Sephora mini haulWalking into Sephora at Houston’s at Galleria Mall a few weeks back took me back to being a Kiwi Kid in the late 1970s.  Remember when you scored $2 and you got to go to the dairy? All those lollies that were one and two cents? Remember the excitement? Well that’s the same feeling as I had at Sephora in Houston. Only now I’m an adult and am in ownership of a credit card. 

Back to Sephora: Where to look first? Here’s my thought process “Holy crap, they’ve got Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup. I can see Charlotte Tilbury. Is that Tarte? Is that a Dyson Hairdryer? Where’s the basket? Do they have Pillow Talk? Shit a brick. I’m going to need to prioritise”. I kid you not: My heart rate quickened.  But that’s OK: I was always going to do a mini haul. I’d SAVED for this.

So, after a lot of anticipation (and hours of research), I bought some goodies – arguably, not as many as you’d expect! I was adamant: I was only buying product we can’t get easily here in NZ. Besides, saving some dimes was mission critical so my savings would stretch to my new Madewell Medium Transport Tote and Michael Kors watch.

So, what did my mini Sephora haul look like? More importantly, after three solid weeks of research product usage, how am I feeling about the products? Stand by caller, keep reading.

Sultry Eyeshadow Palette – Anastasia Beverly Hills

sultry palette The Sultry Eyeshadow Palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills was in my shopping basket within milliseconds of arriving in store, I’d researched this eyeshadow palette up the wazoo: I knew it was coming back to NZ with me. I didn’t even bother looking at other eyeshadow palettes.

First up, Sultry’s packaging deserves its own paragraph: Sparkly rose gold luxe goodness. I could gaze at this happily all day.

sultry paletteLet’s talk about the shadows. Not for the faint hearted, the Sultry Palette is jam packed with 14 shades ranging to mattes to, my personal favourite, bronzy metallics. I had my eye on this palette, largely as its cooler toned: I’m sick to the teeth of warm eyeshadow palettes – They just don’t suit me and I feel NZ’s Commerce Commission should limit how many warm-based orange and pinky toned eyeshadow palettes come into the market. Enough already. I’m done.

Here’s a close up…

sultry palette

These eyeshadows are everything I’d hoped for in terms of pigmentation and blending: Easy as, noting a light hand is required, one small tap of the eyeshadow brush and you have enough shadow on your brush to paint your bathroom. Easy tiger. The metallic shadows need a special mention for their beautiful, almost creamy texture. These deliver a lot of colour payoff making these my personal favourite when I’m wanting a more glam look.  Here’s some swatches, noting I rubbed my finger through the eyeshadow once… Yes, the colour payoff is intense!

sultry palette swatches

The double-ended brush the palette comes with is pretty decent too, far better than the stock standard ‘meh’ ones eyeshadow palettes usually come with… (Naked Palettes: I’m looking at you).

One disappointment: Show us your fall out!  I get a shitload of fall out from these eyeshadows, requiring me to clean up afterwards with a cotton bud (‘Q Tip’ to Americans reading this) and eyemakeup remover. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I use the mattes or metallic finish – show us the mess, noting I always tap off excess eyeshadow product before I get down to application business. Minor detail perhaps, but slightly annoying. I reckon if you’re a bit of an eyeshadow novice, this fall out will piss you off (it does me).  This is why makeup artists will often follow this application order: Eyes first, base second (who can be bothered putting base on, then cleaning up eyeshadow, only to tidy up the base? Not me).

Price: US$45. Buy here on Sephora NZ.

Pillow Talk Lip Liner – Charlotte Tilbury

charlotte tilbury pillow talk lip liner

I bought this nude pink lip liner because of The Hype. I don’t usually buy in to The Hype… But social media made me do it.

The Hype is deserved and I (reluctantly) concede that the US$22 price tag isn’t actually too spendy for what you get. This lip liner is a velvety formula in a barely-there nude shade that’s YLBB* and I reckon this would suit most pale to medium skin tonnes. Charlotte’s marketing gurus say that this will “help reshape and resize your lips for a perfect pout”. They are right: I look like I’ve had fillers, without being reminiscent of a duck.

Pillow Talk also gets big ups for me for longevity of wear, this is undoubtedly one of the longer lasting lip liners I’ve tried. It doesn’t dry out my lips either (sometimes longevity of wear equates to a dry formula).

Will I repurchase? Here’s my prediction on what will happen:

• Given it isn’t easy to get Charlotte Tilbury in New Zealand, I’ll seek out dupes for this pencil.
• I’ll get the dupe, realise it isn’t as smooth/velvety/long-lasting, then I’ll get TWO of the real McCoy on my next trip overseas.

What makes me say this? The best predictor of future performance is past behaviour…

Note, you can also get Pillow Talk in lipstick format – I want it.

Lastly, I should mention, that when I did the bridesmaid’s makeup on my recent trip to Jamaica, they all wore this lip liner, topped with the lip cream mentioned next….

*Your Lips But Better

Price: $22.

Full-on Lip Cream in Blushing Margarita – Buxom

I can’t remember who the You Tuber was that was raving about this creamy, shimmer-free lip gloss. But she made me buy it (it might have been Chloe Morello, who, incidentally, I’d jump the fence for – FAST).  See the photo above for a gander at the product.

Blushing Margarita is a nude cream (read: gloss) with a pepperminty taste that tingles upon application and supposedly plumps up your lips (it doesn’t). I’m not usually a gloss lover: I’m in my early 40s, I’ve got fine lines around my lips and thus, some products, particularly gloss, go west and spread into those pesky lines. Luckily, this doesn’t: Hurrah!

This lip cream, over the top of Charlotte’s Pillow Talk lip liner, has been my go-to look, worn nearly every day for the past three weeks, post purchase.  It is a soft, pretty, nude and, goes gloriously with any makeup lip. As mentioned above, all the bridesmaids wore it in Jamaica too. Here’s a pic of Abby (bridesmaid) wearing both combos. Note: There is no filter on this photo, yes, that is her skin! We ended up going for a soft pretty look with barely any base for her… It seemed a crime to do otherwise with skin like that. Sigh, she’s a stunner (and super nice inside too… #theultimatecombo).

Would I repurchase: Yep. It’s gorg. Totes a winner.

Price: US$21

Full-on Lip Cream in Blushing Margarita


Brow Wiz – Anastasia Beverly Hills 

Brow wiz I left NZ with a brow pencil that had one application of ‘brows’ left on it (ballsy eh?) so I had to buy a brow pencil. It was a toss-up between Brow Wiz and Benefit’s Precisely My Brow. ABH won, simply as I can get Benefit in NZ. Also, I figured it was good to try something new.

This is a retractable brow pencil that is ideal for outlining and filling in brows. One end is a fine-tipped pencil to create tiny hairlike strokes. The other end is a spoolie to blend for natural looking finish.

This is nice and I’ve worn it daily since I got it, but I personally prefer Benefit’s Precisely My Brow (even though this is $3 more expensive than Brow Wiz). Why? I feel that Benefit’s offering has a longer-wearing formula and I feel I can get a more precise look – and, being completely shallow, Benefit’s packaging gives me a moist-on.

Will I repurchase: Yes, if I couldn’t get Precisely My Brow (or whatever new favourite has taken my fancy). Want a pic? Check out the pic of Abby above: She’s wearing Brow Wiz (same colour brows as me).

Price: US$21

Shadow Insurance (Eye Primer) – Too Faced

Shadow Insurance Too Faced

I’ve banged on about eye primer before (heaps of times), so let’s leave the ins and outs of why you need eye primer if you have oily lids to this blog post.

In the past, I’ve raved on about NARS Eyeshadow Base, as well as Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, declaring either (depending on the time of posing) my All Time Favourite Eye Primer(s). Well, Shadow Insurance boots any other eye primer out of my coveted No1 Spot. Shadow Insurance is IT: Based on longevity of wear, no oily eyelids, colour that stays on all day. This stuff is the bomb diggity. See, I can do quick reviews. Ha!

In the End…

Lastly, I mentioned at the start of this post that I decided to get these products at Sephora in the USA as we can’t get these brands in NZ.  I stand corrected a little, you can actually get this stuff in NZ, thanks to online shopping. 

Writing this blog post has filled me with happiness, oh, the joy of revising Memory Lane! To quote my bestie Rhonda, who had her first trip to Sephora on this day

“If you live in America, there’s no excuse to look shit with shops like this”.

Well said love, well said.

Want to see all the products on my mug? Here you go.

mini sephora haul