December 8, 2013

For Your Christmas List: Sephora Favorites Superstars Set

image via Marie Claire
Make a note to pick up this gift set. I don't know if it would be best suited for your significant other or your best friend or your mom or your mother in law or you yourself but I do know that someone you know needs this. The value is out of this world, in my professional makeup hoarding opinion.

I saw this set during a recent trip to Sephora and I was honestly kind of put off by the $75 tag. $75 is, sadly, a pretty standard amount of cash to drop at Sephora a time but it's still enough to give me pause. $75 is about 10.5 Chipotle burritos (I always measure dollar amounts in Chipotle burritos). $75 is enough that you'd look at your bank statement in about 6 months and be like, "God, me, what the fuck is wrong with you? Make more responsible decisions and be a bit smarter with your money." $75 is a lot to part with in exchange for one product.

But, that's the thing. This isn't one product. Buying this set is kind of like legally stealing from Sephora. This gift set includes 13 of Sephora's best selling beauty products from 2013 and has something for everyone - hair, makeup, skincare, nail and fragrance products. The best part is that most of the items are full sized, not sucky little travel sized inclusions. So, you could spend $75 for 13 items OR buy only 3 of the products separately and pay $80 and not get 10 extra products for free.

That's a real price comparison there. This set includes:
  • Bumble and bumble. Surf Spray (1.7 oz) - $15.00
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow Duo in Sin and Mushroom (1.5g) - $18.00
  • Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Cleopatra in New York (0.5 oz) - $19.00
  • Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil (0.5 oz) - $14.00
  • Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Rollerball (0.33 oz) - $29.00
  • Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Mascara Base Coat, Top Coat & Nylon Fiber Extensions - $35.00
  • NARS Blush and Bronzer Duo in Orgasm and Laguna (5g) - $41.00
  • NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita (3.4g) - $26.00
  • Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream (0.5 oz) - $30.00
  • Anastasia Brow Gel (0.085 oz) - $10.00ish
  • Stila Stay All Day Liner in Black - $20.00 
  • Smashbox BB Cream SPF 35 in Light (1 oz) - $39.00
The Bumble and bumble. surf spray and Anastasia brow gel are the only sample sized items - literally everything else is full size. Look at those prices! What the fuck?? Sephora has been drinking or something. You're literally paying for 2 or 3 items and getting everything else for free. I have no idea how Sephora can live with themselves for this.

I can't talk up a lot of these items because I haven't even tried them but the ones I have? I could fillabuster for days about how great they are. I could write epic love sonnets about them.

Any beauty blogger worth their salt will tell you Urban Decay makes the best eyeshadows in the game. The color payoff is unbeatable and the formula is always smooth, buttery and blendable. I have never seen a true dud of an eyeshadow come out under the Urban Decay name. So the full size duo of Mushroom and Sin is guaranteed to be amazing. Sin is a beautiful, frosty color that's perfect for a highlight or an all over lid color and Mushroom is an Urban Decay standby, a cool, gunmetal that's beautiful on almost every skin tone. This would cost $18.00 on its own. I am vouching for that $18 right here.

NARS is another beloved beauty brand, especially for their blush and bronzer. NARS Orgasm is such an exceedingly popular and versatile shade that it's spawned a lipgloss, a cream blush and a nail polish. NARS crams this blush shade into almost every set or palette they come out with because it's sparkly, coral shade is just plain that flattering and popular. Likewise, Laguna is their most popular bronzer that's a good bet for matching most white girls. I'm too pale for Laguna but let's be honest, my level of paleness is kind of an anomaly, so I would also vouch for this duo. This has a $41.00 price tag, making it the most expensive item in the set. We're at $59.00 when you add that to the Urban Decay eyeshadow duo and you're essentially getting 4 separate products at this point.

Deborah Lippmann's Cleopatra in New York has been on my nail polish wishlist for awhile and is the reason I was drawn to this set. I was looking at the singular $19 bottle in the Sephora and had it in my hand to purchase when I noticed this set by the checkout line. That was when I realized I'd have to be on glue to spend $19 for just the nail polish when I could get the nail polish and so much more for $56 more. I have a love/hate relationship with Deborah Lippmann and the hate is entirely about the $16+ price point for all of her polishes. However, I can justify it for her glitters. You trust me with glitter recommendations, right? Deborah Lippmann makes the chunkiest, sparkliest glitters possible and that's worth paying double the price of an Essie or an OPI to me. Now, maybe it's not worth it to you, and in that case Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure has a polish called Midnight Glitz that's as close as a drugstore polish is getting right now to duping this. By "as close" I mean it's like Cleopatra in New York's inferior, second rate, third cousin. Cleopatra in New York is hunks of gold glitter in a black base and would be perfect for New Years Eve if you're a demure kind of person and perfect for a typical Tuesday if your style is similar to mine. You're $3 over the price of this whole set if you add it's $19 onto the aforementioned $59.00. You're getting part of a Deborah Lippmann glitter polish for free along with everything else.

The last thing I'll really go hard in the paint for is the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Rollerball perfume. I have one of these already as well as a miniature Flowerbomb perfume and their biggest 3.4oz size bottle. I'm on my second 3.4oz bottle and it's one of the only perfumes I've purchased twice (or rather asked for for a birthday gift twice). I first heard about this scent back in 2008 from a former friend who said it was her signature scent and that she was always on the receiving end of compliments. Naturally, the idea of everyone fawning over how luxurious and delicious I smelled was very appealing to me and I kept the name of her perfume at the top of my brain. My former best friend and I both purchased the perfume and our two closest friends in college did the same after smelling it. Four people just smelled this perfume and were like, yes, okay, definitely need to drop over $100 to smell like this and definitely need to do it now. I'm not shocked that this perfume has since blown up in recent years. It's very floral, just as the name suggests, but not in an old lady way. It smells warm and sensual, like chocolate scented flowers or something. You could almost eat yourself after putting it on. This rollerball is a great way to test this rightfully hyped up scent out on yourself and see how it works with your body chemistry and lifestyle. The rollerball is also great if you already own the full size version. I kept mine in my purse for the days I forget to apply perfume or just plain end up smelling gross. This could also come in handy if you bump into that special someone and want to give them the illusion that you naturally smell like orchids and freesias at any given moment. You're at $70, just $5 off the price of this set, just with this and the NARS duo alone. Ridiculous.

I've heard some great things about other items in the set, as well. Too Faced is allegedly killing it with their new mascara releases so I'm looking forward to accentuating my eyeballs with that. Anastasia is almost synonymous with "great brows" at this point and honestly, if something is good enough for Oprah then it's good enough for me. Did you know Oprah would fly from Chicago to California just to get her brows done in the Anastasia salon? Thought you knew. The only dud in this whole set for me is the Smashbox BB Cream because I feel it's kind of wasteful to include a foundation that caters to one skin shade. It for sure won't match my pale skin and I'm sure most WoC are shit out of luck, too. I won't lose sleep over it, though, because I'm not even paying for it.

This set seems to be sold out online, with good reason. Hunt this down in your local Sephora. This is something that could be worth it to end up on a news segment re: how out of control and bloodthirsty Christmas shopping has become. I would never recommend this to anyone but me, personally? I would probably head butt some other savvy shopper and snatch this out of her hands if that's what it took. I don't even think I'd lose any sleep over it but, if I did, I'd have a free $30 Origins refreshing eye cream to hide it. Worth it.

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