Benefit They’re Real & Watt’s Up review, photos, swatches | Sephora + Benefit “Real Birthday Turn-Ons”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sephora Beauty Insider birthday gift

The products: Benefit They’re Real! Mascara and Watt’s Up! Luminizer

↳  as seen in Real Birthday Turn-Ons!, Sephora’s 2013 Beauty Insider birthday gift

It’s not my birthday, but this year’s Sephora BI birthday gift almost makes it feel like it is. I’ve been playing around with the highlighter and mascara duo, and (while I don’t love it quite as much as last year’s Fresh lip balm duo) it’s pretty great.

Honestly, though: the freebie consists of two best-selling Benefit products, shrunk down into miniature form, with puns in tow. How could it not be?

Sephora x Benefit birthday gift BI

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, $23 USD/#29 CAD

Described as “a jet-black mascara that lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes,” They’re Real! has a very cool applicator. Made out of a flexible plastic, it has staggered short-and-long bristles that go all the way around the tip of the wand — perfect for adding length and separation right down to the roots & the hard-to-get outer corners of the eye.

I haven’t tried the much-loved Benefit BADgal Lash, but according to this cool chart on Benefit’s site, They’re Real! is glossy and lengthening (both of which I can hands-down confirm) while BADgal is matte and volumizing.

Benefit They're Real mascara review

The pitfalls: I really wish They’re Real! wore for longer on my eyes. Like with most mascaras, I start seeing some smudging after 4-5 hours, which (at $29 CAD for the full sized version) is pretty disappointing. My lashes could use a little more volume, too, but that’s easily excusable for a mascara made to focus on lengthening!

The high points: The applicator! You wouldn’t think having bristles on the tip would make much of a difference, but it makes getting picture-perfect outer corners a cinch. It does a great job at providing length, too (particularly on the lower lashes), and I really love the soft, glossy finish. 

Benefit They're Real mascara applicator

Benefit They’re Real! ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Paraffin, Polybutene, Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Vp/Eicosene Copolymer, Acacia Senegal Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium Edta, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Laureth-12 Sulfate, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sericin, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tilia Tomentosa Bud Extract, Citric Acid, Bht, Sorbic Acid. [+/-: Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Chromium Oxide Greens (Ci 77288), Chromium Hydroxide Green (Ci 77289), Titanium Dioxide

Benefit Watt's Up swatches review

L-R: Benefit They’re Real!, Benefit Watt’s Up! (straight from tube), Benefit Watt’s Up! (blended)

Benefit Watt’s Up! Soft Focus Highlighter, $30 USD/$36 CAD

Watt’s Up! is a cream-to-powder “luminous champagne” highlighter for the cheeks and browbones, which (in the full-size form) comes with a little “soft glow blender” to smooth out the luminizer into an even, diffuse sheen.

Honestly, my favourite part about Watt’s Up! is its adorable pun & packaging, but the product itself definitely has its merits, too!

Benefit Watt's Up highlighter review swatches

The finish of Watt’s Up! is a tiny bit too shimmery for my tastes (I prefer a super-finely-milled sheen), but it does still create a gorgeous, noticeable glow. Unlike highlighters that depend on a mix of base pigment & shimmer to lift the complexion, this one is mainly based on peachy-champagne shimmer, which means that it’ll work well on a really wide range of complexions, right from NW15 through to NC42. 

It’s not too warm (orange-gold) or too cool (silvery-pink), either — I can wear this tone without a hitch, but my warmer, darker mother (around a NC35 in the winter) can pull it off no problem, too.

Keep reading! »

Sephora BI/VIB Chic Week code, Spring 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It’s almost here! Sephora’s twice-annual sale is back, with 15% off  for all beauty for Beauty Insiders (Friday, April 12th to Sunday, April 21st) and VIBs (Thursday, April 11th to Monday, April 22nd.)

Use code CHIC at checkout!

Sephora BI Chic Week sale code

(P.S. Can’t wait for Chic Week? Check out Sephora’s sale section and weekly offers in the meantime — both are already live, and the sale section is already up to 60% off!)

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case: review, photos | (Colorful Eyeshadows Part 1/3)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow key

The product: SEPHORA COLLECTION Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case

As you may have guessed from Twitter, Instagram, or even this New This Week post, I’m having a bit of a Sephora Collection “moment” right now. They put out a new eyeshadow range recently, complete with a brilliant key-and-pan palette system, and I could not be more impressed by it.

I’m most excited about the eyeshadows in this range (coming up next week), but I thought I’d start off with a post on the system itself, just to acquaint you with it.

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadows

The Colorful System & Palette

The concept behind the Colorful Eyeshadow range is pretty simple, but I have to give the execution props. The palettes are sturdy, easy to open/close, and each slot is magnetised (including the one for the key, which is cleverly levered out by pushing down on the non-magnetized end.)

I think the key is what really makes the Sephora system stand out for me; the simple, sleek too makes it hard to gouge out your eyeshadows by accident without really adding any weight or size.

(Also worth noting is that unlike somebody, Sephora hasn’t chosen to annoyingly suspend their pans in half their packaging when in palettes!)

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow palette review

Worth noting is that the palettes are a little heavy, what with the large mirrors, but you could always just throw the singles into your makeup bag for something lighter — each shadow is sold in a case, which I think is brilliant! (Think more MUFE, less MAC: you won’t have to choose between singles and pans.)

The Sizing

Sephora Collection vs MAC, NARS, MUFE Eyeshadow

Sephora Collection pan size vs. MAC, NARS, MUFE eyeshadow singles

The Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadows are 33mm pans, smaller than Make Up For Ever but larger than MAC. I can see why each brand wants to use its own pan size, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have liked them to fit in with one of the other brands!

I think, optimally, I’d have liked to see smaller pans and slightly lower prices — who really needs that much eyeshadow all at once, you know?

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow size comparison

The Pricing

The Colorful system is priced as follows:

  • Colorful Eyeshadows: $13 USD/$16 CAD
    • Just to note, this is $186 USD per ounce; MAC’s singles are $300, Urban Decay’s are $360, NARS’ are $343, and MUFE’s are $250 (all USD per oz).
  • Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case, 3-shade palette: $12 USD/$14 CAD
  • Colorful Eyeshadow Custom Palette Case, 6-shade palette: $14 USD/$17 CAD

Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow custom palette + pans

The verdict?

I know this post doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the shadows (reviews and swatches of these six coming up next week), butlove the Colorful Eyeshadow system. The shadows I’ve tried so far have been really impressive, especially from a house brand, and I’m smitten with the pan-or-palette options.

In a word? I am reluctant to use just one, but if I had to: awesome.

Availability: Sephora, of course!

For the launch, the 3-pans are free with the purchase of 2 eyeshadows, and the 6-pans are free with the purchase of 4 — it’s a USA-only offer, but I thought I’d give it a mention! (No word on if/when the deal will be over, sorry

Keep reading! »

Dolce & Gabbana Beauty at Sephora | A quick heads-up

Thursday, January 10, 2013

For the upcoming season, something…

Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics have landed at Sephora (both online and in some stores), just in time for spring. I have yet to try the line, but from what I’ve read about it — well.

Here are four (more) products that I’d love to get my hands on:

Keep reading! »

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.

Keep reading! »

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