If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
Estee Lauder’s Holiday Blockbuster is $59.50 with a qualifying fragrance purchase at most stores. I have no desire to purchase fragrance from any brand. On top of the fact that I do not use perfume often, I have almost 200 mini vials (varying in size from 0.02oz to 0.33oz of unique scents. That is more than enough variety, and over half of them are still new to me. After connecting with one, I did get a 1oz bottle only to trade it away unopened a few months later. My aversion to purchasing perfume has kept me from ordering the Estee Lauder Blockbuster in the past.
A friend recommended that I purchase the Elizabeth Arden Blockbuster last year, and I figured out that Herberger’s (Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, and Younkers) sells it without meeting the purchase minimum. Those are all the same department store (Bon-Ton) with different names based on the region. My emails are always addressed from Herberger’s, but I have specifically made purchases from Bon-Ton as well. No matter which site I sign into, I see my order history from both stores. After successfully checking out with just the Elizabeth Arden Blockbuster in 2014 (and a cardigan that was too cute to resist), I vowed to finally purchase the Estee Lauder Blockbuster this year if I could forego the fragrance purchase.
I am happy to report that once again (on 10/25/15) Herberger’s allowed me to add the blockbuster to my cart without the qualifying minimum. Even better, there was a gift with purchase available and a 10% discount on cosmetics using the code FFOCT15PASS. It was valid through 11/04/15. Add the gift and the purchase (without another purchase) with the free shipping code FREESHIP25, and I had an amazing deal on my hands. I do not even pay sales tax to Herberger’s, because it does not have any stores in my state.
Estee Lauder puts a kit out every Christmas. I will continue to edit the article and review the items as I try everything on. Hopefully, I try everything before the kit sells out in stores.
Estee Lauder does have less full-sized items than the Lancome Blockbuster, but my Lancome collection has grown so large that I already own more than half of the items in both kits. Inside the Blockbuster, you will find: a deluxe Eye Palette with 12 Eyeshadows (Pink Mink, Captivating Cocoa, Infamous Sky, Provocative Petal, Rebel Metal, Fiery Saffron, Ivory Power 3, Currant Desire, Defiant Nude 5, Defiant Nude 3, Ivory Power 4, and Envious Orchid) and 2 Pure Color Blushes (Pink Kiss and Peach Passion), 3 full-size Pure Color Lipsticks (Tiger Eye, Rubellite, and Pink Parfait), 2 Pure Color Lip Glosses (Wired Copper and Pink Innocence), a full-size Sumptuous Extreme Mascara, a full-size (3.4oz) Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, a 0.24oz Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, a 0.5oz Resilience Lift Lifting/Firming Moisturizer, a Limited Edition All Over Shimmer, a 0.14oz Modern Muse Eau de Parfum Spray, a Red Patent Cosmetic Case, and a Red Patent Travel Case.
The case is bigger than I expected. The red pleather material is more classy than I pictured, too.
I like the design and color better than previous blockbusters I’ve purchased from other brands and think this would make an excellent case for a long trip.
It’s pretty deep, so it will hold a lot of things.
Little things can go inside the smaller bag.
I can also use the smaller bag to carry things around town. It will easily hold lipsticks, a compact, and more.
I love the way everything was packaged inside.
There was plastic below and on top sandwiching all the items in place. The cutouts probably would have been enough, but the added plastic really kept it all together.
The booklet has a suggested look inside. I’ve yet to try any of these from purchase inserts, so I may give this a go to finally cross that off my list.
I laid everything in the bag to show how it filled the case outside of the plastic. Some of the items were larger than I anticipated, including the palette.
Modern Muse is a very classic scent. I think the modern take is that it lacks the old lady smell, but it still smells sophisticated. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate this about an 8. It is not overpowering, too floral, or fast fading. The beautiful, yet subtle scent, is still present at the end of the day.
The eyeshadows shades come from 10 palettes in the Pure Color Envy line. Each name listed above is the name of a palette that has at least one eyeshadow entry in the Blockbuster. There are two palettes, Ivory Power and Defiant Nude, that have two shades inside the Blockbuster. All shades are only 0.01oz, but the dividers in the palette are deep enough to separate the shades from one another. The blushes in the palette are each 0.08oz.
I swatched all the shades in order. Sadly, only a few of the swatches look nice to me. The others are chalky and lack pigment. Despite many passes, I barely see some of them. Thankfully, the cost of the kit is still worth it if this is a dud and enough of the other items hit. They’re swatched in order from top left to bottom right.
Pink Mink, Captivating Cocoa, Infamous Sky, and Provocative Petal
Rebel Metal, Fiery Saffron, Ivory Power 3, and Currant Desire
Defiant Nude 5, Defiant Nude 3, Ivory Power 4, and Envious Orchid
The shadows were not easy to work with. It took a lot of passes to build up color. They applied unevenly and patchy. Colors faded as the day wore on. I had very light creasing that was only noticeable when my eyes were closed. For this look, I used Defiant Nude 5 in the crease, Ivory Power 3 on the lid, and Provocative Petal on the brow bone and blended everywhere.
After seeing what the neutral shades were capable of (and being disappointed), I wanted to see if the bolder shades were any better. Sadly, they were worse. Though I loved the purple color, it took a lot of effort and passes to build the color. The different colors did not want to blend together at all.
That resulted in patchy transitions that only got worse as I tried to blend them out. They got increasingly worse as the day wore on as well, so I had spotted shadow by the end of the night. There was also some light creasing despite my usual NARS Pro Prime base. After two uses with the palette, it is safe to say the quality is lacking. If you’re buying this gift set with the palette in mind to justify the purchase, I think you will be disappointed.
The blushes in the palette are a little nicer than the shadows, but their swatches are not overly impressive either. These are Pink Kiss on the left and Peach Passion on the right. I love the color on the right even though the swatch is a little chalky.
I used Peach Passion with this look and was very pleased with it. It only lasted a few hours (as most powder blushes do, but I was happy while it lasted.
Pink Kiss was a little more noticeable than the lighter blush. I thought the color was subtle and beautiful while it lasted. Even with makeup setting spray and primer underneath, it lasted less than 3 hours before completely fading away.
The limited edition All Over Shimmer is large and beautiful in the pan.
The design is so pretty that swatching it pained me a little.
The swatch while thankfully more pigmented and less chalky than the other powders was not impressive. I find this way more orange than it looks in the pan and will have to use a very light hand to avoid turning myself into an oompa loompa. Where did all the pink go? In the pan, it looks like a peachy-pink.
This color was a little dark and a little orange to use as an all over shimmer, so I used it as a blush only. Considering I used no highlighter (other than my Guerlain Holiday 2015 perles as a setting powder all over my face) or bronzer, I think this tuned out lovely. While I would not use this to highlight, I can use it interchangeably as a blush/bronzer. It did fade in a few hours (as most powder blushes do), but it looked beautiful while it lasted.
Where the powders let me down, the lippies prevailed. All five are amazing, and because the three lipsticks are full-sized, they cover the cost of the Blockbuster alone. I really like all of the colors from nude to pink-red.
Picking a favorite (based on swatch alone) is hard when they’re all beautiful, but I love Tiger Eye. I do not think anything in my collection is similar to this either.
It is a shimmery peach-copper.
Tiger Eye wears as beautifully as it looks in the swatch. For a lighter lipstick, it does not accentuate lip lines or highlight dry patches. It is somewhat moisturizing. The trade off for the moisture is one I gladly accept, reapplying. This was a little more glittery than it initially appeared, and that glitter is apparent on the lips. If you do not mind glitter (which I do not in most cases), go for it. After being upset with the palette and the all over shimmer, this is the first product I really enjoyed. My purchase is starting to make me feel a little better (as I predicted once I hit the lipsticks).
Rubellite looks like a great holiday shade.
It is a shimmery pink-red.
On my lips, it actually appeared more of a dark pink than a pinkish-red, which was odd given my shirt choice. Outside of selecting the wrong choice, I really like the shade. The lipstick itself is a little less glittery than Tiger Eye, but the glitter was still present in a more shimmery way. This did not accentuate lip lines or highlight dry patches. It is somewhat moisturizing. That requires it to be applied more frequently. As it faded, it did leave behind a bit of the shimmery glitter, but it was not a bad look. I’d say this lipstick is very nice.
Pink Parfait is just lovely.
It is a shimmery pink.
On my lips, this appears more glittery than the red but less glittery than the copper. This did not accentuate dry patches, but it did highlight lip lines. It is a somewhat moisturizing formula that fades faster than the other two leaving remnants of glitter.
The lip glosses are both very pigmented, so I imagine they will not be sheer at all. Wired Copper is similar to Tiger Eye. They will probably pair nicely.
It is a shimmery copper gloss.
This actually wears a bit more sheer than I expected based on how vivid the swatch was. It does seem like it builds if you’re willing to wear a bunch of gloss. The glitter and shimmer were less apparent in this than they were in the pink gloss (even though the swatches tell a different story). It is slightly sticky, but nothing I cannot tolerate. I’d say it is about 1.5 out of 5 on the sticky scale. That is acceptable to me and the trade off for the slight stickiness is longer wear. This lasted about three hours.
Pink Innocence is lighter version of Pink Parfait.
It is a shimmery pink gloss.
On my lips, the pink is less noticeable. The glitter and shimmer are more apparent than the subtle pink. It is slightly sticky, but nothing I cannot tolerate. I’d say it is about 1.5 out of 5 on the sticky scale. That is acceptable to me and the trade off for the slight stickiness is longer wear. This lasted about three hours.
My 7-piece (Bold) gift with a $35 Estee Lauder purchase is: 2 full-size Pure Color Long Lasting Lipsticks in Barely Nude and Beige, a deluxe Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lip Pencil in Spice, a 4 pan palette Pure Color EyeShadow (Ivory Slipper, Wild Sable, Sepia Sand, and Lavish Mink), a 0.24oz Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, a 1oz Take It Away Makeup Remover Lotion, and an Exclusive Limited Edition Opening Ceremony Designer Bag.
Although there was initially a choice, only the bold gift set was left when I purchased this. That is the one I would have selected anyway, because some of the items from the other gift are also in the Blockbuster. I am unsure why this is considered bold anyway. This kit is very neutral, and the other was not. I think they were named wrong, because the box this came in even calls this a bold kit. Even the mini eyeshadow palette is perfectly neutral.
This is an awesome GWP to me, because three of the six products are lippies. They are a great nude assortment. There are no sizes listed, but the lip pencil is generous and the gift advertises full-sized lipsticks. I also cannot get enough eyeshadow palettes, even small ones.
The Lip Pencil is in spice, which will be compatible with most nudes.
The pencil works nicely. It applied evenly and was a close match to my lip color, the Barely Nude lipstick, and Beige lipstick. My only issue is it fades faster than other formulas I am used to, but it does not leave the waxy mess some liners do. For a lipliner, it is really creamy.
I really liked the formula, because it wore a long time, prevented the lipstick from bleeding, and did not go on clumpy as some waxy lipliners do.
Barely Nude lipstick (picture wearing it above) is a great nude for me. It is close to the same color with a tad more brown. This is semi matte.
I love the way it looked, because most nudes accentuate lines and/or highlight dry patches. This did neither. The formula was somewhat moisturizing, and it faded quickly. Using a lipstick that fades quickly is worth it (especially in winter) if the trade off is a great looking, comfortable wearing, moisturizing lipstick.
Beige has a hint of pink. It is more glossy than Barely Nude.
It almost looks like a balm.
Only my lips, it was not as pink at all. It was still beige and glossy. The finish is not my favorite, because I prefer a matte or semi matte shade when I wear nudes. This is creamy and moisturizing, and it did not highlight lip lines or accentuate dry patches. My only real complaint is it rubs off very fast, but I will gladly reapply any moisturizing formula. I used the lipliner for this and like it more each time I use it.
The eyeshadow palette does not list a size either, but these are very small. I would not be surprised if they are around 0.01oz each. From left to right, the shades are: Ivory Slipper, Wild Sable, Sepia Sand, and Lavish Mink.
The swatches looked nice (especially compared to the holiday palette), so I had a lot of hope for this. It took me a while to build up pigmentation. I could not get the darkest color to blend easily and it looked messy causing me to add more color to balance it out. My overall look turned out all right, but it took some serious effort. The colors faded a little as the day wore on, but there was no obvious creasing. This look uses all four colors.
If you have not already bought your Blockbluster and want to get it without the fragrance purchase, see what retailers allow you to add it to the cart without the dreaded pop-up message that the item requires a qualifying purchase. I’d suggest Herberger’s, but the gift with purchase is no longer available. It is always best to combine a PWP with a GWP when possible. See which stores sell the bag, and have a gift that appeals to you and try to pick them both up at the same time.
Lancome also has a Holiday Blockbuster for $59.50. I purchased the 2013 version and was very happy with it.
Elizabeth Arden also has a Holiday Blockbuster for $49.50. I purchased the 2014 version and was happy with it.
Now that I’ve used all the color products, I think it is definitely worth the cost if you are buying this for the lip products. If you are buying it for the powder products, it is not worth the cost. Of course, the perfume, serum, face cream, eye makeup remover, and mascara can tip the scales (even for the powders). In other words, I feel I got my money worth before I even get to the non-color items I have not opened yet.
If none of the three sets interest you, we can all keep our fingers crossed that Clinique will finally release a Blockbuster in 2016. It is the only Gift With Purchase King without a Holiday Blockbuster! See all Bon-Ton articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.