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Holiday Sets

Holiday Gift Guide Ulta

Cute Affordable Gift Sets From Ulta + Benefit

October 11, 2017

Ulta Beauty x Benefit Holiday Sets | The Beauty Look Book

This is probably the first year that I’ve seen holiday collections and sets out this early and I’m excited to be able to share my first holiday gift guide/review with you today! I’ve teamed up with Ulta Beauty to give you a look at four affordable gift sets from Benefit. There are a lot more options to choose from online and in store and the best two things are 1) they are all under $60 and 2) the packaging is fun and festive so there’s no extra work required to wrap it up. The four I’m featuring today include:

Ulta Beauty x Benefit Holiday Gift Sets | The Beauty Look Book

Up first is the Cable Car Cuties Set which has three minis of the Rockateur Rose Gold Blush, Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Shade 3, POREfessional Face Primer. This is an Ulta exclusive and is great for an affordable stocking stuffer set or for holiday gift exchanges. All three items are easy to wear and can be a fun way to test things out. This was my first time testing out Rockateur and it’s one of the prettiest soft rose blushes I’ve tried – truly natural and doesn’t darken on the skin.

Ulta Benefit Cable Car Cuties

Ulta Benefit Cable Car Cuties Set | The Beauty Look Book

Up next includes the Beauty and the Bay Set which has 4 full-size items and one mini. This one is on the left with the High Brow Highlight & Lift Pencil, They’re Real! Mascara in Jet Black, Hoola Matte Bronzer, High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter Mini. Hoola is one of the most under-rated matte bronzers (in my opinion).

GALifornia Love Set has a full-size Roller Lash Super Curling and Lifting Mascara in Black, full-size Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in Shade 3 and a mini GALifornia Sunny Golden Pink Blush. It’s been a while since I tried Benefit blushes and have to say I’m really impressed with the finish and quality, especially for the price. GALifornia smells like candy peaches (in a good way). Whenever I ask for mascara recs a lot of you mention the Roller Lash and I finally tried it – pretty impressed that it had no smudging and was truly a deep rich black color. No clumping either!

Ulta Benefit Sets Beauty and the Bay and GALifornia Love

Beauty and the Bay Set swatches, I swatched Hoola with a very heavy hand, on the face I promise it doesn’t look this dark. If you’re ultra fair definitely checkout their Hoola-Lite, I’ve tried that one too and it’s the best light colored non-grey non-orangey powder bronzer I’ve tried.

Ulta Benefit Beauty and the Bay Set Swatches

GALifornia Love set swatches:

Ulta GALifornia Love Set

Last but not least is the Great BROWnanza Blockbuster Set which is a great value for the price. If you’re brow novice and don’t know what formula works best for you this is a great way to try all the different formulas. It’s priced at $59 but the retail value is $151. Note there are two shade options in 3 and 5. I picked up the 5 for darker hair.

Ulta Benefit The Great BROWnanza! "Blockbuster Brow Set" Shade 5

Ulta Benefit The Great BROWnanza! "Blockbuster Brow Set" Shade 5

Long-time readers know I’m a super minimalist when it comes to brows – I have thick dark hair but my brows are lighter in color so I struggle with whether I should match color to my brows, or my hair or somewhere in between. I’m still learning and do think brow application gets better with practice. I tried all the brow items in the set and my top two picks are the Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel (it’s so easy to use!) and the Brow Zings set because it comes with a usable travel applicator and the cutest mini tweezers. The Ka-Brow! gives me the most coverage and fills in the best, the Brow Pencil is easiest to use for precise feathering layering. The spoolie is a really good one and I don’t know why I didn’t find it sooner.

Here’s a quick look at the Benefit Hoola and the Brow Zings Shade 5. On the left photo you’ll see half my face is before with just my base (powder, concealer and foundation) and the other side has a more polished look with the Brow Zings and Hoola on the cheeks. On the lips is MAC Lipglass in N-U-D-E over Lip Pencil in Boldly Bare.

Benefit Hoola and Brow Zings 5

Ulta x Benefit Holiday Sets | The Beauty Look Book

Lots of cute options to pick from! Do you have any Benefit favorites? You can find all these sets now online and in stores at Ulta.

Thanks to Ulta for partnering to sponsor this post!

 

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide: Beauty Gifts $25 and Under

November 21, 2016

Holiday Beauty Gifts $25 and Under

Today I’m continuing my holiday gift guide roundups for the year with beauty gifts you can find for $25 and under. There are tons of great affordable options that any beauty lover would like. I suspect some you might even want to keep for yourself.

  1. Lorac Happy Hour Hues Alter Ego Lip Gloss Collection ($25) contains six full-size lip glosses with limited-edition rose gold packaging, it’s been years since I’ve tried a Lorac gloss but I keep seeing this at Nordstrom and it’s calling my name
  2. Ouai Style Edit Set ($25) has minis of the Wave Spray, Texturizing Hair Spray, Finishing Creme and a pack of 6 hair ties, if you haven’t tried the line this is a great starter/trial set
  3. Molton Brown Fiery Pink Pepper Cracker ($25) is something I’ve bought for years (for myself too), I love the bright peppery ginger scent this one has, it’s unique and unlike anything I’ve smelled
  4. Kiehl’s Jeremyville – Grapefruit Body Care Duo ($24) has two 2 oz minis of their grapefruit body care items in a cute little metal tin, I adore the body scrub and it’s something I think anyone would like – sweet, bright and refreshing but not too sweet
  5. L’Occitane Shea Butter Ornament ($14) is always a fun gift option, each year they have cute ornament packaging, there are lots of options with different scents, I think the classic Shea Butter is the best one
  6. Becca Glow On Go ($20) has a Spotlight Wand Shimmering Skin Perfector and Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed, both in Moonstone in mini travel sizes small enough to fit in the tiniest of clutches
  7. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo and Conditioner Combo ($23) is exclusive to Sephora as a value set
  8. Birchbox Thin to Thick Styling Kit ($20) is one of the best hair kits I think I’ve seen in terms of value, there are lots of other discovery kit options for sunscreen, skincare, fragrance, etc. at Birchbox
  9. Milk Makeup Dew You ($25) contains three minis of the Highlighter Stick, Sunshine Oil and Ubame Mascara – I’ve tried a couple things from the Birchbox subscription boxes but haven’t tried these yet
  10. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Minis Set ($20) is a must try, featured here as well
  11. Kat Von D Beauty The Bow n Arrow Set ($20) has minis of their Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Bow N Arrow and Ink Liner in Trooper
  12. philosophy grace for the holidays set ($18) contains two 8 oz products, one hand wash and one hand lotion and they both come with pumps, even though scent is very personal this is the one scent I’ve found to be universally loved among friends and family
  13. Birchbox LOC One and Done Shadow Stick Trio ($25) is a value set with three shadow sticks, there are 3 options for colors you can choose from, the one shown is called Piece of Cake with Haute Cocoa, Peachy Sheen, and Heavy Petal (all swatched here)
  14. Bite Beauty The Perfect Bite Set ($25) has baby sized 0.05 oz Amuse Bouche Lipsticks in colors Fig, Pepper, Honeycomb, Nori
  15. Sephora Favorites Style, Treat & Repeat! Custom Hair Essentials On the Go ($25) allows you to pick and choose 5 mini items to create your own customized set, if you’re more into skincare also checkout the Customizable Skincare and Hair Gift Set
  16. Eve Lom Kiss Mix Disco Ball ($22) has the nourishing Kiss Mix lip balm in a cute ornament box
  17. Clinique Chubby Stick Sampler Set ($25) this one has three chubby sticks and a mascara with colors coordinated to create a perfect holiday look
  18. IPKN Twinkle Lips Candy Set ($25) I don’t know if I’ve swatched these before but they’re the next best thing to the Dior Addict Glow balms, these IPKN twinkle lips change color depending on your chemistry for a healthy glow of color, they’re smooth and balmy

A few more options linked below:

Hope this gives you some ideas for beauty gifts under $25. If you’ve found any other good stocking stuffer options under the $25 price point let me know in the comments! More gift guides to follow soon. Have a great Monday!

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Holiday Gift Guide

Glossier Black Tie Set for Holiday 2016

November 16, 2016

Glossier Black Tie Set

Glossier just launched their limited-edition Black Tie Set ($50) for holiday and it comes packaged in the cutest white box with a satin black ribbon. Inside you get four full-sized beauty products including a clear lip gloss, No. 1 Eye Pencil in Graphite, Nail Polish in #glossierpink and Haloscope Highlighter in Moonstone. The packaging is so perfect: cute, feminine, glam all in one and I just couldn’t resist ordering one out of curiosity and I’m glad I did.

Glossier Black Tie Set

The set is designed to give you a “Glossier party look.” To me all the items have an understated, subtle barely-there kind of glow rather than a party vibe unless you’re the kind of girl who likes to party without much makeup. When I think about each item individually: I really didn’t need another clear lip gloss, I have a number of highlighters that I already love and use, the graphite liner is something I wouldn’t really pick out on my own as I tend to gravitate towards bronze shades, and the pink nail polish seemed a bit basic. In spite of all these feelings I still really love this set and love the youthful fun vibe it gives. Thoughts on each of the items:

  • The Glossier Lip Gloss is clear but comes with a pink tint giving it a special girly kind of feel. It’s thick and slightly sticky but not tacky.
  • The Moonstone cheek highlighter is very sheer and dewy with a youthful feel. It has an emollient feel with a dewy finish reminding me of the RMS Living Luminizer but in packaged in a twist up tube.
  • The #glossierpink nail polish exceeded my expectations in formula and the brush is really good. Almost a Dior kind of good. The color appears to be your basic kind of pink but on the fingers with two coats it has extremely good smooth coverage and gives a feminine dainty kind of feel. It lasted on my hands for a good 7 days without any tip wear but you do need to use a good base coat to make it stick/adhere to the nails. I used Formula X The System Originals base and top coat when testing.
  • The No. 1 Pencil in Graphite is a shimmery gunmetal, it has just the right amount of shimmer without being glittery, texture is smooth

Glossier Black Tie Set - Holiday 2016

A closer look at each item, first swatches of the whole set:

Glossier Black Tie Set Swatches

The Lip Gloss:

Glossier Black Tie Set Lip Gloss

Glossier Black Tie Set Lip Gloss Swatch

The Eyeliner in Graphite and Haloscope Highlighter in Moonstone:

Glossier Holiday 2016Glossier Black Tie Set for Holiday 2016

Haloscope Highlighter comparison swatches:

Glossier Moonstone, Quartz and Topaz

#Glossierpink Nail Polish:

#Glossierpink Nail Polish

Glossier Black Tie Set for Holiday 2016

Look, wearing all the items this set and Tom Ford Waterproof Foundation/Concealer in Bisque set with Laura Mercier Candleglow Setting Powder #2.

Glossier Black Tie Set Beauty Look

One last look below of the nail polish, it’s applied with two coats:

Glossier Black Tie Set for Holiday 2016

Overall I love the set even if it doesn’t really give me a party look. I did expect to like it as much as I do especially since I think Glossier items more for the super minimalist no-makeup kind of girl. The items are still well made and fun. There’s a very youthful vibe to this set which I think is what appeals to me. The packaging is just too cute. I love that the clear gloss has a pinkish tint to the formula.

The set is limited-edition and retails for $50, available exclusively online at Glossier. You can save 20% off your first order by clicking this referral link. I think this was worth the price and am really happy with everything. If you’ve tried this set or other Glossier items let me know in the comments!

Quick note – I’ve had some site updates and changes and it appears some of you haven’t been able to post comments. I’m working to get this fixed, in the meantime thank you for your patience!

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Haircare Holiday Gift Guide Skincare

Holiday Gift Guide: Sephora Favorites Sets and Birchbox Discovery Kits

November 3, 2016
Holiday Gift Guide - Birchbox Kits and Sephora Favorites Sets

I have my first holiday gift guide of the year today featuring some great discovery gift sets. Birchbox and Sephora each have their own curated box sets with hand-picked items. They’re often grouped and boxed by themes such as dry shampoos, berry lips, nude lips, sunscreen, skincare etc. They’ve basically taken their best sellers and packed them into sampler boxes with minis at a value price. I love these for myself because it allows me to try a lot of items without having to buy the individual full sizes I’m unsure about. Each store has their own exclusive selection which makes them unique.

There are tons of boxes and kits to choose from. Many are pretty affordable and tons at the $25 price point. This year I shopped sets early as I know there’s a good chance the value sets of them will sell out early. My friends this year are all about hair styling and highlighters. It seems like every single female friend I have doesn’t have time to wash and dry their hair on a daily basis. The good thing this year is that there are TONS of dry shampoo sets and holiday styling sets for all hair types. Highlighters are also as popular among my friends as they are on Instagram lol. Sets are great because even though I think I can find the perfect highlighter or dry shampoo for my close friends we all have different tastes and preferences.

Up first are some of the Birchbox Kits. Birchbox is known for their monthly subscription boxes and for the longest time I thought that was all that they offered. Not true. The Birchbox Collection has an entire shop of discovery kits, limited-edition box sets, and much more. If you visit their store you’ll see their products grouped by product type and then brand. An entire wall will be dedicated to suncare and they’ll split it by types of sunscreens. Their value sets are really cute and well put together. You can also buy individual full-sized items as well.

Up first is The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit for $32 ($74 value) you get an amika (Fort)Tress Shower Cap, amika Perk Up Dry-Shampoo, R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (one of my favorites), Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, Living proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk.

To date the R+Co had been my favorite but has been replaced with the Oribe Dry Shampoo that just launched a couple months ago. Neither leave my hair looking dusty or matte and there is no white residue. One of my friends swears by the Living Proof one which I tried. It left my hair looking too matte. As this set is a gift I won’t be reviewing the other items but thought you would like a peek at this one.

Birchbox The Dry Shampoo Starter Kit - The Beauty Look Book
If Dry Shampoo isn’t your thing, not to worry. They have a Thin to Thick Styling Kit ($20), Coily and Curly Hair Kit ($18), The Wavy & Curly Hair Kit ($18). Numerous brands have their own sets as well.
Next is the one I’m just beyond obsessed with. In my What’s In My Bag post I mentioned this Birchbox + Oribe Styling Kit. It has five minis of Oribe – cute beyond words!! I ordered two of these, one for me, one for a friend. I suspect I will be ordering a few more as you just can’t go wrong with Oribe. It’s priced at $35, each bottle is tiny but if you’ve never tried Oribe before this is a great way to try out the line without having to buy individual bottles which are around $20 each for the minis.

Birchbox Oribe Styling Kit - The Beauty Look Book

One kit I received as a press sample was the Complete SPF Kit. When I visited the Birchbox Soho Store over the summer I was just blown away by the presentation and display of the store. If you’re in NYC definitely make a stop there. The bottom floor is for men’s grooming and skincare so bring your boyfriend, husband, brother or male friends with you. They can build their own Birchbox too!

This one is priced at $18 – you get mini sample sizes of Supergoop! Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream, MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50, Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid, Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, COOLA Face SPF 30 Unscented, COOLA Daydream SPF 30 Mineral Makeup Primer. I have yet to try all of these but I’ve tried both the Coola ones and find them suitable for my sensitive skin.
Birchbox Complete SPF Kit - The Beauty Look Book

Next are the Sephora Favorites. I think one could seriously get carried away with the sets because they have SO MANY good things in them! One of the complaints my friends have about makeup is that the size of some things are just too big and it take them forever to use something up. Minis are popular among friends who like to rotate items frequently because you can use them up faster.

Up first is the Sephora Favorites Scouted by Sephora set which is $24 for five minis. This one features 5 up-and-coming brands at Sephora. I received this one as a gift and haven’t had a chance to try the items yet, but have been really curious about Milk Makeup so I’m eager to try the mascara. It has a Bésame Cosmetics Red Matchbook, GrandeLIPS Hydrating Plumper, Makeup Eraser Mini in Pink, MILK MAKEUP Ubame Mascara, Wander Beauty Lip and Cheek Mini in Pink City.

Sephora Favorites Scouted By Sephora - The Beauty Look Book

Next is the Sephora Favorites Glow for It. This one sold out online but I spotted it in store and picked up two. It’s since been restocked online and I can see why it’s been a popular one. For $30 you get minis of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Moonstone, Benefit Watt’s Up, Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops in C+ Lemongrass – Radiance, Hourglass Ambient® Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light, MILK MAKEUP Sunshine Oil and a full size Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter in Glowing Lights 06. The Lancome blush itself is $30 so the set is a steal.

I already have 3 of the items in the full size (Hourglass Strobe Powders swatched here) but almost want one for myself.
Sephora Favorites Glow For It - The Beauty Look Book

Another one is the Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Masks on the Go ($25). This one is listed as being an $85 value. It has quite a lot of product to sample – to date I’ve tried three of the items from Ouai, Phyto and Christophe Robin and all three are great. This one has Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre-Shampoo Masque, Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Exceptional Mask, Gloss Moderne High-Gloss Masque, Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day® Night Cap Overnight Perfector, Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair!™ Deep Conditioning Mask, Ouai Treatment Masque, VERB Hydrating Mask, and two packet sets of Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment For Deep Hydration & Superior Shine Treatment Step 1 & 2. 

I wish I had this set last year when I was traveling for a month. It would have been perfect as it has packets small enough to pack in a carry on. One of my friends is obsessed with masks – skincare and haircare. She is going to freak out when she gets this one.
Sephora Favorites Hair Rescue Mask Set - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Sephora Favorites Ready, Set, Style! This one was a bit pricier at $29 but the sizes of each spray was pretty impressive. You get five sprays for hair refreshers, volumizers and texturizers. It includes Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Finish, Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, IGK Down and Out Dirty Spray, Ouai Texturizing Hair Spray, Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray.

Sephora Favorites Ready Set Style Hair Set - The Beauty Look Book

I’m also a sucker for hair care minis like my friends. Three sets that caught my eye for me were the Ouai Style Edit Set ($25), Bumble and Bumble Big Beachy Hair Surf ($31), and the Sephora Favorites Style, Treat & Repeat! Custom Hair Essentials On the Go ($25) – you can mix/match to pick 5 of 15 of their bestselling hair treatments. As my bathroom is overflowing with hair care products I’ll have to try to resist these and use up what I have. I won’t complain if one of them shows up in my Christmas stocking though 🙂

That wraps up my first holiday gift guide. I hope these give you a better idea of what the sets look like compared to stock photos although I do think that both Birchbox and Sephora do a really good job at giving us accurate stock images on their websites.

The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale starts tomorrow November 4th and runs through November 7th. If you’re shopping online use code 20ROUGE. I received an early code from a Sephora employee so was able to shop the sale early. I’ll have my Sephora shopping recommendations roundup up later this afternoon for those who are trying to research early.

For now I hope this sets post give you some ideas for affordable gift options. The ones I featured are all very reasonable in price ranging from $18 to $35 which won’t break the bank if you buy multiples. They’re great for holiday gifts or to treat yourself. I’m seriously tempted to keep a few of these for myself – I may order one or two more once the Sephora sale starts.
The Birchbox Complete SPF Kit and Scouted By Sephora Set gifted as press samples. Remainder featured purchased by me.
By Terry

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose and Ombre Blackstar Gift Collections for Holiday 2016

October 29, 2016
By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose and Ombre Blackstar Gift Collections for Holiday 2016

I ordered two of the holiday sets from By Terry from Space NK to take advantage of the current Explore Promotion going on. The promo runs through 10/30 where you can save $25 off orders $125 or more with code EXPLORE30 at checkout online at Space NK (US site only). There are quite a few holiday items to choose from and given the fact that there are lots of other tempting sets and holiday launches this year, I decided to narrow down my picks to two sets:
As a long-time By Terry fan I have mixed feelings about these two. I think almost everyone has bought items they like but don’t necessarily love. I had high hopes for this year’s Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection as I really loved last year’s version and I love the Baume de Rose formula. There would have been nothing to stop me from ordering this year’s version as it contains four shimmery versions which you can’t find in the full-size, at least not right now. There’s also a single Impearlious Baume de Rose Tree Decoration version but I could not tell if it’s the same color as the pink one in the set. Some sites list it as “Fresco Rose” which is what is in the set, others list it as “Crystalline Rose” so I decided to pass. If you have bought the ornament – let me know where and what yours says on the bottom label.

The Holiday 2016 Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection contains four shimmers and one signature clear Baume de Rose. What prevents me from giving this a 100% rave review is that the colors are just so incredibly sheer. I do know that balms in general are supposed to be sheer, but since I have pigmented lips these pretty much all look the same on me. If one is going just for the skincare hydration element, I think you can skip and find something that works just as well for a fraction of the price. Right now I’m completely obsessed with Lanolips which I just discovered. Net-A-Porter has an exclusive Peach and Strawberry duo which is amazing (review soon). It offers better hydration for my lips although the concept and formulas are completely different so I don’t know that I can really compare the two.

Onto the set. The Impearlious set contains 100 Frozen Queen which is a shimmering silvery pearl, 200 Fresco Rose a sheer pink with silver sparkle, 400 Freezy Berry which is a sheer lilac shimmer, 300 Frost Fire which is a coppery peach shimmer (my favorite). There’s also the regular Baume de Rose which is clear on the lips. The shimmer is noticeable on the lips but texture is smooth without any chunky feel like you might expect from the sparkle particles.

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

Swatched on bare lips, they pretty much look the same, or at least very similar:

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

The Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection is priced at a value price compared to buying each one individually. Separately, the Ombre Blackstars are $44 each. The set give you 5 for $155 making them $31 each. If you don’t own any I highly recommend you get the set because the formula is really good. They are on the sparkly side but still very wearable. Even though I already own 3 of the 5 colors the set was worth it to me as I need to replace them anyways. The only thing I was a bit disappointed about was that the stock images online show these to be cased in a silver packaging but they come in the regular gold. It’s not a deal breaker but in this day and age I think there should be some level of accuracy in online stock images.

The colors you get in the set are Black Pearl which is a shimmering gunmetal, Blonde Opal which is a shimmering soft gold, Bronze Moon (one of my favorites) a bronze taupe, Frozen Quarts a gorgeous shimmering soft pink, Ombre Mercure a sparkling antique silver with a greenish tinge.

What I like about these is they are super creamy, apply smoothly, are easy to blend and layer. Lasting power is pretty good on my lids and you can wear a single shade as a wash or layer them together or with powders for an easy effortless kind of look. To me they have the prettiest shimmer finishes I’ve seen in any cream shadow. A tube also lasts forever and unlike other cream shadow sticks they won’t dry out even if you have them for over a year. I know many believe you should throw out cosmetics after a certain period of time for sanitary purposes or because items have a certain shelf life. I have thrown out quite a few items before they’re 100% used up like mascara, foundations or lipsticks – especially if the scent turns or products separate. I’ve had some of my Ombre Blackstars for over 2 years and the formula has stayed in perfect condition.

By Terry Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

By Terry Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

Swatches of the two more Ombre Blackstars I own for reference:

By Terry Impearlious Ombre Blackstar Gift Collection - The Beauty Look Book

One last look:

By Terry Impearlious Baume de Rose and Ombre Blackstar Gift Collections

Overall beautiful sets and nice to own, but spendy and I can’t call them must-haves. I do think the Space NK promotion savings helped on savings for the sets. I love the Ombre Blackstar formula and it’s time I replace the ones I have so the set was worth the splurge. Had I been able to see and swatch everything in person first I would have passed on the Baume de Rose set. I’m all about natural lip products but for me these are too natural for me to love them and at $65 I would have rather bought a single item I really loved from any line, a skincare set (there are so many good ones out this year!) or stocked up on Oribe items from Space NK. Given the fact that I’ve had so many hits from ordering things sight unseen it’s bound to happen every now and then to have misses. I want to reiterate that I find the quality of both sets to be really good, and I know some will really love the lip balm set, there’s nothing wrong with sheer, for me it’s just too sheer.

You can find the By Terry Holiday 2016 collection now at Net-A-Porter, Barneys New York, Beautylish and Space NK. There are still a couple days left of the Space NK Explore Promotion. If you’re ordering anything online they have Kevyn Aucoin, By Terry, Oribe, Diptyque and much more. Save $25 off orders $125 or more with code EXPLORE30 at checkout online at Space NK through 10/30 (US site only).

Have you checked out the By Terry Holiday collection yet? What did you think?
Holiday Gift Guide

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Collection, Brush Kits, Mini Kits, Bag Sets and Palettes for Holiday 2016

October 26, 2016
MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Collection Review via The Beauty Look Book

This year MAC Nutcracker Sweet collection is one of the most whimsical and fun collections for the holiday season. Everything is packaged in this eye-catching bright pink/gold/purple casing which is just so pretty. There are a lot of products in this launch – it’s massive! I have a mix of press samples and purchased items that I’m reviewing today. MAC has pretty much covered everything with this launch so there literally is something for everyone. Items are split into the following categories:
Nutcracker Sweet Collection 
Nutcracker Sweet Brush Kits
Nutcracker Sweet Palettes

Nutcracker Sweet Lip and Eye Bags
Nutcracker Sweet Retro Matte and Mineralize Kits
Nutcracker Sweet Mini Kits
Nutcracker Viva Glam Sets
I have a peek at something from five of the categories. Up first is the Nutcracker Sweet Collection consists of individual full-sized items that come in the pink, gold and purple packaging. Most of the items are new/limited-edition colors but there are a few repromotes in eyeliner and pigments. My picks:
  • Magic Dust Powder in Yum Yum Yum (c/o) is a soft sheer pink that gives the cheeks the prettiest hint of pink, it is on the sheer to medium side and the shimmer is very very fine so on the cheeks it’s more of a satin finish
  • Magic Dust Powder in Sweet Vision is a more pigmented shimmering peach gold powder
  • Magic Dust Eyeshadow in Forward March is a soft warm gold shimmer with excellent texture and pigment, it’s smooth and easy to blend
  • Magic Dust Eyeshadow in Pretty Dainty (c/o) is a warm shimmering pinky peach color, also smooth and medium in pigment but buildable
  • Eye Kohl in Prunella (c/o) is a repromote, it’s a classic shimmering deep plum
  • Matte Lipstick in So Good For You (c/o) looks red in the tube but is actually a pink fuchsia, with dark mattes I have a hard time applying evenly straight from the tube so I often need a brush with colors like this, as a matte formula it has a super opaque texture that hugs the lips
Everything performs really well and the quality is on point. I love the Magic Dust powders – they come with the prettiest embossed star patterns and I think both of the colors are very wearable.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - So Good For You

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - So Good For You

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - So Good For You

Face Compacts are probably my favorite of the item and have sold out online just restocked at MAC. They have a unique hybrid cream/powder texture which is stiffer and harder than a normal powder but they meld in with the skin nicely, don’t emphasize pores and last a long time on the skin. I can’t pick a favorite – they are both really good, but if I had to pick one, the Copper Face Compact is just incredibly beautiful. I use a regular blush brush like MAC 129 to apply.
  • Peach Face Compact has Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Tutu and Extra Dimension Blush in At Dusk is a light cool champagne shimmer and soft pink shimmer
  • Copper Face Compact (c/o) has Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Whisper of Gilt and Extra Dimension Blush in Pleasure Model is a shimmering gold and warm coppery peach
Note these are applied with a very heavy hand in the swatch but they are easy to blend for a softer look. The shimmer blends out to a very soft glow without the garish frost.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Peach and Copper Face Compacts

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Peach and Copper Face Compacts

Eye Compacts are mirrored compacts with 9 eyeshadows and a dual-ended brush. I found the names odd as they didn’t really match the color theme of shadows inside. The pigment and colors performed well like individual shadows for the most part with the exception of a few shades in the Warm Eye Compact. Texture in the Warm Palette seemed a bit stiffer and harder in general.
  • Warm Eye Compact (c/o) left to right includes:
    • Filament (lustre) is a pale ivory pigmented lustre
    • Whirling is a (lustre) is a pigmented silvery taupe frost
    • Era (satin) is usually a great soft matte neutral in the full size, this one is a bit chalky and stiff to apply
    • Woodwinked (veluxe pearl) is a medium warm brown shimmer
    • Unwind (veluxe pearl) is an olive-gold shimmer
    • Lady Fingers (matte) is a matte yellow with medium pigment
    • Twelve Chimes (lustre) a sheer stiff taupe grey brown with a bit of shimmer, finish is also sheer unless you apply with a dense brush over a base
    • Showstopper (matte) is a matte sheer stiff matte cool brown, pigment is horrible on this one – I had to swatch with a very heavy hand
    • Beyond Gorgeous (veluxe pearl) is a stiff sheer black with gold flecks which is odd for a veluxe pearl formula, it’s good when applied with a tiny detail or liner brush, but if you use a larger brush finish is sheer and patchy
  • Smoky Eye Compact was one I had my eye on so I ordered it online sight unseen, for me this works better for my coloring and also has fewer lustre eyeshadows which I’m not a fan of. The colors inside include:
    • Too-dle-oo (frost) is a soft champagne shimmer
    • Deception (frost) is a medium cool taupe bronze shimmer
    • Sweet Dreams (matte) is a soft latte brown
    • Kid (veluxe) is a warm brown matte
    • Dewdrop (lustre) is a shimmering peachy pink
    • Cake and Biscuits (matte) is a warm brown
    • Swiss Chocolate (matte) is a warm matte deep brown
    • Dance in the Dark (matte) is a dusty cool matte brown
    • Licorice Lane (matte) is a warmer deep brown
In general the Smoky Eye Compact shades performed better than the Warm Eye Compact colors for me. The brushes in both compacts are well made and shaped.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet - Warm and Smoky Eye Compacts

Lip Bags come in several variations. I have the Nude Lip Bag (c/o) which includes all neutrals and they are all just perfect:

  • Prolongwear Lip Pencil in In Control is a warm pinky brown neutral
  • Vamplify in Tuned In is a medium pink nude with a hint of shimmer it has full coverage, long lasting power and a very nice shine
  • Cremesheen Lipstick in Magic Spell is a cool pink neutral with a lovely sheen

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag - Magic Spell Lipstick

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag - Vamplify Tuned In

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Lip Bag - Prolongwear Lip Pencil In Control

The Sweet Plum Eye Bag (c/o) has four color-coordinated soft plum colors in a zipped bag, the colors are really pretty for the plums:

  • Teckhnakohl in Purple Dash is a soft shimmering light plum color
  • Paint Pot in Stormy Pink is a mauve pink matte – these make great eyeshadow bases
  • Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in Smoky Mauve is a frosted soft mauve color
  • False Lashes Mascara in False Black is a black mascara, it doesn’t smudge or flake, but for me it doesn’t hold the curl as much as other formulas do

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Plum Eye Bag - The Beauty Look Book

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Plum Eye Bag - The Beauty Look Book

There are a number of mini sets for lips and eyes. I received the Nude Patentpolish Mini Set (c/o). As I already own all but one of the colors I didn’t re-swatch this one to review as it’s going to be re-gifted.
  • Pleasure’s All Mine (review here)
  • Revved Up is a shimmering peachy color
  • It’s Really Me (review here)
    French Kiss (on lips here)

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Nude Patentpolish Minis - The Beauty Look Book

Last but not least is the Brush Set in the Basic option (c/o) which includes mini short handled versions of 190SE Foundation Brush, 129SE Powder/Blush Brush, 213SE Fluff Brush, 209SE Eye Liner Brush and 316SE Lip Brush. As I already own a number of short handled brushes I did not test this one out but to the touch, they are soft and cut evenly. This is going to be gifted to a friend.

MAC Nutcracker Sweet Basic Brush Set - The Beauty Look Book

Overall lots of great options for holiday gifting. Everything is covered from lips, cheeks, eyes and brushes. The highlights for me are all the cheek items including the Magic Dust Powders and Face Compact Duos. The Nude Lip Bag falls close behind and even though I already own one of the colors, I think the lipstick is just perfect. Two more items I am ordering for gifts are the Sweet Nude Lipstick Kit and Sweet Nude Lip Gloss Kit as both are $35 each and great little sets.

All the items are limited-edition so I would recommend gathering your list sooner than later and order because a few items have already sold out. You can find the collection in stores this week. Online at MAC, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s.

Did you check out anything yet? What were your picks? If not what’s on your wishlist?

Press samples included with c/o listed next to the names. Other items purchased by me.