Sephora + Pantone Universe Dazzling Lip Gloss Set review, swatches | Four unexpectedly interesting shades from Fall 2012

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

 Sephora + Pantone Universe Alchemy of Color glosses

The product: Sephora + Pantone Universe Dazzling Lip Gloss Set

The shades: This is a set of four, but it feels more like two sets of two: the beige & the pink, and then the orange & the plum. The former (first and third swatches) feature a creamy base with bits of shimmer; the latter (second and last swatches) are more like sheer shininess dosed liberally with chunks of glitter.

Sephora + Pantone lipgloss swatches Alchemy of Color

I found these most-to-least wearable in order of the swatches: first, the caramel beige, with its glossy, creamy finish and (relatively minimal) unexpected pink shimmer; then, the sheer tangerine, which reads as a surprisingly pinky peach out of the tube.

Next (and here’s where we start with the shades I don’t find wearable at all,) there’s the milky pink, which has the best pigmentation but settles terribly into lines; and finally, the vampy plum, which should have been absolutely stunning but applies sheerly with a truly ridiculous amount of fuchsia glitter.

Seriously: ridiculous.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Alchemy of Colour gloss set applicator

The formula & packaging: Scented strongly of a caramelized vanilla and feeling equally sticky , these glosses are packaged in oversized doe-foot applicators. Shorter and wider than your average gloss, the foot is awkwardly large, and the packaging overall is quite similar to that of the Clarins Instant Light Blush – keyword being blush. 

While functional and actually quite cute, I wasn’t crazy about the way Sephora decided to package these. It’s really refreshing to see something a little different, but I think these tried to push the envelope just a little too far.

Sephora + Pantone Dazzling Lip Gloss set

The verdict?

At their original price, this gloss quartet would have been an absolute miss. For $12 USD/$14 CAD, though, I’m ready to be much (much!) more lenient.

While I don’t love these, I do find them very interesting. Each shade in the set is set apart from the others, and the shimmer (if not exactly something I’d inflict upon anyone I care about) is fascinating — I just can’t look away when I swatch these. The packaging was an interesting choice as well; again, I hated it, but I find myself unable to look away.

It’s like watching a shimmery train car filled with gloopy vanilla syrup go off the tracks. You know you shouldn’t enjoy it, but you totally still do.

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Light up the holidays with this Sephora + Pantone Universe Luminous Brush Set: photos & review

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The product: SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Alchemy of Color Luminous Brush Set

I’ve been planning a “daily beauty” column recently, and I thought I’d start it off with this Sephora + Pantone brush set — that is, right up until it got a stealthy half-price markdown. 

While it’s good, it just didn’t feel like it was $80 worth of awesome, you know? But, at $41 CAD, these white-bristled synthetics are worth a second glance.

Beauty & the Bag

Housed in a large silver makeup bag, the Luminous Brush Set is made up of eight brushes, all super-soft synthetics. (Well, I mean, not the brow/lash comb, but then, those never are.)

I’m not usually a fan of bags that come as part of a set, but Sephora really knocked it out of the park with their Fall/Winter makeup brush sets’ bags, both in their Sephora Collection line and in the Sephora + Pantone Universe one. This one’s much larger than most–9 1/2″ tall, 7 1/4″ wide, and 2 1/2″ deep–and while the brushes make this set worthwhile on their own, the bag really takes it that extra step.

The individual brushes

The Luminous set includes eight brushes, but I’m going to count it as six — no one actually needs as many brow/lash combs as they’ll end up with after buying a makeup brush set or two, and the powder brush in this set is okay, but pretty sub-par compared to everything else. (Cheap powder brushes are just so floppy, you know?)

I liked the liner & concealer brushes, in particular — the concealer brush is just the right mix of soft & firm, making it easy to blend cream products seamlessly around the eyes and nose. The liner brush is really good, too: tiny and flat, it pairs well with gel liner for a sharp, easy-to-control line.

Another honourable mention is the unexpectedly soft smudge brush. These tend to be stiff, which really irritates my eyes, but this one was a great shape for getting blending around the lashline (or applying along it, for smaller eyes) – without feeling like a porous wooden stick.

The finishing touches

All of these brushes are labelled on the handle (both in English and French, though I’m not sure if that’s the same in the US), making them perfect for the beauty beginner. It’s just a little thing, and I’m not terribly strict with my use-what-where rules, but it’s a nice touch!

The verdict?

I’d really hesitate to recommend this at its original price, but at $34 US / $41 CAD (seriously!) this set’s an absolutely brilliant deal. While not top-grade brushes, they’re all very good, and the types & shapes have all been picked out quite well. Plus, the bag is a great find — a little flashy, but the size & easy-to-clean surfaces mean I’ll definitely be keeping it around.

With a markdown this good, I’m not sure if it’ll still be around by Christmas, so pick up a set (or two) now — it would make the perfect gift for someone just getting into makeup, and at that price, I’d recommend it as a soft, synthetic brush set for yourself, too.

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Sephora + Pantone Universe Luminous Brush Set

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Coming up sometime in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. This is a fall release, with the Sephora + Pantone Universe Alchemy of Color collection, but I think it would make a great holiday gift or starter brush set!

SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Luminous Brush Set, $34.00US / $41.00 CAD (50% off). 

New 04/11/12: Holiday 2012 from Lancome, Dior, Bobbi Brown, & more

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Okay, so I know we usually start off this shindig with a a box of assorted products, but how great is this Kate Spade pouch? C’mon, you can’t not love this.

Let’s get on with the show

Holiday (and Autumn/Winter, for that matter) collections need no real introduction, so without further adieu:

A surprising(ly awesome) markdown

You know that Sephora + Pantone Universe brush set I was besotted with all last month? For whatever reason, it’s magically been marked down to $25 on the Canadian Sephora site, which I can very much get behind.

At half price, I very much recommend the set — heck, I’d pay that much just for the blush brush! (I’m super into the blush brush, okay? Don’t mock; it’s fantastic for a sharp, clean contour.)

Choose Your Black

Whether you’re a kohl, long-wear, gel, or cake eyeliner kind of gal, Bobbi has a black for you. (The collection technically includes an eyeliner brush as well, but as a black liner fiend–seriously; I have more black eyeliners than I have lip balms, and that’s saying something–it somehow seemed much less important when I was putting this post together.)

Tread lightly, because these Alchemy of Colour polishes might just turn to gold | Sephora + Pantone Universe Jewel Lacquer review, photos, swatches

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The product: SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Jewel Laquer in Reflecting Pond and Rose Dawn

The formaldehyde- and DBP-free polishes in this season’s Sephora + Pantone Alchemy of Colour collection draw inspiration from the Pantone A/W 12-13 colour planner, predicting bright reds, oranges, and purples. 

While it’s not the most cohesive of collections, the “futuristic finishes” of the polishes (first seen here on theNotice) are a really nice break from the usual shimmer/creme dichotomy. With everything from metallic mattes to duochrome green/violets, I think nail geeks–a group of which I cannot yet include myself in, unfortunately–are going to have a lot of fun with this one.

Rose Dawn

Of all the shades, from what I’ve read online, Rose Dawn is the one that’s got that extra something. A “metallic matte” that’s very on-trend with its rose gold hue, the one-coater formula is a dream to work with — but really requires precision.

I went with two coats for these swatches, just in case. With a little more awesome (read: a steadier hand), though, one coat definitely would have done the trick. Like any metallic polish, this one will need your brush strokes to be super-straight, but the finely-milled shimmer is more forgiving than most.

Rose Dawn, in one word, is stunning. Trendy but timeless, and in an honestly gorgeous formula, finish, and shade, it’s kind of a must-have!

Reflecting Pond

Where Rose Dawn was a brilliantly opaque metallic finish, the formula of Reflecting Pond was quite different — as to be expected with different finishes, but still, I was pretty surprised at the difference.

 More blue than I had expected, Reflecting Pond has a pretty (if fairly standard) shimmer finish, needing two or three coats for full opacity. Though not as opaque, the formula’s a little easier to work with (metallics always need super-straight strokes), and the greenish-blue shade is a stunner; perhaps even moreso on the nails than in the bottle.

With a bit of a green-blue duochrome, the varnish reads more green on the nails than in the bottle, and the shade is just gorgeous — not quite a jewel tone, but not a standard blue, either. 

The verdict?

While the formula’s not perfect, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous shades take these SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Jewel Lacquers from pretty alright to don’t miss this.

These two weren’t exactly I was expecting (definitely look up swatches online for the other polishes if you’re interested), but I was nonetheless impressed with what Pantone brought to the table with Rose Gold and Reflecting Pond. At $11 CAD, the pricing’s not bad, and I think you’ll find they managed to slip some pretty cool polishes into the Alchemy of Colour collection.

Keep reading! »

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