If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
Every year from Christmas Day through New Year’s Day, Sephora offers 20% off everything in the sales section. Accessing the sale on sale requires a promo code, so you will not get any freebies with the order (other than the standard 3 samples in the checkout section). The promo code usually changes from year to year, but it is multi-use. Shop the sales section as often as you want during the week. This year, the promo code is EXTRA20. Rouge clients were able to get access to the sale early using the code ROUGE20. It opened around 9:30pm PST on 12/22/15 for Rouge clients and 9:15pm PST on 12/24/15 for everyone else. Last year, the sale opened for Rouge very early on the 21st, so we had almost two days less advance access this year. We still got two full days to shop before it opened to everyone.
If you are trying to qualify for VIB or Rouge status and have not already done so, it is a good idea to set aside some of your spending budget for the sale. Without fail, many impressive sale items enter during this event. Each day usually brings new goodies (which makes the multi-use code convenient). A good strategy is to check often. Most new items release around 9am PST each day, but things do come in earlier or later. The better items will usually go fast. Those who are waiting until 01/01/16 to shop (so their spend goes toward qualifying the next year) will have slimmer pickings. Last year, I shopped the sale on sale on day one and got access to the best items. This year, I decided to wait until 01/01/16.
Although I re-qualified for Rouge later in 2015 than I did in 2014, I have already shopped a few times since qualifying. After my last purchase, I vowed to stop shopping until the new year. I passed on many items that I would have liked to stay true to my promise.
There were three items I was able to get that I was happy about.
I really wanted the new Kevyn Aucoin Contour book, which is larger and includes creams. Unfortunately, something kept me from getting it every time I tried. The original, Volume One, feels a little like a consolation prize. It is better than nothing. On the bright side, no cream means this should last longer. The Contour Book The Art of Sculpting + Defining has six mini powders. This originally retailed for $59, but I loved getting it for $32 on sale. Everyone always talks about how beautiful his powders are and though I have a blush and can concur, this is my first experience with highlighting and contour shades.
The book is faux leather over cardboard. It looks luxe from the outside, but loses a little luster inside. I do like that it has a mirror inside.
None of the shades inside the book label the way they are outside the book or in Sephora’s description, but I think I figured it out. Online and the back of the book labels them as: The Sculpting Powder in Medium, The Celestial Powder in Candlelight, The Celestial Powder in Starlight, and The Essential Eyeshadows.
There are three eyeshadows in the book. Based on the descriptions inside the book and most reviews, you can use the eyeshadows anywhere on the face. I will be using the shades both ways and providing photos of both once I can. The shade called Brighten (#3) in the book is the first 0.06oz eyeshadow. It is a shimmery white shade that will double as an all over highlighter.
The shade called Accentuate & Highlight (#4) is the 0.06oz Celestial Powder in Starlight. This is a shimmery soft pink-tinted highlighter.
The shade called Shade & Dark Brow (#6) is the second 0.06oz eyeshadow. It is a dark matte brown. This will probably contour deeper skin tones and accentuate dark eyebrows.
The shade called Define & Warm Brow (#5) is the last 0.06oz eyeshadow. It is a warm matte brown. This will probably contour warm skin tones and accentuate warm eyebrows.
The shade called Highlight The Celestial Powder Candlelight (#2) is 0.08oz as listed on the back (they labeled one right). This is a shimmery champagne highlighter.
The shade called Sculpt The Sculpting Powder & Blonde Brow (#1) is the 0.04oz Sculpting Powder in Medium. It looks the same size as the 0.08oz shade, so the pan must only be half as deep. This is the lightest sculpting powder in the book, and it is medium. There is probably a lighter powder available for very fair skin tones. Blondes can use this on their brows, and I think this will be the best contouring shade for me.
I loved every single swatch. The white eyeshadow was the weakest swatch in a stellar lineup. Here they are side by side for comparison.
There are also detailed instructions attached to the book. I find this extremely convenient, because the loose ones get lost all the time.
This does also include a loose one though.
If I do not lose this, I may use this when I have time to sit and do my makeup. I almost always wait until the last-minute to apply leaving zero time for reading.
I used the palette for eyeshadow here. These powders worked beautifully as shadows. There was no creasing. They were buttery, pigmented and easy to blend.
The white eyeshadow was my highlighter on the inner corner of my eyes and brow bone. Shade & Dark Brow went into the crease. Starlight was my lid shade. I adore the look this created.
For highlighting and contouring, this palette was equally impressive. I used Candlelight to highlight and The Sculpting Powder & Blonde Brow to contour. Both created subtle looks with a light hand (what I prefer). Each shade worked wonderfully with my skin tone, blended out nicely and lasted a decent amount of time. The highlight outlasted the contour (which is usual for me).
I used Define & Warm Brow to contour below. It required a light hand and some heavy blending, but I was pleased with the results. Starlight was used as my highlighter, but it did not show up on my skin as well as Candlelight does, so I had to use a heavy hand. The contour outlasted the highlight, which is unusual for me.
My final look with this palette used shade & Dark Brow #6 to contour and Brighten to highlight. I honestly thought this would be the worst combination, because Brighten is so light and Dark Brow is so dark. Using a small amount of each did the trick though. What I’ve learned while experimenting with this palette is any shade can work with the right application. A darker contour or lighter highlight just need a light hand.
The 1.06oz Sephora Collection Blush 101 Face Palette is large. None of the individual shades have sizes listed but some are visibly bigger than others. This has 4 blush shades and a lighter shade that goes all through the palette. You can use the lighter shade as a highlight or a pale blush.
It comes in a large, plastic, see-through circle.
The shade at the top is rosy pink. In the palette, it looks very shimmery.
The pale pink shade that makes an X through the palette can probably double as a highlighter. It may also make a very light blush. This shade has more shimmer than any other in the palette, so it may even be a great almost colorless shade to place on top of a matte blush if you want shimmer. There are no matte blushes in this palette, but none of the blushes in this palette are as shimmery as this shade, so it could still work.
The shade on the left is a hot pink. It is not the darkest hot pink I’ve seen, but it can probably be layered.
The shade on the right is a dusty mauve.
The shade at the bottom is mauve. This is the smallest shade.
I am not overly impressed with the swatches, because some are a little chalky. Even the darker shades required a few swipes to build pigmentation. Here they are side by side for comparison.
There is an instruction booklet for this.
I almost always apply my blush the same way, so I will probably actually give these different methods a try to see what I think of them.
I started with the blush from the top of the palette, the Rosy Pink for this look. The highlight is Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight, but I will eventually try the highlight from this palette with one of the blushes. This blush was the least powdery of the pigmented blushes, and I noticed that when I applied it. Application was easy and did not require too much building or blending. It only lasted a few hours on my skin (which is typical of most powder blushes), but it looked lovely while it lasted.
I used the right shade, the dusty mauve. As you can see from the swatch, it is not much darker than my skin. After two passes, I was not seeing much color, so I added a little of the top color. The mixture created a soft pretty look. For this blush, I also used the highlighter from the palette just above the blush line (and in most of the normal places you’d place highlighter. Although this particular blush shade is not the best for my skin tone, the highlighter is beautiful. Even the pink shade was not as scary on my cool toned skin as I thought it would be.
I used the hot pink shade on the left for this look. This is the perfect pink, so I am glad the powder is not more bold. It gives a very subtle flush that looks very natural. This even lasted a few hours before it started fading.
I used the mauve shade on the bottom for this look. It looked beautiful when I first applied it, but most of the color disappeared when I took the picture between 2-3 hours later (which is the time frame most blushes disappear). Now that I’ve used all the blush shades, I definitely think the hot pink is my favorite. It was my least favorite based on swatch, so that is a reminder to try things even when they do not swatch as well as you think they should.
The 0.93oz Sephora Collection Contouring 101 Face Palette is large. It is the same size as the blush palette, but has 0.13oz less product. My guess is the blush pans are slightly deeper. None of the individual shades have sizes listed but some are visibly bigger than others. This has 3 contour and 2 highlight shades.
It comes in a large, plastic, see-through circle.
The pale beige-pink shade at the top is likely the highlighter for cool and/or light to medium skin tones. It almost appears white in the swatch.
The banana shade which makes an X across the palette is likely the highlighter for warm and/or medium to dark skin tones. I have a banana in my ABH contour palette that looks okay on me, so I am willing to give this a try.
The cool brown on the right is likely the contour shade for cool and/or light skin tones.
The warm brown on the left is likely the contour shade for warm and/or medium skin tones.
The deep brown on the bottom is likely the contour shade for dark skin tones. I am guessing it is neutral, but it looks like it leans cool. This is the smallest shade.
All five powders are matte. The lightest two look a little chalky, but the contour shades all look lovely. Some people report these being too dark. Cool brown and warm brown look nice on me (based on swatch alone), so the people applying them are either very fair or need more application practice. I used to have a hard time getting Too Faced Chocolate Soleil to work on me, but as I wore it more, I now prefer it to Milk Chocolate Soleil. Here are all shades side by side for comparison.
There is an instruction booklet for this.
I will definitely compare the tips in this to the one in the Kevyn Aucoin book to see if I can make any improvements to my routine.
I decided to start with the lightest shade, which is the warm brown on the left of the palette. Using a light hand, I was able to create the look I wanted. When I contour, I almost always go for a super natural look and blend until I can no longer see the lines. This color achieved that look for me, so I am able to work with warm shades when I am light handed. The cool tone is a bit darker, so I wonder how it will blend out.
I used the highlighter at the top of the palette and the cool contour shade on the right for this look. It is definitely darker than the warm shade above, but I was able to blend it in nicely. Both shades so far work with different amounts of product. Using this one requires a lighter hand. This only lasted about 2-3 hours though.
I used the darkest contour shade on the bottom for this look and am pleasantly surprised that it did not look muddy. It required a light hand and a lot of blending, but I am now convinced with the right application I can use any shade in this palette. My favorite now that I’ve tried them all is the cool brown on the right. This look also uses the yellow contour shade, which is less noticeable on my skin than the pale beige pink. That means this is probably the item in this palette that works least for me.
The samples I selected were: a 0.27oz Phyto Phytospecific Thermoperfect 8 Heat Protecting Serum, a 0.05oz Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer in Neutral, and single use foils of Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Radiant Touch in shades 1, 2, and 4.5. These are all items I really wanted, so I am happy to receive them. Every Photo product I’ve tried has been wonderful for my hair. I gave the Clinique foundation I received in my Cyber surprise bag to a friend, so this will be my first Clinique foundation/concealer. Touche Éclat is a highlighter I love but have never purchased yet. Whenever I can grab samples, I like to. Shade 2 is perfect for me, and I gift shades one and 4.5 to friends.
All three of these products are going in and out of stock. If you have your heart set on any that are not in stock when you first check, remember to check again later. Even without the sale code, these items are great deals. Plus, you can use a different promo code redeeming free product(s) if you order now. The sale on sale has officially wrapped, but it will return on Christmas Day. Come early and come often.
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