.
The 0.04oz Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12 Hour Wear in #14 is full-size, and it retails for $10. I’d heard great things about Sephora liners, so I wanted to try it. Being on an eyeliner no-buy until I own more used than unused eyeliners means kits, freebies, and subscription boxes are my only source for new eyeliners. This performed well enough on top. Like most eyeliners I’ve tried, it was sub-par below my eyes.
The 0.08oz Too Faced Cosmetics Chocolate Soleil Bronzer is worth $6.86. The first time I used this it looked super muddy. Thinking it was too dark for my skin, I vowed not to use it again. I even traded the powder way. Fortunately, it returned to me (multiple times), because I’ve discovered (with the help of friends) that I can actually wear this when I use a very light hand. Milk Chocolate does still look better on me, but I prefer a light application of Chocolate Soleil to a heavy application of Milk Chocolate. If I want a small or normal amount of Chocolate Soleil, I prefer milk.
The 0.05oz Urban Decay Split Pan Eyeshadow in Half Baked/Twice Baked is full-sized, and it retails for $19. These shadows were $18 for a while, but I am not sure if the price increased before or after I purchased this. Most Urban Decay shadows are extremely pigmented, blend well, and are extremely pleasant to work with. I’ve never had an Urban Decay shadow crease on me. These are no exception. Although Twice Baked will not make my Hall of Fame the way Half Baked has, it is beautiful in its own right. If you’re holding out on trying Urban Decay shadows, get to a swatching location pronto. You’re missing out. Twice Baked is on the left and Half Baked is on the right.
The 0.085 oz Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Opal worth $11.54. I know a lot of highlighters claim they are universally flattering, but I cannot think of one that may actually live up to that claim more than this. It is absolutely stunning, and while I think you should still swatch before buying, I think you will agree. The Becca is on the right, and the Tarte is on the left.
Opal looks more refined on foundation (below) instead of BB Cream (above).
The 0.06oz Tarte The Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer in Park Ave Princess is worth $16. Although I’ve used the shimmery powder version of this, it was my first time using the cream version. Powders are a bit more foolproof than cream versions of almost anything, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing with this. I also appreciate that the cream version lasts longer than the powder version. Both create a beautiful bronze, but I think I actually prefer the cream. It makes me want to pick up the powder in the matte version. I liked the way this paired with the Chocolate Soleil and think the combo had a lot to do with helping it last longer than usual.
The 0.13oz Formula X Nail Color in Evocative is worth $3.41. I am a fan of Formula X even though it is not three free. This color is a nice nude. Compare this to my other beige and nude polishes.
The overall value of the kit is $104.81, which is wonderful considering I only paid $39. I am very happy with this Favorites Kit and feel it made up for last summer’s duds. Playing with bronze colors is a lot of fun for me, because my skin is naturally pink. Although this was a lighter application, you can apply any of these colors with a heavy hand to create an extremely bronze look. Have fun with bronze. If you missed it, don’t fret. Favorites are always available at Sephora and while they were not all created equally, there are almost always great ones there.
Sephora does not inform a single Beauty Insider of all deal details. Certain offers are targeted and others have different purchase minimums based on the code. Remember to check New Offers and/or Recycled Offers before placing an online order. If you’re spending over $25, you can add a promo code to any order. See all Favorite Sets and Sephora articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal When Shopping Sephora. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
Disclosure: Affiliate Links